Subject: U.S. Trains Indonesian Snipers, Enhance Military Relationships

U.S. Marine Corps Bases Japan


March 21, 2008

U.S., Indonesia Marines Conduct Sniper Training

by Lance Cpl. Tyler J. Hlavac

photo: Indonesian Marine Privates Saiful and Usuludin look for a shot fired at a target during a sniper rifle shoot with 31st MEU Marines at Indonesia's Camp Karang Tekok March 11. Marines with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit's Scout Sniper Platoon trained with their Indonesian counterparts during a bilateral field training exercise between the U.S. and the Republic of Indonesia. Saiful and Usuludin are both snipers with 1st Reconnaissance Battalion. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Tyler J. Hlavac).

CAMP KARANG TEKOK, Indonesia (March 21, 2008) -- Marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit's Scout Sniper Platoon conducted sniper training with Indonesia Marines from the 1st and 2nd Reconnaissance Amphibious Battalions March 11.

The training was part of a bilateral field training exercise between the U.S. and Republic of Indonesia that ran from March 10-19. The purpose of the bilateral exercise was to enhance military relationships and continue building strong regional partnerships between the two nations.

The intent of the live-fire exercise was to gauge the U.S. and Indonesia Marines' shooting accuracy and build upon skills the Indonesia Marines learned in a class given by the U.S. snipers the previous day.

During the live-fire, the U.S. Marines showed their Indonesian counterparts how to properly adjust rifle sights to compensate for distance, wind speed and wind direction and how to be a good spotter.

The U.S. and Indonesia Marines fired at targets from distances of 150 to 600 yards. As shooters became accustomed to firing at targets from a stationary position, the U.S. Marines threw in a little extra training to keep the Indonesians on their toes, according to Cpl. Michael Mentnzer, a team leader with the Scout Sniper Platoon.

"At first, we just did straight shooting at targets," said Mentnzer. "After that, we upped the tempo by doing shooting drills commonly used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, such as having to hit a five-by-two-inch object located on the forehead of a target."

The Marines also had the Indonesians run 100 yards and then run back to their rifles and engage a target. The drill was intended to mimic a combat situation in which a shooter had to shoot steadily despite the fact that his heart might be racing and his blood pumping, Mentnzer added.

Morale was high throughout the exercise, and the Marines enjoyed the shoot, according to Indonesia Marine Sgt. Hendra, a sniper with the 2nd Reconnaissance Amphibious Battalion.

"It was really great working with the U.S. Marines and learning some new shooting techniques," Hendra said. "We have a good training schedule with the Marines that I really look forward to. All this training is going to help me in any combat situation I might be in."

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