Recruiters are constantly engaged with the mission of finding qualified young men and women to join the Marine Corps. They are not always afforded the opportunity to develop the core skills that make them Marines.
Some recruiters attack any opportunity to flex their Marine Corps muscle, and Gunnery Sgt. Joe Phathachack, the Assistant Recruiter Instructor for the Midwest Marines of Twin Cities, took the opportunity at the Depot Competition in Arms Program (DCIAP) to do just that.
“Recruiting was going good,” said Gunnery Sergeant Joe Phathachack, who was hand-selected to represent the command. “The (station) was making mission, so I jumped at the chance to attend the competition.”
“I’ve participated in the matches before,” explained Phathachack, a sixteenth award rifle expert, “so I have a little bit of experience. The [recruiting station] chose the best to represent the best.”
Evidence of his experience can be seen as he wears his Individual Sliver Rifle Medal, the Lloyd Trophy Rifle Team Medal and the Shively Trophy Pistol Team Medal. Unfortunately going into the DCIAP, this decorated marksman hadn’t shot a rifle or pistol since 2003.
“It’s been over seven years since I shot a rifle or pistol,” said Phathachack. “But it’s like riding a bike, once I got on the firing line and started putting rounds down range; the fundamentals came back to me. Before I knew it, I was hitting black.”
Remembering and applying the fundamentals of marksmanship paid off for Phathachack. He came in ninth place for the rifle portion, eighteenth for the pistol and twelfth for the overall competition.
Phathachack's performance was instrumental in propelling the 9th Marine Corps District shooting team to second place in the competition, while claiming the Gunners Trophy.
“It was good to know I still had it,” said Phathachack. “It was even better to place.”
With the DCIAP completed, Phathachack now has his sights set on competing in the Western Division Matches at Camp Pendleton, Calif.
“I’m sure there are Marines out there who can out shoot me,” Phathachack declared, “but my plan is to bring home a medal.”