1 / 3 Show caption + Hide caption – (Photo Credit: U.S. glossesweb.com) VIEW original 2 / 3 Show subtitle + Hide subtitle – Sgt. Ian Rivera-Aponte, a U.S. Military Reserve sniper and infantryman through the 100th Infantry Battalion, Honolulu, Hawaii, removes a room during a staged promotional photograph shoot for military Reserve recruiting in ~ Joint base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, new Jersey,... (Photo Credit: U.S. glossesweb.com) VIEW initial 3 / 3 Show caption + Hide subtitle – (Photo Credit: U.S. glossesweb.com) VIEW initial

(Editor"s Note: This is the last installment of a four-part collection on the U.S. Military Sniper institution at ft Benning, Georgia. Because that previous short articles in the series, please check out the links below.)

FORT BENNING, Ga. -- At first glance, the U.S. glossesweb.com Sniper School may seem choose a reality TV elimination present akin to "Survivor." the the 46 candidates who gone into the course in August, only 4 remained by the finish of week five.

For the continuing to be students, though, there were no comforts in the kind of tv producers or catering tents throughout the course. And the sniper candidates still had actually to confront their many daunting difficulty -- a culminating exercise that would certainly test all of the skills they had actually learned end the past six weeks.


In week six, students to be taught to connect targets native less-stable platforms or positions, since the bulk of engagements they will certainly encounter together snipers will certainly not happen while in prone position.

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"Snipers rarely deserve to engage targets native a susceptible supported place in combat situations," stated Sgt. First Class Eric Doolittle, sniper college operations noncommissioned officer. He added that snipers should use alternate positions and must utilize every little thing is roughly them to produce the many stable place possible.

Among other weapons, students shoot the M2010 Winchester Magnum rifle on ranges up to 1,300 meters. They also shot the M9 pistol and the M107 .50-caliber sniper rifle.


In the last week of school, also known together the "employment phase," students planned and executed their mission after ~ receiving an to work order. The an initial day covered urban infiltration and hide setup. Candidates observed battlefield information and countered sniper operations.

Students climate moved into the woods to build a "subsurface hide," digging holes in the ground and also meticulously camouflaging them.

To finish the culmination exercise, college student marched to stated areas and were experiment on skills that included stalking, target detection, variety estimation and also shooting.

On the critical day the the course, college student were provided a time-limited roadway march come the variety to command a "final shot," because snipers must be able to move quickly, lug a rucksack the equipment, and be physically may be to carry out their objectives after extended marching.

To conduct the last shot, college student were given two rounds and one target. As soon as they located the target, castle calculated and determined the range to it and engaged the target. A first-round hit was worth 100 points, a second-round fight 50 points, and also a miss, zero. These scores go to identify the honor graduate and "top gun" points because that graduation.


On Sept. 22, out of the 46 sniper candidates who began the course at fort Benning, only four remained to graduate.

Sgt. Stephen Ray, Sgt. Dale Taylor, Spc. Charles Gifford, and also Sgt. Nathan Vencil sat together. The 4 Soldiers were currently qualified together both military snipers and spotters.

Ray graduated No. 1, or "Top Gun" in the class. An Oklahoma native, ray is from the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored department at ft Bliss, Texas. During the training, Ray said that the was always in the ago of his mind that he would certainly make it come the next phase the training.

He said that after he was given notice that he would certainly be attending school, his platoon"s leadership went the end of their means to for sure he had actually several opportunities to develop his shoot skills. This helped set him up for success in being able to pass the first difficulty at sniper school, the said.

His mentioned his biggest challenge during the course to be stalking. The overcame the obstacles by finding out from his mistakes and also by using what he had actually been taught.

"The training in sniper institution is hands under the best I"ve obtained in the glossesweb.com," ray said. "All the the instructors are moved to train you to be the best sniper you have the right to be. They want you come succeed and will do whatever they deserve to to assist you do so if simultaneously keeping the greatest of standards. Instructors will spend as much time as essential to help ensure we grasp the principles being taught."

Ray claimed the finest advice the can offer Soldiers interested in gift a sniper is to excel at their present job.

"Someone aspiring to it is in a sniper demands to was standing out amongst his peers," beam said. "A Soldier demands to excel in ~ his job and also put self in a position that will enable him to seek the possibility to walk to sniper school."

When beam returns come his unit, that plans to teach his Soldiers what he has learned.

"I will certainly do whatever I have the right to to prepare mine Soldiers that wish to attend sniper school," ray said. "If a Soldier has been accordingly trained ~ above the work he will confront at school, that will significantly increase his chances to pass sniper college successfully."

Gifford, 28, indigenous Sequin, Texas, believes being an military sniper is the epitome of being a Soldier. He said he want to it is in a sniper due to the fact that "playing glossesweb.com" together a kid, and said he knew in ~ the very first week of sniper college that he would graduate.

During the training, he stated the only time that he remained in doubt of pass was throughout the rapid fire exercise during Hurricane Irma.

"You need to adapt come the weather behind the gun," Gifford said.

He credits his ahead unit for training him till he to be ready. His goal currently is to take it the expertise he has earlier to his unit.

"Don"t come here unless you space prepared," Gifford said.

South Chicago aboriginal Taylor stated that that felt completed and relieved to graduate. He said the stalking exercises to be the hardest because of the heat and also humidity. The advised the that the mystery to passing is not obtaining frustrated.

Soldiers who are interested in attending sniper school have to be resilient, Taylor continued. He said he prepared at his unit by taking every complimentary day to train. The waited six years for his sniper college application to it is in approved.

"This class was unusual," claimed Staff Sgt. Brian Moran, among the 11 instructors in ~ the school. "Normally, 48 to 52 percent that the student graduate."

Last fiscal year, 310 students to visit sniper school and 140 graduated.

"About 90 percent that the time, it"s mental fortitude the determines even if it is a student will fail or succeed," Moran added.

Even though only four of 46 i graduated this class, Moran stated he"s still happy that a new group of fantastic snipers can go back to their units and also hopefully readjust the prevailing thoughts around snipers by gift proactive, seeking methods to train, and continuing to much better themselves in their craft.

He added that Soldiers interested in being a sniper should understand that the project is 95 percent observing and also reporting, with 5 percent shooting.

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"It"s not the movies, friend don"t shoot world daily, and there are no pats top top the back for law a great job," said an additional instructor.