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U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Farrell Sullivan, the commanding general of Training Command, presents the 2024 Infantry Trophy to the Far East Team during the 2024 Marine Corps Rifle and Pistol Championship Awards Ceremony at The Clubs at Quantico on Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, April 9, 2024. Marines who demonstrate maturity, professionalism, and exceptional marksmanship talent at the Marine Corps Championships will receive an invitation from the team captain of the MCST to serve as a summer augment. Summer augments to the MCST will further compete in state, regional, national, and inter-service matches. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Ethan Miller)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Ethan Miller

Top 10% Marines compete in shooting championship

11 Apr 2024 | Lance Cpl. Sean LeClaire Marine Corps Base Quantico

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. – U.S. Marines from around the Corps competed in the U.S. Marine Corps Marksmanship Championship competition hosted by the Marine Corps Shooting team on base, April 9.

“The importance of these competitions is for the Marines to test their metal against their peers and increase overall lethality,” said Master Sgt. Nick Capko, the staff non-commissioned officer in charge of the Marine Corps Shooting Team.

This competition is the culminating championship of the various regional marksmanship competitions that are conducted all around the Marine Corps. Yearly, the shooting team hosts a variety of marksmanship competitions across each major installation to find each region’s best shooter.

“Over the past year we have had over eight hundred Marines compete to see if the can medal in their regional competitions,” he said. “The top 10% of these Marines are then invited to the Marine Corps championships.”

During the championship, the competitors are assessed, and they have a chance to join the Marine Corps Shooting Team.

“Marines that display the characteristics we look for and further develop are those we ask to come for a summer season,” said Staff Sgt. Christian Cachola, a first-place winner of this year’s rifle match and a small arms weapons instructor with Weapons Training Battalion.

This championship consists of multiple tables of fire that can include pistols, rifles, and shotguns. The Marines face-off for eight days across various ranges to see who the best marksman in the Marine Corps is.

“Competition breeds excellence,” said Chief Warrant Officer Joshua Martin, an ordnance officer with the 3rd Marine littoral regiment, and the Pacific Marine Shooting Team captain. “It’s surreal – I started competing as a corporal, and I have been competing ever since. It forces the worst and best out of you while testing your on-demand skills.”

The Marine Corps Shooting Team was founded in 1901 and has since then hosted marksmanship competitions with the hope to seek the best shooters in the Marine Corps, educating Marines, and increase overall force lethality.

“You never truly understand if you can reach your true potential without competing,” Capko said. “It pushes you to excel – you see how your peers train – so you can learn from them and achieve excellence.”

At the awards ceremony, the commanding general of Training Command, Brig. Gen. Farrell J. Sullivan, highlighted the importance of the shooting team and the competitions it hosts.

“Weapons Training Battalion, thank you for everything that you do,” he said. “No one will understand the grasp and impact that this shooting team has had on the Marine Corps … I’m certain we will always need a Marine Corps shooting team.”

The competition and ceremony concluded with a presentation of awards to the winners and a thank you to all the competitors.

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