ABOARD USS PONCE -- The modern battlefield no longer requires Marines to fight from trenches, just yards away from masses of enemy forces.
Instead, Marines today are coming within a few feet of the enemy while conducting combat operations such as cordon and knock and room-to-room clearing.
Adapting to this change in warfare, Marines from 1st Platoon, Fox Company, Battalion Landing Team 2nd Bn., 8th Marines, conducted enhanced marksmanship training May 4 on the flight deck of the amphibious transport dock USS Ponce (LPD 15).
The Fox Marines are part of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), currently positioned aboard the ships of Kearsarge Strike Group, conducting maritime support operations in the Northern Arabian Gulf.
The enhanced marksmanship program, recently adopted Marine Corps-wide, focuses on the rapid engagement of targets at close range and in simulated close-quarters combat situations. One key skill the training enforces is the ability to make a split-second distinction between enemy targets and non-combatants.
Although the Marines here did not use live ammunition, as is the standard for EMP, they still went through all the motions in preparation for future operations that may include stability and support operations in southeast Iraq.
Drills included executing a 180-degree pivot turn and engaging a target. This type of movement along with others has garnered the course the nickname “Gunslinger University.”
Other drills included firing through doors, down hallways and covering a fellow Marine who is changing magazines or correcting a weapon malfunction.
Marksmanship training conducted in this fashion builds muscle memory and decreases reaction time allowing the Marines to respond effectively in a live combat situation.
Echo Company, along with the rest of the 26th MEU (SOC), continue to conduct operations in the Arabian Gulf.
To learn more about Fox Company and the rest of the 26th MEU (SOC) visit www.usmc.mil/26meu.