Special Operations News

Special Reaction Team Marksman-Observer Enables Mission Success

CAMP BUTLER — For most Marines, a dead-center shot from 600 yards away would be an amazing accomplishment. For Cpl. Michael R. Osborne, a military policeman and marksman-observer with the Marine Corps Base Camp Butler Special Reaction Team, it is just another day on the job.

As a marksman-observer for SRT, a specialized crisis response team attached to the Base Provost Marshall’s Office, Osborne’s main role is providing sniper-fire cover for the SRT entry team, military police officers and other personnel at a crisis scene involving hostages or barricaded suspects.

According to Osborne, the entry team essentially operates around the marksman who provides sniper fire and enables team members to enter a building or strong hold.

Since he was a kid, Osborne always wanted to work in law enforcement. His father, a 25-year veteran of the Orlando Police Department, ignited his interest in the field. Seeing the way his father and fellow officers carried themselves and helped other people inspired Osborne.

After graduating from University High School, Orlando, Fla., Osborne enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2004.

His first assignment as an MP was patrolling the roads of Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Va. He enjoyed the assignment and being an MP but he longed for something more.

He first thought being a K9 dog handler might be the answer. It was about that time Osborne took note of the SRT in his unit.

“Once I noticed SRT and what they were doing it perked me up a little bit,” Osborne said.

To Osborne, SRT members represent the best of the best in the MP field.

“They are always training the hardest, always showing up on time to their appointed place of duty and are constantly motivated,” he said.

Osborne applied for the team, was screened, selected and sent to the marksman-observer course in Fort Lenard Wood, Mo., for training. During the course he learned the different aspects of being an effective sniper.

He learned to shoot down on targets from elevated positions, how to shoot at night and how to shoot in the worst possible conditions. Through it all, he reached a new level of physical fitness by constantly pushing his body to new limits.

According to Osborne, constant preparation and repetitive training is important to honing skills as an effective sniper.

From the day Osborne completed the marksman-observer course, he continued to sharpen and develop his sniper and leadership skills to become who he is today.

He is now in charge of his own team and is responsible for the development of his Marines.

“We spend a lot of time training and preparing for real life situations which will help tremendously when it comes time to implement all the skills we have learned,” said Lance Cpl. Jesse G. Zeitz, a marksman-observer with SRT and one of Osborne’s team members.

Osborne never takes his responsibility lightly according to another of his Marines, Lance Cpl. Brandon S. Doherty, also a marksman-observer.

“He is very knowledgeable and has a lot of experience to pass on and is always willing to work with us until we become very proficient,” Doherty said. “He strives to make his (Marines) better than himself as he teaches them.”

After his time as a Marine ends, Osborne plans to stay in the law enforcement field. Becoming part of a SWAT team, is one of his goals, he said.

Civilian SWAT teams are similar in organization and mission to SRT.

Osborne said the knowledge and skills he learned with SRT will make for a smooth transition.

Although Osborne has plans for the future, he remains committed to the current mission as a Marine Corps SRT marksman-observer.

“I love being a sniper,” Osborne said. “Just the fact you can protect someone with a single shot is awesome. You can take a shot and end a whole situation. I have full confidence in taking that shot.”

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