San Diego, Calif. --
As recruits load their simulated M16-A4 service rifle, a Primary Marksmanship Instructor tells them to shoot when their target appears.
Company M practiced basic marksmanship skills in the Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainer May 15 aboard Edson Range, Weapons and Field Training Battalion, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif.
During week five of recruit training, Marine Corps marksmanship is taught to the recruits. They learn the different positions they will shoot in, arm placements and various knowledge that will help them when they shoot for score next week.
“What I’ve gained so far this week is how to hold the weapon correctly and the natural point of aim,” said Recruit Micheal Mitchell, Platoon 3269, Co. M, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion.
For recruits like Mitchell, the PMI’s and drill instructors help correct any bad habits the recruits might have from shooting before of the Marine Corps. Recruits’ trying to apply their old bad habits is one of the biggest obstacles PMI’s have to overcome.
“I believe I had a lot of bad habits,” said Mitchell, “But with the PMI’s help I think I’ll do well next week when we shoot.”
The recruits also get a chance to practice shooting in the ISMT. This helps them see how they will shoot when it comes time next week. The ISMT also give the PMI’s a chance to correct anything wrong they see the recruits doing prior to them shooting a live weapon.
“We want them to truly understand what they’re doing,” said Sgt. Nick Balthazor, Chief PMI, Edson Range, WFTBn., MCB Camp Pendleton.
While drill instructors are with their recruits for three months, PMI’s only have a week prior to shooting to build rapport with the recruits. To ensure recruits are focused and learning the Marine Corps standards of shooting, the drill instructors aren’t present during the classes.
“We make sure to go back over the knowledge they learn about marksmanship later when we get back to the squad bays,” said Sgt. Micheal Sedlak, Plt. 3269, Co. M, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion. “The recruits are able to practice positions with us and ask any questions that they don’t understand.”
After the week is complete, Co M recruits should have a good understanding of Marine Corps Marksmanship. They should also feel comfortable enough to shoot the weapon the correct way. The PMI’s they worked with all week follows them over to the range during week six.
“It puts a lot of confidence in them to see that I’m still there and I can answer any questions they might have,” said Cpl. Cory Winslow, PMI, Edson Range, WFTBn., MCB Camp Pendleton.
Recruits have four days to practice shooting down range during firing week. On Friday, they shoot for score. This score will carry over with them into the Marine Corps. Every Marine is a rifleman and the fundamentals start at recruit training for Marines.