CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Marines with 2nd
Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve,
received medals during the Western Division Matches aboard Camp Pendleton,
California, March 4, 2016.
Staff Sgt. Justin
L. Santiago, communications maintenance chief with Headquarters and Services Co.,
2/23, received the gold medal for the rifle competition and a bronze medal for
the pistol competition, and Cpl. Alvin H. Mei, an electro-optical ordnance
repairer with H and S Co., received a gold medal for the pistol competition.
really expecting to win," said Mei. "I just wanted a chance to come
out here, learn from the best shooters in the Marine Corps, and have fun.”
Division Matches are part of a Marine Corps wide program designed to stimulate
Marines’ interests and desires for self-improvement in marksmanship, and to
enhance proficiency within the Marine Corps in the use of individual small arms
through advanced marksmanship training and competition. Participants received a
two week training course that fulfills annual rifle and pistol qualification
“Training for the
division matches consists of a lot of snap-in and classes, similar to annual
rifle and pistol training, but more in depth,” said Santiago. “We learned the
division match course of fire for rifle and pistol the first week and we shot
those every day in order to prepare for the competition.”
After the first
week of classroom instruction, live-fire training and preliminary matches, the
shooters moved directly into a second week of rifle, pistol and team
"The top 10
percent from every competition will earn medals,” said Santiago. “After that,
units get to choose their top shooters to represent them come team day."
provide world-class instruction from members of the Marine Corps shooting team.
Participating Marines receive a unique training opportunity that they wouldn’t
be able to receive through their annual training requirements.
how to shoot one-handed," said Mei. "I had never shot like this
before, so it did teach me a lot. Especially with the time limits and the rapid
fire, it taught me to pace my shots and focus a little bit more on the
With 38 training
days a year, it is difficult for Reserve Marines to match the training time of
their active duty counterparts, so they must make every training opportunity
performance speaks to their professionalism and dedication toward doing a good
job,” said Maj. Andrew Orth, the assistant operations officer for H and S Co.
“They spent a fair bit of time prior to the competition going through the
combat marksmanship coaches and trainer courses. That dedication to training is
what really got these Marines this far.”
accomplishment of medaling in these matches, the Marines will go on to compete
in the Marine Corps Championship program held at Camp Lejeune.