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A Marine plots data after engaging a target during the pre-scout sniper course Oct. 27, 2014. 1st Marine Division schools recently began the second week of training for Marines attending the pre-scout sniper course aboard Camp Pendleton California.

Photo by Cpl. Seth Starr

Pre-Scout Sniper Training: Passing the torch

30 Oct 2014 | Cpl. Seth Starr 1st Marine Division

1st Marine Division Schools recently began the second week of training for Marines attending the pre-scout sniper course aboard Camp Pendleton, California, Oct. 27, 2014.

Hand selected from their units, Marines from 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment and 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, all spent countless hours during the pre-scout sniper course learning to apply their weapon systems and the skills needed to graduate and move on to the famed scout sniper course.

Corporal Adam Gines, a rifleman with 3/1, gave some insight into the course from a student’s perspective.

“It’s really about the small things that make this course difficult, like learning not to leave a piece of gear or any physical indicators that would possibly reveal our position,” said Gines. 

Gines added that course instructors teach and expect students to do everything a scout sniper would do on a real-world mission.

During the first two weeks of training students are taught fundamentals of shooting precision weapon systems, day and night advanced land navigation, and the basics of field stalking. A division schools instructor said that the course was highly competitive and dependent on a student’s ability to perform skillfully from day to day.

Every phase of training simulates real-world scenarios and tactics. 

Students ran to and from every yard line with more than 100 pounds of gear after engaging targets to practice displacing their position, breaking any pattern they may inadvertently reveal to the enemy.

“This course greatly enhances our shooting skills but more so prepares us for the responsibility and capability of a scout sniper,” said Cpl. William Ross, an anti-tank missile man with 1/7. “The reason I wanted to be a part of the scout community is the Marines on the inside. They’re all highly motivated, on point and ready to do their job no matter what it may call for.”

Despite the physical and mental rigors of the course, the students looked to their instructors for the tools they required to succeed.
“The instructors are incredibly knowledgeable and experienced,” said Gines “To be honest, it’s about how much you put into this course. I’m only going to benefit from all this if I put in 100 percent.”

Students from 3/1 and 1/7 will continue to work toward their goal of graduating scout sniper school which is slated to begin in the spring of 2015, ultimately helping to ensure the 1st Marine Division, I MEF, and the U.S. Marine Corps remain America’s expeditionary force in readiness.

1st Marine Division