Beaufort News

On their mark

Three signs bearing the words "Every Marine a Rifleman," line the road to the rifle range at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island.

Last week, the depot paused to celebrate that philosophy.

Sharpshooters from all three of Beaufort's bases gathered Friday at Parris Island for the awards ceremony of the 2010 Tri-Command Rifle and Pistol Intramural Championships.

For two weeks last month more than 100 Beaufort-area Marines and sailors competed in a series of rifle and pistol matches at Parris Island. The matches saw Marines and sailors firing their M-16 service rifles and 9 mm service pistols from between 7 and 500 yards away from a variety of different stances at different firing speeds.

Brig. Gen. Frederick Padilla, commanding general of Parris Island, said the competition helped Beaufort Marines hone one of their fundamental skills.

"We, as Marines, take great pride in our skills as marksmen," Padilla said. "It's part of who we are. No service devotes as much time on the basic skills and knowledge of marksmanship."

In addition to recognizing those winning or placing in the top three in each of the competition's nine individual matches, Padilla also handed out three trophies to the individual units scoring the highest in the rifle and pistol matches, a well as a trophy for the unit with the highest aggregate score in both matches.

Marines scoring the highest in the competition were selected to join Parris Island's Rifle and Pistol Team, which will compete next year in matches against other Marine Corps bases along the East Coast at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Chief Warrant Officer Kevin Suit of the depot's Weapons and Field Training Battal ion said the competition benefits both the expert marksman vying for a spot on the depot's competition team and the Marine looking to improve his scores for the annual rifle and pistol qualification.

"Everyone has their golf tournaments and cookouts, but this is really an event where Marines can come together and put a lot of time and practice into improving their rifle and pistol skills," said Suit, who organized this year's competition. "Marksmanship is really one of the foundations of our Corps."