Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point --
CHERRY POINT, N.C. - Each year, Marines practice and qualify with their issued service rifles, testing their understanding of basic marksmanship from known distances up to 500 yards.
Marines also test their understanding of close quarter combat, firing at targets from a mere 25 yards.
Table one and table two give an accurate assessment of a Marine’s abilities with the M16A4 service rifle or the M4A1 carbine service rifle
Table one is a known distance course of fire while table two tests static combat marksmanship.
Table three, however, is not an annual training requirement, reserved for the Marines slated for deployment, according to Sgt. Terrance M. Ryan, a combat marksmanship trainer and a Marince Corps Air Station Cherry Point rifle range noncommissioned officer-in-charge.
“The purpose of table three is to make the Marines movements more natural if they find themselves in a combat environment,” said Ryan, from Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron temporarily assigned to the range. “Many of the Marines who attend table three are working up to deployment.”
Combat marksmanship coaches, who help train and assist Marines refine their marksmanship abilities, are the key to this refresher course.
Unlike table one and table two, table three focuses on a Marine’s ability to prioritize and engage targets while on the move, said Ryan.
“Table three is what Marines do,” said Ryan. “It compresses all the fundamentals Marines learn from the first two tables, but places you in a position you’re more likely to see outside the wire.”
One of Ryan’s duties as a combat marksmanship trainer is to explain the detail of how and why a weapon is effective, including weapons handling and ballistics. Ryan also oversees and instructs several marksmanship coaches who assist Marines during all courses of fire.
“The coaches work hard in a group effort to provide guidance and safety for the range,” said Cpl. Justin Vinson, a marksmanship coach.
This training reinforces and refines marksmanship skills Marines may have lost over time, said Vinson.
“[Table three] isn’t about marksmanship,” said Vinson. “It’s about combat shooting.”
“This range provides a strong stepping-stone in preparing Marine for deployment and, if necessary, combat,” said Vinson.