- Snipers from across the US military recently participated in competitions that tested almost every aspect of what it means to be a one-shot warrior.
- The All Guard Team representing the National Guard had the highest score by far, besting even special operations snipers.
- “We’re all just trying to be the best that we can be and make everyone all around us better,” said a California National Guard staff sergeant on the winning team.
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The results of recent sniper competitions revealed that some of the US military’s best snipers are in the National Guard.
Thirty-five sniper teams, each consisting of a shooter and a spotter, competed in the 50th Winston P. Wilson Sniper Championship and the 30th Annual Armed Forces Skill at Arms Meeting earlier this month.
The latter competition involves sniper teams from across the military, and the National Guard teams emerged victorious, beating even the special operations snipers.
The sharpshooter competitions hosted by the National Guard Marksmanship Training Center together with the US National Guard Sniper School at Fort Chaffee in Arkansas are designed to test sniper skills, such as shooting and marksmanship, fieldcraft, and other relevant skills. They serve as a kind of training exercise and are intended to mimic certain aspects of real-world combat.
For example, there are exercises like call on fire, infiltration and exfiltration, and stalking, among others. In total, there are 28 events in the AFSAM competition alone.
In the AFSAM, California National Guard Staff Sgts. Demetrios Iannios and Eric Vargas scored a 625.5, which put them in first place ahead of the Special Warfare Training Group Team and the Marine Raider Training Center Team, which came in second and third place respectively.
The 2nd place winners were Sgt. 1st Class Jeff D. and Staff Sgt. Bj J., members of the special operations community who currently serve as instructors, according to a public affairs spokesperson at Fort Bragg who withheld their last names to protect their identities as SOF soldiers. Their final score in the competition was 500.
And, the Marine sniper team that came in 3rd place in this competition was Staff Sgt. Dylan P. Deano and Gunnery Sgt. Eduardo L. Ocampo. Their score was 455.
In the Winston P. Wilson Sniper Championship, which is just for National Guard participants, sniper teams from the Colorado National Guard, Iowa Guard, and Utah Guard took the top three spots.
The overall winners of the competitions were the California National Guard team with its score of 625.5. They were followed by the Colorado National Guard team, Sgt. Triston Ivkov and Spc. Max Miller, with a score of 546.5 and the Iowa National Guard Team, Spcs. Aaron M. McAndrews and Kyle R. Thies, with a score of 504.
“We’re all just trying to be the best that we can be and make everyone all around us better,” Vargas, humble in victory, said in a statement.
“We all wear the same flag on our right shoulder, and that’s what it is all about,” the staff sergeant said. “Coming together. Doing what we need to do. Being masters at our craft, shooting well, and just getting the mission accomplished the best way we can.”