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Home > UNS > 140326-02



Army Special Forces train with Marines at Combat Center

by Lance Cpl. Charles Santamaria
Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center

TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. (USASOC News Service, March 26, 2014) - The target sits motionless downrange as teams spread across the mountainside and stare through the glass of their high-powered scopes. Under the camouflage of nets lined with twigs and pieces of brush, Marines and Green Berets begin making adjustments for distance and wind to hit the mark.

The shooter steadies his breathing as his index finger slowly retracts and squeezes the trigger sending the round down range toward a target positioned in a doorway. The spotter confirms the hit, and the shooter pulls the bolt back releasing the bullet casing and chambering another round, ready for his next target.

Marines trained alongside Green Berets from the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) during a sniper course of fire at Range 205, March 14, 2014. The course of fire was part of a four week, joint-training exercise between Army Special Forces and Marines.

The range included static targets positioned up to 955 meters away. Marines saw the challenge and enjoyment of participating in the exercise.

“I’m an avid shooter myself, but shooting at that distance was really fun,” said Lance Cpl. Jonathan Champer, joint fires observer, 2nd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment. “It was exciting seeing this side of the military, so working with the Special Forces team was a great time.”

The course taught the Green Berets and Marines the value of having a good position and properly measuring the distance of a target. The fundamentals of marksmanship came into play even more at the greater distances of fire.

“It’s great that those Marines have the opportunity to participate in this training with this team,” said Sgt. Matt Dorman, joint terminal attack controller, 2nd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment. “The training we are doing with the team is usually only reserved for special schools, so it’s a great thing to experience.”

Along with long-range shooting, the exercise also had the service members construct hide-sights for concealment during fire. The course of fire challenged both Marines and soldiers to fire atop the Combat Center’s rocky terrain from several angles. The exercise also challenged service members at night by requiring them to use an attachment on the scope of the rifle and the spotter’s scope to engage targets with night vision.

“The focus of this exercise is to train the Marines and soldiers to be able to fire at targets from the inside and outside of a town. The freedom of the Combat Center’s ranges provides many possibilities for training,” said a team sergeant, 10th SFG (A). “The cross training with the Marines is great for both sides because knowledge can be passed both ways and it’s a great opportunity for them to experience something new and out of their comfort zone.”

The benefit of this training is that Marines and Green Berets learn from each other. The environment of the Combat Center not only became one of challenging terrain and realistic training, but one of different tactics coming together to become even more refined through cross training between branches.