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The Marine Corps is closing down its Scout Sniper platoons

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The Marine Corps is closing down its famous scout sniper platoons. According to official messages that were shared on social media last week, Marine Corps units will be moving away from scout sniper platoons to what will only be known as “scout platoons.”

The change is part of the Marine Corps Force Design 2030, which is the service’s plan to reshape itself for modern conflicts.

However, Marine special operations units and reconnaissance battalions will continue to field their own school-trained snipers. 

Beginning in October 2024, the three Marine Corps bases (Camp Lejeune, Camp Pendleton, and Marine Corps Base Quantico) that billet scout sniper courses will no longer accept students for the three-month-long course.

Related: MARSOC: A guide to becoming an elite Marine Raider

Many Marines are concerned with the long-term loss of critical capabilities of Marine infantry units.

“I’m worried about the loss of combat capabilities,” retired Master Sgt. Tim Parkhurst, the chief executive officer of the nonprofit USMC Scout Sniper Association, said.

“You can’t take a scout and get him to do the same thing a sniper can do. A scout is not a scout sniper,” he added. 

Parkhurst said that because “most commanders don’t exercise the capability while they’re in training” they don’t understand what a squad or team of Scout Snipers can provide.

“Scout Snipers have served the Marine Corps since World War II,” Captain Ryan Bruce, a USMC spokesman, said in a statement. He added that the Scout Sniper Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) will no longer be awarded and that the Marine Corps will establish a Reconnaissance Sniper MOS “which will be organic to reconnaissance battalions.”

“Precision rifle capability will remain within the infantry company, and the Marine Corps will continue to maintain school-trained snipers within Marine Reconnaissance and Marine Special Operations units,” said Bruce.

The current scout sniper course has very high standards, and only about 44% of the Marines selected for the course graduate.

However, being a Marine Scout Sniper is only a secondary MOS. Because of this, many Marines either get out of the service in favor of Army or Navy units, in which they can continue to function as snipers, or go through selection to become Recon Marines or Marine Raiders, the Marine Corps special operation units.

Feature Image: Infantry Marines, with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, practice observing and sighting in on a moving target in the Arabian Sea. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Davin Brink Clapp/Released)

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