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Marksmanship course breeds better shooters

17 Mar 2009 | Lance Cpl. Jeremy Fasci


Twenty-five Marines are learning to become range coaches for their units with the help of the Formal Marksmanship Training Coaches Course here.

Range coaches are taught the skills needed to help each individual Marine become a better marksman.

According to Sgt. Eric B. Gorder, an instructor for FMTCC, there is not anyone in the unit who can give better knowledge than a range coach because they have been shown how to teach marksmanship.

"Range coaches are considered the gurus of marksmanship within the Marine Corps," said Gorder, 30, from St. Cloud, Minn.

Every military occupational specialty can participate in the course because the need for marksmanship is so important.

"All Marines are rifleman first, so that is why it would be important for every Marine to have this type of training," added Gorder.

The FMTCC is a four-week long course designed to familiarize future range coaches with different marksmanship exercises and techniques.

The instruction covers basic marksmanship skills, combat shooting skills and firing at targets from unknown distances.

"This course gives Marines the knowledge needed to instruct other Marines in their unit on the basics needed to become better marksman," said Gorder.

Upon completion of the course, Marines receive a secondary MOS as a range coach, and the Marines will be able to help prepare their unit for any future deployment.

"Being a coach allows me to give Marines in my unit instruction on the necessary marksmanship skills," said Lance Cpl. Shawn D. Bybee, 22, a student in the course with the 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion from Jerome, Idaho."It also helps Marines become better marksmen because they are being taught by someone from their unit who can tailor the curriculum to each Marine."

In addition to learning skills that will help Marines on the rifle range,

combat operation skills are also taught that will help Marines in any combat environment.

"As a shooter, Marines have to be able to decide which target will be the biggest threat, keeping in mind the terrain, distance and weapon that is being used by the enemy," said Gorder.

According to Cpl. Carmelo DiPasquale, a student in the course and rifleman with the Advisors Training Group, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, knowing what you have and how to use it makes accomplishing the mission much easier and safer.

"Understanding the weapon systems that Marines use in combat engagements better allows Marines to accomplish their mission," said DiPasquale, 25, from South Hackensack, N.J.

Another goal of the course is to teach Marines how to engage and neutralize the enemy with the least amount of ammunition used as possible.

"This training will help all Marines in close-quarter engagements of any kind," said Gorder.