Future Marines in training spent a Saturday learning all about weapons as a part of a recruiting pool function held at Quantico Tactical in Aberdeen, North Carolina, Oct. 10.
The future Marines – or poolees as they are known in the recruiting process – were led by Marines with Marine Corps Recruiting Sub-station Aberdeen, North Carolina, who taught classes on proper weapons handling, aiming and marksmanship. The Marines wanted to give the poolees a unique experience and teach them skill sets that would be useful for them during recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina.
“We wanted to give the poolees an opportunity to learn basic weapons handling in a stress-free environment where they could ask lots of questions so they’re not blindsided at recruit training,” said Sgt. Ronald L. Richards, a recruiter with Marine Corps Recruiting Sub-station Aberdeen.
Inside of a warehouse in the back of Quantico Tactical, a military supply store that sells weapons and weapon attachments, the Marines set up two training stations with AR-15s, the civilian equivalent to the military issued M-16 or M-4 service rifles.
At one station, Sgt. Michael C. Martinez, a former marksmanship instructor and Challis, Idaho, native, taught the poolees the Marines Corps weapon’s safety rules, how to properly clear a weapon and techniques for the seated firing position.
At the other station, Richards, a former marksmanship instructor, taught the poolees the cycle of operations of the AR-15, how to disassemble the weapon and how to do a proper function test once it is reassembled.
“I think people like this because you’re learning something you’ll get to use and it’s a hands-on experience,” said Jeffrey W. Patrick, a Rockingham, North Carolina, native and poolee with Marine Corps Recruiting Sub-station Aberdeen.
The poolees will reacquaint themselves with this material when they qualify on the rifle range during recruit training, but until then, this is a unique experience away from the standard physical training of monthly pool functions.
“This makes me really excited,” said Patrick. “When you don’t get to do this stuff it makes it feel like a distant dream. But, doing this makes it feel like it’s right around the corner.”
The poolees spent a little over an hour with the weapons.
“I think it went phenomenally well,” said Richards, a Free Port, Illinois, native. “There was a lot of active participation, and it was a great opportunity for those who have never handled or even seen a weapon.”
“Quantico Tactical is here to provide support to organizations, and this was a great opportunity for us to use the facility to do so,” said Robbie Haire, the general manager of Quanitco Tactical and Spring Hope, North Carolina, native. “Anything we can do to help, we do.”