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Hello gentlemen,

I am facing a point in my life which is giving me a headache. I am being tugged in different directions, due to my own doubts and ignorance. For the last few years, I've struggled with the deep-rooted desire in me to become a Scout Sniper, serving in the military in a vital support role.

To truely make a difference with valuable information which could save the lives of many men thanks to your patience, your devotion, and the training which puts them into action. To make a difference in disabling key components in the forces which are in direct opposition to those whom you are serving alongside in theatres abroad.

The problem is that, over these last few years, I've had this nagging doubt which tells me "It's pointless". I long to join the Marines, and I know I have the patience, the discipline, and the mindset - basically, the potential, which could be honed by the instructors and trainers into a Scout Sniper.

That is my bane. I cannot see myself in an assault level position, running in squads of marines with assault rifles, clearing buildings, moving with support collumns and the like. That is not who I am, that is not something I would be able to do for a long period of time. I do not feel that that is the the role I should be in.

So, I tell myself - the training is hard, and it seems at times the advancement is political. So many join, and so few make it - if I were to sign up and give it my all, would I end up thrown to the wayside and stuck in a position for years which I never believed to be the right one for me?

I am confused as to how I could make this happen in my life. Of all things, I would seek this out.. but of all things, this is giving me by far, the most doubt. I sometimes almost feel sick inside, thinking about it.

Could any of you whom have experience with this role in particular, impart some wisdom on me? I know that you have to be labeled an expert marksman, and the like. However, lets say that I -am- a goodmarksman, with a level head on my shoulders, who learns quickly and is quick-thinking. What are my chances of joining the Marines, and moving my way into Scout Sniper training?

Does it involve putting in requests to be tested for training?

What are the biggest obstacles to achieving this?

What happens if you fail? Are you sent out with a unit on probation per se, for a period of time, and you are allowed to apply again after say, 6-months, or the like?

I would appreciate your thoughts, widsom, and advice. I am sorry if this was long winded.. but it's starting to get a bit late in my life (I just turned 22) to honestly make this decision.

Thanks guys!
 

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Hi Douglas,

I was at the point of wondering what I wanted to do with myself as well, and I had decided to take a shot at living out different things before committing to years of anything...but thats just me, and my decision...I know what it feels like though.

I'm not in the military and not a sniper, but I think a lot of snipers join up without the intention of being snipers, find out they can, and make it. It makes it even tougher for you because there are no other military jobs you would appreciate having...

Again my opinion only...If you think you can do it realistically...well...there is still no certainty of making it. What do you think would be easier for you? Serving 4 years in a position you don't like? or always wondering if you could have done it?
 

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I was a scout sniper in the Corps (2/2 & 3/9 on Okinawa) - back in the old days 76-78.

First you must be enlisted. No officers go to the sniper schools, they command sniper units from the rear with the beer and the gear.

In order to be a scout sniper (as in S-2 Battalion level scout sniper) you must first either train as an S-2 inteligence person, then go through the school, when or if there is an opening in your unit for a sniper position, and you must graduate from the school.

If you don't have that guaranteed in your enlistment contract (meaning both the school and the MOS guaranteed in the contract it will not happen)the Corps WILL assign you to whatever MOS they feel they need at the time you graduate from Bootcamp - can you say drive a truck; become a cook, fly a desk.

Alternatively, you can do it the way I did it. I requested infantry in writing in my contract. I busted my ass every day of every week until there was an opening in the Battalion S-2 Scout Sniper unit. I requested a transfer from my infantry unit (Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Infantry Division) to the 2/2/2 S-2 Scout Sniper unit. They had an opening. They looked at my Semi-Annual Proficiency and conduct marks, looked at my Physical Fitness test scores (upwards of 285 out of a possible 300 maximum - 20+ palms out pull ups from straight hang, 80+ situps in two minutes; 3 mile run in 19.5 to 20 minutes), looked at my rifle qualification scores (Expert) and interviewed me. I got the job. There is NO guarantee - as far as I know that you can sign up for a guaranteed sniper billit (I think you can sign up for a guaranteed S-2 slot - so that's the easiest way to join the Battalion level sniper unit - then hope that they have an opening and that there is then an opening in the school).

There are harder ways to make it happen - try out for Marine Recon and make it (something like 1 out of every 15 that try make it). First they need to have an opening and then you need the scores on Profic & Conduct, PFT, and a rrecommendation from your current commanding officer. Or you could become a member of the Marine Rifle team and get in through that back door (Extremely limited slots; VERY HARD to even try out for this option).

It comes down to HOW MUCH do you REALLY WANT IT.

JeffVN
 

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Designated Marksmen are deployed alongside combat infantrymen. A DM has a higher likelyhood of becoming a sniper than an 0311 or 11-Bravo, working from the logic that:

If a Marine is a good rifleman, then his DM is a better rifleman. If one wanted to make a straight-shooting scout sniper, it would be more beneficial to "Mother Corps" in terms of resource allocation to take the DM.
 

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Douglas said:
I cannot see myself in an assault level position, running in squads of marines with assault rifles, clearing buildings, moving with support collumns and the like. That is not who I am, that is not something I would be able to do for a long period of time. I do not feel that that is the the role I should be in.

Thanks guys!
So basically you think it would be cool to be a USMC Scout Sniper.... but lack the motivation and willingness to earn your place as one. With everything i have done and with how much experiance i have.... they still wont let me into Scout Sniper School.... what makes you think they will let you? I have applied twice. I graduated USMC Boot Camp Platoon 1081, Alpha Company, MCRD San Diego, july 1st 1999, Did SOI at Camp Pendleton, did Mountain Warfare Training at Marine Corps Training Center Bridgeport with 1st battalion 2nd Marine Regiment, did Airborne Training with the 1st battalion of the 507th infantry regiment at Ft. Benning Georgia for the T-10C and T-10D and MC1-1C Ram Air, did Freefall school at Yuma Arizona Proving Grounds for the MC-4 / MC-402... did Combat Scuba training at Camp Pendleton area 53 Horno Scuba School. I was in afghanistan for 17 months 2 weeks 3 days; camp casey kuwait for 1 month 2 days; and the main assault on iraq for 8 months 2 weeks and 1 day; then went back for another 3 months and 1 week. I was in the main assault on iraq Attached to the 2nd MEB, 1st battalion 2nd Marine Regiment Charlie Company. We went from Camp Casey Kuwait to Umm Qasr to Al Basrah then up to An Nasariyah where our company took on 2 enemy battalions.... that was a god awful shitty mess.... then up to Al Hayy then up to Al Kut... then through the desert flats to baghdad....then up to Ba qubah then up to Samarra where we saved those army pilot guys and a few other people.... then up to Tikrit... then up to Ba'lji ..... then south west to Al Hadithah... then down to Fallujah.... then east to baghdad .... then traced our steps back down to Camp Casey Kuwait. My ribbons include the following : Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Navy & Marine Corps Medal, Purple Heart, Navy & Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation (Task Force K-Bar / Task Force South, Afghanistan), Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal, Medal for Humane Action, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Navy/Marine Corps Overseas Service, United Nations Medal, NATO Medal. I have qualified Expert Rifleman 6 years consecutive. I think its great that you want to be a Marine Scout Sniper and everything.... but then again so do tens of thousands of people who apply.
 

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Ask Jeffvn how difficult Scout Sniper School is compared to boot camp and SOI... the Scout Sniper School has changed a little since the 80's but im sure he knows his stuff and remembers it quite vividly.
 

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If you want to be a Scout Sniper to stay far away from the close in battle urban crap... your heading down the wrong road. The average USMC Scout Sniper shot is around 200 yards. Far under the 1,200 yard shots you commonly hear about on websites and books.
 

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I saw an article in a Soldier of Fortune today about marine snipers and one guy said he was awake 20 hours a day for 10 weeks, and lost 30 pounds...could that be true, BC?

Anyway, what I wanted to say here...I think joining the military, going to war, and potetially killing others/being killed is something you should only try to do if you strongly feel a sense of duty that you MUST do it...not just that its cool or a job you would like...You'll have to sacrifice a lot of things, go through some miserable experiences, and give everything your all, in whatever job or MOS you end up doing...so going in with one specific job isn't really a good idea, especially if it is one that is so hard to get into...I've read about 3 people out of 20 making it through scout sniper school and those are highly motivated and good people just to make it there in the first place
 

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Muzzleblast... you can ask Jeffvn that question... he actually went through Scout Sniper School and i have not... YET. :D I have heard about things like that yes... but its just scuddlebutt (hear say... rumors.. ect)... i can call up a friend of mine and bug him but its getting late here. I will ask him if stuff like that is really true and ill get back to you on that.
 

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Hey, Thanks BC.

I was thinkin maybe it had changed some or something over time and might not be the same as it used to be...Don't know as much about US military as I do Canadian.

Great to have another real deal operator here I can pester with questions :) Ever see any Canadians in the Ghan?
 

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We (my unit) did very little work with the Canadians in the Stan.... but i saw them from time to time.
 

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20 hours a day 3 weeks straight - yes and no.

As Balistic will tell you - you do what is needed, when it is needed, for as long as it is needed. If your unit is understaffed or pulled thin because it is assigned cover too much dirt, then you do what you have to do (you bitch sometimes not so quietly amongst yourselves about the Corps and life and then shut the f_ _ k up and get it done.)

Long shots in combat zones - A friend is currently depoyed in the sand box, as an S-2 intel chief (he is expected home in MArch - keeping our fingers crossed on that one). He runs and works with his Battalion Scout Sniperson a daily basis. His unit's longest confirmed shot took place during the seige in Falluja - 1,050 yards (single shot center mass -M40A3). The normal / average shot is considerable shorter than that (somewhere between 200 - 300 yards depending upon if you were assigned to a leading unit or a follow-on unit)

BC - who you with currently - based upon your schools and depolyment - I'd have said somebody Recon Bn.?

JeffVN
 

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Recently PCS'd to Pendleton from Lejeune... new unit as of Jan 23rd 2005 is 1st F.R. Co., 1st Reconassaince Battalion, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expiditionary Force. On leave untill Jan 23rd. Officially... still with the 24th MEU's F.R. Plt. out of 2nd F.R. Co. 2nd Recon Bn. 2nd Mar Div. Got PCS'd so i can be closer to my family. I was very very fortinate that there was one open spot requiring my MOS. Got real lucky :D . Im at Area 53 Horno on Pendleton.
 

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I will post my response from my experience from the Army side.

What everyone has said is true. One thing to always remember, especially on the Army side, is you are first an infantryman, and second a Scout Sniper. I was very fortunate and happened to be in the right place and said the right thing to get put into a sniper slot. I then went to the school, and bygolly, passed (actually, I did quite well, but still was excited to pass). about 40% pass the US Army sniper school. I went through school with guys from ranger battallions, 10th MTN, the 25th, etc , and most had been trying for quite some time to get into the sniper section and then to school, heck, there was actually a former sniper from the USMC going through school (he was with the Rangers then). I still consider myself fortunate. Many excellent soldiers (better and more experienced than myself) failed the school. Its harsh, standards are standards.

I went in as infantry from the get go. Yes, I wanted to be a sniper, but was well aware of the fact that it might never happen. Frankly, I love the infantry, and firmly believe "God Loves the Infantry", I mean, no who else would... right? :D

So basically you think it would be cool to be a USMC Scout Sniper.... but lack the motivation and willingness to earn your place as one.
That is harsh, but well said. It takes much more than just a belief that you think you would be good at it, and it would be cool.

Heck, if it was easy, everyone would be a sniper

MEL
 

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We (my unit) did very little work with the Canadians in the Stan.... but i saw them from time to time.
Goddamn right you saw us in the A-Stan. Only guys wearing fucking dark-green. Liberals. :x

I think we (Canadians) hold the record for the long-distance kill in Afghanistan, 1.2 klicks I think, with a McMillian tactical-fifty.

Little bit (Pretty damn far) off topic, sorry.
 

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2.4 klicks

nothing against what was accomplished, the canadians, or anyone else, but geez I'm about tired of hearing about it! :? I get at least one email every other week from someone else pointing me to the story talking about this record shot. (blah blah blah) Guess it gets old after about the 100th time :wink:

But I digress... back on topic!

MEL
 

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Wow, I'm a f*cking idiot. 2.4! Damn me to Hell! (Ottowa.)

Yeah, people still keep talking about it like it was yesterday. Not since the Medak Pocket have Canadian Forces troops taken shots at "Enemy" troops.

Okay, now I'm going to shut up before this goes completely off topic.
 

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8) Good ol Carlos Norman Hathcock II got himself a C.K. at 2,575 yards (they went back in 1994 and messured from the position at hill 55 where the M-2 was stationed to the trail that crossed the stream where he reportedly killed a VC ammo humper). :D
 

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Off topic yet again, but the devil made me do it...

Yeah Mel, I bet its getting tiring to hear of that, and I bet you do hear it. It struck me funny to know that so many in the US know about it...Usually, Canadians don't really know what the forces are up to, and wouldn't have known much if it wasn't for working with the US in the last years. You guys did a good job of informing us waaay more than our government does :)

About the green uniforms...I heard the early tan ones were having night problems. If there was any light, the guys looked like "ghosts" I was told. Lots of units are still waiting for their tans, but the new ones corrected that problem. I saw a piece of one and it looked great. Most of the guys who don't have em yet are in support, and they will have em on the next Roto. Apparently there was a lot of places where the green fit it well enough too.

AK, its too bad more people don't know about Medak.
 
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