Army working to train more snipers
July 25, 2005
CAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea — The Army plans to train three times as many snipers as it currently does and assign one to every infantry squad, according to instructors training 2nd Infantry Division soldiers in South Korea.
Staff Sgt. Jason Smith, 32, of Valdosta, Ga., and former Army sniper Leroy Brink, 42, of Buena Vista, Ga., are in Warrior Country this month running a school for 2nd ID soldiers who want to become snipers.
The pair form a Mobile Sniper Training Team from the U.S. Army Sniper School at Fort Benning, Ga. The school, founded in 1987, is expanding to triple its current size, they said Friday during a training session at the Joint Security Area Mock Up Range on the edge of the demilitarized zone.
“Everybody wants snipers right now,” Brink said. Snipers are the U.S. Army’s most efficient killing machines, he said.
“In the Vietnam War the Army shot thousands of rounds per kill. Snipers shot 1.3 rounds. So the cost-effectiveness was established then,” he explained.
The sniper school currently can train a maximum of 320 snipers a year, while mobile teams train another 150 snipers.
“In a light infantry battalion you have about six snipers and in a mechanized battalion you have about eight. That’s two per company. They want to have one per squad when all is said and done,” Brink said.
Some of the soldiers training to become snipers know how effective they can be in combat.
Staff Sgt. Seth Geuke, 25, of Headquarters Headquarters Company, 1st Brigade Troops Battalion, 2nd ID, said snipers could have saved U.S. lives if they had been assigned to his units when he was with the 82nd Airborne Division in Iraq last year and during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
“Nobody in our unit in Iraq had been to sniper school,” said the Redfield, S.D., native. “I’m going back to our times in Iraq and Afghanistan and thinking there are a lot of things we could have avoided if we had snipers with us.”