MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Marines with Sniper Platoon, Weapons Company, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, took aim down range during a weapons zeroing exercise at Range G21, Camp Lejeune, N.C., Sept. 3, 2015.
The execution of the range held two purposes: To familiarize the Marines with the sniper rifles that boast a different capability than their standard M4 service rifles, to include the M40 bolt-action sniper rifle and M110 semi-automatic sniper-rifle, and to serve as preparation for the unit’s upcoming attachment and deployment with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit. Marines with Golf, Echo and Fox Companies were also present to zero their own weapon systems.
“We’ve done a lot of training leading up to this deployment,” said 1st Lt. Thomas Hoover, the sniper platoon commander. “From reconnaissance type training to support the MEU in a reconnaissance role, to supporting the battalion at [Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center Bridgeport], this training right now is just to confirm the weapon systems and the accuracy so that we are ready to go come deployment time.”
According to Hoover, the M40 bolt-action sniper rifles’ maximum effective range of 1,000 yards and the M110 semi-automatic sniper rifles’ maximum effective range of 850 yards make them and the Marines behind the trigger a very valuable asset to the MEU.
“My personal goal for this training is to get the Marines familiar with their weapon systems,” Hoover said. “[I want them ready] to accurately engage at the maximum effective range with their weapon systems to give the MEU as much capability as possible.”
Shooters and spotters worked together to achieve precision accuracy on their targets. If a shooter missed, his spotter would make adjustment calls immediately to make for a better shot the next time. Marines served in both roles to become seasoned in each. In addition, Marines attached suppressors on their rifles to become comfortable in utilizing them if need be.
“We’re really getting their familiarization and honing in on the fundamentals of marksmanship,” said Sgt. Andrew Collins, the platoon’s chief scout sniper. “Everything that they do here, they will do [overseas] the same way.”
The completion of the range left the Marines one step closer to being in peak operational condition for the deployment ahead.
“Just like everything that you ever do, brilliance in the basics will take you a long way,” Collins said. “It plays in to how effective you will be as a sniper platoon [overseas].”