The Marine Corps Combat Shooting Team hosted its first ever shooting championship at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, May 24-26, 2016.
“The Marine Corps started to realize the potential need for this and how much it could benefit the Marine Corps,” said Gunnery Sgt. Nathan C. Stocking, the Officer in Charge of the Combat Shooting Team.
Division matches were held across the Marine Corps and only the top 10 percent of participants were sent to the combat shooting championships. Marines from duty stations as far out as Okinawa, Japan were represented at the championships.
The courses are designed to mimic the various elements of combat.
Shooters were required to carry ammo cans, drag dummies simulating casualties and maneuver through “trenches” to challenged their skills.
Most of the courses required the shooters to utilize the service rifle, pistol and shotgun during a single course of fire. The events the shooters participated in tested their abilities to quickly and accurately engage targets in a combat like setting.
The competitors shot unsupported targets up to 500 yards and beyond, and under a strict time limit.
“We just try to make it more combat related to hone their skills,” said Stocking.
Another course of fire included a World War II themed event using period pieces.
Shooters were dressed in uniform items that were used by Marine Corps Raiders of World War II. The competitors utilized the M1 Garand and a Colt 45 to simulate what types of conditions Marines, from the conflict, fought in. To make the experience more realistic, the shooters used ammunition manufactured in 1942.
Some of the competitors found the program to be a benefit to their skills, according to Cpl. Alexander Parrish, a field wireman with 1st Marine Wing Communication Squad 18 at Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan, “They’re really smart and experienced and they are always willing to help.”
The championships ended with an award ceremony May 27, 2016. The top five competitors will be added to the summer augmentation and will travel with the team to compete against professional shooters from all over the world.