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US Army special operators take first place in international sniper competition

U.S. Army special operators recently put their world-class marksmanship on display when they took home first place in an annual international sniper competition held in North Carolina.

The event, which the U.S. Army Special Operations Command has hosted at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg since 2004, routinely tests the abilities of personnel from several branches of the U.S. military and abroad.

According to the Army Times, this year’s contest featured two-man teams from France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, and Switzerland in addition to teams from across the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Secret Service, and the Coast Guard.

The competition, which took place March 21-25, tested the sharpshooters on a variety of different skill sets needed to execute the task of a sniper, all while seeking to simulate the experiences of real combat.

In all, the teams were put through 23 different scenarios that measured the snipers’ and spotters’ long-, medium-, and short-range marksmanship capabilities, according to Insider.

“The sniper teams face lanes that force them to maneuver over and around obstacles to establish a firing position and make engagement on a target. In other lanes, they might have to be in a static position while other challenges that make it hard are presented, like targets that move behind obstacles,” said Col. Matthew Tucker, commanding officer of the Army’s 2nd Special Warfare Training Group, in a statement.

“It could be everything from taking exceptionally long shots to dealing with complex situations to how they communicate about what they happen to be seeing in a given situation that we might set up for them,” he added.

In the end, the event’s host, the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, won first prize. Insider noted that “the generic name may mean it was composed of members of Delta Force, a secretive unit the Army rarely acknowledges.”

Coming in second was a team of French SAS commandos, followed by the U.S. Army National Guard’s 20th Special Forces Group in third. In fourth was a team of Marine Raider sniper instructors, and in fifth was a team from Germany’s special operations unit, Kommando Spezialkräfte.

The full order of team rankings is provided in the Army Times report.

Participants noted that this year’s competition took on a special consideration given Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine.

Tucker remarked to the Times that all of the international participants were from Europe, where they “currently face a common threat there that harkens back to the Cold War.”

“So this has been a great opportunity for us, this year, to improve the interoperability that will be required of all of us to meet treaty obligations with NATO as well as with other allies,” he said.

(H/T: Business Insider)