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Sgt. Maj. Karl Villalino, Combat Center Sergeant Major, aims an M14 service rifle down range during the High Desert Regional Shooting Competition at the Combat Center, Nov. 13, 2014. Villalino fired the first shot, signifying the start of the competition. (Official Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Thomas Mudd/Released)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Thomas Mudd

Combat Center shooting team puts rounds down range

15 Nov 2014 | Lance Cpl. Thomas Mudd Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

“I am absolutely honored to take this first shot,” said Villalino. “This is what Marines do.”

The competition is a four-day competition in which service members and civilians compete with rifles and pistols in both team and individual matches.

“This competition has been going on one year longer than the inter-service competition,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Duane Ledford, Combat Center Shooting Team. “The inter-service competition is where all the services come together and compete with the service rifle from 200 to 1,000 yards.”

The event started with the individual 1,000-yard competition. On the second day, participants competed in the team 1,000-yard competition. On the third day, the 200, 300 and 600-yard competitions for both individuals and teams were held.

“The last day is where the shooters work toward their Excellence in Competition, where individuals can earn points toward becoming a distinguished marksman,” Ledford said.

Being a distinguished marksman allows Marines to replace their traditional shooting badges with the distinguished shooter medal. Participants receive points through getting medals in events like the High Desert Regional Shooting Competition.

Staff Sgt. Wayne Gallagher is the head coach of the base shooting team. This year he received four new members.

“Last year, I trained all the older members of the club,” Gallagher said. “This year, I had the guys I trained help train the new members, so they can have the techniques reinforced in them as they teach the skills they learned.”

Gallagher encouraged the team to focus on the team aspect of competitions rather than the individual portion. The difference between the individual and the team matches is during the team matches, the team can coach the person firing and tell him what they believe will get the shooter a better score. In the individual match, the competitor is left alone.

“The team uses the individual competition to prepare themselves for the team matches,” Gallagher said. “They take the individual matches to find what they need to do to improve for the team matches.”

After the four days of shooting, the competition was concluded. For those who are interested in becoming part of the base shooting team, contact the Marksmanship Training Unit at 830-6700.

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms