Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. --
Pointed down range was a Marine’s trusty friend, the M-16A2 service rifle. The pressure was intense and the temperature icy at the fall intramurals shooting event held at Stone Bay range during October.
Approximately 13 units, both from Camp Lejeune and Cherry Point, participated in the three-week event. The intramurals were not only an individual and team competition, but also trained the participants as combat marksmanship instructors.
“The fall intramurals are hosted by the base commanding officer,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 David M. Dutton, chief range officer, Weapons Training Battalion and coordinator of the event. “The event has been in effect for a few decades.”
The participants received four full days of classes, to include 43 sessions and two tests, and then proceeded with individual and team competitions.
“The Marine Corps’ adage, every Marine a rifleman is recognized with this event,” said Dutton. “The Marine Corps is competitive in nature and the ethos of the Marine Corps is combat marksmanship. As a result of this event, the commander will receive a Marine who has a workable skill to be an extremely qualified combat marksmanship coach.”
October 29 marked a day none of the competitors had expected. A team of four, dubbing themselves RSU, or Rapid Shooting Unit, with Deployment Processing Command, Reserve Support Unit, had championed the Commanding General’s Cup, a trophy earned with the highest overall team score, and the overall team pistol trophy.
“It feels real good,” said Matthew W. Bass, one of the winning RSU team members. “I don’t think anyone knew what unit we came from. Other teams all thought we were high speed, low drag, but in actuality we were a bunch of reservists.”
The RSU team consisted of all prior active duty reserve Marines, all of them infantrymen. All members were consecutive experts with the rifle and the pistol, and part of the training shop as training noncommissioned officers. The team was confident they were going to take the trophies home.
“When these guys came to me and told me they were going to take both the cups, I thought, yeah right, but come to find that they actually did take it,” said RSU executive officer Lt. Col. Agileo Juan B. Ylanan. “It turned out that they have competed before. This year’s victory is sweet.”
The team leader was Stanley A. Carver, who has always shot expert except at recruit training and was a Primary Marksmanship Instructor from 2001 to 2004 at Parris Island. This was his third time participating at intramurals and was in division matches twice for the All-Marine Corps Shooting team.
“We had no trigger time before we went,” said Carver. “That’s what got me. I know Marines in other teams that had practice time before they went to this event. I’m proud of these guys. They went out and withstood everybody.”
Other team members included Matthew W. Bass, Nicholas Vasquez and Cpl. David P. Tanko.
“Walking into this competition and the challenge we were going to face, we welcomed it,” said Vasquez. “We knew we were going to win, despite approximately 120 participants and 30 teams. The odds were against us. We only had four people for all the events. The other units had more than enough people to formulate separate rifle and pistol teams, but not us.”
Team RSU all agreed that Carver played a pivotal role in their victory.
“Carver is a one of a kind Marine,” said Bass. “He’s loyal, very proficient at his job, and he’s a great teacher and an instructor.”
The team won as a collective force and proved that a Marine will always be a Marine, whether active or reserve.
“These Marines are all reservists and to have such a seamless transition to active duty is phenomenal,” said Sgt. Maj. Thomas O. Monroe, RSU sergeant major. “Like the commandant said, ‘One team, one fight,’ and it is present with these Marines.”