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A Special Forces extension of the U.S. Navy, the Marine Corps’ boasts their Slogan “Every Marine, A Rifleman” exemplifies one of the Marine’s most important skills, marksmanship. Great attention and importance is involved in the training of a Marine marksman. Training for such a skill begins with recruit training and throughout a Marine’s career. All Marines are required to train and qualify with the M-16 rifle and well as the M9 Beretta. The latter is only required if their duties calls them to carry a handgun.

The marksman has played a critical role dating back to 1775, when the Marine was required to man the mast of warships and to deliver precise fire into the enemy on the deck below while paying special care not to hit their own men below.

Learning the proper way to clean an M-16 rifle

Their ever evolving weaponry dates back to the Civil War with the flintlock musket, which was slow to load and an inaccurate fire. During World War I, the 1903 Springfield rifle as its primary infantry weapon, which brought the level of marksmanship up to a level of accuracy. Later, during World War II, they upgraded to the semi-automatic M1 Garand, then in the Vietnam War were using the fully automatic M14 and M16 rifles.

Today, Marine recruits undergo two weeks of intensive marskmanship training in boot camp. In the first week, they learn the fundamentals of good marksmanship, focusing on range and weapon dynamics, body position, proper aiming and breath control and continue refining their skills in the second week. This emphasis contributes to the overall effectiveness of the Marine rifleman and in making the Marine Corps one of the most effective and feared fighting forces in world history. 

A marksman in training with an M-16

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