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CJTF-HOA Small Craft Det. aims in on marksmanship

By Cpl. Paula M. Fitzgerald | | April 3, 2003

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Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa Small Craft Detachment recently performed a variety of weapons handling drills designed to improve their marksmanship skills.

Sgt. Kris Floyd, chief coxswain, said, "Marksmanship is a diminishing skill. If we don't practice, we'll lose the ability to shoot accurately."

Throughout the two-day evolution, the Marines fired M-4 nearly 5,000 rounds down range, obliterating the paper targets located at the impact point, according to Cpl. Patrick A. Barrett, coxswain.

The detachment left Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., in November with the task force, whose mission is to detect, disrupt and defeat terrorism in the Horn of Africa region.

Beginning the day, the group warmed up with M9 pistols at the seven-yard line and progressively transitioned to the 15-yard line, where they also fired their M-4 carbine weapon systems.

"One of the main reasons I'm glad we got to do this range was because we were able to test our new (M-4) rifles," stated Floyd, who hails from Petaluma, Calif.

While aboard USS Mount Whitney, the CJTF-HOA command element's flagship, the detachment was issued M-4s to replace their M-16A2 service rifles.

Floyd, explained, "This was the first time we fired the new rifles, which are really good for us because they are less bulky and cumbersome than an M-16. They're easier to fit in our boats."

Providing communication assets from the range back to the force at Camp Lemonier was Lance Cpl. Nick A. Crosby, CJTF-HOA field radio operator. Also, accompanying the group was Petty Officer 1st Class Steven J. Huisman, hospital corpsman.

After the second day of training drew to a close, Floyd said, "The whole evolution went really well, and we had fun, too. I think we all learned something new."
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