Security force sets sights on range[MIGRATE]

By Lance Cpl. R. Drew Hendricks | September 28, 2005


(Photo by Lance Cpl. R. Drew Hendricks)

(Photo by Lance Cpl. R. Drew Hendricks)

(Photo by Lance Cpl. R. Drew Hendricks)

(Photo by Lance Cpl. R. Drew Hendricks)

(Photo by Lance Cpl. R. Drew Hendricks)

The U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, Security Augmentation Force conducted their first quarterly training exercise at the combat pistol course, Puuloa range, Sep. 23.

The SAF Marines are specially trained to assist security forces already attached to the base in any emergency situation, or if the base goes to a higher threat condition.

“We need the SAF just in case anything threatens the base or if something like 9/11 happens again,” said Sgt. Matthew E. Nale, the noncommissioned officer in charge of training the SAF. 

This specific course is meant to go beyond the scope of annual training and re-qualification to give the Marines a more combat-oriented experience.

Training like this is used to help Marines hone their skills to prepare them for activation, according to Nale.

During the course, Marines shot 6,000 9mm rounds from several different positions, distances and courses of fire.

They also had to become especially proficient in failure and exposure drills.

“Failure drills are, simply, where the shooter puts two rounds to the chest and one to the head. It is the most effective way to bring down a target,” said Cpl. Daniel Rosales, a member of the SAF and a supply clerk here.

Exposure drills are used to simulate an assault on a building. The Marine walks the line with his weapon at the alert. The targets, which are lined up along side of the firing line, will randomly turn. The Marine will then face and engage the target with a failure drill.

This drill forces the Marine to keep a level head while at the same time maintaining speed and accuracy.

“The purpose of this is to get the Marines out of the qualifying mindset and allow them to get a glimpse of what it might be like in combat,” said Nale. “In combat, there are no rules and no one is going to be there to tell you how to put rounds on target; it has to be instinct.”

Each course deals with a different aspect of shooting. One requires the Marines to shoot on the move, another at close range, and the most challenging involves the Marines firing from their backs.

“Being on your back in combat is never a situation you want to find yourself in,” said Sgt. Shane D. Oltman, a member of the SAF and a supply clerk here. “Even so, it’s good to train for it so you know what to do if it does happen.”

The MARFORPAC training office wants to do as much combat-oriented training as possible. They’re calling on Marines who are willing to put in a little hard work and have some fun while doing it.

“This was definitely motivating training. We didn’t just step up to the line and shoot, we were able to do some things that actually resembled combat,” said Cpl. Jonathan E. Knight, an administrative clerk and a SAF member here.

According to Nale, this training is focused on preparing the Marines to react quickly and without hesitation when the time arises for them to use their pistols. This requires them to be completely comfortable with their weapon.

“The reason I think this is so important is because I have been in combat with Marines from a variety of non-combat-arms jobs who are put into life or death situations and they have no clue how to react,” said Nale, referring to the many occasions where he provided security for non-infantry Marines.

No matter what the Marine’s job is, he has to be prepared for combat. The SAF can provide quality training to anyone willing to volunteer. Any Marine interested in joining their ranks must first send the request up their chain of command.

“Butcher, baker or candlestick maker, it doesn’t matter who you are, you need training like this,” said Nale. “Iraq is not going anywhere and neither is Afghanistan, you have to be ready and to do that you need to train hard like these Marines did today.”