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Marines Conduct Sniper Training with Thai Forces

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070629-01
Release Date: 6/29/2007 6:48:00 AM

By Marine Lance Cpl. Juan D. Alfonso, Commander Task Force 73 Public Affairs

CHONBURI, Thailand (NNS) -- Marines and Sailors with III Marine Expeditionary Force’s Special Operations Training Group (SOTG) conducted sniper familiarization training with more than two dozen reconnaissance Royal Thai Marines from June 19-22 at the 75- to 250-yard Rifle Range, located at the Royal Thai Marines’ Reconnaissance Battalion Headquarters.

The four-day exercise is part of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2007, an annual series of bilateral maritime exercises between the United States and five Southeast Asia nations.

“We wanted to give the Thai Marines a foundation for their field and marksmanship skills,” said Marine Staff Sgt. Freddy Arencibia, staff noncommissioned officer in charge of the CARAT SOTG Detachment. “The training was extremely productive. The Thai Marines are efficient learners and display an aptitude for field knowledge. I have no doubt they’ll apply what we’ve taught them and become more proficient long after we’ve left.”

The training encompassed the basic marksmanship skills taught to every Marine Corps scout sniper, which included how to fire the M40A3 sniper rifle and the .50 caliber Special Applications Scoped Rifle (SASR), according to Marine Pfc. Justin M. Walker, an assistant marksmanship instructor with SOTG.

In addition to the Marine Corps weapon systems, the Thai Marines also fired their 526 Enforcer sniper rifles.

“If you consider the fact that none of the Thai Marines were snipers, they did an excellent job,” Walker said. “They caught on quick and, for the most part, hit were they were aiming.”

In addition to firing sniper rifles, the Marines dedicated a day of their training to teaching the Thai Marines how to build hides -– covered and concealed positions used by scout snipers that are suitable for combat operations.

“They did a really good job,” Walker said. “It takes a long time to learn how to build semi-permanent hides and it’s important to learn because a sniper could live in one for weeks. Between that and the language barrier, I was pretty skeptical as to whether or not they could do it, but in the end they more than impressed me and did an excellent job.”

Despite the long days of training, the Thai Marines said they appreciated the training and the hard work put forth by the Marines.

“We have a good relationship with the U.S. Marines,” said Royal Thai Marine Corps Lt. Cmdr. Thanatchai Klangkam, the operations officer for the Royal Thai Marine Corps’ Reconnaissance Battalion. “We appreciate the Marines coming to Thailand and teaching our Recon Marines their tactics and weapons systems. This is good training and we hope to receive more in the future.”

CARAT 2007, which also involves Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore, is designed to build relationships and enhance the operational readiness of the participating forces.

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