MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Sixteen rifle and pistol teams from across Marine Corps Installations – East competed in the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune 2011 Marine Corps Eastern Division Match Championship from March 29-30 at the Stone Bay rifle ranges.
The Eastern Division Match is one of four matches that make up the Competition-in-Arms Program. The Far East Division Match in Okinawa, Japan, the Pacific Division Match in Hawaii and the Western Division Match in San Diego, Calif., comprise the rest of the CIAP.
The CIAP is designed to enhance marksmanship proficiency within the Marine Corps by refining precision marksmanship skills through advanced training and competition.
In one of the closest competitions, Weapons Training Battalion brought home the Wirgman Trophy by taking first place for the team rifle portion, narrowly escaping the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island team by one point.
Chief Warrant Officer-3 Pete Burns, the WTBn coach and battalion gunner, said unlike a professional sports game, there were no updates to who was winning, so they had to constantly keep focused.
“Little did we know, but the team we barely beat was right next to us,” Burns said. “We took every shot as if it were the only one we had. We kept the mindset of competing against ourselves and that was the main reason why we came out on top.”
Burns added his Marines didn’t necessarily strategize. Rather, they acted as if every time they practiced, it was the real deal.
“We only had four shooters, which is the minimum to participate,” Burns said. “We needed every Marine to give it their best.”
The categories are comprised of individual pistol, individual rifle, team pistol and team rifle.
The final top three results for the eastern division portion of the CIAP are as follow:
1 – Sgt. Patrick E. Poindexter, MCRD Parris Island
2 – Sgt Robert Cansler, III; MCRD Parris Island
3 – Staff Sgt. Jack D. Linke, Marine Air Control Squadron 2
1 – Cpl. Luis Esparza, Marine Corps Shooting Team
2 – GySgt. Jason P. Hedrick, Marine Corps Shooting Team
3 – Cpl. Patrick M. Saleh, Marine Corps Shooting Team
1 – WTB, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune
2 – MCRD Parris Island
3 – 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 2nd Marine Division
1 – MCRD Parris Island
2 – MCRD Parris Island
3 – 2nd Marine Division
For the past 21 years, the Eastern Division Matches has also included the British Royal Marines who compete with the Marine Corps Shooting Team in the Inter-Corps Cup Rifle Competition. The Marine Corps Shooting Team won the competition.
Capt. Caleb A. Wells, the competition’s commandant of the Marine Corps representative and Marine Corps Shooting Team officer-in-charge, said the CIAP is a great way for Marines to remain proficient and to promote competition.
“The Marines who (participated) competed in the competition learned a lot and they had a great time,” said Wells. “Another great thing is, they will be able to take away what they learned here and mentor their Marines.
The top 10 percent of each division will have the opportunity to compete in the Marine Corps Match Championships here on April 18.