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First woman soldier completes Army sniper school

A U.S. Army sniper in a ghillie suit. (U.S. Army photo/Released)
November 09, 2021

Last week, a Montana Army National Guard Soldier became the first woman to complete the U.S. Army Sniper Course.

On Monday, the Army announced the unidentified Soldier had completed the Army Sniper Course at Fort Benning, Georgia on Friday, November 5.

“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 the Montana National Guard. “This Soldier had to volunteer several times to reach this goal, which is a demonstration of her dedication and commitment to service.”

The Soldier enlisted in the Montana National Guard in December 2020 and, after completing basic training, was then sent to Fort Benning for Infantry One Station Unit Training (OSUT), which is a 22-week course combining Army basic training with more advanced individual training in infantry skills. While attending OSUT, her training staff and chain of command took note of her superior performance — including qualifying as an expert shooter — and recommended her for the sniper course.

“We’re all incredibly proud of her,” Capt. Joshua O’Neill, the OSUT company commander, said. “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.”

The Soldier began the seven-week sniper course in September. The intensive sniper course entails training in advanced camouflage techniques, concealed movement, target detection, range estimation, terrain utilization, intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB) relevant reporting procedures, and various sniper tactics. Trainees are also taught advanced marksmanship such as firing from known and unknown distances, at stationary and moving targets, during daylight and limited visibility, and in varying weather conditions.

“The Soldier met every standard required to graduate the United States Army Sniper Course,” said Capt. David Wright, battalion commander, U.S. Army Sniper School. “She arrived prepared for training and physically conditioned to succeed. 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.”

Command Sgt. Maj. John Sampa, the command sergeant major of the Army National Guard, and Command Sgt. Maj. Claudena Brady, the state command sergeant major for the Montana Army National Guard, were in attendance at the Soldier’s sniper course graduation ceremony.

With the completion of sniper training, the Soldier will join her unit.