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Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

Diverse learning at Division Matches

By Lance Cpl. Sarah Wolff-Diaz | Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton | March 08, 2013

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Cpl. Raquel Martinez fires an M16 A4 service rifle during the Western Division Matches at Wilcox Range here March 6. 

"I won first place for individual rifle," said Martinez, a range coach for Edson Range with Marine Corps Recruit Depot.

Cpl. Raquel Martinez fires an M16 A4 service rifle during the Western Division Matches at Wilcox Range here March 6. "I won first place for individual rifle," said Martinez, a range coach for Edson Range with Marine Corps Recruit Depot. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Sarah Wolff-Diaz)


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Sgt. Ronald Castillo, right, records shot impact areas for Gunnery Sgt. Erick Lee, during the Western Division Matches held at Wilcox Range here March 6. 

Castillo is a legal clerk with Marine Wing Support Squadron 373, Miramar, and Lee is a fuels chief with the same unit. The Marines are two of 328 shooters that make up the 63 teams in this year’s competition.

Sgt. Ronald Castillo, right, records shot impact areas for Gunnery Sgt. Erick Lee, during the Western Division Matches held at Wilcox Range here March 6. Castillo is a legal clerk with Marine Wing Support Squadron 373, Miramar, and Lee is a fuels chief with the same unit. The Marines are two of 328 shooters that make up the 63 teams in this year’s competition. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Sarah Wolff-Diaz)


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Staff Sgt. Peter Anderson fires an M-4 service rifle during the Western Division Matches held at Wilcox Range here March 6. 

"The Marine Corps Shooting Team has been very helpful in adjusting my standing firing position," said Anderson, the substance abuse control officer of 1st Radio Battalion here. “This is my second year competing in the Division Matches.”

Staff Sgt. Peter Anderson fires an M-4 service rifle during the Western Division Matches held at Wilcox Range here March 6. "The Marine Corps Shooting Team has been very helpful in adjusting my standing firing position," said Anderson, the substance abuse control officer of 1st Radio Battalion here. “This is my second year competing in the Division Matches.” (Photo by Lance Cpl. Sarah Wolff-Diaz)


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Marines fire their match rifles from the prone firing position while their teammates record the shot points on targets down-range during the Western Division Matches held at Wilcox Range here March 6.

Marines fire their match rifles from the prone firing position while their teammates record the shot points on targets down-range during the Western Division Matches held at Wilcox Range here March 6. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Sarah Wolff-Diaz)


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Sgt. Shayne Whitaker, left, reviews shot points for his teammate Cpl. Raquel Martinez while she waits on the firing line to continue shooting during the Western Division Matches held at Wilcox Range here March 6. 

Whitaker is a block noncommissioned officer for Edson Range with Marine Corps Recruit Depot and Martinez is a range coach with MCRD.

Sgt. Shayne Whitaker, left, reviews shot points for his teammate Cpl. Raquel Martinez while she waits on the firing line to continue shooting during the Western Division Matches held at Wilcox Range here March 6. Whitaker is a block noncommissioned officer for Edson Range with Marine Corps Recruit Depot and Martinez is a range coach with MCRD. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Sarah Wolff-Diaz)


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CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- Sixty-three shooting teams competed in the 2013 Western Division Matches at Wilcox Range here from Feb. 25 to March 8.

More than 300 shooters from west of the Mississippi participated in rifle and pistol shooting matches with distances that varied from 200 to 600 yards.

“There are four division matches every year,” said Capt. Nick Roberge, the officer in charge of Marine Corps Shooting Teams with weapons training battalion, Quantico, Virginia. “Okinawa is the first stop, and then Hawaii, Camp Pendleton and the championships are held at Camp Lejeune.”

Division Matches are more than a competition, they also serve as a way for participating Marines to fulfill their annual rifle qualification requirements.

“We’re here to share techniques and tricks of the trade,” said Roberge. “We go over a lot of fundamentals that shooters may have forgotten and try to break bad habits that they may have developed.”

Shooters must make every shot count throughout the competition; because the top 10 percent continue on to compete in the Marine Corps Championships.

“With almost 400 competitors you could be in 38th place and think you’re out of (the competition) but you’re actually still in,” said Roberge.

The shooters competed with M4 service rifles, equipped with rifle combat optics, and M9 service pistols.

“The Marines give up two weeks to improve their marksmanship here at the matches,” Chief Warrant Officer 4 Cecil Beltran, the marksmanship training branch officer in charge here. “The intent is to have them pass what they’ve learned here on to their fellow Marines.”

The all Marine Corps Shooting Team attends all Division Matches to scout for potential shooting team members.

“(The shooting team) looks for the best shooters, but also weigh in emotional maturity, consistency and ability to be coached,” said Beltran.

The Marine Corps shooting team also takes the time to coach shooters during matches, which serves as an opportunity to judge their receptiveness to instruction.

“The shooting team treats everyday like a class,” said Beltran. “When shooters aren’t firing they pull them to the side to give pointers on improving their marksmanship.”

Participants often leave with improved shooting techniques and those who win leave with a little more.

“We’ve seen general improvement for shooters across the board,” said Beltran. “By the end of this a few Marines will receive bragging rights and badges they can where in uniform.”
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1 Comments


  • Nikita 1 years 195 days ago
    Distance adjustments of the visor to the target in sight would be my problem. I don't have any trouble shooting straight and consistent if my visor is correctly tuned as to the right distance of my target when zeroing in. I've got the skills...but my techniques are lacking. Would love to practice them for real with real guns & rifles and live bullets. I have only some 5 times of real experience with the real thing. And the results for a beginner weren't that bad. I proved my marksman skills, not by lucky shots but by plain skill and aptitude. Shame I don't have the opportunity to train my shooting skills. I would prove to be worthy...

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