I remember specifically while go through the scout sniper basic course the SNCOIC gave us all an assignment in the early days of training. The assignment was to find a sniper who came before us and give a presentation on how he effected the sniper community. He could be from any branch of service and from any conflict. From that day forward, after the presentation, we were to carry this short biography around as a pocket item in order to remember and pay respect to the men who paved the way for snipers on the battlefield.
I have since left the military but I still keep in contact with most of the snipers I had the privilege to work with. It always surprised me how you could meet a sniper from across the coast and you would be able to relate with him through somebody else or perhaps an area you have operated in down range or even an instructor you both shared at some point. I actually met a man near my home who happened to be a Marine sniper in Viet Nam, he noticed I had a Marine Corp flag outside my apartment and stopped by. We got to talking and learned we both had been Marine snipers which lead to a hearty back slap and then he handed me a book he was mentioned in called, Point of Aim Point of Impact. He then told me to keep in touch and even stopped by once more to see how I was doing. He remains active in the Marine Corps Scout Sniper Association and still sees his old team mates during platoon outings.
While there are many snipers out there who aren’t known publicly and haven’t had the opportunity to share their story, there are a few that have. Here on SOFREP it gives people the ability to connect with them on different levels whether thats just reading their story, watching the show or actively commenting and getting feedback. This is how I learned of guys like Chris Kyle.
Which brings me to mid January at training course in Texas with five other fellow former military snipers. Some who were from the Marine Corps and others from the Army. It was fascinating how we all new each other in some way from either friends or colleagues who have served together, taught together or fought together. During this course several of us often had lengthy discussions of men who have shaped the community in different ways and this is where the name Chris Kyle fit right in. Although none of us personally knew Chris it had felt like we had through association and not just because of what he’s done on the battlefield but also for the important issues he was addressing while at home.
On the night of February 2nd I learned from an old team mate of the tragic events that took place earlier that day. What happened after that really drives home just how tight knit the sniper community really is. The next day the six of us woke up and met separately in the hotel lobby, our staging area for the trip to the school house. We all spoke of the tragedy that took place the day before and we knew that America had lost a Hero. Later, that same day, we had linked up with a SWAT officer from the surrounding area who had attended a course a couple years back with a few of the guys in our group, and the first words out of his mouth were “we lost a great man yesterday.”
It made me realize, no matter where you come from, the massive impact that a single individual can have on a community of men and in some cases without ever meeting them. If you take a look at the history of the U.S. sniper, it’s long and full of tremendous men that we all grew up learning about when we where young snipers just starting off. I’m positive that Chris will continue to contribute and help shape the next generation of snipers with his stories and success both on and off the battlefield.
Thanks again to you all who share the trade whether you’re military, law enforcement or in the private industry, and work to keep this community straight and true. Also, a special thanks to Brandon Webb for the opportunity to share the thoughts of not only myself but the other gentlemen I have had the privilege to work with during my time in Texas and in the future. I am grateful to be part of such an outstanding group of guys willing to go the extra 12k for one another. I know for a fact that if I were ever in need I would turn to a close fellow sniper.
(Featured Image Courtesy: www.29palms.marines.mil)