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Cpl. Grady Harmon, a tank technician with Company C, 1st Tank Battalion, sights in on his target during the most recent Combat Marksmanship Coaches Course here April 27.

Photo by Cpl. Nicole A. LaVine

Marines ‘set sights’ on marksmanship skills

5 May 2009 | Cpl. Nicole A. LaVine

Marines are currently partaking in the most recent Combat Marksmanship Coaches course at the Marksmanship Training Unit rifle range that started April 20 and is scheduled to end May 8.

The students in the course undergo a 14-day training package designed to enhance their knowledge of basic Marine Corps marksmanship.

In the classroom, Marines polished up on topics such as the effects of weather and wind on a shooter, getting into a combat mind set, ballistics and more.

“Coaches help CMTs [Combat Marksmanship Trainers] analyze, critique and evaluate all aspects of marksmanship,” said Sgt. Peter E. Cornelius, the chief instructor of the course.

Cornelius said the course begins with teaching students how to give preparatory training classes. It then escalates to teaching students more details on basic pistol and rifle marksmanship, and then combat rifle marksmanship.

“There is a lot more to critique than what you originally think of when you first get here,” said Cpl. Grady Harmon, a student in the course. “Anyone who hasn’t been to this course can come here and really improve their shooting.”

Staff Sgt. David W. Feltgen, a mess hall liaison from Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center Bridgeport, Calif., was also a first-time student in the course.         Prior to the course, Feltgen said he had not had an opportunity to qualify with a pistol and was glad could now.

“Marksmanship is one of the aspects of the Marine Corps that really stands out as being important,” said the Clearwater, Fla., native. “I want to be the best at it. By becoming a coach, I’ll be more knowledgeable in marksmanship fundamentals.”

After the first week in the course, many students remarked on how they improved in many different marksmanship techniques.

“There is a lot more to your stance than I thought before,” Harmon said. “Generally, there is just a lot more to learn than you would think.”

Feltgen said he agreed, and added that skilled marksmanship truly is the hallmark of the Marine Corps.

 “Every Marine is a rifleman first,” he said. “We need to always be combat ready and fully understand combat marksmanship.”

After completion of the CMC course, Marines will be eligible to enroll in the CMT course and become a trainer, Cornelius said. Any Marine with a qualifying rifle score and command authorization may attend the CMC course.

Students expect to finish their basic rifle marksmanship this week and then progress to combat marksmanship relays before graduation May 8. The next CMC course is scheduled to take place in June.

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