Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif. -- Combat Center units gathered their best shooters to compete in the Annual Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command Intramural Rifle and Pistol Matches from Oct. 17 to 28.
The matches are held to acquire the rifle and pistol teams that will represent the base at the Western Division Matches in March 2006, said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Clint J. Bickle, range officer, Marksmanship Training Unit.
There were five teams competing in this year’s matches: two from the Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School, two from Headquarters Battalion, and one from 1st Tank Battalion.
Each team had a minimum of four firing members, a team captain and a team coach. Each team was required to have one firing officer and one sergeant or below. Marines not selected as part of a competing team were encouraged to participate in the individual matches and were eligible for individual awards. Units sending Marines to compete in the individual matches were Headquarters Battalion, Marine Wing Support Squadron 374 and 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment.
The official weapons for the Intramural Rifle and Pistol Matches were the standard M16A4 service rifle, or the M4 carbine, and the M9 pistol.
The first week the teams practiced and strategized for the following week, said Bickle.
There were five trophies awarded to the winners of each event and a trophy given to the Grand Aggregate Winner, the shooter with the highest rifle and pistol score combined.
For the Individual and Team Rifle Matches, there were five stages to the course.
• In the first stage, shooters had 20 minutes to fire 15 rounds from 200 yards in sitting, kneeling and standing positions.
• The second stage was also from 200 yards, but shooters were given 60 seconds to fire 10 rounds while moving from the standing position to the sitting position.
• The third stage of fire was from 300 yards, with five minutes to shoot five rounds in the sitting position.
• In the fourth stage, shooters had 60 seconds to shoot 10 rounds from 300 yards while moving from the standing position to the prone position.
• The fifth and final stage of the course was from 500 yards, shooting 10 rounds in 10 minutes in the prone position.
For the individual and team pistol matches, there were three stages to this event. All stages were from 25 yards, one-handed but at different paces:
• In the first stage shooters had 10 minutes to shoot 10 rounds.
• In the second stage, shooters had 20 seconds to shoot five rounds, conducted twice.
• In the last stage, shooters had 10 seconds to shoot five rounds, conducted twice.
For the individual rifle and pistol matches, scores were combined from Match Day 1 and Match Day 2 to determine the winners of each event. The individual rifle scores from Match Day 2 were recorded for the Marines’ annual requirement.
For the Combat Infantry Trophy Team Match, the team of three competitors, received 192 rounds to split between four targets starting at 500 yards, then to 300, then to 200 and lastly, to 100 yards.
Each yard line had different point values. Shooters had 50 seconds at each target in various positions. At the 500-yard line, the shooters were in the prone position. At the 300, the shooters moved into the sitting position. At the 200, shooters were in the kneeling position. And at the 100-yard line, shooters were in the standing position.
Oct. 24 was the first official day of the match. Throughout the week, competitor’s fired their best shots to determine the overall best shooters.
Combat Center Deputy Commanding General Brig. Gen. Douglas M. Stone presented the trophies and medals to the winners Oct. 28.
A perpetual Rifle Team Trophy was presented to MCCES Scarlet with Capt. Lawrence Green as the team captain and firing member, Lance Cpl. Jonathan Hoth as the team coach, and Gunnery Sgt. Tracy D. Coyle, Gunnery Sgt. Russell Normandin and Cpl. Cliff W. Koziel as firing members. The team also took home the perpetual Pistol Team Trophy with Coyle as the team captain and firing member, Hoth as the team coach, and Green, Normandin and Koziel as firing members.
A perpetual Combat Infantry Trophy was presented to 1st Tanks, with Chief Warrant Officer 2 David Lewis as the team captain and firing member, Sgt. Kent Medlin as the team coach and Cpl. Zachary Benes and Cpl. Mitchell D. Davis as firing members.
Medals were given to each member of the teams. The units will retain the trophies until next year’s competition.
Lewis took home three individual trophies, winning first place in the Individual Rifle and Individual Pistol Matches, and was this year’s Grand Aggregate winner. Medals were given to the second and third place winners.
“This was a good chance to help each other in individual weaknesses and strengths, and to pull together as a team,” said Davis. “These are vital skills we should be attaining as Marines: combat skills and teamwork.”
Davis was the second place winner in the Individual Rifle Match, Individual Pistol Match and Grand Aggregate. He was also part of the team that took home the trophy for the Combat Infantry Trophy Team Match. The matches were a time to build camaraderie in units and work on weapons skills, he said.
In addition to the Intramurals, MTU ran a concurrent Marksmanship Coaches Course, graduating 39 students with the military occupational specialty of Range Coach. The graduation was held immediately following the trophy presentations, along with a barbecue for all attending.