The Marines have some of the most highly-trained and skilled marksmen in the military. The sayings "Every Marine a rifleman" and "One shot, one kill" have become part of Marine Corps tradition, and all "devil dogs" take it very seriously.
So it stands to reason that this branch of the service would invest a lot of time and resources into training these shooters. That's where the marksmanship coach comes in.
Marksmanship coach is categorized as a free military occupational specialty (FMOS), meaning it's open to all Marines, regardless of what their primary MOS is. Most FMOS have requirements separate from those of a Marine's primary MOS.
The Marine Corps categorizes this job as PMOS 0933. It's open to enlisted Marines holding a rank from private to sergeant. Most are recommended or volunteered for this training by their commanding officer only after showing talent with a weapon.
Duties of Marine Marksmanship Coaches
Marksmanship coaches train shooters in both dry and live-fire exercises in all phases of the Marine Corps marksmanship program, during both qualification and re-qualification. They also assist in the operation of firing ranges.
It's up to these Marines to make sure marksman trainees are getting training that's suited to their skills, so they're learning and improving at an acceptable pace. Marksmanship coaches work closely with marksmanship instructors, and in fact, many marksmanship coaches are instructors-in-training.
Marksmanship coaches train lower-grade Marines in using the M16 rifle, the standard Marine Corps weapon, as well as the M9 pistol. Coaches spend a lot of time on the firing ranges helping novice shooters improve, and experienced shooters prepare for recertification tests.
It's worth noting that as with many instructor jobs, a good shooter doesn't automatically make a good shooting coach. It takes patience and the ability to explain the technique clearly to Marines of all ranks, regardless of how well or how poorly they shoot. Detailed knowledge of the weapons used is key to success in this job.
Training for Marine Marksmanship Coaches
Active-duty Marine Corps combat marksmanship coach trainees take a three-week course at the Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia. It's an intensive program, with classes taking anywhere from eight to ten hours a day. Reserve Marines have longer instruction days of up to 14 hours over a two-week period. But all are fully trained as coaches when they complete the training program.
Marines on active duty seeking this job must have a minimum of one year of time in service (TIS), and at least one year remaining on their contract when they graduate from the Combat Marksmanship Program (CMP).
Also, Marines need to meet current height and weight standards and have vision correctable to 20/20 to qualify for MOS 0933.
Job Requirements for Marine Marksmanship Coaches
Before you can serve in this FMOS, you must be qualified with a service rifle with a classification of sharpshooter or above. You'll need to take the Marine marksman course (MCI 0367A), and a marksmanship coach course (MCC) program of instruction.