Scout Sniper Screening Tests Marines Physically, Mentally

Scout Sniper Screening Tests Marines Physically, Mentally

A Marine candidate with the Scout Sniper Screening Platoon, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, maneuvers over an obstacle as part of the Scout Sniper Physical Assessment Test at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Oct. 19, 2015. The obstacle course served as the final evolution for the assessment, requiring two consecutive completions from each candidate. Photo by Cpl Paul Martinez.

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (October 21, 2015) – Marines with 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, began their screening process to fill the ranks of the battalion's scout sniper platoon at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Oct. 19, 2015.

This process has begun again for the first time since the battalion's scout sniper platoon was disbanded. Day one focused primarily on the entry Scout Sniper Physical Assessment Test.

"The scout sniper physical assessment tests Marines mentally and physically," said Sgt Michael Beard, the candidates' platoon sergeant. "This is a new test that the scout sniper community has implemented. It's a way to show how fit snipers, candidates and those in between are and how they stand in the platoon."

The test began with a 500-meter swim, followed by push-ups and sit-ups, each conducted for two minutes. Candidates then attempt a maximum set of pull-ups before conducting a 1.5-mile run, and then moved into a 12-mile ruck run with a load of 50 pounds.

"I thought the first day was tough but definitely what I expected it to be," said LCpl John Baron, a candidate with the platoon. "The ruck run was very difficult. I had never done one that far before."

After the three hours allotted to complete the ruck, candidates rested and prepared for their final evolution: two consecutive runs on the obstacle course.

"The reason we test them the way we do is because the scout sniper platoon is a battalion asset," Beard said. "Missions for a scout sniper include precision fires or collecting and recording information, and that can mean long hikes and long ways to go to infiltrate the objective. They need to be prepared." 

The screening process also included thorough classes on the skills necessary for all scout snipers, such as advanced land navigation, stalking, camouflage and stealth techniques, and various team-building exercises. 

"I volunteered for scout sniper screening because I wanted to be a part of a unit that does more than a regular infantry platoon," Baron said. "With this opportunity, I can do different things than as a machine gunner."

The platoon is slated to continue their screening, including extensive time and practical application in the field, throughout the week.

"A scout sniper platoon in any battalion is a huge asset," Beard said. "It's very important for these candidates to take this screening seriously and really push themselves because one day they may be in a situation that asks them to do something just as difficult." is the official website of the United States Marine Corps and is maintained by the Marine Corps' Division of Public Affairs.