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U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command


U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command

Camp Lejeune, NC

Special operations enablers ready for combat

By Pfc. Stephen C. Benson | | November 14, 2008

Coming in the same month the Marine Corps authorized Rifle Combat Optics for range qualification, Marines from Marine Special Operations Support Group, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command, participated in the Trainer’s Course of Instruction with the RCO and other optical devices at Stone Bay here recently.

The course focused primarily around the use of the optics in combat and how to properly equip them when engaging the enemy in different environments. The Marines were training in preparation for eventual deployment with Marine Special Operations Companies and Teams as part of enabler detachments designed to provide support in areas where MARSOC Marines are unable to utilize the support of conventional military units.

“This is absolutely an essential course for these Marines to go through in preparation for the different environments we are putting them in,” said Lt. Col. Douglas J. Mrak, Logistics Company Commander, MSOSG. “This is going to give them a level of training above and beyond what they are usually exposed to.”

The course instructor, Richard Waller, is a former Marine with combat experience in Vietnam and a former competitor in pistol and rifle marksmanship. He taught the technical aspects of the optical devices to the Marines and explained in detail the advantages and disadvantages of each.

“Personally, I would rather use the RCO over iron sights any day,” said Lance Cpl. Andrew Wynne, a welder with MSOSG Engineers and student in the course. “It just makes it so much quicker to acquire a target and take down the enemy.”

The students conducted both day and night shoots throughout the week while completing combat marksmanship Table Three, as required by the Marine Corps, and Table Four, which entails advanced infantry marksmanship. Utilizing the RCO in low-light conditions and the PVS-14 night-vision device, Marines engaged balloon targets with the M4 carbine assault rifle in the evening.

“The instruction that we’re getting is much more in depth than what most other Marines are getting,” said Gunnery Sgt. Shawn Martin, MSOSG Logistics Company operations chief and range officer in charge. “The contractor we have instructing the Marines has greatly enhanced the knowledge that the Marines are receiving.”

During the course, the Marines were given enough knowledge and teaching tools to go back to their shops and instruct their fellow Marines on how to properly use the optics.

“The instructor and the exercises will test you in ways that make the training more realistic,” said Wynne. “I feel like when I deploy, I can take down the enemy more effectively.”