MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- Five Combat Center Marines returned from the 2005 Western Division Shooting Matches at Camp Pendleton, Calif., with the Holcomb Pistol Team Trophy to present to the commanding general April 8.
“It’s things like this that put Twentynine Palms on the map,” said Brig. Gen. Richard C. Zilmer, Combat Center commanding general, as he accepted the trophy for the Combat Center.
The pistol team took first place with 1,017 points and won the Holcomb trophy. The Combat Center also won the Holcomb trophy in 2001.
The pistol team consists of the team captain Gunnery Sgt. Paul E. Hollar, Marksmanship Training Unit, Capt. Lawrence B. Green and Gunnery Sgt. Tracy D. Coyle from the Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School, Cpl. Bryan H. Maples Marksmanship Training Unit, and the team coach Sgt. Erik M. Batie, Explosive Ordnance Disposal.
The division shooting matches consisted of a month of training, coaching and competition. There are two weeks of practice, one week of coaching and then one week for all of the matches, which consisted of the individual pistol and rifle matches and the team pistol and rifle matches.
In the individual rifle match, Sgt. Brea A. Witt, band member, took fifth place, Hollar took seventh place, and Coyle took 13th place.
In the individual pistol match, Hollar took fourth place and Coyle took eighth place.
The top 10 percent from the individual matches were selected to compete in the Marine Corps Championship at Camp Lejeune, N.C. Witt and Coyle were chosen to go to the championship.
Hollar, who also qualified for the championship, retired at the final ceremony for the division matches. He did not go to the championship.
“Hollar planned everything out so he could train and work with the team,” said Chief Warrant Officer Clint J. Bickle, range officer. “He did a great job.”
During the team matches, coaches are allowed to help the shooters. The weeks of training together brought them closer as a team so they could trust each other and their coach on the day of the match.
“It’s a group effort, big time,” said Bickle.
The members for the shooting team came from the assorted military occupational specialties that work in a base command.
“The thing that’s unique about this shooting team is the diverse MOSes that make up the team, from the band, MTU and electricians from MCCES,” said Bickle. “It’s a collage of Marines that we pulled together. With training, coaching and practicing, they did an awesome job and came out ahead.”