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Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego

Edson Range brings in 2nd female PMI in history

By Cpl. Tyler Viglione | Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego | August 27, 2014

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Sgt. Erin M. Fay, primary marksmanship instructor, Weapons and Field Training Battalion, Edson Range, Camp Pendleton, Calif., teaches a recruit the proper prone position during grass week, Aug. 13. Fay is only the second female to be in the PMI position at Edson Range.

Sgt. Erin M. Fay, primary marksmanship instructor, Weapons and Field Training Battalion, Edson Range, Camp Pendleton, Calif., teaches a recruit the proper prone position during grass week, Aug. 13. Fay is only the second female to be in the PMI position at Edson Range. (Photo by Cpl. Tyler Viglione)


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Sgt. Erin M. Fay, primary marksmanship instructor, Weapons and Field Training Battalion, Edson Range, Camp Pendleton, Calif., teaches a recruit the proper prone position during grass week, Aug. 13. Fay is only the second female to be in the PMI position at Edson Range.

Sgt. Erin M. Fay, primary marksmanship instructor, Weapons and Field Training Battalion, Edson Range, Camp Pendleton, Calif., teaches a recruit the proper prone position during grass week, Aug. 13. Fay is only the second female to be in the PMI position at Edson Range. (Photo by Cpl. Tyler Viglione)


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Sgt. Erin M. Fay, primary marksmanship instructor, Weapons and Field Training Battalion, Edson Range, Camp Pendleton, Calif., teaches a recruit the proper sitting position during grass week, Aug. 13. Fay is only the second female to be in the PMI position at Edson Range.

Sgt. Erin M. Fay, primary marksmanship instructor, Weapons and Field Training Battalion, Edson Range, Camp Pendleton, Calif., teaches a recruit the proper sitting position during grass week, Aug. 13. Fay is only the second female to be in the PMI position at Edson Range. (Photo by Cpl. Tyler Viglione)


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Sgt. Erin M. Fay, primary marksmanship instructor, Weapons and Field Training Battalion, Edson Range, Camp Pendleton, Calif., teaches a recruit the proper prone position during grass week, Aug. 13. Fay is only the second female to be in the PMI position at Edson Range.

Sgt. Erin M. Fay, primary marksmanship instructor, Weapons and Field Training Battalion, Edson Range, Camp Pendleton, Calif., teaches a recruit the proper prone position during grass week, Aug. 13. Fay is only the second female to be in the PMI position at Edson Range. (Photo by Cpl. Tyler Viglione)


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MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif., - Marines are all trained to be riflemen from the beginning of recruit training, and it takes talented instructors to teach rifle fundamentals. One Marine at Edson Range holds the honor of being the second female to hold this important position, in the historically male dominant role.

Sgt. Erin M. Fay, primary marksmanship instructor, Weapons and Field Training Battalion, reserves her place as the second female Marine to become a PMI on the west coast.

Fay attended recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., in October 2007 and then attended Marine Combat Training at Camp Lejeune, N.C. Following MCT, she continued her training for her military occupational specialty as an administration specialist at Camp Johnson, N.C.

Upon graduation, she reported to her first duty station at MCRD Parris Island where she worked for just more than three years at the depot’s Installation Personnel Administration Center.

“In 2010 I was promoted to corporal,” said Fay, a native of Kissimmee, Fla. “I then decided to re-enlist and was transferred to Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 364.”

The squadron is located at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., and she was there for 16 months when she deployed with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit. She spent eight months with the MEU, visiting six different places that included Thailand, Djibouti, Dubai, Hong Kong, Hawaii and Jordan.

After her deployment, Fay received orders to be a range coach at Edson Range at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. Following her time as a coach, Fay was selected to be in the Combat Marksmanship Trainer Course where she graduated as the honor graduate in June 2014.

“During the CMTC, we learned teach backs, which is teaching the class what you are going to teach the recruits, working down range and how to set a range up, working with the coaches course and giving them some of their test and pistol teach backs,” said 25-year old Fay.

Normally after completing the course, Marines move on to be a block non-commissioned officer, which is a Marine in charge of the range coaches. Instead, she was selected to attend to PMI course.

A PMI is s Marine Corps instructor who teaches recruits the basic fundamentals of marksmanship during their rifle training. For one week, recruits are taught the basic functions of the rifle and the techniques it takes to fire it successfully. They learn by attending classes that include proper breathing and weapons safety rules, then putting the information to use in practical application by dry firing or ‘snapping in’. The PMI’s ultimate goal is to ensure recruits qualify the following week when they conduct their live fire qualification.

Fay explained that she would have never thought she would be in the position she is today and enjoys what she is doing, but she is also humble about being only the second female to be in this position.

“Gender does not matter when it comes to a job, as long as you know what to do and you can successfully complete the mission,” said Fay.

After her time is complete as a PMI, Fay hopes to be a recruiter and then would like to return to the administration school as an instructor.



6 Comments


  • Sherrill 15 days ago
    MSgt Anderson is correct on the Edson Range female PMIs. I arrived in '94 in trace of hearing about GySgt Waller and Sgt Creggar. Behind myself was a Sgt Castro, so assuming no others Sgt Fay would be number five. CWO Gasse was the only female RO at Edson since I went east to PISC after selection. Otherwise, I commend Sgt Fay on her recent accomplishments and wish her the best! Good to hear from both Mark and Tony!! Semper Fi!!
  • Msgt Mark Anderson(ret) 29 days ago
    I need to corect myself on one item. CWO Sherill was the second female Range Officer at Edson Range, CWO Gossey was the first. She had Charlie Range in the 94 time frame.
  • Msgt Mark Anderson(ret) 30 days ago
    Semper Fi, Tony! Good to hear from you again. Those were deffinitely the good ol' days. All the officers here say hi!
  • Msgt Mark Anderson(ret) 30 days ago
    The very first female PMI in either of the two depots was SSgt Willamina A. Waller and Sgt Creggar(don't recall first name), both of whom were there when I arrived in Jan of 1992. When WTB PISC found out we had what they thought was ONE female PMI, they very quickly estabished(promoted) the very first female Range officer, CWO Roxanne Conrad, also an Olympian. SSgt Sherill was our third female PMI, 94 time frame, who also became the first female range Officer at Edson Range.
  • SSgt Guthrie 53 days ago
    I personally worked and trained 2 female CMT's while I was at the MTU at WFTBN Parris Island so there is no way she is the second in the Marine Corps history. I was at WFTBN PI from June 2007 till May 2010. Get your history right.
  • Tony Weir 54 days ago
    When I was a PMI at Edson Range, there were two female PMIs working there. One even became a Warrant Officer. Both were great PMIs. So this one would be the third if there were no others.

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