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Thai, US Marines form brotherhood through sniper training

US Marine Corps News

By Cpl. Aaron Hostutler, Marine Forces Pacific

SATTAHIP NAVAL BASE, Thailand -- The road to becoming a U.S. Marine Corps sniper is a long one, but pride and brotherhood are the rewards for those who complete it.

It’s that same pride and brotherhood, along with the fundamentals of marksmanship, that Marine snipers with Landing Force Company shared with Royal Thai Marines during Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT).

Landing Force Company is an amphibious force comprised primarily of Marines with 2nd Battalion, 23 Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division reinforced by 4th Amphibious Assault Battalion, 4th Marine Division.

“Our goal as snipers is a first round impact with every shot,” said Gunnery Sgt. Victor Lopez, scout sniper chief instructor with Weapons Platoon, Landing Force Company. “If they don’t get these fundamentals, they can’t effectively engage targets.”

Throughout the training, Lopez and his fellow instructors discussed windage, trigger control, breathing control and how to effectively work as a sniper team.

Sgt. Greg Blincoe, a scout sniper instructor with headquarters platoon, Landing Force Company added, “after they get behind the weapon, they seem to pick it up really quick.”

One of the main themes Lopez and his instructors stressed to Thai counterparts was the importance of the relationship between the sniper and the spotter.

“The sniper has only two things on his mind; the fact that he is about to take someone’s life, and how he is going to do that,” Lopez said.

Because the sniper is so focused on that one shot, it’s the observer’s responsibility to call the wind, range and to tell the sniper where his round hit.

“The training is very good. It helps me to have more knowledge,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Chaiyoot Moonthongchoon, Royal Thai Marine Corps. “I got to train on different equipment and learn more technique.”

An intangible benefit to the U.S. and Thai Marines is the bond formed between brothers in arms. When Marine scout snipers graduate from their training, they are given a 7.62mm rifle bullet as a symbol of their accomplishment.

Marines wear it as a charm for protection and to remember the sense of brotherhood that comes with being a scout sniper.

After the training was complete, the U.S. Marines presented 7.62mm rounds on 550 parachute chord to their Thai counterparts as a symbol of their accomplishments.

“We want to impart some of our sniper culture,” said Sgt. John Phillips, a scout sniper instructor for the training. “They did really well and we want to inspire them to build their own sniper culture.”

In addition to sniper training, the U.S. and Thai Marines also focused on jungle survival, amphibious assault tactics, martial arts, combat lifesaving skills and combat marksmanship throughout CARAT.

CARAT helps to increase alliance interoperability between Thai and U.S. forces while building enduring personal relationships between individuals. This type of development ensures when future events call for the nations to work side by side, they are ready to respond together to increase the operational readiness of the participating forces.

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