More than 100 Reserve Marines from units across the country, such as New York, California and the District of Columbia, enrolled in this year’s Marine Corps Base Quantico Reserve Combat Marksmanship Coaches Course held Oct. 8 to Oct. 21 at the Weapon’s Training Battalion.
"The course is for Marines to simply learn more than the average shooter and then, as a coach, pass on that information at the rifle and pistol ranges," said Gunnery Sgt. Michelle Boyd, reserve CMCC assistant class leader and instructor.
Marines come to the course with wide expectations about what they are going to learn and how it will help them, or their unit, in the long run. In just a few weeks, those questions, and countless others, are answered.
"I thought this was going to be a great opportunity to improve my shooting and I was right," said Lance Cpl. Gary Pace, 6th Communication Battalion radio operator and a Queens, N.Y., native. "Not only did it improve my shooting, but know I have the ability to go to my unit and prepare fellow Marines when they go to the range."
The course is run solely by Reserve instructors and many are members of the Marine Corps Reserve shooting team. According to Boyd, there are certain skills and techniques the class is able to teach because of the depth of knowledge the instructors have gathered over their years of experience and training.
"One of the best parts for me is our instructors," said Staff Sgt. Rj Reyes, Civil Affair Group staff noncommissioned officer and Frederick, Md., native. "These are a few of the top shooters in the Marine Corps. They have been in plenty of competitions on the national and international level. It’s an understatement to say they know what they are doing."
With in-depth classes about marksmanship taught by first-class instructors, it is not hard to see why more and more students sign up for this course every year. By the end, all students have noticeably improved and are excited to pass on what they have learned.
"This is an excellent course and I have seen a big improvement in myself and in the other students," said Lance Cpl. Evan Vega, 4th Combat Engineer Battalion Charlie Co., supply clerk and a native of New York City. "I have heard a couple of students say they were shooting marksman when they arrived here, but are now shooting high expert. And it’s no surprise with instructors always eager to help us along the way. This has been a great experience."
In February, the next phase for these students could be the Combat Marksmanship Trainers Course, in which the Marines will learn to become instructors themselves.
The reserve CMCC is not an MOS-specific course and any Marine could be a part of the class. There are certain qualifications, such as a rifle and pistol score, that might prohibit a Marine from attending. For a Marine to find out find out when there is a class coming up and the restrictions, they should contact their unit’s operations section.