FORT BENNING, GA – The 18th annual International Sniper Competition opened at Fort Benning, Georgia, during a ceremony at the Sniper Compound Oct. 15.
The event brings 30 two-person teams from across the Army, Department of Defense, civilian law enforcement agencies, and around the world to determine who are the best two-person sniper teams globally.
Col. J. Frederick Dente, U.S. Army 316th Cavalry Brigade commander, spoke during the opening ceremony.
“I know that you’re ready,” said Dente to the assembled teams. “You’ve been issued your equipment, been briefed on the course of the competition, and I know that for each of you, today is the culmination of weeks and months of hard training and preparation.”
This year, 10 teams represent the countries of Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Israel, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden and the United Kingdom. U.S. military services are represented by teams from the Army, Army National Guard, Army Reserve, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Air Force. One team is joint service with both a Sailor and a Soldier. A team from the Federal Bureau of Investigation is representing civilian law enforcement.
“Today is a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet your peers,” said Dente. “I know that they are your competitors this week, but in a larger sense, they are your comrades in arms, they are your allies and your partners. And when we leave the field of friendly strife on Friday, they will be the men that fight alongside you in the first battle of the next war.”
The two-man teams lined up next to a digital timer behind a red line. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the teams were to begin their first event, a simulation where they ran to a building, climbed the building and engaged a hostile target before the target killed a hostage.
Over the course of more than three days, beginning Oct. 15 and concluding Oct. 18, the teams are scheduled to compete in events that will test their abilities in long-range marksmanship, observation, reconnaissance and reporting, and stealth movement.
“Push yourself, push your equipment, push your team to its limits, and then set a new standard,” said Dente. “Push yourself, so that each of us, whether in the front of the field of competitors or in the back of the pack, each of us leaves here better prepared to fight and win the nation’s wars in the unforgiving crucible of battle.”