February 2, 2013

Rangers: Two Nights in Tal Afar (Part II)

I headed to the ready room and conducted a Pre Combat Inspection (PCI) on my gear, weapon system, and radio after our team had a look at the imagery of the proposed target building.  As it looked, all the buildings were of similar height in the neighborhood and we would have a difficult time obtaining the preferred advantage point that sniper teams thrive on.

We would need a place close to the target building, probably on the roof of a building similar in height.

Since we were heading out the door with an extra man–one who had many more years experience than me–I was given the job as the primary security man for our team. I would be tasked with the job of being the leading man in the element, and the one who would clear the roof before our team moved into place. After the leaders meeting and the briefing, we headed out to the vehicles and began our journey into unknown territory.

When riding inside of a steel cage such as a Stryker, one must find mechanisms to arrive mentally before hitting an enemy target. I enjoyed picturing myself on the range, watching the wind change, focusing on the fundamentals, squeezing the trigger and reliving the smell that a rife gives off right after it has fired. Then I would sleep. Kase would always wake me up 10 minutes before arriving at the target.

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About the Author

I served in 3rd Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment from 2003-2008. Almost four years of the time spent in 3/75 was spent in the sniper section. I am a graduate of US Army Airborne School, US Army Ranger School, US Army Sniper School, Special Forces Sniper Course, and the US Marine Corps Summer Mountain Scout Sniper Course. I have competed in the US Army International Sniper Competition as well as the US Army Small Arms Championships on three separate occasions. I currently live in Corvallis, Oregon and hold a Bachelors of Science in Biology from Oregon State University.

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  • Dingo1

    Awesome read so detailed with the smells of the city and preparing mentally to the smile at the end :-) that made me smile. Respect

  • Txazz

    Another excellent article and the end was even better - a good one.  Was another 'felt like I was there' moment.  Am so glad you are here telling your own stories.  Really enjoying the photos with your article.

  • JMO86

    @isaiahzb Greetings for Portland! I have longed to be SOF from the beginning of time however my time in the military and life had a different course for me. I appreciate the work of you and your fellow brethren, the world is a much safer place. I await your future articles with much excitement.

  • StormR

    @isaiahzb Ahhh, that makes sense.  He was more experienced as a sniper than you were and it was primarily a sniper mission.  That was the piece I missed :)   I should tell you that I've worked for a library for over 30 years, am an avid reader and review books as a hobby.  So, my compliment was sincere because I recognize and appreciate good writing.  Great ideas or experiences for stories can go down in flames if the author is not a good storyteller.  You have the 'it' factor :)

  • isaiahzb

    @StormR Many thanks for the compliment. For a sniper team, the security generally doesn't carry a sniper style weapon system. As a security guy I was just a rifleman that night and therefore able to maneuver/engage faster in an urban environment. Hope that helps.