Learning to be a Sniper
Today was another fun day for me. My friend, Sergeant First Class Montero, travelled down here from Balad to teach a bunch of us how to be snipers! I've always been fascinated by snipers. Up in the Arctic, there are a lot of wide-open spaces, so being able to shoot your target at a long distance is a real advantage. Since most polar bears prefer to get up close to our prey and swat them with a paw, not many of us are very good at shooting, so it was good to have SFC Montero come and teach us a class. I'm sorry some of the pictures are blurry - I have a tough time holding the camera in my paws.
Wow, that's a big rifle! SFC Montero taught us that being able to shoot very accurately is only one of the skills that a sniper needs to develop. You also have to be able to conceal yourself very well, move quietly, and estimate ranges well. You need to understand your enemy very well, too. All of this is necessary to get into position for the right shot. Only then does your shooting accuracy become important!
SFC Montero also told us that snipers are often used just to watch things. Because they are good at getting into a good position and concealing themselves, sometimes it can be more useful just to have them watch and report. For example, if a sniper is in a position and sees six bad guys doing something, it might make more sense for him to call up an Apache helicopter than to try shooting all six of them.
I don't have the scope mounted on it yet. This rifle shoots a really big bullet! I certainly wouldn't need a rifle like this for hunting seals or walruses. However, during the summer, when there's no sea ice, I usually can't hunt seals or walruses. So, sometimes I try to grab a Musk Ox, but usually they run away from me. I think a rifle like this would come in handy at those times.
Snipers sometimes shoot at very great distances, so geting the range right is important. SFC Montero said that snipers can sometimes hit a man from a mile away! I wonder how far away I could hit a Musk Ox?
Once again, though, I didn't get fully qualified as a sniper. The US Army has a special school where soldiers go to learn all those skills, and it takes several weeks. I don't have that much time, so I just got to learn the basics. Maybe when I get back, NORTHCOM will send me to the full course!
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