SIGforum.com    Main Page  Hop To Forum Categories  Mason's Rifle Room    "A new sniper MOS? Marines are testing a ‘proof of concept’ for scout snipers"
Page 1 2 
Go
New
Find
Notify
Tools
Reply
  
"A new sniper MOS? Marines are testing a ‘proof of concept’ for scout snipers" Login/Join 
Member
posted
https://www.marinecorpstimes.c...Early%20Bird%20Brief

A new sniper MOS? Marines are testing a ‘proof of concept’ for scout snipers

By: Todd South   1 day ago

A recent training message has announced a new “proof of concept” course for snipers that has required cancelling or delaying three scout sniper courses this year and could make a new MOS for the sharpshooter community.

The training message, posted recently on social media, announces that the personnel from School of Infantry-West and the Basic Reconnaissance Course primer will be reallocated to the 0315 proof of concept course.

Two scout sniper courses at SOI-West have been cancelled as a result, one moved to Weapons Training Battalion. At WTBN, an advanced scout sniper training course has been shifted to later in the year to accommodate the shift.

Personnel will conduct the 0315 course from Feb. 10, 2020, through April 19, 2020, at SOI-W, according to the message.

Marine Corps Times reached out to Marine public affairs office staff who could not immediately respond to specific questions about the changes.

The Marine Corps has faced serious challenges to getting Marines through the scout sniper school in recent years and faced shortfalls in the needed numbers of snipers in the ranks.

In 2017, Marine Corps Times reported that the Corps faced a “critical gap” due to high washout ranges at sniper school. At the time, officials said they were looking at changes to how snipers were trained.

Between 2013 and mid-2018, the Corps only produced 226 snipers.

Typically, there are an estimated 300 snipers in the Corps, Caylen Wojcik, a former Marine sniper, told Marine Corps Times in 2018.

Last year only 150 sergeants and below held the 0317 scout sniper MOS.

The schools used to average 100 attendees. But as recently as 2017, only 42 students attended the courses. Seventy-seven Marines had attended by mid-2018.

At the time, Marine Corps officials said that they had a “sufficient inventory” of scout snipers to meet its operational requirements and accomplish its mission.

Sea Dragon experiments that test Marine kit and squad configurations led to recommendations to grow the sniper community, despite the difficulty meeting existing numbers.

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert B. Neller rejected that idea last year after initially looking to add eight snipers to the battalion scout sniper platoons, upping to a potential 28 snipers for each infantry battalion.

Neller has since said that long range precisions fires in every squad will be available with the fielding of the M38 rifle, a marksman version of the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle.

Graduation rates were down significantly in the years preceding that statement. From 2012 to 2017, the trends showed less than half of Marines made it through the course.

“The significant causes of attrition in the course are in practical application evaluations, which includes stalking, marksmanship and land navigation,” Training Command wrote in a statement to Marine Corps Times in 2017. "The eligibility requirements and training requirements have not been made more difficult.”

In early 2017, the Corps began experimenting with breaking up training into two parts and putting Marines into an operational unit between them.

Until then, snipers did a single training program to completion.

The idea, an official told Marine Corps Times in 2017, was to give snipers basic skills they needed to join their unit. Then they would apprentice under seasoned scout snipers in their operational units before returning to complete training.

Each battalion selects infantry Marines at the rank of lance corporal and above for sniper training. That training is held at School of Infantry-East at Camp Geiger, North Carolina; School of Infantry-West at Camp Pendleton, California; and Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia.
 
Posts: 13885 | Location: Eastern Iowa | Registered: May 21, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
Picture of sigfreund
posted Hide Post
In one of the books I read about SEAL training, one wanted to become sniper qualified and planned to apply to the Marine Corps course. Another SEAL challenged his decision by saying that he should attend the SEAL sniper course because there was much less “bullshit” associated with it.

Some observations I made in a draft project:

“To quote what one Canadian army sniper said he was told by an instructor at the start of his demanding training, ‘We don’t have to stress you out. You’ll be under so much pressure in this course, you’ll stress yourselves out. In fact, we’re going to do whatever we can to keep you in.’ In the same book, The Killing School, Brandon Webb who was head of the U.S. Navy SEAL sniper school echoed a similar sentiment when he said his goal had been to teach candidates how to pass the course and become good snipers, not to look for ways to make them fail as seemed to have been the previous practice. The same philosophy has also spread to more general military special operations training. Pertaining to preselection for the Army’s Special Forces Qualification Course, Dick Couch noted, ‘[The] training is now built around the goal of doing everything possible to help each soldier succeed at Special Forces selection. … [T]he focus is now on giving these new soldiers the tools to succeed in Special Forces.’”

All that has long been my personal opinion: Once someone has passed a rigorous basic selection process, at some point the BS should stop and teaching people to do the job should become the goal, not harassment for harassment’s sake.




“I can’t give you brains, but I can give you a diploma.”
— The Wizard of Oz
 
Posts: 39975 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of huskerlrrp
posted Hide Post
The Army flirted with the Sniper MOS back in the early 1990's. Graduates from the Infantry school went directly from Sand Hill over to the Sniper School at Harmony Church. The candidates had to have a GTA score of over a 110 (if I recall), a psych eval, expert rifle qualification and a better than average PT score. The graduation rate wasn't good. Stalking eliminated most of the finalists. The young soldiers didn't have the pre-course preparation of shooting, range estimation, ghillie suit fabrication, shooting off position, and land navigation that a more experienced soldier who was prepped prior to the class by former graduates.
I wonder if the Marine corp program will suffer this same fate or just be a recruiting program for more 0311 Infantryman who get washed out of the sniper school?


 
Posts: 1633 | Location: North Cackalacky | Registered: September 09, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
Picture of sigfreund
posted Hide Post
I try to limit my critique of things I don’t fully understand, but from what I’ve read about military sniper courses, there are policies that strike me as unnecessary at best.

One obvious policy I cannot agree with is failing a candidate because of the unsatisfactory performance of the other member of one’s two-man team. I understand the need to work as a team and for everyone to be motivated to help one’s teammate. That motivation and performance can be observed and measured by other means, however, just as it is in many other military training courses. But one guy can’t meet the marksmanship standard, and both are out? There are some things that teammates can help with, but there are others that ultimately they can’t change. If it’s possible for a teammate to ensure that someone can become a satisfactory marksman, then why don’t the cadre accomplish that? Why is it up to a candidate who’s trying to learn the craft and succeed himself? That’s an example, IMO, of being willing to let a student fail for an arbitrary reason that has no bearing on his individual capabilities.

Stalking is very often a candidate killer in sniper courses, but there are two questions that should be asked about any training requirement: The first is whether the performance standard is reasonable and can always be met by the proper application of the lessons being taught. If passing is due as much to luck involving factors beyond the student’s control, then a lot of capable and otherwise qualified people will fail due to luck.

Second, and more important, though, how much relevance does the requirement have to the real world mission? I recently read that one military sniper course (Marines, perhaps) was dialing back its emphasis on the ghillie-suited stalking requirement because no one was doing that in the field. Is that still a vital skill? Perhaps, but if not then they might want to look at how many candidates are washed out because they fail that demanding requirement.




“I can’t give you brains, but I can give you a diploma.”
— The Wizard of Oz
 
Posts: 39975 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Sigless in
Indiana
Picture of IndianaBoy
posted Hide Post
I'm just Joe Schmoe but the lack of ghillie suit utilization may be due to the amount of urban and desert warfare over the past 2 decades.

If we ever fought a conflict in woodland or jungle terrain again I suspect the ghillie suit would reappear.
 
Posts: 13445 | Location: The Edge of the Ozarks | Registered: December 04, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
Sigfreund;
FWIR, there weren't any problems with graduation rates in the Scout Sniper program in the 80's and 90's. Yes, it was in a different time, and world.

That being said, do changes need to be made? YES. However, changes in the curriculum. As we learn from warfare, (especially since the US Military has been tossing rounds down range on a constant basis since fall '01) we should be adapting and teaching those lessons rather quickly to the next generation that's about to relieve the current Battalion that's "down range".

One of the toughest parts of not only the Scout Sniper program, Amphib Recon, Ranger, and a few other similar courses is the Land Nav. A LOT of people get dropped there. I've heard the same thing from a few different people: "I can teach a monkey to shoot that course, but I can't teach him how to think his way through it."


Don't change "The Bar".

Here's the standard to get in, here's the standard to graduate. If you meet or exceed it, congratulations! You fail to do so... Better luck next time.

There's always been a high attrition rate in SS school, Basic Reconnaissance Course, BUDS, the Q Course, Mountain Phase, Dog Lab, for a reason. If the candidate doesn't have what it takes, those communities have no use for you. Talking to some of my friends, both being Scout Snipers in 1/6 from '00 to '08, the other in 3/5 from '01 - '10 said pretty much the same thing. They have no problems with the attrition rate or where "the bar" is - or should be - set. The problems mostly fall in the selection process, and the amount of "under-qualifyed" candidates. But you can only work with what you have. And those schools need to put out a certain amount of quality product to replace attrition and meet expansion needs. From what I'm hearing, and it's from not only these two, but a few others that are or were in those Communities and still have their finger on the pulse, there's an occasional shift in emphasis from "Quality Product" to "certain amount".



It's going to be interesting to see what this blend is going to be with the Scout Sniper program and BRC.



It's not anything to do with a Ghillie Suit... Sure, they show the students how to make and use one... That's about a day and a half. The emphasis is on camouflage and stalking. How not to be seen. How to blend in to the surroundings. Where a better place is to take a shot. And it's in multiple environments, not just out on a grassy field. Which is another part of the course where multiple people get dropped.

These courses aren't designed to flat out "Fail" people after a certain point. Sure, there's a lot of stress induced into the class, but if you pay attention, and are doing the right thing, many of the instructors are going to point you in the right direction. They won't give you the answer, that's something you're going to figure out how on your own.


_____________________________________________________________________

"When its time to shoot, shoot. Dont talk!"

“What the government is good at is collecting taxes, taking away your freedoms and killing people. It’s not good at much else.” —Author Tom Clancy
 
Posts: 5673 | Location: Attempting to keep the noise down around Midway Airport | Registered: February 14, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
Breaking it up into 2 phases makes sense with unit training in between. That is; it makes sense if the goal is a higher graduation rate at the same standard of execution.

Never a Sniper, but I can tell you the success rate in Ranger School between someone who has been to a Pre-Ranger course and someone who has not, is huge.

The more you can learn and become accustomed to before, the less you have to learn and focus on at the course.




“People have to really suffer before they can risk doing what they love.” –Chuck Palahnuik

The world's a dangerous place, we can help! http://portlandfirearmtraining.com/
 
Posts: 4440 | Location: Oregon | Registered: October 02, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Strambo:
Breaking it up into 2 phases makes sense with unit training in between. That is; it makes sense if the goal is a higher graduation rate at the same standard of execution.

Never a Sniper, but I can tell you the success rate in Ranger School between someone who has been to a Pre-Ranger course and someone who has not, is huge.

The more you can learn and become accustomed to before, the less you have to learn and focus on at the course.




A lot of those Infantry line units have an "Indoc" course.

So, you want to be a "Sniper"? Ok, the Infantry Unit's STA Platoon will have an (informal) "Indoc" course to prep the candidate for what Sniper School will be like, and what to look forward too. Possibly give a few "Tips and Clues" to the actual school, and what is expected.

Think more along the lines of: "You're coming from OUR UNIT, going to a tough school with limited openings, then, IF you graduate, returning to OUR UNIT. So you're NOT going to embarrass us!" (And we don't want to waste the spot on a shit-bird)

So there is/was some separation of the wheat from the chaff at the Battalion Level prior to going to the school house. At least that was what it was like back in the 80's-90's. Things may have changed. At least, back then, Bn Commanders who had only 2-3 people to give up for their whole Battalion to go the coveted spots weren't total shit-birds, and had a decent chance of passing, and were "groomed". Bn Commanders are pretty smart, and can, for the most part manage their manpower & resources rather well. You would pass the "Indoc", and possibly get assigned to a STA (Surveillance and Target Acquisition) Platoon, but not go through Scout Sniper School for a while (while = possibly years, depending on how many slots are available), and not earning the MOS of Scout Sniper. Or, after the Platoon says "Hey, this guy shows he has what it takes", gets assigned to the STA Platoon, then goes through "Indoc", gets the thumbs up, and waits for his spot at the School House. Then there's the whole "Political" side of the coin... Sometimes a Marine had to kiss a little ass, after going through a whole mess of bullshit to get a slot for a School. But that all depended upon who the Platoon, Company & Bn Commander was.

Jump School on the Marine Infantry side was pretty much the same. I'm sure as was RANGER School and a whole lot of others.
You're not just getting some E-2 / E-3 who played a lot of video games and is good with a BB Gun, fresh out of SOI (School of Infantry) pounding on his chest, saying "I wanna be a Sniper!"


_____________________________________________________________________

"When its time to shoot, shoot. Dont talk!"

“What the government is good at is collecting taxes, taking away your freedoms and killing people. It’s not good at much else.” —Author Tom Clancy
 
Posts: 5673 | Location: Attempting to keep the noise down around Midway Airport | Registered: February 14, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
Picture of sigfreund
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by IndianaBoy:
I'm just Joe Schmoe but the lack of ghillie suit utilization may be due to the amount of urban and desert warfare over the past 2 decades.

If we ever fought a conflict in woodland or jungle terrain again I suspect the ghillie suit would reappear.


Not that it’s directly related to the original post, but this thread started me thinking again about the whole ghillie suit issue and sniper concealment, so some musings:

Even if ghillie suits may be effective in North Carolina or Virginia, the same is not true in many other places. To cite my own experiences in Colorado, we have two common types of vegetation. Forests are aspen or conifers with very little underbrush. To remain concealed, it’s necessary to rely on distance, tree trunks, and terrain features. A man in a ghillie suit that resembles a small bush on the ground by itself would be an anomaly. Open areas away from water sources are largely covered with sagebrush and short grass. A proper ghillie suit could be useful for concealment in such terrain, but the sagebrush makes moving through the vegetation extremely difficult because the branches continually catch on the suit material. Tough, spiky branches will destroy a suit or literally make movement impossible.

But what about jungles? I’ve found no information indicating that any of our military snipers used anything resembling full ghillie suits during the Vietnam war. A hot and heavy garment would have been a major drawback in that environment, but so would the problem of moving through dense vegetation. Troops complained about the three prong flash hiders on early M16s catching on vines, etc., so what would it have been like to move wearing a suit covered in loose fabric strips and strings? What’s more, what benefit would ghillie suits have given snipers? A book I recently finished about Army Special Forces operations discussed how entire small units regularly escaped detection at close distances by experienced and trained North Vietnamese army trackers in jungle environments because the vegetation was so dense.

The ghillie suit is useful in certain environments, but in today’s world its primary vulnerability is to the proliferation of inexpensive, readily-available thermal imaging devices. I recently saw that the Army is looking at a standard suit that will mitigate that problem to a degree, but the days of snipers’ constructing their own suits and expecting them to be effective against a sophisticated enemy may be ending just as military snipers seldom use converted hunting rifles and optics any more.

I appreciate the other comments, and will be doing some more thinking.




“I can’t give you brains, but I can give you a diploma.”
— The Wizard of Oz
 
Posts: 39975 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
The Constable
posted Hide Post
"Proof of Concept". WTF does that mean?

Why do they have to CONSTANTLY use acronyms and buzz words?
 
Posts: 6426 | Location: Craig, MT | Registered: December 17, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Go ahead punk, make my day
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by FN in MT:
"Proof of Concept". WTF does that mean?

Why do they have to CONSTANTLY use acronyms and buzz words?
Right up there with "Have a dialogue".
 
Posts: 42801 | Registered: July 12, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
The Constable
posted Hide Post
Or metric/metrics ?????
 
Posts: 6426 | Location: Craig, MT | Registered: December 17, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
Picture of sigfreund
posted Hide Post
There doesn’t seem to be a lot of interest in this thread, so hopefully no one will object to some more drift:

quote:
Originally posted by CPD SIG:
One of the toughest parts … is the Land Nav.


That definitely comes across in the books I’ve read about military special operations training, and I’m curious what you know about land nav instruction because my formal training has been limited.

When I was in the Army the training was just map reading in the classroom, but I had also learned a lot about map reading on my own as a kid before enlisting. I was never in a branch that required land navigation as an actual skill for the job, but one thing that struck me was that our training was limited to that: map reading in the classroom. Reading maps is the easy part of navigation, but I saw a lot of eyes glaze over in those classes, and I often wondered how people would do if they ever had to put it to real use on the ground. An LE exercise I conducted some years ago required SWAT members to move through a forested area to an overwatch and arrest site, but despite the fact that the distance to be covered was relatively short and the target was easy to identify when reached, some people got lost.

All that relates to my question: how much instruction is provided in the field to translate the lessons from the maps to actual terrain?




“I can’t give you brains, but I can give you a diploma.”
— The Wizard of Oz
 
Posts: 39975 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
I'm not familiar enough with the Marine Scout Sniper school, but I did graduate from SOTIC some years ago. The stalking was far and away the most difficult part of the course. Tremendous patience and positive use of minimal terrain features was the only way to pass. Regardless of the terrain, the lessons and concepts are applicable to any working environment.


Ignem Feram
 
Posts: 312 | Registered: October 03, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
Picture of sigfreund
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by mlazarus:
I did graduate from SOTIC some years ago.


I believe I know what SOTIC stands for, so I am curious if you used a ghillie suit during the stalking phase.




“I can’t give you brains, but I can give you a diploma.”
— The Wizard of Oz
 
Posts: 39975 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Telecom Ronin
Picture of dewhorse
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by sigfreund:
There doesn’t seem to be a lot of interest in this thread, so hopefully no one will object to some more drift:

quote:
Originally posted by CPD SIG:
One of the toughest parts … is the Land Nav.


That definitely comes across in the books I’ve read about military special operations training, and I’m curious what you know about land nav instruction because my formal training has been limited.

When I was in the Army the training was just map reading in the classroom, but I had also learned a lot about map reading on my own as a kid before enlisting. I was never in a branch that required land navigation as an actual skill for the job, but one thing that struck me was that our training was limited to that: map reading in the classroom. Reading maps is the easy part of navigation, but I saw a lot of eyes glaze over in those classes, and I often wondered how people would do if they ever had to put it to real use on the ground. An LE exercise I conducted some years ago required SWAT members to move through a forested area to an overwatch and arrest site, but despite the fact that the distance to be covered was relatively short and the target was easy to identify when reached, some people got lost.

All that relates to my question: how much instruction is provided in the field to translate the lessons from the maps to actual terrain?


Depends on the unit...in Signal...not much, I was pretty good at land nav so when I went through the Land Nav school at Drum it was more of a refinement. But even then we are talking legs of only 1-3KM at most. But at high speeds schools the legs can go between 7-12 KM BIG difference.

The star course at SFAS has hard as hell for me....
 
Posts: 7196 | Location: Back in DFW ....hopefully to stay | Registered: February 12, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by sigfreund:
There doesn’t seem to be a lot of interest in this thread, so hopefully no one will object to some more drift:

quote:
Originally posted by CPD SIG:
One of the toughest parts … is the Land Nav.


All that relates to my question: how much instruction is provided in the field to translate the lessons from the maps to actual terrain?


Again, you're not getting a fresh out of Boot Camp / School of Infantry E-2 / E-3 Marine. The ones going to the School have been in the Fleet as an Infantry Marine for a while (years). They went through Basic Land Nav in SOI, and (hopefully) practice it while in the feild (and not under the tutelage of a boot 2nd Lt).

Any Incoc course SHOULD be teaching more advanced Land Nav. to prepare the candidates better. Learning how to read the actual terrain on a map, travel routes, landing zones, moving from a 6 digit grid coordinate to 8 digit. And doing it relying on a map and compass, vs a GPS device. Making "sand tables" that resemble the terrain. So, while preparing the Marine for SS (or Amphib Recon) School, there's a lot of hands on. And there's the "here's your map, your compass, go that way, and don't get lost!" part too.


_____________________________________________________________________

"When its time to shoot, shoot. Dont talk!"

“What the government is good at is collecting taxes, taking away your freedoms and killing people. It’s not good at much else.” —Author Tom Clancy
 
Posts: 5673 | Location: Attempting to keep the noise down around Midway Airport | Registered: February 14, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
Picture of sigfreund
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by dewhorse:
But at high speeds schools the legs can go between 7-12 KM BIG difference.


I don’t know if you understood my question. I know that courses like Army Special Forces selection have very demanding land navigation requirements involving moving from one designated point to another within stringent time limits, but those are tests, not instruction (other than what the candidate learns on his own).

CPD SIG alluded to some of what I’m referring to and perhaps that’s the on the ground instruction, but maps, sand tables, etc., aren’t.

How much instruction involves an instructor walking along with the student and saying things like, “See that knoll there; that’s this feature on the map,” “Your pace count was off, and that’s why you came up short on this segment,” or “I didn’t get the same bearing as you did; did you account for the magnetic declination”?




“I can’t give you brains, but I can give you a diploma.”
— The Wizard of Oz
 
Posts: 39975 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
A fair part during the training phase. The instructor cadre will almost hand walk candidates to a point (If they are an idiot, well...) through training. They'll give you tips and clues, they'll question you when you're wrong: "Are you sure about that?" "You're in a swamp, how much is that throwing off your pace count?"

A lot of this is stuff that the candidate should already know going into the course.

It's not easy, and the instructor cadre and the course design will induce stress, and you get treated like an adult through these higher end courses.
But testing phase, you're on your own.


_____________________________________________________________________

"When its time to shoot, shoot. Dont talk!"

“What the government is good at is collecting taxes, taking away your freedoms and killing people. It’s not good at much else.” —Author Tom Clancy
 
Posts: 5673 | Location: Attempting to keep the noise down around Midway Airport | Registered: February 14, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
Picture of sigfreund
posted Hide Post
Thanks. That's what I was wondering about.




“I can’t give you brains, but I can give you a diploma.”
— The Wizard of Oz
 
Posts: 39975 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
  Powered by Social Strata Page 1 2  
 

SIGforum.com    Main Page  Hop To Forum Categories  Mason's Rifle Room    "A new sniper MOS? Marines are testing a ‘proof of concept’ for scout snipers"

© SIGforum 2019