Marines conduct first-time combat marksmanship live-fire aboard USS America

5 Aug 2014 | Cpl. Christopher J. Moore

Marines with Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force South conducted the first combat marksmanship live-fire shoot held on the flight deck of the future amphibious assault ship USS America, July, 28, 2014.

The purpose of the training was to refresh the Marines’ shooting skills to prepare them for their upcoming bi-lateral training in Brazil.  

“We do exercises like this so we can keep that knowledge fresh in our minds,” said Sgt. Stephen Fritscher, a primary safety officer for the training and a small arms repairman with the SPMAGTF. “That way when we go out there, the training is fresh in our minds and we can pass that knowledge on.”

The primary safety officers provide a safe environment for the shooters and guidance on correct form and technique. They also help with weapons malfunctions while the shooters are firing.

The Marines said conducting live-fire exercises helps build camaraderie between the troops and brings them back to the well-known fact that every Marine is a rifleman.

“It reawakens us and reminds us that this is what we do as Marines,” said Fritscher, a native of Temecula, California. “We come out here and we shoot. This is a fundamental of being a Marine. We’re always trying to improve.”

The Marines completed several drills including a failure to stop drill, hammer pair and a control pair. They said it felt good to pick up a rifle and shoot.

“For me, it gets me back to my roots,” said Sgt. Michael Greer, a radio operator with the SPMAGTF. “It gets me familiarized with everything I need to know before we get off the ship.”

Greer said the exercise went smooth and fast. Also, everyone performed to the best of their ability. 

“They came out here and everyone gave it their best,” said Greer, a native of Saugerties, New York. “There were zero safety issues and it was a great day.”

The Marines completed the combat marksmanship shoot ready to share their skills with the Brazilian military during the upcoming bi-lateral training. Bi-lateral training with our partners strengthens the relationships that facilitate the cooperation needed in the event of a crisis requiring a multinational effort. 

The Marines of SPMAGTF-South are embarked aboard the future amphibious assault ship USS America on her maiden transit, "America Visits the Americas." A SPMAGTF is a balanced air, ground and logistics force that can be tailored to accomplish missions across a wide range of crises. To this end, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, South leverages its close relationship with U.S. Navy Southern Command to have a mighty impact on regional stability. Through partner-nation activities, key leader engagements and security cooperation activities, the Marines and sailors of SPMAGTF South will demonstrate the flexibility, utility and unparalleled expeditionary capability the Navy-Marine Corps team provides our nation and partners.