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Twentynine Palms

Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center

Twentynine Palms, California
Marines awarded after rifle, pistol competition

By Lance Cpl. Monica C. Erickson | | October 26, 2007

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 The annual 2007 Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command Intramural Rifle and Pistol Matches ended with an award ceremony Oct. 26 at the marksmanship training unit headquarters building for the 21 Marines and eight civilians competing in the matches.

 Col. Robert Abblitt, Combat Center chief of staff, was the guest speaker and presented the winning Marines their medals and trophies.

 For the competition, the Marines represented their units from Headquarters Battalion, Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School and Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 1.

 The civilians, who only competed in the pistol team matches, represented the range management and control division at the Combat Center.

 “Each competitor fired over 600 rounds of 5.56 mm ammunition and over 400 rounds of 9 mm ammunition over the duration of the matches,” said Clint Bickle, the match executive officer. “That was accomplished spending over 60 solid hours on the firing line of the rifle or pistol ranges.”

 Competitors were also afforded the opportunity to fulfill their annual re-qualification requirement for both the service rifle and pistol.

 The Intramurals culminated with six matches for record.

 The competitors started with the individual rifle and pistol matches the first two

 days. After two days only first, second and third place winners were recognized.

 The third match for record was the grand aggregate. All four days of rifle and pistol scores were added together per competitor with first, second and third place recognized.

 The rifle team match consisted of four competitors from the same unit. Scores within the team are added together with a maximum score of 1,000. Only the first place team was recognized.

 The pistol team match was scored the same as the rifle team match with a maximum score of 1,600.

 The last match for the competition was the combat infantry trophy team match. Each team consisted of three competitors from the same unit engaging four targets. There were 192 rounds distributed per team. The teams fired from the 500, 300, 200 and 100-yard line with a sense of urgency. Only first place was recognized.

 “I am confident all Marines who participated in these matches have a much stronger grasp of the fundamentals of rifle and pistol marksmanship,” said Bickle. “It is the foundations of these matches, sending back a better product than what we received therefore, spreading the knowledge and skills to your unit which subsequently can only enhance results during combat shooting tables.”

 According to Capt. Kenneth Walden, VMU-1’s logistics officer, the competition is a great way for units to become closer and teach junior Marines rifle marksmanship.

 “I don’t keep track of how I am doing,” said Walden. “My goal was to push my team to shoot better.”

 Walden scored first place for the individual pistol match and first place for grand

 aggregate.

 “I think the competition is a good idea because it builds a base of training for the units,” said Walden.

 MCCES walked away with the most team awards, winning first place for individual rifle, rifle team match, infantry trophy team match and pistol team match.

 “To drive home the importance of precision shooting, I tell you this: The base intramural program basically involves precision sports,” said Bickle. “Whether it is golf, basketball, bowling or shooting, it is a precision sport. It obviously is difficult to shoot a little 5.56 mm bullet 500 yards and hit the center of a small target frame. So, we need to ask ourselves, has an enemy combatant ever been killed by a basketball or golf ball….probably not. But an enemy combatant has been killed by a well trained Marine shooting a precision shot.”


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