BLT 1/6, 22nd MEU scout snipers complete SOTG urban sniper course

BLT 1/6, 22nd MEU scout snipers complete SOTG urban sniper course

LCpl Frank Kouzelmartinez, left, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit scout sniper spotter and native of Nevada City, Calif., explodes a water charge to clear the glass from a window, allowing Lance Cpl. Matthew Godfrey, scout sniper and native of Madison, Miss., to shoot his target. Photo by Cpl Manuel A. Estrada.

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (Aug. 9, 2013) - Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) scout snipers completed an urban sniper course at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Aug. 2, 2013.

The Marines attended the month-long Special Operations Training Group course in preparation for the MEU's deployment scheduled for early next year. The course taught the snipers the different tactics and techniques they can use in multiple situations.

"The scout snipers are a force multiplier," said Sgt David Tye, lead instructor for the course and native of Abbeville, Ala. "(A sniper) is able to go out there and do the job of several different Marines. He can become a forward observer and call in artillery fire. He can become air traffic control and call in air strikes, on top of his ability to provide accurate direct fire up to 1,000 meters away."

The course was designed to enhance the skills the Marines already possess and give the MEU commander complete confidence that he can send the scout snipers into any situation, said Tye.

The first half of the course focused on urban environments and the unique challenges they present.

People may walk by a window all the time and become familiar with it, said Tye. If the next time they see that the window is broken, open or missing, they'll notice. That's what is called a target indicator.

The scout snipers were taught how to decrease their own target indicators and still be able to observe the area.

The course gave special attention to targets behind glass. Plate glass, double-pane glass and angled glass were used to show the effects glass has on determining where the round will land.

The last part of the course focused on scenarios more specific to snipers working on ships with a MEU.

An integral role of MEU snipers is to conduct visit, board, search and seizure operations on suspect ships out at sea, said Tye.

During VBSS missions, Marines search ships for contraband and illegal items. The snipers provide security for the Marines aboard the ship and above it.

To this end, the last portion of the course was conducted with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 263 (Reinforced), the 22nd MEU's aviation combat element. The snipers rode aboard two UH-1Y Hueys to practice shooting ground targets from moving helicopters.

"We basically show them what they can expect from a Huey and they can work on their techniques," said Maj Christopher Rehwaldt, VMM-263 (Rein) logistics officer and native of Pullman, Wash. "Building these relationships early is important so we know how to use them and expect how to use them, and the scout snipers know how to use us and what they can expect us to be able to do."

"These classes help us improve our fundamentals," said LCpl Tyler Schellhammer, BLT 1/6 scout sniper and native of Madison, Miss. "This helps us keep the combat mindset for the ever-changing battlefield."

The 22nd MEU, scheduled to deploy early next year, will serve as a sea-based, expeditionary crisis response force capable of conducting amphibious missions across the full range of military operations.

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