MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
The lineage of the U.S. Marine Corps is one that runs thick and deep, spanning across more than two centuries and generations of men and women throughout the world. It's a bloodline of pride and tradition that sticks with a Marine long after retirement from the Corps, and it is this lifelong ethos that gives life to the phrase, 'once a Marine, always a Marine.'
It is this band of proud veterans that form various retired organizations throughout the country, one of them most notably being the Marine Corps League with over 1,000 detachments in-country and overseas, each with its own initiatives. The Onslow County Detachment of the MCL is no exception as it is in the works of forming a county-wide pistol team.
"For a great many years, Marines have worked under the adage of 'every Marine is a rifleman,'" said Jack Jackson, the public affairs officer for the Onslow County Detachment of the MCL. "Marines are the best, and as a Marine, if you just strive to be a rifleman, you are only meeting the bare minimum requirements. The best out there strive for more than bare minimum, and Marines should be striving for more in terms of shooting proficiency."
Still striving for excellence even after military retirement, the Onslow County Detachment is forming a pistol team to give those with previous pistol shooting proficiency and those with the desire to learn the pistol the opportunity to try out. Any Marine, Fleet Marine Force corpsman, retiree or dependent may join.
"We have a few members who shoot for fun, and they brought up the possibility for a pistol team at one of the meetings," said Jackson. "It would be fun and beneficial to both active duty and retired members to get together for the local pistol competitions."
The competitive pistol team will comprise of the five best shooters out of the final applicants, with the rest becoming alternatives in the event of any of the five members being unable to compete.
"Not only is this an extension of the (Marine Corps Martial Arts Program) philosophy of 'one mind, any weapon,' but these young Marines and sailors are able to get out of the barracks and fill their time with some competitive shooting," said Jackson. “It’s also a head-start for those who don’t have their pistol marksmanship training yet.”
While some local pistol competitions have guidelines on what type and caliber of pistol can be used, most allow any type of handgun. Although the ownership of one's own pistol would help, one does not need to own one in order to be on the team.
“We have enough members with their own pistols to lend to other shooters,” said Jackson. “In the end, it’s all about getting the younger Marines together with the older veterans and spending some time competing alongside one another.”
In the coming months, the Onslow County Detachment will be working on testing the shooting skills of those interested at local ranges and locating competitions around the area.
For those active-duty or retired service members and civilians interested in becoming a part of the Marine Corps League Onslow County pistol team they are encouraged to attend the MCL meeting Jan. 20 at the Moose Lodge Clubhouse at 135 Moosehaven rd. in Jacksonville at 6:00 p.m. or call the detachment at 330-6853.