MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS,
Calif. - The Marine Corps prides itself on a long history of
excelling at marksmanship. Every Marine is a rifleman first
and foremost and every Marine maintains basic marksmanship
skills to defend themselves in a combat situation.
The ability to teach these skills is another level. In order
to properly instruct other Marines to become proficient
marksmen, it requires time and dedication.
Meeks, a motor transportation operator with 1st Marine
Logistics Group, Combat Logistics Battalion 5 of Combat
Logistics Regiment 1, stands post as an entry control point
guard during Steel Knight 15, 2014.
Nathan W. Meeks, a motor transportation operator with 1st Marine Logistics Group, Combat Logistics Battalion 5 of Combat Logistics Regiment 1, stands his post as an entry control point guard during Steel Knight 15 on December 16, 2014. As Meeks continues to perform his duties in the Corps, he does everything he can to better himself and the Marines around him. He's a prime example of how one Marine's actions can impact the entire Corps.(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. April Price)
Steel Knight is
an annual exercise to train and prepare the 1st Marine
Division for deployment as the Ground Combat Element of a
Marine Air-Ground Task Force. Combined arms live-fire
exercises, such as Steel Knight, ensure that the nation has
a division that is fully prepared for employment as a
maneuver force across the range of military operations.
When Meeks isn't occupied as a gate guard or a motor
transportation operator, Meeks helps Marines refine their
basic marksmanship skills on the firing line as a range
“I like being Motor-T, but I love my job as a
range coach,” said Meeks. “It's awesome to help Marines
improve their marksmanship and it's a great feeling to know
I made an impact, whether it's refreshing an officer on the
basics or teaching a private from square one.”
to becoming a Marine, this White Oak, Oklahoma, native spent
most of his time shooting, whether while hunting or for fun.
With hunting being a hobby, he explains that he would
experiment with different weapons.
“I can definitely
say I shot at least once every day,” said Meeks. “Rifles,
pistols, bows, shot guns and even sling shots. I don't know,
there's just something about lining up your sights and
pulling that trigger that just gets me going.”
Marksmanship coaches analyze difficulties shooters may
encounter during dry and live-fire exercises in all phases
of the Marine Corps Marksmanship Program during
qualification and re-qualification. Additionally, they
assist in the operation of firing ranges.
be qualified with the service rifle with a classification of
sharpshooter or above and complete a series of classes on
marksmanship and delivering periods of instruction.
“As range coach, I usually pick out the difficulties of the
shooters during dry and live-firing exercises and help them
by providing corrective assistance to them to improve their
marksmanship skill and confidence,” said Meeks. “Enforcing
firing safety regulations, local range regulations and
assist the range officer in the overall conduct of the range
and training is also a part of what I do.
Meeks says he
enjoys helping other Marines better understand the situation
that they are put in, whether it be on the range or in the
“It can be just as fun to teach a class of
Marines as well as being out on the range with them,” said
Meeks. “I think the ability to watch what you taught them
come into effect is the best part of teaching.”
Meeks stood guard during SK 15, he and the other ECP guards
frequently send notional situational reports, medical
evacuation requests, and casualty evacuations to demonstrate
proper execution and delivery of transmissions as if they
were real-life situations.
The goal and purpose for
practicing these drills is to inform and familiarize the
Marines with each transmission. The ability to properly
explain, demonstrate and teach your fellow Marines is an
essential skill of its own.
“He's getting on the
radio, teaching ECP Marines proper radio etiquette, how to
deliver a proper salute report and 9 lines (medical
evacuation requests), and we're working on a CBRNE
(Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives)
report, which not a lot of people get to do,” said from Sgt.
Mathew A. Frechette, a field radio operator with CLR-1 and
sergeant of the guard during Steel Knight 15. “With that
said, Meeks took his spare time to study and examine
examples of a CBRNE report, so he would be able to teach his
Frechette also mentioned Meeks' natural sense
of leadership and hardworking mentality set him apart from
“He's a very good Marine, he's a
go-getter. I don't have to be on him or tell him about
certain things," said Frechette. “He's always where he needs
to be when he needs to be there before I'm even there myself
to tell him."
Being an asset and not a liability is
something staff noncommissioned officers teach their junior
Marines. It is important for each Marine to have a sense of
initiative and the confidence to go forward and use it.
“I feel like I learned more from my time trying to
figure things out on my own. I've realized that everyone
doesn't always have time to explain something to you or have
the answers. Sometimes you just have to search and ask for
yourself if you want something done,” said Meeks. “I want to
be able to at least know how to help someone find where to
get their answer.”
Meeks explains that he joined the
Marine Corps to do more with his life and to be a positive
influence for people, especially his siblings.
want them to learn from both my successes and my mistakes.
If it helps them, if it helps anyone in any way, I'll
continue to better myself in order to be the best help I
can. I think that's why I love shooting and being a coach so
much,” said Meeks. “Not only is it something I love to do,
but it's something that helps my fellow Marines."
Meeks continues to perform his duties in the Corps, he does
everything he can to better himself and the Marines around
him. He's a prime example of how one Marine's actions can
impact the entire Corps.
By U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. April Price
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