Snipers are highly trained soldiers. Snipers from the Army and countries around Europe have been assembled to compete in the European Best Sniper trials in Germany. The event takes place at the Hohenfels Joint Multinational Readiness Center.
According to Army Times, the weeklong competition begins on Sunday with over 25 teams from 15 different nations competing each year. According to Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Sanchez, the event is meant to put snipers mental, physical, and emotional endurance to the test.
Sanchez said the teams run through various tasks, including ones that showcase tactical and technical skills. They demonstrate their skills through advanced marksmanship, fieldcraft, team communication, land navigation, sidearm shooting, and field firing.
Sanchez calls those who compete “true athletes.” The event includes day and night shooting, plus a “1917” training lane where teams crawl through muddy trenches, put on gas masks and run through smoke while shooting.
Surprisingly, the lane actually employs the use of live CS gas. Sanchez said the measure is taken so that they can be sure everyone puts their masks on correctly.
Competition Honoring History
The “Mogadishu” part of the competition puts soldiers in the wreckage of a helicopter while shooting at targets. This section is modeled after the heroic work of Master Sgt. Gary Gordon and Sgt. 1st. Class Randy Shughart, two Delta Force snipers who also received the Medal of Honor.
In 1993, the two men defended a pilot in a downed MH-60 Black Hawk helicopter in Mogadishu, Somalia. Both of the men died.
All About Teamwork
According to Sanchez, the event was designed by American and Latvian NCOs to be immersive and take advantage of the Joint Multinational Readiness Center. Since all of the sniper teams are from different countries, this experience brings them all together.
“It’s a very challenging piece for any commander or senior enlisted leader…[to arrange] specific training for [snipers] because you can’t just throw a training event for just a handful of individuals. We owe it to commanders to come up and help them produce training environments to maximize all of their platforms that they have at their disposal.”Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Sanchez
While there is a healthy dose of friendly competition, Sanchez says that it really is more about growing a relationship between the United States, NATO, and other European countries, fostering better cooperation.