Marksmanship coaches teach more than shooting

Marksmanship coaches teach more than shooting

Marines snap in during grass week to practice aiming, breathing and pulling the trigger. During grass week, Marines utilize marksmanship instructors to go over the fundamentals in Marine Corps marksmanship. Photo by LCpl Jorden Wells.

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, N.C. (April 22, 2013) - One shot, one kill is a phrase that every Marine has heard at one time or another while qualifying on the rifle range, which is an annual requirement.

One of the tools the Marine Corps provides to all of its shooters that are re-qualifying on the rifle range is a marksmanship coach.

The job of a marksmanship coach is to provide any training or knowledge regarding proper use or functionality of a rifle or shooting.

In order to become a marksmanship coach, there are several courses and classes that a Marine must attend in order to qualify.

"To become a marksmanship coach you must first attend coaches course," said LCpl Clyde Kerns, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron marksmanship coach. "It is a three-week course held at Stone Bay."

During coaches course, the first week of the course is pistol qualification, the second week is rifle range qualification with coach classes in the afternoon and the third week is when the students shadow and observe coaches performing their duties.

"One of the responsibilities of a coach is to teach the proper techniques for range qualification," said Kerns. "Most of the time Marines know the drill on how to handle their rifle, so we just observe and correct any deficiencies we see."

Another key aspect that marksmanship coaches provide is maintaining a safe and secure environment while practicing proper shooting techniques while on the range with live ammunition.

"It is important for a marksmanship coach to be constantly vigilant and aware of their group," said Kerns. "We are responsible for making sure that everyone performs to the best of their abilities while maintaining a secure environment."

Without a marksmanship coach, Marines cannot qualify on the rifle range. Their job is to ensure every Marine is equipped with the right tools to meet marksmanship requirements.

"Having a marksmanship coach is a great tool and aid that is provided by the Marine Corps," said LCpl Dustin Miller, Marine Air Control Squadron 2 communications technician. "If you have any questions pertaining to the range that you may not know or may have forgotten, coaches are a wealth of knowledge that should be utilized." is the official website of the United States Marine Corps and is maintained by the Marine Corps' Division of Public Affairs.