Reconnaissance Marines now have a quicker path to becoming snipers than in the past, thanks to a new course meant to cut out redundant training while teaching new skills tailored for reconnaissance units.
The Reconnaissance Training Company, stationed out of Camp Pendleton, California, has created a nine-week reconnaissance sniper course that was launched on Jan. 19, Coffee or Die, run by veteran-owned Black Rifle Coffee Company, first reported.
The new course cuts out three weeks from the regular scout sniper course. The cut training “overlaps” with training recon Marines already receive while going through the intense Basic Reconnaissance Course to earn the 0321 recon military occupational specialty.
“The Reconnaissance Sniper Course (RSC) is designed to provide the skills from SSC not already covered in BRC for Reconnaissance Marines to bring 0317 capabilities back to a Reconnaissance Battalion,” Capt. Sam Stephenson, a spokesman for Marine Corps Training and Education Command, told Marine Corps Times on Thursday.
Lance Cpl. Alexa Barth graduated from the grueling 12-week course Nov. 7.
The recon Marines also will learn some “advanced marksmanship skills” not taught in the normal scout sniper course, Stephenson said.
Though the recon Marines will not earn the coveted 0317 scout sniper secondary MOS, the Marines should come away from the reconnaissance sniper course with skills tailored specifically for the reconnaissance mission while increasing the scout sniper course slots available for regular Marine infantry.
In the past the Corps has had a shortage of Marine snipers.
In 2016 the Marine course’s graduation rate was only 44 percent, well short of the 56 percent graduation rate of 2012, Marine Corps Times previously reported.
Another experiment to help to supply more sharpshooters to the fleet was put on hold indefinitely in fall 2020.
The new course would create 0315 Marine scouts with advanced patrolling and scouting skills who would be mentored by 0317 scout snipers once they returned to their unit.
At least three traditional scout sniper courses were put on hold to make room for the proof of concept 0315 course, which was pushed back multiple times before it ultimately was put on hold.