CAMP HANSEN, OKINAWA, Japan --
As the sun came up over the hills and through the trees, U.S. Marines were already on the range waiting for their first match of the day.
The Australian Army hosted 20 teams from 18 countries around the world to compete in the Australian Army Skills at Arms Meeting in Puckapunyal, Australia from May 14-26, 2017.
"It's a great way to bolster partnerships and camaraderie among the shooting community for all the militaries within the Pacific," said Capt. Jacob Castillo, intelligence officer for 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, team captain. "The most exciting part of this competition is being exposed to different types of shooting and different tactics from other countries.”
Unlike most of the other teams who train together in competition-style marksmanship year round, the Marines from 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment and Weapons Training Battalion came together for two weeks to compete for the first time as a team.
"We understood that we are not a typical shooting team — we are [Marines] that happen to shoot very well," said Castillo.
The competition’s best shooter was Sgt. Woli Hamzan with the Indonesian Army.
The competition’s champion team was Tentara Nasional Indonesia Angkatan Darat.
The awards for the U.S. Marine Corps team were:
Sgt. Damian Knight and Lance Cpl. Colton Rine, 3rd place in Sniper Scenario 1
Staff Sgt. Jay Baldino, top shot for the U.S. Marine Corps team
Castillo said the training we receive as Marines helped prepare them for this competition.
“We're from an infantry battalion," said Castillo. "We don't train to shoot competitions. We train for combat.”