MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Marines with Alpha, Bravo and Delta Companies, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division trained on the M107 .50 Caliber Special Application Scoped Rifle, or SASR, at a range aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, NC, April 21-23, 2014.
Weighing close to 30 pounds and nearly 60 inches in total length, the SASR is designed to give commanders the tactical option of taking out a strategic target from a set distance while minimizing collateral damage.
The purpose of training these Marines on the weapon system was to qualify designated Marines to safely, efficiently and effectively employ the SASR in accordance to the commander’s intent.
Before personnel were able to fire the weapon system, they were given a number of classes over ballistics, effects of weather on the SASR, range cards and shooting positions; all which correlate to give the shooter the perfect shot.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Sam Mortimer, the Battalion Gunner, said that receiving these classes prior to shooting the weapon proved to be an essential part of the training.
“You have to learn how to utilize the scope, which is the scout sniper day scope, along with the scout sniper observation telescope. You have to know how to use it before you come out here and shoot live fire. This is just a confirmation on what they’ve learned over the last couple of days,” Mortimer said.
LAR Marines received a lot of information during these classes, but generally agreed that the most important class received was range and targets.
Corporal Ryan Tong, a squad leader with Bravo Company, said that it’s a very important class, especially for the Marines that don’t know a lot about trying to get their distances. Tong claims that this specific class will better help the Marines measure out how many meters away they are shooting, and help with their aim as well.
After receiving two days of classes, it was finally time to show what the Marines learned by practical application in firing the weapon. However, they needed to continue to concentrate, even outside of the classroom, on working well with their partners.
“The hardest part of firing the weapon is communication between the gunner and the spotter because you really have to be in sync with each other and know what the other person is talking about,” said Tong.
Mortimer and Tong both agreed that being able to appropriately employ the SASR within the battalion will make the unit more efficient.
“It gives the company commanders another tool they can use out there on the battlefield. We have scouts in the back of every vehicle so if they’re outside of them doing reconnaissance, it allows the scouts to hit what they see if they need to and then move forward,” said Mortimer.
Tong said that it’s almost like a second chance weapon that allows the scouts to engage the enemy and lightly armored enemy vehicles, and it essentially gives the scouts their own protection when they’re away from their vehicles.
Upon completion of the training the Marines can agree that along with empowering LAR with a great weapon system, the SASR is not only an essential weapon system to the unit, but to the Marine Corps as well.