DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY
HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
8 Jun 1964
Mr. J. Lee Rankin
President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy
200 Maryland Avenue NE
Washington, D. C. 20002
Dear Mr. Rankin:
This is in reply to your letter of 2 June 1964 relative to marksmanship capabilities of Lee Harvey OSWALD, former Private First Class, 1653230, U. S. Marine Corps. In view of the lapse of time since Mr. Oswald was separated from the Marine Corps, it would be impossible to ascertain precisely the number of hours in which he participated in weapons marksmanship practice or how many rounds of ammunition he fired. In addition, the service records of the Marine Corps are designed only to show what formalized marksmanship practice and marksmanship qualification courses a Marine has fired. As you will note from Mr. Oswald's service record book, a copy of which I believe the Commission has in its custody, the form marked NAVMC 118(6)-PD (Rev. 7-54) shows Mr. Oswald's weapons firing record.
During the time Oswald fired at the Weapons Training Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, he was attached to the Second Recruit Training Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California. At the time he completed familiarization firing at the range at the Naval Air Station Atsugi, Japan, he was attached to Marine Air Control Squadron Marine Aircraft Group 11, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. At the times he fired the range at the Marine Corps Air Facility, Santa Ana, and Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro, California he was attached to Marine Air Control Squadron 9, Marine Wing Headquarters Group, 3d Marine Aircraft Wing.
The information provided to the right of the final qualification column is not contained in his service records but is based upon regulations in effect at the time. In addition, under course "A" you will notice the entry of 212MM. This final qualification score being designated as MM (marksman) is in error and should have read SS (sharpshooter).
For Course "A", as shown above, qualification scores were as follows:
EXPERT - 220; SHARPSHOOTER - 210: MARKSMAN - 190
The Course marked "B", the qualification is:
EXPERT - 225; SHARPSHOOTER - 215: MARKSMAN - 191
Regarding a comparison of the Marine Corps requirements with those of other services, it is believed that the requirements of the other services can best be obtained by you directly from those services. Enclosed, however, are copies of Marine Corps regulations describing the several marksmanship courses. These were effective at the time Oswald was on active duty in the Marine Corps.
The Marine Corps considers that any reasonable application of the instructions given to Marines should permit them to become qualified at least as marksman. To become qualified as sharpshooter, the Marine Corps is of the opinion that most Marines with a reasonable amount of adaptability to weapons firing can become so qualified. Consequently a low marksman qualification indicates a rather poor "shot" and a sharpshooter qualification indicates a fairly good "shot". I trust the foregoing will serve the purpose of your inquiry.
[s] A.G. Folsom Jr.
A.G. FOLSOM, JR.
Lieutenant Colonel U.S. Marine Corps
Head, Records Branch, Personnel Department
By direction of the Commandant of the Marine Corps
(1) Copies of MARCOR Regs
describing marksmanship courses