Two soldiers recently nabbed top honors at ... wait for it, the Marine Corps Scout Sniper Basic Course held by the 2nd Marine Division.
Sgt. Clinton Scanlon and Sgt. Bryce Fox were named high shooter and high stalker in the course that graduated the year’s first crop of Marine snipers on April 13 at Camp Geiger on Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina, according to a Marine Corps release.
The pair had a slight advantage, though, since both already had graduated the Army’s sniper school.
The Marine Corps is facing a “critical gap” of scout snipers due to the high washout rates during training, so the Corps is looking at changes to how the elite snipers are trained.
“We did go through U.S. Army Sniper School so I think we definitely had a leg up on some of the fresh Marines right out of the fleet,” said Scanlon, who was high shooter. “It was clear that everyone here knew what they were doing and the instructors were able to get the guys here shooting very well.”
The fundamentals in the two courses are the same: scouting, stalking, shooting. But the Marines still use the M40A6 rifle while Army snipers use the M2010.
Note to astute reader: The Marines are finally replacing their Vietnam War-era M40s with the Mk 13 Mod 7 sniper rifle, Marine spokesman Capt. Christopher Harrison told Marine Corps Times. The Mk 13 shoots a .300 Winchester Magnum round rather than the 7.62mm NATO round that the M40 uses.
The M40 lacks the range that the Mk 13 will provide and didn’t quite match up to the Army’s M2010 Enhanced Sniper Rifle, either, which could hit targets at the 1,300-yard range.
But before you shoot the target, you’ve got to stalk the kill. Fox, the class’ high stalker, scored the highest average on the ten stalks required to graduate the school.
“You take a shot without being seen and then you shoot again,” Fox said in the release. “The (instructors) do a walking sequence to try and lock on you. If you don’t get found, you pass.”
But though the two hit the top of this intro-to-sniper school, they are not quite ready to go after the Corps’ advanced sniper training.
“It was a great course that has all the information to get a sniper going in any community, Army or Navy,” Scanlon said.
“After this, I’d like to attend one of the advanced Marine Corps Sniper courses, but for now I’m going to go back to my unit to get my guys trained up on the things I learned here.”