BARSTOW, Calif. - Members of scout sniper platoons possess a
unique set of skills and abilities to perform their duties. They
must remain calm and collected, be able to operate in teams of four
to six Marines, and have the patience to see the mission through.
As a professionally instructed gunman, Sgt. Moises ‘The Don'
Machuca acquired these traits and skills while working with 3rd
battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, weapons company, scout sniper
platoon, April 2012 through October 2013.
Little did he know,
his next assigned duty station would call on those same fundamental
skills; though while a sniper's goal is to remain unseen, this next
station put him in the spotlight.
Sergeant Moises Machuca (left), stableman with the Marine Corps
Mounted Color Guard on Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, Calif.,
rides in his first big event with the MCG during the Rose Parade on
Jan 1, 2014. Machuca used training with Scout Snipers to understand
and learn horsemanship.
(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Garrett White)
As of November 4th, 2013, Machuca has been a stableman of
the last remaining United States Marine Corps Mounted Color
Guard, stationed on Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow,
Machuca, a 0311 rifleman by trade, explained
the transition from life in an infantry unit to stableman
took some adjusting.
“There was obvious culture
shock ... but (Machuca) brings a new, livelier atmosphere (to
the stables),” said Sgt. Edgar Torrealba, noncommissioned
officer in charge of the MCG and fellow infantryman. “He is
actively engaged and seeks (further) knowledge in everything
“It's a different everyday routine,”
explained Machuca. “I went from having to worry about
maintaining a weapons system, to worrying about the life of
a thousand-pound living creature. Instead of training out in
the field with a weapons company, I'm training to ride on
horseback (with the Mounted Color Guard).”
into MCLB Barstow as a stableman was the first time he had
ridden a horse, said Machuca. However, it was the same
fundamental skills he had honed with the sniper platoon that
assisted in the development of his horsemanship.
has approached his horsemanship training with the respect
and patience the skill deserves,” explained Torrealba.
Machuca takes his training step by step, Torrealba
added. He does his best to work with the horses; not against
them. Everyone learns at a different pace; and Machuca
understands that being patient, calm, and collected is the
key to successfully developing this skill.
Horsemanship however, isn't the only skill being developed,
explained Machuca. His administrative skills are also being
put to the test.
There are a lot of moving parts to
manage in the MCG, the La Farie, TX native added. Event
request folders, government vehicles, and travel plans are
all things that need to be managed properly in order to
accomplish the mission.
However, from administrative
challenges to remaining calm on horseback in front of
thousands of spectators at special events, Machuca
continuously applies prior training to get the mission
accomplished; whether that mission is combat related or
“Ultimately, I feel blessed,” said
Machuca. “Being a part of the only remaining Marine Corps
Mounted Color Guard is a rare opportunity.”
opportunity, he hopes to bring great pride and credit to the
MCG and the Marine Corps as a whole, said Machuca. In doing
so, he hopes to honor the Marines who serve with him, came
before him, and gave their lives in service to their country
By U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Garrett White
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