Story by Cpl Sabrina Candiaflores on 08/06/2019MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. (Aug. 5, 2019) -- As he gets in the prone position, keeping both feet flat on the deck, Cpl. Jacob Campos, a Tactical Air Defense Controller assigned to Marine Air Control Squadron (MACS) 1, conducts his mental checklist of the Marine Corps rifle fundamentals; firm and high pistol grip, leaving his index finger straight and off the trigger, his cheek pressed up against the buttstock of the rifle, and ensuring he has a clear sight picture of his target. He closes his eyes, takes a deep breath in, opens his eyes and as he exhales, he slowly squeezes the trigger. These fundamentals have been drilled into Campos these past three weeks while attending the Marine Corps Combat Marksmanship Coach's (CMC) Course at MCAS Yuma.
Every Marine is a riflemen but there's always a way to improve yourself in the Marine Corps. This challenge, and helping others is what drove Campos to volunteer for the course.
"Becoming a coach has allowed me to enhance my own combative abilities so that I can help my Marines and peers do the same," said Campos. "I thoroughly enjoy teaching and sharing my knowledge and experiences with my Marines."
The CMC Course consists of six different tables. Each table is a live-fire training event focusing on different shooting scenarios in which Marines engage in stationary and moving targets from known and unknown distances during the day and night.
"Doing these different tables helps us get more comfortable with our weapon and also builds our confidence because we know not every Marine gets to experience this," stated Campos.
Campos felt like the course gave them an advantage in building the initial foundation to succeed as a Marine Corps CMC because they were able to shoot more ammunition, get hands-on training from the instructors, and correct each other's mistakes as well.
"While you're looking at your buddy, you start seeing the little things and pointing them out, then when you sit down as a shooter, it also improves you," said Campos.
Campos explained how on this course, you don't just learn to pull the trigger; you learn how to move, shoot, adjust, and communicate as a team.
"Just being able to stay calm, to be steady, to be able to work together, to shoot together, and to move together; it makes us all that more lethal," exclaimed Campos.
Campos believes it's important for the coaches to conduct these various training exercises because it makes the coaches more comfortable with their weapon and it makes the shooter feel more confident in the coaches.
The Swansboro, North Carolina native, not only passed the course with flying colors but was also humbly recognized with a Certificate of Commendation for achieving honor graduate with the highest grade point average (GPA) of a 97.8.
"The class being so competitive and learning the information and then sharing the information with each other, it didn't just help my GPA go up, it helped the class, as a whole," explained Campos. "The reason I'm so humble is because it wasn't something I got on my own, it was understanding everything because of the competitiveness of my peers and because of the instruction from my instructors. It was a good environment overall."
Campos strongly believes the course is a positive training experience that helps Marines become better shooters and better coaches: but it's not a course for everyone. He feels Marines who attend should have the desire and willingness to learn.
"This isn't something you can sleep on, if you sleep on it, you're not going to pass it. If you show you don't want it, they're not going to give it to you," stated Campos. "This is something you earn and that's what I really like about this course."