FORT BENNING, GA – For the second consecutive year, the team from the 75th Ranger Regiment took first place in the 18th annual International Sniper Competition at Fort Benning, Georgia, Oct. 19.
Staff Sgts. Brandon Kelley and Jonathan Roque scored the most points in the multi-day competition that involved two-person teams from across the Army, from other services in the Department of Defense, from the FBI and from other countries.
During the closing ceremony of the competition, awards were presented to the top three teams, the top stock, the top spotter, and the top international team:
– First place overall: Team #17, 75th Ranger Regiment, Staff Sgts. Brandon Kelley and Jonathan Roque
– Second place overall: Team #9, Colorado Army National Guard, Staff Sgt. Michael E. Fulmer and Spc. Tristan Ivkov
– Third place overall: Team #30, Swedish 17th Wing Air Force Rangers, Lance Cpls. Erik Azcarate and David Jacobsson
– Top Stock: Team #17, 75th Ranger Regiment
– Top Spotter: Fulmer, Team #9
– Top International Team: Team #30, Swedish 17th Wing Air Force Rangers, Azcarate and Jacobsson
– Iron Man Team: Team #30, Swedish 17th Wing Air Force Rangers, Azcarate and Jacobsson
Brig. Gen. David M. Hodne, the U.S. Army Infantry School commandant, spoke at the ceremony.
“Working together in this venue is a great way for us to share ideas, build rapport and train our forces,” said Hodne. “After all, the purpose of the International Sniper Competition is to improve our collective lethality.”
He also talked about what distinguishes snipers from other Soldiers.
“There something special about a sniper,” said Hodne. “Snipers are disciplined, physically fit, and emotionally stable. They know how to concentrate under enormous pressure, and under fire. They have good, common sense. They know how to read terrain and weather conditions. They are silent and stealthy experts in camouflage. They are alert. And they understand the importance of initiative.”
“Some teams, this is their Super Bowl; this is what they train for,” said Kelley. “For us, this is an additional evaluation – where we are before we go overseas and do our job. And it’s treated as such.”
“We take it as an additional training opportunity,” said Roque. “We take full advantage of it.”
The airmen from the Swedish 17th Wing Air Force Rangers are three months. They recently won first place in the European Best Sniper Competition, which took place at Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, shortly after they had graduated from their sniper training.
“It proves our education is good back home in Sweden,” said Jacobsson.
The team also appreciated the opportunity to network with other snipers.
“It’s always good to hang out with people who have more experience than you, to learn from each other,” said Azcarate.