MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Every time someone picks up a firearm, it is more than a generic plastic-and-steel manufactured tool to be knocked about like an old hammer. In their hands they carry a near-millennia of refined art, and it is those who respect their firearms that excel in marksmanship.
These skills will be put to the test during the greatest Marine Corps shooting events of the year: the Competition-In-Arms shooting matches, hosted by Weapons Training Battalion, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, this upcoming February through April.
“It’s competition against the other teams, but at the same time it’s improvement of your own skills,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Wesley A. Turner, infantry weapons officer with WTBN. “You don’t enter these sorts of competitions just to shoot; it’s for those determined to improve in friendly competition.”
So far, there are 12 teams registered for the competition, among them are 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, Marine Corps Combat Service Support Schools and 2nd Maintenance Battalion.
“So far we have 10 members on the team, but more keep signing up every day,” said Gunnery Sgt. Michael Greenfield, maintenance chief with 2nd Maintenance Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 25, 2nd Marine Logistics Group. “The participation is growing every day with more and more Marines becoming interested in competing.”
For dedicated Marine coaches such as Greenfield, who has been participating in three Intramural matches so far, it is not just marksmanship that ensures victory upon the range. Team communication, gear maintenance and proper knowledge on how to fill out data books are a few of the other skills needed.
“At the start of February there is a two-week coaches’ school program, which teaches coaches how to instruct their Marines,” said Greenfield.
Greenfield went on to say that an individual can get a lot more out of competition shooting as opposed to the annual rifle requalification.
“You go so much more in-depth with the intricacies of shooting with the three weeks of straight shooting,” said Greenfield. “It’s certainly a great tool to have when you go into combat. I’ve been competition shooting since 2001 and I’ve learned so much more as opposed to conventional range shooting.”
The CIAP is broken down into the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune Intramural Matches, Eastern Division Matches and the Marine Corps Championship Matches. Those who place in the Eastern Division Matches will compete in the championship matches, and those who show excelling skill in the championship will be chosen for the USMC shooting team.
“It’s not just shooting skills that get you the gold,” said Turner. “You must competently understand every aspect of a match, such as procedures, signals and scorebooks, to be the top shooter.”
The intramural matches are slated for February, and anyone interested, service member or civilian, can join individually or in a team by calling Turner at 440-2705 and find out more through the Web site marines.mil/news/messages/Pages/MARADMIN0662-09.aspx.