Snipers in need have friend in States
May 17, 2004
ARLINGTON, Va. — Attention, deployed snipers: Your brothers-in-arms back home want to send you gear.
A group of police and military snipers has started “Adopt a Sniper” to donate equipment to deployed military members.
It’s the brainchild of Brian Sain, a police SWAT member for 15 years who works as a detective in the Port Arthur (Texas) Police Department.
Sain said he was inspired by the close-knit “sniper fraternity,” whose military and civilian police members are unusually interwoven. “A lot of SWAT [members] are former military, and a lot of them are reservists who are now going over” to Iraq and Afghanistan, Sain said. “And even if you’re not military, getting shot at is getting shot at, no matter where you are.”
Sain said he knows “what it’s like not to have the equipment you need.” In 1994, Sain said, “I watched a guy hold a baby out a door through my sniper scope. I couldn’t see [well enough to shoot the man]; it was dark and I didn’t have night-vision equipment.” As Sain watched helplessly, the man shot the baby in the back.
Sain said he is determined to make sure no deployed military sniper will ever be in that spot — unable to do his mission or worse yet, in danger, because he doesn’t have the right gear.
In the six months since he started, Sain estimates that he’s sent at least $10,000 worth of sniper supplies to troops overseas.
Sain’s rules for who gets the goods are simple: deployed American servicemembers with a sniper military occupational specialty, regardless of branch of service.
“If they need [anything], they don’t have to do nothing but e-mail me. It takes about two weeks for me to get it to them in the mail.”
E-mails requesting equipment have come from all over — Iraq, Afghanistan and places Sain won’t name for security reasons.
Gear requests range from long cotton-tipped swabs for cleaning weapons to ultra-high-tech electronics that only an expert could use. Among the most requested items are specialized batteries, “any and all kinds of Surefire” (a line of tactical flashlights), and S.T.R.I.K.E. (Soldier Tactical Retro Integrated Kit Enhanced) Commando Recon chest harnesses.
Almost all of the gear Sain ships has one thing in common, he said: It’s specific to the very specialized sniper community and thus often very hard for civilian family and friends to supply to deployed servicemembers.
“It’s easy for [snipers] to write home and say, ‘I want a can of shaving cream,’” Sain said. “But trying to explain a Gen 4 Molle gear to Mom is a lot harder. She’d gladly spend the money, but she doesn’t know where to get it.”
There is one problem with getting gear to military snipers: They move around a lot, especially special forces, Sain said.
In fact, he has “six huge boxes” of expensive gear, including spotting scopes and binoculars, packed and ready to ship at the request of a SEAL team whose last known address was Bahrain.
But the team appears to have moved on, and now the donation is “just waiting for a mailing label and a customs stamp,” Sain said.
So drop him a line, SEALs.
“You know who you are,” Sain said.
— For more information or to make a donation, go to www.adoptasniper.com or www.snipersonline.org. Military snipers requesting gear must send their name, rank, service, date of graduation from and location of their sniper school, direct overseas contact information, and contact information for their commanding officer. All requests are verified for authenticity.