MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — “The most dangerous weapon in the world is a Marine and his rifle,” said R. Lee Ermey in his role as Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in the movie “Full Metal Jacket.” Students going through the initial training pipeline for Marine Special Operations Advisor Group, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command, showed just how deadly they could be during their scoped weapons subject matter expert training course here, May 19 – 30.
The MSOAG SME training courses, which include demolitions, medical, communications, intelligence and weapons, are designed to marshal as much tactical skill into the 11-14-man Marine Special Operations Teams as possible.
During the weapons SME training course, advisors are instructed in a wide range of weapon systems, from crew-served weapons like the M240G machine gun, to scoped weapons such as the M40A3 and MK11 sniper rifles.
“The purpose of the scoped weapons portion of the weapons SME track is not to turn these operators into snipers, but rather to give them a working knowledge of scoped weapons and sniper employment,” said Staff Sgt. Robert Watts, scoped weapons course primary instructor, Standards and Training, MSOAG.
According to Watts, the scoped weapons portion is conducted over a two-week period at Camp Lejeune and Stone Bay. Students receive extensive classroom instruction on ballistics, range estimation, scope manipulation and scope theory. At the end of the course, the students must demonstrate what they have learned by passing a two- day final exercise.
According to one instructor, the course isn’t sniper school, yet it’s still enormously challenging for the students because the course packs a tremendous amount of information into a two-week period and the students are required to grasp the information at a very quick pace.
Shot after shot, the students learn and grow more proficient with scoped weapons. According to Watts, after the two-week evolution, the students should have the tools to teach others how to employ scoped weapons.
“This course adds another valuable piece to an already effective weapons SME track,” said Watts. “These students will bring a lot to the table when they join their teams.”