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Photo Information

Staff Sgt. Harrison Porquin fires a rifle at a moving target during a skeet range at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., Oct. 7, 2015. Marines with 2nd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion held a weapons safety class and participated in the range as part of their Firearms Mentorship Program to promote proper weapons safety and education in a recreational manor. The program allows Marines to maintain their basic rifleman skills and receive further education on safety measures while handling weapons. Porquin is a warehouse chief with the battalion. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. N.W. Huertas/Released)

Photo by Cpl. N.W. Huertas

Firearms Mentorship Program offers 2nd LAAD Bn. Marines’ creative fun gun safety information

9 Oct 2015 | Cpl. N.W. Huertas 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing

Marines with 2nd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion participated in a skeet range as part of a weapons handling and safety class with the Firearms Mentorship Program at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, Oct. 7.

Members of the Firearms Mentorship Program are among the few unit-sponsored fire arms programs in the Marine Corps.  The program allows Marines of any rank to participate regardless of them owning a firearm.

“It is a brand new program and I am very excited with where it is going,” said Lt. Col. Raymond J. Placiente, the commanding officer of 2nd LAAD Bn. “Based on the Marine Expeditionary Force’s commanding general’s guidance; we were seeing a need to ensure that Marines who personally who owned fire arms are trained on the responsibilities that come with owning a firearm.  It also gives us the opportunity to provide Marines who do not yet have, but are interested in owning firearms resources to do it safely.”

According to 1st Sgt. Michael Wheeler, the headquarters and support battery first sergeant with the battalion, the Firearm Mentorship Program provides Marines with classes on weapons handling, state laws, safety procedures, and the mechanics of the weapons.

According to Wheeler, the classes can be attended by spouses and are created to ensure participants understand the importance of gun safety. The initial class taught the laws of concealed carry where approximately 15 Marines from the battalion got their concealed carry certification upon completion of the course.

“Weapons safety is paramount,” said Lance Cpl. Nathan Griffith, an automotive maintenance technician with the battalion. “Even if the weapon is not loaded, it is better to get used to having it in front of you because you get into the habit of keeping it on safe, finger off the trigger, and watching your surroundings.”

The program offers Marines a way to practice their basic riflemen skills in a recreational, but educational environment. The habits and skills they maintain throughout the program aid Marines by keeping their knowledge up-to-date and maintaining accuracy with their skills.

“One small mistake and you or someone else could either die or be severely injured,” said Griffith. “I have kids; a four-year-old and a two-year-old who one day might be interested in guns. At that point I will teach them the importance of weapons safety because you can potentially lose a family member or a friend if you are not careful.”

Along with weapons safety education, Marines are given the opportunity to interact with senior leaders within the battalion as the program is open to all ranks.

“As a Marine Corps, we should be encouraging Marines to engage in shooting sports as it practices some of the fundamentals we carry with us while out on deployments defending our nation,” said Wheeler. “Any time you can put a firearm in a Marine’s hand, you are increasing his proficiency.”  

2nd Marine Aircraft Wing