MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C.-- -- Every recruit becomes a rifleman when they become a Marine. The title remains throughout a career, along with the skill of marksmanship.
Most Marines are required to re-qualify on the M-16A2 service rifle each year. For Marines with military occupational specialties that orient around the rifle, annual re-qualification is another day in the office. However, for war fighters whose “daily” weapons are items like pens, computers and radios, qualifying on the range may take some extra preparation.
“The fundamentals of marksmanship, breath and trigger control, sight alignment and sight picture, can slip away,” said Lance Cpl. Michael Fowler, of the 8th Communications Battalion Communications Service Company. Fowler spends more time behind communication equipment than behind a rifle, and is re-visiting the range for the first time since boot camp.
“Yesterday, I wasn’t hitting anything, but today I’m walking to the 300 yard line with a lot more points,” said the 21-year-old Marine.
His rifle coach, Lance Cpl. Frederick Tschirgi, guided the difference in Fowler’s performance. Tschirgi, a signals intelligence analyst, has taken on the additional billet of pistol and rifle coach, a critical billet that serves as guardian to the Marines’ reputation as accomplished shooters.
These photos are examples of annual rifle qualification and the mentor process that occurs between shooter and coach.