Private First Class Austin Ferrell will try real hard to remember the advice his senior drill instructor gave him the day he became a full fledged member of the Marines, “Stay humble.” While that’s generally a challenge for any Marine after completing the grueling three months of training required, Ferrell is extra special. His rifle range score earned him the title “deadliest recruit on Parris Island.”
Deadliest recruit the Marines ever trained
While assigned to Kilo Company’s 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot located on Parris Island, South Carolina, Ferrell’s marksmanship earned him the title of the “deadliest recruit” the Marines have yet produced.
On Table 1, new Marines can shoot a possible score of 250 for rounds fired “from the prone, kneeling, standing and sitting position from 200 yards, 300 yards and 500 yards.” PFC Ferrell scored a 248. Table 2 separates the snipers from the assassins. The challenge presented by Table 2 “consists of close range fire at multiple targets and moving targets.” The dead-eye marksman scored a perfect 100 points. That was good enough to qualify for the all time record. Goat humping Muslims fighting for ISIS are not going to want to run into Austin Ferrell on the battlefield.
Private Ferrell quickly caught the attention of his instructors as soon as he arrived at boot camp. He was promoted to guide during his second week. He managed to hold onto it as well, which isn’t easy for young Marines. Ferrell retained the promotion until he graduated. His leadership skills were above average but it was on the rifle range where he really stood out.
Shooting since he was five
Once he captured the attention of America by shattering the base record, Ferrell told interviewers that “I have been shooting since I was five or six.” Long before he signed up for the Marines, he started with a .22 under the watchful eye of his father. “but it has drastically changed since then,” Ferrell added. When he heard some of the other recruits bragging about their marksmanship skills, Ferrell kept quiet.
Even though he kept his opinions to himself, Ferrell couldn’t help notice the sign displayed at the entrance to the rifle range. The Marines proudly posted “the name of the record-holding recruit for platoons to see as they marched by.” One day, he couldn’t help making a remark. “I was joking with my PMI (Primary Marksmanship Instructor) the day before pr-qual that if I broke the record, how long it would take to get my name on the board.” The training instructor “just smirked.” He’s not smirking now.
The sniper in training spent his first practice day on the range “getting to know the rifle, focusing on getting tight groupings before adjusting his rifle combat optic.” He didn’t attract any attention from other Marines with his scores but he felt really confident he would shoot well when it counted. On the big day, from 200 yards standing he got a perfect score. That’s when the coaches started noticing. “I had the range NCO and a lot of the coaches coming up to me and ripping the score card out of the hands of the recruit keeping score,” Ferrell noted. “I was told by the recruits in the pits that were doing my target that all of the drill instructors were over there talking to make sure I wasn’t cheating, because they couldn’t believe it either.”
The only two misses came from the 300 yard line while sitting. “I’m honestly not sure what happened there, I thought they were good shots but something was off. The first couple of days after I did break the record I was more disappointed in myself than excited. there is no excuse for missing those two points.” Table 2 didn’t even make him work up a sweat. He’s got his own arsenal of assault rifles at home and has been playing Rambo on the range since he was 16, which is one of the reasons he joined the Marines.