Basic Sniper Knowledge

PapaBoar

USMC Sniper
Verified Sniper
Joined
Oct 4, 2017
Messages
20
Location
Harrisonburg, Va.
#1
Wow could I write a book here, but my posts and replies are already too long.
When I went to my first Scout/Sniper School it was disorganized, and though the Instructors were good men, it was a 10week thrash session. Camp Pendleton as most of you probably know is mountainous desert. Because Land Nav Courses were so easy, the Instructors idea to make it “tougher” was to make the student cards so that each point they were to find were as far away from each other as possible., a mininum Of 15-20 Miles (both day and night) of running with the last one 26-7 Miles.

They had little to NO knowledge of ballistics, and various other important subject area’s. I was not given honor man because the guy who was somehow tied me in everything except PT where I smoked the entire class (I was the oldest and class leader) , but he was an Instructors best friend... Everyone else was happy and sooooo glad to get the hell out of there on Grad day but me... 😥🤧😪
Anyway, I’m not a bitch snitch so I’ll leave there. Attrition was so bad that I’m very surprised that the Corps didn’t shut the school down. But... Snipers are peculiar Warriors. There will always be attrition in a School that has to get into each student’s head. If a student tried his best, had no pre-Sniper training, l would annotate in his drop letter to send him back ASAP. I put in the POI that two chances were possible, each case taken individually for consideration.

The first thing a Chief Instructor has to do is look at his Cadre!!! I had to change their attitude from competing to see who can drop the most of their primary students, to one of Im going to give it all I can without lowering standards to get my guys through.
I had to next get the reputation of not only the Sniper, but the Plts’ up too! Once a guy made it through SS head get a big head, Ana the Plts were good in the field but rough on Liberty. They didn’t understand that that showed a lack of maturity and the BC couldn’t trust them... therefore they weren’t being deployed. I stresssed in SS School that I hat been through that drinking and fighting phase when I was younger too, but Snipers Operate for S-2/BC directly etc... and they won’t risk sending Turds out to do one of the toughest jobs there is.
I wrote ( every time I use I, it’s to be taken as my staff and me)! A Program of Instruction (POI) for the basic course that was the first ever signed by HQMC. I gave it to all sister services that wanted one. Why re-invent the wheel. All they would have to do is adapt it to their duties in their service and they were off and running. I ended up writing one for the Advanced Course, the Urban Course, the Spec-Ops Sniper Courses as well.

Anyway, after you square away your own house then your ready to teach....and I mean TEACH, not just test! My first School was a thrash and perform course. If I had not been in the Rangers I don’t think I’d have made it. Carlos Hathcock was and Chuck Mawhinney is best of friends. They looked at it and observed training and would just shake their heads...Carlos said “ I don’t know if I could have done all of this shit”... then he’d laugh. I tried to send each Instructor to curriculum building, Military Instruction, and then at least one school of there choice. Most wanted ajump School , but I had Rangers, Pathfinders, L.R.R.P’s, etc... Each had to be a qualified FO/FAC.
When they came back if we need3d to modify the school I would take care of it. The Sniper Students get all of that in the Course but it kept my Instructors current and better at teaching. The student had to pass as always, no lowering of standards, but now they had been trained properly.

We used Peer Evals like Ranger School because it’s of great importance that nobody slips through the cracks in personality, motivation, Team player, etc... when we weren’t around. I remember one time I had the first five Snipers from SEAL TM Six come though the course at the same time. One 1stClass and 4 Chiefs. One is in “Rogue Warrior”, and he came to my office/ trailer and asked to speak. We did and he said SEAL’s don’t do Evals. Their mentality at schools is it us ( students) against you(staff). “ If you ain’t cheat’n you ain’t trying”
So I told him to grab all his guys, pack their shit, and do the “Seabag” drag back to me. I’d have transpo to the airport,or if they drove as soon as I get their DROP letters for their Command they could split.... they did the Evals...lol... when we did the second and last Peer Evals he understood why we did them and was ready to write. They ended up being some of the best students, and they all passed.

I’ve been reading about training changes at the school. Some I do not like or understand...but times change and I’m sure when Carlos gave me the keys, he thought simiar thoughts. I’m so glad he was able to see the changes bring the Marine Sniper back to the top of th heap.

In 1994 HQMC allowed us to go to an International Sniper Competition in Dundee Scotland. We stayed and trained at Berry Budden Camp, an old WW II B-17 Base. It was cool as hell. We stayed in Quanset huts etc... The comp. was set up for 12 Days and marksmanship was a huge part of the comp as well as field craft. There were Tm’s there from almost every Country in Europe, all of the UK, and some from Eastern Europe. It was run by Mark Spicer ( one of my best friends and someone I took under my wing even after the comp. and had him come to the States to go to the Advanced School etc... And the British SAS). We had observers from a lot of places as well.

Well the comp. started on Monday and we won it on Weds. We had accumulated so many points in marksmanship and fieldcraft, that even if another Tm maxed points the rest of the comp. they would still be in second place. The Brits made us Instructors, evaluators, and part of their Cadre’. if you’ve ever worked with the Brits, you’ll know that’s a pretty big change in attitude.... We had a blast with those guys but they had a million questions and my guys were eating it up... Never had to buy a Pint after that! We basically upgraded Sniping world wide(allies), and made some friends for life...brothers...

Of course we get back to the States, get a pat on the back and sent back to our units. Snipers are hardly ever recognized. I’ve been inserted into enemy turf, humped 10 clicks to the target area , built a hide, reported over the horizon every detail about the target which was an IHR Missionary snatch, lived ther for three days, soaked....had a 17 1/2 “ redtail Boa crawl in my hide with me... When I turne on my red filtered flashlight to see what it was I thought it was a pit Bull!

We kept a suppressed .22 on our packs between us for dogs, so i grabbed it a shot it 5 times in the face before it backed out, rolled around and died. Well my partner slept through it... ( if you’ve been in the Bush for 3 Days and one of you has to bee awake at all times, you understand why he didn’t wake up). My hide was across the River from the target, about 200yards. So I went outside, pulled the head of the snake in as far as I could , then kicked my partner and started whispering in a panick, “Snake,snake”, my partner forgot about his weapons, his name, what day it was, and that we were close to some really mean dudes, and jumped straight up, knocking the roof and camo off the hide, and proceeded to Modock his ass out of there until I stopped him.

The indigenous people were friendly so I gave them the snake to chow down on except some for us. They brought me back the skin and it’s a The HQ of a bunch I used to ride Harley’s and bob them etc...(most former military. I’ll post a good pic of it when I get Maddog ( old Phrog Pilot) to stretch it out and send a pic. We rebuilt the hide and the Mission was a success being a combined action USMC/ARMY\SEAL Hit.

I’ll sign off for now by getting back on track... The first three days of SS School is strictly Marksmanship and LandNav. I used 12 Win Hester Model 70’s in .22 with Leopold Goldring Mk 4 scopes on them at the 25 yd line. Class size started at 24 if everyone met the pre-Req’s and PFT score. Each Instructor had 1-3 Teams relative. During that time the students were shown THE FUNDAMENTAL ‘S and proper positions. How a scope the scope works etc... These were match rifles from the shooting Tm so if they were’nt key holing we found out why because ther was no effects of weather, recoil. etc... by the time we went to the big range with the M40’s they were ready. Their Sniper observer dialogue, positions, etc... drop rates on the range went from 50-60% to everybody qualifying.

PB

Mod Edit for paragraph spacing.
 
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Devildoc

Verified Military
Joined
Nov 3, 2015
Messages
2,628
Location
Durham, NC
#2
That was a fabulous, wonderful, and excellent read. Thank you very much for taking the time to post some very important history.
 

PapaBoar

USMC Sniper
Verified Sniper
Joined
Oct 4, 2017
Messages
20
Location
Harrisonburg, Va.
#6
Thanks for all of the great comments... I just finished writing another long story with history, but when I attached the pics it dissapered. I’ll try again tomorrow. The pics are of the white Feather Carlos left me. He only left 3.... one for his son, one for Col. Chandler, and mine.

The Unertyl Scope was presented to me in 2008, when I was asked to be the Deutschland Of Honor at a SSIS Grad and hoopty rah. I was the second Marine to get one, Carlos was 1st. And one pic of what Carlos wrote on the back of my Feather.

Carlos wanted the White Feather to be an award given every decade to the Marine that demonstrated the most commitment and impacted the Sniper Community. I think the SSA is going to take this for action and each awardee will be a bronze pic at the SSA or Marine. Corps Museum.

I was number one and I’ve picked number two. If your at the shot show the SSA has its annual meeting and live fire there and out in the Desert each year. I was VP for the first one... a blast. If you’re a member of this site come on in to the HQ room for cold free brew and viddles. Tell them Monster invited you... 125E96DD-5130-45EB-94E3-51E009853E95.jpeg D4F61D53-8A04-468F-B230-5045730D9437.jpeg 76791459-CBE4-4612-BDDD-110BFF99789A.jpeg
 

PapaBoar

USMC Sniper
Verified Sniper
Joined
Oct 4, 2017
Messages
20
Location
Harrisonburg, Va.
#7
Thanks for all of the great comments... I just finished writing another long story with history, but when I attached the pics it dissapered. I’ll try again tomorrow. The pics are of the white Feather Carlos left me. He only left 3.... one for his son, one for Col. Chandler, and mine.

The Unertyl Scope was presented to me in 2008, when I was asked to be the Deutschland Of Honor at a SSIS Grad and hoopty rah. I was the second Marine to get one, Carlos was 1st. And one pic of what Carlos wrote on the back of my Feather.

Carlos wanted the White Feather to be an award given every decade to the Marine that demonstrated the most commitment and impacted the Sniper Community. I think the SSA is going to take this for action and each awardee will be a bronze pic at the SSA or Marine. Corps Museum.

I was number one and I’ve picked number two. If your at the shot show the SSA has its annual meeting and live fire there and out in the Desert each year. I was VP for the first one... a blast. If you’re a member of this site come on in to the HQ room for cold free brew and viddles. Tell them Monster invited you... View attachment 20451 View attachment 20452 View attachment 20453
“GUNS DONT KILL PEOPLE, BULLETS DO”
Thanks for all of the great comments... I just finished writing another long story with history, but when I attached the pics it dissapered. I’ll try again tomorrow. The pics are of the white Feather Carlos left me. He only left 3.... one for his son, one for Col. Chandler, and mine.

The Unertyl Scope was presented to me in 2008, when I was asked to be the Deutschland Of Honor at a SSIS Grad and hoopty rah. I was the second Marine to get one, Carlos was 1st. And one pic of what Carlos wrote on the back of my Feather.

Carlos wanted the White Feather to be an award given every decade to the Marine that demonstrated the most commitment and impacted the Sniper Community. I think the SSA is going to take this for action and each awardee will be a bronze pic at the SSA or Marine. Corps Museum.

I was number one and I’ve picked number two. If your at the shot show the SSA has its annual meeting and live fire there and out in the Desert each year. I was VP for the first one... a blast. If you’re a member of this site come on in to the HQ room for cold free brew and viddles. Tell them Monster invited you... View attachment 20451 View attachment 20452 View attachment 20453
 

PapaBoar

USMC Sniper
Verified Sniper
Joined
Oct 4, 2017
Messages
20
Location
Harrisonburg, Va.
#8
I hope everyone is well. I left off kind of pissed because I had written a long reply full of history, and I tried to attatch a pic and the damn story disappeared. What I was telling was a bit about procurement of weapons and equipment. A constant fight throughout my career, but I did succeed, I just never got to enjoy it. I was talking about the generation for which I am being recognized as the Father of modern Sniping....thus Papa Boar, the mid 80’s- 2000. I talked about how young Marines today may or may not even know my name because I chose not to stay in the spotlight, but to form my own Company and continue to train SF and LE Snipers or tactics. I was a Master MP-5 Instructor for HK as well as their Lead Long Gun trainer as well. I fought through the pain of my wounds and Complex (Combat related) PTSD to do so, but I changed LE Sniper Training for good as well.

In the Marine Corps the way to get something done that makes sense, is to go straight through proper channels to the Man. Our Commandant at the time had this thing of his called “Email the Commandant”. Basically anybody regardless of rank could email him, some people sent in whining bitch stuff...I used it to shed light on a few things I wanted him and the Corps to know!

As I have said earlier I deployed a lot. Most of the time I’d end back up running a SS School when I returned. I had seen first hand that the constant nature of warfare had changed and the current ROE being used in counter insurgency, terrorism, Embassy attacks, etc... had to change. WE NEEDED GOOD FLAT RAIL UPPERS WITH ACOG X4 SCOPES FOR THE CORPS SERVICE RIFLE!!! Or at least the Ground Combat Units. Identifying Friend from foe in a crowd was impossible for the Grunts on the Ground. Now our ROE was different and we put it to good use!

In the Corps we have Warrant Officers that run the big qualification ranges and have the only MOS that does not deploy.
We have Warrant Officers that we’re enlisted Grunts up to the flank of GySgt, go to W.O. School and they are assigned to Grunt Bn’s as weapons experts for the BC. They deploy with their units like everybody else. They are called “Gunners”.

In my letter I categorized the Range guys as “Paper Shooters”, and the Gunners as “People Shooters”. Every year the Corps has a big Weapons review board at Quantico to discuss the weapons in the Corps. Old weapons, new potential weapons, Marksmanship qualification etc... The Range Guys, who walked around their Ranges like they were special with their D.I. Covers on ( They were called “Range Nazi’s because they looked for reasons to kick somebody off the Range). I once saw a young Marines glove blow forward of the firing line... dropped... What BS and I told him too... Now as in anything this doesn’t include every Range Officer, but most.

Well at these review boards believe it or not, whatever the Range Officers said, the Corps went with!!? Not the Gunners.They still clung to the old adage that Marines can shoot better with iron sights than anyone else can shoot with any weapon.... So the M-4 and the Scope idea got shitcanned.

We ran a Course called “The Sniper Employment Course”. It was only one day long and basically aimed at Plt. And Co. Commanders, as well as Bn Cmndr’s and staff, to learn about this force multiplier, their weapons, tactics, etc... in a classroom environment. After chow they got their camo demo and we’d go down Range so they could fam fire all of the equipment. I had a Sniper in standard Combat load standing by in case we had some HQ or Support female come through, and we did. This was because they never failed to ask why there were no women Snipers etc...

I would nicely explain a few points and they would begin to understand but still pushed it. I’d tell them about my wife who was an undercover Cop and on the SWAT Tm. She could shoot extremely well and understood the art very well. BUT... At their annual PFT qualification , she couldn’t pull the dummy or shoulder carry a partner the required distance. She was waived and allowed to stay on the Tm. That’s BS... Well they would argue she wouldn’t have to be like a military guy and carry all that weight etc... I said yes Ma’am, I’ve trained her, and I sent her to 4 of the better LE schools. But if you can’t pull your wounded buddy out of an ambush, you’re a liability.

Then she’d continue with being a Marine Sniper because week had Corpsman etc... I laughed and said Ma’am follow me on a typical mission. First you have to pack and put on your War belt... my guy would walk out from around the corner. She’s put that on, Combat load.... she’s already shaking... I said now you have to carry your pack rifle and fins to the well deck. My guy walks around with a loaded pack... loaded with allmactual gear.... she could hold the rifle and fins and moving her pack was not happening. Now this is an in shape late 20’s woman. I said OK you got help and made it to the well deck. Now stow your gear against the bulk head and strip. “STRIP” she said.... I said yes Ma’am you gotta put on a wet suit, we’re swimming in... Long story short she said screw this. She tried tho put on the pack and full load , with help... her knees were knocking and she fell backwards on her ass...case closed.

Back to the scoped service rifles. I invited LtGen. Wilhelm MARFOLANT, to attend a Sniper employment Officer Class. First of all I thought I’d get chewed up and spit out by all of the PC chain of Command. Hey “ When in Charge, be in charge”!!! Well being an old Warfighter he accepted, we set up a date, and it was on. I told my WTBN Commander and he wasn’t happy but went into hyper drive with the mowing, field day etc,...

The General And Enterage shoes up for class and I went through the presentation I had written ages ago except I added some Anipers could Operate more efficiently if they had variable power scopes, we sure could use this or that... lol...
Anyway the class was over and he was really interested. After chow was the urban and rural camo demos , then live fire.
He shot the M40A-3, the Barret, and I had borrowed HK’s not finished or in production yet full auto, the V series pistols, and some other stuff. When he was done he was like a kid. I said Sir, now you have to move up to the 200yd line for tour class test. He said Oh, shit...

When we got their I had an M-16A3 Service Rifle , and an M-4 with a Picatinny rail with ACOGX4 laying on a poncho. I got some of the Hostage “shoot/no-shoot” Tgt’s from HK where I ran their long gun program. I’ll throw this in there for the SF guys and SWAT Officers we trained, the training Cadre at that time was the best! Everybody was older, with a hell of a lot of experience, and taught, because SWAT Tm’s are going to War every time they get called out. The guy that ran the Entry side was Delta, and we pushed it to make it as eal as possible when we mixed the two sides together for IHR Missions etc...

So I hand the General the standard M-16A3 with passidier 3 round burst... I tell him tha down in the butts two target carriages are coming up at the same time. I want you to determine the threat ASAP and take him out.... I handed his mag, went through Range hot procedures, called us in hor, asked him if he was ready...”Roger” Eyes and Ears”??? I was fuckin with him... he said run the GD things...I called “Targets”, and the two came up.,He looked, Looked, and looked again.... finally he said “No Joy”. I said OK Sir clear the rifle, my Instructor will clear it off the line. Then I handed him the M-4 w/ ACOG and I told him to make stock adjustments and dryfire etc... After that, I gave him hi commands and both tgs came up... almost immediately the Gen. double tapped the bad guy right in the neck and mug.... I said OK Sir get cleared off the firing line and we’ll debrief and your targets are on their way up.( we were on the 200 yd line)

The General immediately gave his Staff an order in a stern voice... He said I want every one of my Marines to have that system in their hands, trained and ready for Combat prior to the next float! In Col Chandlers Death From Afar Series, you’ll see a copy of Gen Wilhelms P-4 to his counterpart on the west coast. ( how he got it ??? They are eyes only from General Officers to each other).... My Instructor brought up his target and we debrief. AND THATS HOW THE MARINES AND MAYBE THE ARMY TOO, GOT SCOPED RIFLES!!! I got 135 emails from Marine Gunners Cogratulating me and telling me to put in a package to be a WO.... That’s 100% of the Gunners. I got one from the Paper-Shooters and he was a former sniper to congratulate me, but next time I write shit for the whole Corps to read don’t group all of the Range Officers together...lol

Next time I’ll continue with why I believe the basic Sniper School As set up in the mid 80’s until 2000 shouldn’t be fucked with and how I would fix the attrition problem in a heartbeat. When I left Sniper School at Camp Lejeune and took over as head Enlisted at Special Missions Branch at III MEF SOTG, We we’re starting with a class of 24 and graduating in the high teens, WITHOUT LOWERING FUCKING STANDARDS....I OUGHT TO KNOW, I WROTE THE DAMN THINGS.

Peace My Brothers
PB
 
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