CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Staff Sgt. Daniel Ramos and Sgt. Emmanuel Velayo teach prospective Scout Snipers about the art of war: Sniping, stalking, land navigation and observation are their crafts.
Ramos and Velayo are instructors with the Scout Sniper Course, Advanced Infantry Battalion, School of Infantry West, and each training evolution is a chance for them to become better snipers.
“We have to uphold the high standard of Marine Corps marksmanship for our students,” said Ramos. “As instructors, we also need to stay proficient for them.”
Both Marines got a chance to refresh their own skills and learn new techniques when they took second place in the 24th Armed Forces Skill at Arms Meeting Sniper Championship hosted by the National Guard Marksmanship Training Center at Fort Chaffee, Ark.
“At the end of the day it was like another training evolution,” said Ramos. “I learned a lot. We learned a lot by competing against other services and saw the different techniques that the Army utilizes in their sniper program.”
“Those are some things we could take back and apply to our programs for our students,” added Ramos.
They competed against teams from the National Guard, Marine Corps, Air Force and other foreign allied militaries. The competition offered service members the opportunity to test their skills and practice their proficiency on a variety of weapons systems and field techniques.
Ramos and Velayo also received first place for the AFSAM Fieldcraft Award, which tested skills such as stalking, land navigation and observation.
“It was challenging at points, but definitely one of those things that we train here for and do all the time,” said Velayo. “It wasn’t exactly a walk in the park, but it was something we were prepared for.”
Despite being instructors, both Marines are still constantly learning.
For Velayo, it was first time both competing in the event, and in using the .300 Winchester Magnum and the Army’s XM2010 enhanced sniper rifle.
“It was definitely a crash, burn and learn session for a couple days,” said Velayo. “But I was able to learn differences in handling in handling those weapons, which helped me become a better marksman.”
Ramos ranked as the second overall highest shooter in the competition. It was his second year competing. In 2014, Ramos teamed up with Sgt. Shaun Garvey to take first place.
“Our success is due to the unique position we’re in,” said Ramos. “We maintain that Marine Corps Scout Sniper standard that allows us to go and compete and be successful."