Chris Lange, FISM News
A Montana Army National Guard soldier recently became the first woman to complete a sniper training course at Fort Benning, GA.
According to a statement from the Montana National Guard Public Affairs office, the soldier, whose name has not been released, was recommended to the elite program following completion of a 22-week-long Infantry One Station Unit Training where she excelled in advanced individual infantry skills and qualified as an expert shooter.
“We are extremely proud of this Soldier’s achievement and recognize that this is a milestone for not only Montana, but the entire National Guard and Army,” said Maj. Gen. J. Peter Hronek, the adjutant general for Montana. “This Soldier had to volunteer several times to reach this goal, which is a demonstration of her dedication and commitment to service.”
The soldier, who enlisted in the Montana Army National Guard in Dec. of 2020, was among a select group of individuals chosen to participate in the intensive, seven-week training to develop “the skills necessary to deliver long-range precision fire and the collection of battlefield information.” She began training in September and graduated Nov. 5.
The course, which also includes instruction in fieldcraft and concealed movement, is considered extremely challenging and has a high attrition rate. In addition to expert marksmanship, soldiers who qualify for the program are required to meet a number of physical requirements, including achieving a score of 70 percent or higher on every portion of the Army Physical Fitness test.
“We’re all incredibly proud of her,” said Capt. Joshua O’Neill, OSUT company commander. “She epitomizes what it means to be an infantry Soldier, and there wasn’t a doubt in our minds that she would succeed in the U.S. Army Sniper Course.”
According to Capt. David Wright, U.S. Army Sniper School battalion commander, the soldier “met every standard required” to successfully graduate from the course.
“She arrived prepared for training and physically conditioned to succeed,” he said. “We are proud of the results of her efforts and the quality training provided by the sniper course cadre. We wish her luck as she heads back to her unit as a U.S. Army Sniper Course-qualified sniper.”
The soldier will now rejoin her Montana National Guard unit as a qualified U.S. Army sniper.