Snipers Take Aim
Story by Pvt. Jarrett Branch : 17th Public Affairs Detachment
FORT LEWIS, Wash. – He laid perfectly still as he concentrated on the target 600 meters in front of him. His spotter peered through the scope and jotted down a few things in his field notebook. The spotter leaned over and told the shooter the vital information needed to take out their target. Once the shooter was ready, he focused all his effort as he prepared to take the shot.
Having to consider distance, elevation and weather conditions, shooters have to adjust their weapon to make sure the first shot is the last shot.
The Army is fielding the M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System to help snipers hit their target. The M110 SASS was dubbed by the Army as one of the inventions of 2007. The M110 SASS was tested by snipers in 5th Striker Brigade Combat Team at Fort Lewis, Wash., July 15.
"Versions of this rifle have been out for a while now, but this is one of the newer models," said Sgt. James Clark, sniper section leader for 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment. "The M110 SASS will be replacing the previously used SR-25."
The snipers arrived at the range in the early morning and began prepping the weapons to be fired. After they made sure that all the weapons were ready for the task at hand, the snipers made their way to the firing line. The Soldiers got in position, pointed the rifles down range, and waited for their spotters to give them the correct windage and elevation needed to hit the target.
Once they had all the information, the snipers opened fire. The Soldiers performed a few tasks with the M110 SASS such as zeroing the weapon and taking practice shots necessary to break in the weapon. For many of the Soldiers, it was the first time that they ever fired the M110 SASS and they were very pleased with the results.
"So far, so good," said Clark, from Atlanta. "It just takes some time to get used to. It's pretty much shoots like an M-16."
Not every Soldier gets the opportunity to fire this rifle or be a part of the two-man sniper team. The Soldiers who are selected to be snipers must go through series of events before they earn the right to be called a sniper.
"The snipers are handpicked to have this job because of their skills and abilities," said Clark.
Unit commanders handpick Soldiers who excel in marksmanship for sniper school.
Pfc. Walter Williams, a sniper with the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, recalled how he became a sniper. "One day the scouts were having a platoon day. We went out to the range and everyone shot M-4s. Whoever's shot group was the strongest and hit 40 out of 40 targets were sent to sniper school."
Williams, from Panama City, Fla., was one of a handful of Soldiers in 5th Striker Brigade Combat Team who was able to shoot the M110 SASS.
The M110 SASS is giving snipers across the Army the ability to make that one shot count.