Few Marines know firearms better than a gunner, a specific designation for warrant officers in the infantry field, easily identified by their pineapple bursting-bomb insignia (on those occasions when you actually, you know, see one.) That and the vice-like grip they typically have on a cup of coffee.
In his most recent video, Chief Warrant Officer Christian Wade, the 2nd Marine Division’s resident gunner, lays out what it takes to be the go-to firearms expert in a service that prides itself on every Marine being a rifleman.
“If one is truly humble and willing to improve, is one ever a master?” Wade says in the video, as the camera cuts between shots of the salty senior Marine philosophizing in a poncho-draped lawn chair behind a pickup truck and running shooting drills at a range. “Because I can tell you this, I’m not a master, but I want to be, and I’ll do what it takes to get better and better. I think mastery is more of a journey, more of a state of mind, than it is an actual thing.”
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The newest video is the first in a three-part series focusing on Wade’s role as a division gunner, and part of a larger project called “Gunner’s Fact or Fiction” where he answers questions on everything from how well the Glock 19 measures up to the M9 Beretta and tips on getting a perfect battlefield zero. However, the newest clip is a bit of a departure from past videos, with fewer rounds down range and more rumination on what it takes to excel in a field where the stakes are, understandably, very high.
“Being the gunner in the 2nd Marine Division, what it means to me is: every day I get up in the morning trying to be good enough to hold that title,” Wade says. “What drives me in everything I can do is the fact that I don’t want to be unworthy of standing in front of a platoon of Marines.”