Photo Information

An instructor takes aim with his M9 Beretta Service Pistol to fire at multiple targets during a timed shoot. Marine Special Operations Advisor Group Standards and Training instructors conducted combat marksmanship training here, Sept. 3-7. The goal of the exercise was to hone their skills and make them more well-rounded instructors of MSOAG?s six-month student pipeline.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Josephh Stahlman

MSOAG instructors train to train

6 Sep 2007 | Lance Cpl. Josephh Stahlman

Even experts need practice, so Marine Special Operation Advisor Group’s Standards and Training section instructors conducted combat marksmanship training here, Sept. 3-7.

U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command relies on instructors with MSOAG’s S&T section to mold its six-month training pipeline to best prepare Marines and Sailors to conduct special operations missions.

According to Sgt. Brandon J. Billiot, the noncommisioned officer in charge of counter-terrorist skills for S&T, the goal of the combat marksmanship exercise was to hone the instructors’ skills and make them more well-rounded instructors.

“We have 11 instructors out here with various skill sets. Even though we are instructors we still need to perfect are skills,” explained Billiot, who has instructed pipeline students for more than a year. “During this training we fire M4 Carbines and M9 Beretta Service Pistols.”

The M4 Carbine is a gas-operated, air-cooled, magazine-fed selective fire weapon with a four-position telescoping stock.

The M9 Beretta Service Pistol is a locked breech, semi-automatic, single-action/double-action recoil-operated pistol with a 15-round staggered magazine that is effective up to 50 meters.

Both weapons are often used in close-quarters battle and practice with them strengthens the instructors’ urban combat skills.

“The more you shoot with a weapon, the better you get with it,” explained Billiot, a native of Homer, La.

Throughout the exercise, the instructors fired on targets as small as three-inches from up to 50 feet away. They fired day and night throughout the five-day exercise.

The Marines practiced shooting around cover - and sometimes through it - to hit their targets.

They also conducted speed drills to hit multiple targets in a limited time.

These heightened skills will be used to teach pipeline students different techniques for close-quarters battle.

The S&T instructors recently finished teaching a 12-day light-infantry tactics training package and used a break before the next pipeline course to sharpen their own skills.

“Because we are so busy training the pipeline students, this break gives us a little time to train ourselves,” explained Billiot. “MSOAG instructors need to be top-notch to train Marines and Sailors who will be training foreign nations when deployed.”

With this training and other training like it the instructors of MSOAG’s S&T section will have more knowledge and be better prepared to teach the Marines and Sailors of MSOAG to succeed when deployed for special operations missions.

Active duty Marines and sailors interested in joining MARSOC can contact the Marine Special Operations School at (910) 450-2720/2721 (DSN 750-2720/2721) or visit us online at

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