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January 02, 2004

The Sniper's War.

I've blogged this already, about the ambush in Samarra where the asshats Islamofacist crapweasels used schoolkids as cover. The fight where we killed eleven of the b*stards and lost none. And a sniper took 7 of 'em. Where we took the risks to not hit the kids. But of course, I forget, we're just there to kill 'em and take their oil.

SAMARRA, Iraq, Dec. 28 — The intimate horror of the guerrilla war here in Iraq seems most vivid when seen through the sights of a sniper's rifle.

In an age of satellite-guided bombs dropped at featureless targets from 30,000 feet, Army snipers can see the expression on a man's face when the bullet hits.

"I shot one guy in the head, and his head exploded," said Sgt. Randy Davis, one of about 40 snipers in the Army's new 3,600-soldier Stryker Brigade, from Fort Lewis, Wash. "Usually, though, you just see a dust cloud pop up off their clothes, and see a little blood splatter come out the front."

Working in teams of two or three, Army snipers here in Iraq cloak themselves in the shadows of empty city buildings or burrow into desert sands with camouflage suits, waiting to fell guerrilla gunmen and their leaders with a single shot from as far as half a mile away.

JD Mays - here's the answer to your question - which I'll still deal with in greater detail in a future post.

"You don't think about it," said Specialist Wilson, 24, of Muncie, Ind., speaking at an austere base camp near here after a late-afternoon mission. "You just think about the lives of the guys to your left and right."

I suppose a moonbat lefties (as distinct from rational ones - yes, they do exist) won't buy this nugget:

To qualify for the school, a soldier must already be an expert marksman, pass a physical examination and undergo a psychological screening ("To make sure they're not training a nut," Sergeant Davis said.) The rigorous course fails more than half of its students.
The training paid off on Dec. 18. Dusk was setting in here, and Sergeant Davis was wrapping up a counter-sniper mission when he spotted an armed Iraqi on a rooftop about 300 yards away. He said he knew the gunman was a sniper by the way he sneaked along the roofline to track a squad below from Sergeant Davis's Company B.

"The guy made a mistake when he silhouetted himself against the rooftop," said Sergeant Davis, who has 20/10 vision. "He was trying to look over to see where the guys were in the courtyard."

As the gunman rose from the shadows to fire, Sergeant Davis said he saw his head and then the distinctive shape of a Dragonov SVD Russian-made sniper rifle. The sergeant drew a bead on the shooter with his weapon of choice, an M-14 rifle equipped with a special optic sight that has crosshairs and a red aiming dot.

"I went ahead and engaged him and shot him one time to the chest," he said, matter of factly. "I watched him kick back, his rifle flew back, and I saw a little blood come out of his chest. It was a good hit."

Good shot, Sergeant.

Army snipers generally choose from four different weapons, depending on the mission. The standard M-24 sniper rifle is simple in design. It has an adjustable Kevlar stock, a thick stainless steel barrel, a mounted telescopic, day/night scope and is bolt action, rather than semiautomatic, like other sniper rifles. It sets up on a bipod and fires 7.62-millimeter ammunition, hitting targets up to 1,000 yards away.

In the desert, snipers wrap plastic bags or condoms over the gun muzzle to keep the sand out. They carry their weapons in padded green canvas bags. "We baby the hell out of them," Sergeant Davis said.

Most snipers are familiar with firearms even before joining the armed forces. Sergeant Davis and Specialist Wilson grew up on farms, and both owned their first rifles before they were 10. They fondly remember hunting deer as youngsters.

Both men are married and have children, and say they do not talk much about their work outside their tight-knit clan. "We try to get away from stereotypes that you're a psychotic gun nut running around, like the guy in D.C., or like in the movies, a cool-guy assassin," Sergeant Davis said.

There are not many targets these men dread, but in the shifting battlefield of Iraq, where seemingly everyone is armed, one candidate emerges. Would they ever shoot a child who aimed at them?

"I couldn't imagine that," said Specialist Wilson, a father of five.

But Sergeant Davis had a different view: "I'd shoot him, otherwise he'd shoot me. But I wouldn't feel good about it."

And if you found the bastard that convinced the kid to do it... are you listening Yasser?

The whole article is here at the NYT. Yep, you'll have to register. But I get maybe one email a month from 'em, so it ain't too bad.

Greyhawk also blogs this from a different perspective.