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Marines from Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, fired their weapons at Patrol Base Koshtay, Helmand province, Afghanistan, June 16, to make sure they were still correctly zeroed. Zeroing their weapons not only helps keep the Marines combat effect but keeps them mentally focused during their deployment.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Jeremy Fasci

3/1 Marines enhance marksmanship skills at makeshift range in Garmsir

18 Jun 2010 | Lance Cpl. Jeremy Fasci

Marines with Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, enhanced their marksmanship techniques at Patrol Base Koshtay, Helmand province, Afghanistan, June 16, to help keep the Marines vigilant throughout their seven-month deployment.

Under the company commander’s guidance, all Marines with Lima Co., 3/1, are required to ‘zero’ their weapons, adjusting and perfecting their combat ‘optics,’ while using  proper sight alignment and sight picture. 

“Every Marine is a rifleman.  If we are going to say that and continue to preach it, then we need to back it up,” said Gunnery Sgt. Patrick E. Fay, company gunnery sergeant for Lima Co., 3rd Bn, 1st Marines.  “Marksmanship is what is going to help us win the war.  These guys aren’t sticking around too long for us to fire, so whether you shoot one round or one thousand rounds, it may be only that first shot that you fired that’s the most important one.”

Using what they have seen from their previous patrols they are able to make adjustments helping them be more prepared for future engagements.

Using different types of battle site zero also helps keep the Marines ready for anything.  Firing the weapons without gear allows the Marines’ technique and form to be critiqued and adjusted accordingly.

“There is no point putting a Marine in 60 pounds of gear if he can’t even shoot (without gear).  You have to build up from the basics,” said Fay, 31, from Rialto, Cali.

Firing their weapons helps prepare Marines for some of the situations they may encounter while in Afghanistan.

“As generic as it does sound, being in the pits at the range is probably one of the most conducive training objectives that the Marine Corps has available to relate to a combat firefight situation,” said Sgt. Mark Peters, a squad leader with Lima Co., 3/1, from Chicago.  “When we were just down south recently in a compound and rounds were whizzing over our head, I said, ‘Hey we’re at the rifle range boys, we’re in the pits.’”

Sticking to the basics helps the company stay combat effective.

“We try to keep it simple at Lima Company,” said Fay.  “If you can’t fire your weapon system properly, what are you doing on a battlefield? You need to put the right tool for the right job.”