MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, NC -- Scout Snipers with the 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade's Anti-Terrorism Battalion (AT Bn.) are conducting an eight-day course to better hone their war fighting skills in an urban environment.
"The regular scout sniper course is based on green side, jungle settings, long range shots and reconnaissance. The urban course is learning how to shoot from different positions and places in an urban environment," said Sgt. Josh Lyons, AT Bn. chief scout sniper.
The eight-day course that the Marines must complete encompasses a wide variety of shooting techniques and settings. "The purpose of the course is to enhance the capabilities they already have, specializing in the urban area," said GySgt. Keller R. Stewart, Special Operations Training Group (SOTG) reconnaissance instructor.
"We try to give the Snipers a chance to experience every possible situation we can provide, that way they know how to react if the situation occurs," said Stewart.
The snipers learn how to shoot from the tops of buildings, adjust for angular offset, shoot through glass, rapid bolt manipulation, low light shooting and shooting from airborne platforms.
"Learning how to shoot from the different positions and situations enables the snipers to handle any situation that might occur," said Stewart. "When you shoot from the top of a building, the target appears to be a lot closer than it is. Using angular offset in this situation, the Marines can figure out what adjustments they need to make so they can hit their target."
"In the rapid bolt manipulation, [snipers] can engage multiple targets quickly by moving the bolt to keep rounds in the gun and engage the maximum number of targets in the least amount of time," said Lyons. "Learning how to shoot from airborne platforms is hard because the Marines not only have to know how to rig their weapon, but they also have to know how to control the helicopter by talking to the pilot."
The snipers can be implemented in many ways in a real-world situation. "The main mission of a sniper is to provide information. They report everything they see form the left to the right and give whoever is conducting the mission a grasp of the terrain and environmental and situational awareness," said Stewart.
"They can be used at over watch positions to monitor hostiles inside a building, observes hostages and report back movements until given the word to fire," said Lyons. "The snipers are the forward eyes and ears of the assault force and allow them to go in without having to worry about the enemy."
"The snipers are unique because they have to have a clear understanding of the mission statement, commanders intent and rules of engagement," said Stewart. "They must also have a high level of discipline because they will have to wait in uncomfortable positions for long periods of time. They have to be independent thinkers working toward a common goal."