CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- Shooting from sunrise and through the night, scout snipers with 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, and 1st Reconnaissance Bn. shot alongside New Zealand and Canadian Army snipers at Range 108 here during Dawn Blitz 2013, June 12.
Dawn Blitz is a scenario-driven exercise designed to test Navy and Marine Corps forces at the Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) and Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) level, while promoting military-to-military cooperation and interoperability with partnered nations.
Throughout the day of shooting, the snipers engaged known distance, unknown distance, and one-shot-one-kill targets up to 1,200 meters away.
“It’s a great opportunity to shoot with the Canadians and New Zealander’s because it builds proficiency for everyone,” said Staff Sgt. Edward Bruegman, an assistant platoon sergeant serving with 1st Recon Bn. and a native of Denver, Colo. “It makes all of us better marksmen by sharing the tips and tricks each of us have learned over the years.”
Shooting side-by-side, the snipers were able to familiarize themselves with each other’s different weapon systems and tactics.
“It’s a lot different than just coming out to a range to shoot on our own,” said Cpl. Charlie Wikman, a point man serving with scout sniper platoon, 1st Bn., 1st Marines. “It’s interesting to be able to see their capabilities and the way they train. They use a lot of the same equipment as us so it is easy to communicate differences between shooting styles and things like that.
“Our scout sniper schools are a lot different, so being able to compare their type of shooting qualifications as well as stalking and other field craft techniques is a big benefit for us. Sometimes we can develop tunnel vision because we only focus on one or two aspects that only apply to us here in the United States, so shooting with them and seeing the way they perform their duties is a huge eye opener,” added Wikman, a native of Edina, Minn.
Through shooting hundreds of rounds and learning about each other’s weapon systems and techniques, the shooters built camaraderie and respect with one another.
“It is great being able to learn from each other and to build strong relationships,” said Hamilton, a native of Lorena, Texas. “Building camaraderie between each other makes the experience and the knowledge that we gain out of it that much more long-lasting and impactful.”
For the final live-phase of Dawn Blitz 2013, 1st Recon Bn. and 1st Bn., 1st Marines, are slated to continue training alongside other New Zealand and Canadian Army forces during land navigation, live fire ranges, military operations in urban terrain and the infantry immersion trainer.