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Sharing skills... U.S., ROK Marine snipers stay on target

Marine Corps News

Release Date: 7/16/2003

Story by Cpl. Michael D. Darbouze

WARRIOR BASE, Republic of South Korea(July 15, 2003) -- The scout sniper platoon, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division trained the 33rd Battalion, Republic of Korea Marine snipers during their deployment to Korea in support of the Korean Integrated Training Program (KITP).

KITP is a three-week combined training program involving U.S. Marines and Republic of Korea Marines. The program is designed to enhance interoperability, combat readiness and combined relations through equipment and operation familiarization training.

Sgt. Nicholas G. Diaz, scout sniper, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, said the two weeks spent cross training with ROK Marines was beneficial for both of the fighting forces.

"I think it's good to familiarize ourselves with one another's training," said Diaz, a Las Vegas native. "It is important to train together since we have a military presence in South Korea. You never know when you may have to work together."

Sgt. Ronnie J. Montez, chief scout, team leader, scout sniper platoon, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, said training the ROK Marines has not only allowed him to see how they operate, but it has made him a better trainer as well.

"It took time and patience to train the ROK Marines, because of the language barrier," said the San Jose, Calif. native. "By training the ROK Marines, I have become a better teacher. Now I know I'm capable of giving other Marines the necessary training they need to become a scout sniper."

Diaz said the ROK Marines don't have a formal school for sniper training, so he started out by showing them the basics.

"We taught them some of the basic skills that we use," said the Basic High School graduate. "We went over most of the field skills such as field sketch, observations, range cards and (Keep in Memory) games."

The ROK Marines did well on the field skills portion of training, but they had to focus a little more in other areas, explained Diaz.

"There company gunnery sergeant asked us to help them with their land (navigation)," Diaz said. "There land (navigation) is a little different then ours. So I started from scratch and began with plotting grids. They began picking up after a few classes."

After a week of classes, the two Marine forces went out to the field to practice stalking.

"I showed them the basic movements of stalking, the different types of camouflage and the different things that get you caught on a stalk sight," Diaz said. "When they got out there they didn't do to bad on the stalk sight."

The ROK Marines did well during the stalking portion of training, added Montez.

"There movement on the stalk sight wasn't bad," said the MaClane High School graduate. "They did there stalking without any gillie suits, and they did pretty decent."

After one week of classes and another week of stalking, the U.S. Marines have left the ROK Marines with the knowledge they need to excel as scout snipers.

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