STONE BAY, N.C. -- Every Marine is expected to be proficient with the M-16A2 service rifle, and one of the most important people responsible for honing a Marine’s skill is the primary marksmanship instructor.
The PMIs at Weapons Training Battalion here spend their time working to make sure every Marine is a rifleman, according to Sgt. Eric A. Aguilar, a PMI with the battalion. They teach Marines the fundamentals of marksmanship along with weapon safety and weapon handling through annual training before a Marine qualify with his rifle.
The instructors work with all the shooters, making sure they are practicing the basics of marksmanship and improving their skills with the rifle, according to Sgt. Matthew D. Marotta, a PMI with the battalion.
“In a wartime scenario it doesn’t matter what your job is,” Marotta said. “You should be able to accurately put rounds on target.”
The instructors also teach the Coaches Coarse, the Marksmanship Instructor Course, run the indoor simulator marksmanship trainer and maintain the ranges. The instructors train the coaches on the range in safety and marksmanship to help Marines who are qualifying with the rifle and pistol. The instructors also maintain the ranges by fixing the targets, mowing the grass and fixing the target carriages.
To become a PMI, Marines go through two courses of instruction. The first course is the coach’s course where they receive classes on the M16A2 service rifle and M9 pistol. Additionally, they receive classes on weapons handling, preventive maintenance and firing the weapons, according to Aguilar. A Marine’s next step to becoming a PMI, before being recommended for the Marksmanship Instructor Course is to act as a coach on the rifle or pistol range. The Marines then learn to run the ranges during firing and how to give classes.
During the Marksmanship Instructor Course, the Marines are taught the procedures for giving a class, according to Aguilar. They must give classes to their instructors and then are rated on their teaching abilities.
These classes make the PMI’s duty experts on the known distance range, according to Sgt. Raymond T. Rust, a PMI with the battalion.
“I became a PMI to help train Marines that are in the midst of deploying to ensure that they are ready for combat,” said Sgt. Daniel A. Davis, a PMI with the battalion.
The most fulfilling part of the job is watching a Marines confidence grow on the range, according to Davis. It’s a great feeling knowing that Marines are now better marksman.
The PMIs continue to provide effective training to Marines to help them become proficient rifleman and play and important role in the Marine Corps, according Marotta.