WSJ: Sniper Competetion

This is a discussion on WSJ: Sniper Competetion within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Where Snipers Meet to Compete Wall Street Journal By MARK YOST Fort Benning, Ga. On a warm day in mid-October, two Army snipers crept into ...

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    Post WSJ: Sniper Competetion

    Where Snipers Meet to Compete
    Wall Street Journal
    By MARK YOST


    Fort Benning, Ga.

    On a warm day in mid-October, two Army snipers crept into an abandoned building in a deserted urban landscape. Their mission? To find an enemy sniper team operating in the area and eliminate it.



    While these countersniper missions take place almost daily in Iraq and Afghanistan, this particular one was part of the ninth annual U.S. Army International Sniper Competition. This year's event featured 31 two-man teams made up of Rangers, Marines and National Guardsmen, as well as sharpshooters from the U.K. Sniper Wing, the Connecticut State Police and the FBI's Los Angeles SWAT team.

    According to the Army Sniper Association, the official purpose of the competition is "to bring teams together to share battlefield lessons learned, provide training initiatives and ideas, and to compete tactically and technically."

    But it's also about bragging rights. Or, as Sgt. Mike Snyder, head of the Army Sniper School, said, "It's to identify the best two-man sniper team in the world."

    To do that, the sniper teams—made up of one shooter and a spotter to help him locate and estimate the distance to the target—competed over seven days here recently, testing many of the skills they use on the battlefield. To make it more difficult, teams don't know anything about each mission until they show up on the range that day. Then they must gather their equipment, plan the mission and carry it out. At the end of the seven days, the team that has performed the best overall wins.

    Among the events this year was a nighttime land-navigation exercise. Snipers had to stealthily make their way to checkpoints scattered across this sprawling base that straddles the Georgia-Alabama border and features steep wooded hillsides and snake-infested rivers. Other events included close-range pistol shooting, as well as firing at targets from a hovering helicopter.

    While many of these events take place in remote locations, one event that the public could watch was "the stalk," which is exactly what it sounds like. The goal was to get within range of a small metal bull's-eye target and hit it without being spotted. To conceal themselves, the snipers donned ghillie suits, a draping camouflage mesh outfit that they adorn with local foliage, grass and dirt—anything that they think will help them blend into their surroundings. Then they creep and crawl, sometimes moving only inches at a time, until they have a clear shot at the target. All the time, sharp-eyed officials are watching for grass rustling, branches moving, or any odd shapes or colors on the landscape that would reveal the sniper team's position.

    While the competitors—who asked that I use only their first names—said that all of the events were challenging, they found the long-distance shooting tests the hardest. That's because when they're shooting at targets 1,000 yards away, they must factor in wind, temperature, even barometric pressure. And then there's what snipers call "milling." The scopes they look through have small dots that help them gauge the distance to a target. But they must know the size of the target to figure the distance correctly. For these shooters, that target is usually a human torso. In fact, they're so good at figuring those distances that it's almost second nature to them. So to challenge them here the targets vary in size, from a playing card to a metal plate that's 19.5 inches in diameter.

    "Milling was definitely the hardest part of the competition," said Ricky, 42, a Special Forces instructor at Fort Bragg.

    Competitors said that experience—both in the real world and in this competition—is also a big factor here. Tim and Kevin are both instructors at the Armor School at Fort Knox, Ky., and have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan as snipers. Last year, they competed here for the first time and it was, to use their words, "a complete disaster."

    "After the first two days, we were dead last," said Tim, 29.

    They eventually pulled it together and finished 12th overall. They came back this year and did much better, finishing second.

    "The difference was definitely the lessons we learned here last year," said Kevin, 28.

    Other snipers agreed that this is not only a great place to test yourself against your peers, but to learn.

    "By coming here, we're picking up tips on procedures currently used in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Sgt. Uel Fisher of the Irish Defence Forces.

    So who turned out to be the best two-man sniper team in the world?

    A couple of sharpshooters from the Marine Corps finished first, followed by the snipers from Fort Knox, two Army Special Forces snipers and a team from the 82nd Airborne.

    Teams based here at Fort Benning, home of the Army Sniper School, have won the past two years, but it shouldn't be a surprise that a team of Marines came out on top. After all, the Marine Corps is the only service that considers everyone—including cooks, accountants and even the commandant—to be a rifleman.

    And that's what this competition is all about.
    Awesome article on sniper teams, written for the layman/WSJ reader...........

    It'd be a blast to see this!

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    A couple of sharpshooters from the Marine Corps finished first, followed by the snipers from Fort Knox, two Army Special Forces snipers and a team from the 82nd Airborne.
    Ooh Rah Marine Corps!

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    the Marine Corps is the only service that considers everyone—including cooks, accountants and even the commandant—to be a rifleman.
    Semper Fi do or die

    Here in Iraq all the troops carry their weapons at all times on base but......It is rare to see a Marine without a mag for his rifle; and just as rare to see a Doggie (army) with a mag, different mind set I guess.

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    After all, the Marine Corps is the only service that considers everyone—including cooks, accountants and even the commandant—to be a rifleman.

    Is true for those in the Marine band?
    The last Blood Moon Tetrad for this millennium starts in April 2014 and ends in September 2015...according to NASA.

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    Is true for those in the Marine band?
    Yes, Sir.

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    Semper Fi Devil Dogs. I had to fight skipping to the end of the story to see who won.

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    as if you didn't know who would win.

    You do know why the Marines don't have a football team, right.
    "Words can be as lethal as bullets; Choose them carefully, Aim them well & Use them sparingly."

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    A couple of sharpshooters from the Marine Corps finished first, followed by the snipers from Fort Knox, two Army Special Forces snipers and a team from the 82nd Airborne.

    Teams based here at Fort Benning, home of the Army Sniper School, have won the past two years, but it shouldn't be a surprise that a team of Marines came out on top. After all, the Marine Corps is the only service that considers everyone—including cooks, accountants and even the commandant—to be a rifleman.
    Well heck, if we only sent guys who qualified as sharpshooters, what would about those with expert badges?

    I'm honestly not surprised though, every sniped I've ever interacted with has beeen a top notch professional. Semper Fi.
    Fortes Fortuna Juvat

    Former, USMC 0311, OIF/OEF vet
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    Quote Originally Posted by retsupt99 View Post
    After all, the Marine Corps is the only service that considers everyone—including cooks, accountants and even the commandant—to be a rifleman.

    Is true for those in the Marine band?

    If my memory hasn't failed the band members were trained as a weapons platoon (1961-1071 USMC ret)

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    Now that would make a great show on the Military channel.

    I can see the line up for a whole Sat.

    1. Sniper competition
    2. Best Ranger competition
    3. Marine Boot Camp: Making Marines
    4. A few documentaries on the weapons used today vs. the past
    5. Some documentaries on the branches of the military


    Sign me up and bring on the snacks!
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    It actually was on TV. I don't remember which channel it was, but they covered the entire competition. It was pretty cool.
    Ignorance can be cured. Stupid is forever.

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