US Marines, Italians share sniper rifles during Eager Lion 12

15 May 2012 | Sgt. Richard Blumenstein

Snipers with the Italian Army joined with Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s Scout Sniper Platoon, May 15, for a day of scouting, spotting and engaging targets with each other’s sniper rifles during bilateral training as part of Exercise Eager Lion 12.

The day of training served a two-fold purpose. First, to increase the snipers overall proficiency by providing them the opportunity to learn from one another and secondly to prepare them for the exercise’s culminating event where the snipers will work together, said 1st Lt. Douglas Rendall, the Scout Sniper platoon commander from the 24th MEU’s Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment.

“Working with the Italians is big because we are going to be partnered with them as the reconnaissance asset for the culminating event,” Rendall said. “So we have started working our TTPs (tactics techniques and procedures) together for that.”

The Marines and Italians spent the day firing at targets 600 meters away. They fired each others’ weapons to gain a better understanding of each others’ capabilities.

“One of the huge benefits for us is seeing the capabilities of their weapons systems vice ours,” said Sgt. Brian Sheet, a scout sniper with the 24th MEU. “It definitely will help us, in our opinion, for future weapons systems that we may be able to procure.”

They also swapped spotters, the person who assists the sniper by providing adjustments to the weapon, to learn each others’ standard operating procedures for getting rounds on target.

“If I become familiar with my spotter it’s easy for me to make corrections,” said Cpl. Robert Henderson, another of the MEU’s scout snipers. “If I switch my spotter, there are rough spots with my shooting. If we all become familiar with each other we become one interchangeable element.”

An interchangeability that will surely pay huge dividends during Exercise Eager Lion 12’s final training evolution, which will incorporate a myriad of events among all participating nations.