by Lance Cpl. Brennan Priest
U.S. Marine Corps Installations Pacific
February 23, 2019
Marines with Special Reaction Team (SRT) conducted marksman-observer training in November 2018 on Ranges 171 and 172 at Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan.
The training provided SRT, with Marine Corps Installations Pacific Provost Marshal's Office, the opportunity to sharpen their precision-rifle skills, preparing the team for any situation that is above the capabilities of normal law enforcement. This training focused on hostage-scenarios.
“The marksman-observer is an integral part of an SRT team,” said Cpl. Corey Richardson, a reaction team leader with SRT. “They provide security and information for the team that is entering the building.”
A marksman-observer team is comprised of a shooter and spotter who work together to provide information and accurate fire support. The spotter utilizes a high-magnification scope to assess the situation and calculate adjustments for the shooter to accurately fire rounds on target. The SRT shooter was utilizing the M40A6 sniper rifle, chambered for the 7.62 mm NATO round.
This marksmen-observer team supports the entry team. The entry team tactically breaches the building if the scenario dictates. The safety of the entry team depends on the detailed information and watchful eyes of the marksmen-observer team.
The SRT practices firing in a variety of locations and positions, from ranges of 100 to 1200 meters. This ensures that the team is prepared for any situation they encounter.
For Ranges 171 and 172, SRT fired from both open and concealed locations in the prone and seated positions. The teams shot through windows, into the range building from approximately 100 meters away, the approximate distance for most situations that SRT would encounter. This style of training hones the ability of the spotter-shooter team dynamic.
“The marksmen-observers are outside the building watching everything that is going on,” said Sgt. John Fruin, an SRT reaction team leader. “They are the big brothers, they have the element of being there, but not being seen; they are the protection that we need.”