JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, AK -- Fourth Marine Division is taking on Alaska’s arctic terrain for the third year in a row as they return for the Marine Corps’ Annual Rifle Squad or “Super Squad” Competition. The previously acclaimed division competitions, dating back to 1957, were put on hold for over 12 years after 9/11 while Marine manpower requirements were focused on supporting conflicts in two separate theaters.
“4th MarDiv started the competition back up in 2016, so this is only the third iteration since we took that hiatus for the long war,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Beau Hornsby, officer in charge, 4th MarDiv Super Squad Competition 2018.
These squads will be competing against one another in the very skills that make up a Marine Corps rifle squad.
“The purpose of the competition is to find out who is the best squad at the division level. Some of the areas they will be evaluated on is their endurance, their ability to conduct tactical movements and how they complete squad level tasks,” said Hornsby.
Individual marksmanship will be scored and aggregated as a squad to determine the highest ranking team. They will also be evaluated on things like calling in a nine line medical evacuation request, radio procedures, patrolling procedures, and specialized patrolling.
“The evaluation by design is very objective,” said Hornsby. “It’s a very broad spectrum of infantry squad specific and squad appropriate tasks. For example, the Performance Evaluation Checklist, which is a series of steps they will be evaluated on if it’s not against the clock or if it’s not scored like marksmanship.”
These events will slowly begin to take a toll mentally and physically on the squads competing in the unfamiliar Alaskan terrain. Marines from 4th MarDiv occupy 88 sites spanning six time zones.
“Alaska is the only place that we could find that really levels the playing field for everybody since our division is so greatly spread,” said Hornsby. “Alaskan terrain is very unique. It’s a very rugged place and the ground is like no place they’ve experienced before.”
As the squads finish the grueling four-day competition, they can be filled with pride knowing they contested the best that 4th MarDiv has to offer.
“I would say that the Annual Rifle Squad Competition really gets after the overall ethos of being a Marine and being part of a warfighting institution,” said Hornsby.
After the final event, the competitors will go on to celebrate their accomplishments during a medal presentation ceremony and a Warrior’s night event.
“Every year it’s been getting better and the goal is to make this the standard for measuring and evaluating who is the best squad,” said Hornsby. “We strive to give everyone associated with the competition, whether they are support staff or competitors, the best possible experience, especially in a place as majestic as Alaska.”
For more information on the Marine Corps Annual Rifle Squad Competition and how the competition is conducted, please refer to the Marine Corps Order 3590.14F, https://www.marines.mil/Portals/59/Publications/MCO%203590.14F.pdf?ver=2012-10-11-163628-820.