MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. --
The distinct sound and feel of ratcheting a shell into the breach of a shotgun is almost as satisfying as triggering the shot down range. Guard Co. of Marine Barracks Washington, also known as 8th & I, added shotguns and pistols to their training regimen during an exercise on the High Risk Personnel Course at Weapons Training Battalion on Jan. 30.
Every month for the last seven months Guard Co. has been coming to Quantico to hone their marksmanship skills.
“They are doing the basic infantry school level training,” said Staff Sgt. Brad Barrere, platoon commander, 2nd platoon, Guard Co. “This way, when they go out to the fleet, they are not falling behind the power curve as infantrymen.”
The Marines of Guard Co. are responsible for providing post security and provost marshal services for Marine Barracks Washington. They also stand guard at the Latrobe Gate of the Washington Navy Yard as well as provide security for all Marine Barracks property and residents.
During this exercise, the Marines went through five different phases that all led to the culminating event, where they cycled through Phases 1 through 4 back-to-back. Each Marine also had the chance to shoot more than 50 rounds with the M9 Beretta, the M1014 Italian-made semi-automatic shotgun and the M4 Carbine.
During one of the phases the Marines were taking cover behind a vehicle and engaging at different targets with a partner. They had to show they can work as a team to kill all targets while covering their partner as they reload or perform immediate action, if a weapon malfunctions.
For anyone observing the exercise from a far, arguable the most visually appealing event of the day was the stress shoot. During that phase, the Marines had to do various exercises such as sprints, cattle bell lifts, burpees and pull-ups. Then after completing the exercises they began shooting their M9s.
“The stress shoot helps us understand what is like to run from one post to another and have to react whatever situation is happening,” said Cpl. Mckay Allred, infantryman, Guard Company. “Overall, what we are doing out here is a lot different than urban mount, where you clear a room and shoot everything that moves. It’s pretty much a continuation of what we learned in our basic security guard school. And even though it’s training, the Marines here are having are happy to be here. I mean, it’s not every day a person gets to shoot a shotgun.”