Marines representing Expeditionary Operations Training Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force, participated in the 2015 annual International Sniper Competition in Fort Benning, Georgia.
Staff Sgt. James Stroope and Sgt. Jordan Davis, reconnaissance and surveillance instructors as well as infantry snipers, participated in the competition in order to test their marksmanship skills against both American and international teams.
The competition was held by the United States Army, which consisted of 37 two-man sniper teams from around the world. Each team was challenged with 17 grueling events to become recognized as the best team.
The competition tested on ones ability to perform marksmanship fundamentals, advanced marksmanship fundamentals, firing at known and unknown distance targets, also provides cover for field craft in the form of stalking exercises designed tests the team’s ability to perform undetected.
Participants must have graduated from a recognized sniper school in order to enter the competition.
The competitors were required to shoot an M4 carbine, M40 A5 sniper rifle and 9mm pistol at close distances in order to test their weapons manipulation ability to hit standing and moving targets, and night known and unknown distances. Shooters used mill-relation to measure an unknown distance and size of a target.
“It was challenging,” said Davis. “It really opens your eyes to the new stuff that’s out there, like the new moving targets that the army is using. They are phenomenal because they give real world feedback, it’s almost life like.”
Prior to events in the competition the teams performed different exercises that physically exhausted competitors, such as sprints, deadlifts of 225lbs for 20 reps, (as a team) in order to make the events more challenging also tests their ability to work under stress situations while adapting to surroundings.
Over the course of the competition, they went through stress event after stress event, on top of the events themselves, they are kept in the dark. Also competitors don’t know where they stand at any time, the stress of that can really wear on you as time goes on. Not to mention there is no sleep and no time to prep.
Once the competition ended, the Marines finished in fourth place and are eager to return next year, if given the opportunity. The competition was inspired by the events of September 11th. Organizers wanted to get all the snipers under one roof across the force and work together as a community.
– Isaac Semper Fidelis