Since 2004, U.S. Army Special Operations Command has been hosting an international sniper competition at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, inviting sniper teams from around the U.S. and the world to compete.
This year’s competition ran March 21-25 and featured teams from across the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Secret Service and the Coast Guard, as well as international participants from Ireland, Italy, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland.
Coming in first place was, unsurprisingly, a sniper team from USASOC. But rounding out the remaining spots in the top five were a diverse set of teams, coming from France, 20th Special Forces Group, U.S. Marine Corps Special Operations Command, and Germany.
The sniper team from Ireland, a repeat participant in the competition, was disqualified for negligent discharge, according to Janice Burton, spokeswoman for the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School.
The week-long competition includes completing different tasks that test the surgical skills sniper teams need to hone in every aspect of their craft, according to Col. Matthew Tucker, commander of the 2nd Special Warfare Training Group.
“The sniper teams face lanes that force them to maneuver over and around obstacles to establish a firing position and make engagement on a target,” Tucker said. “In other lanes, they might have to be in a static position while other challenges that make it hard are presented, like targets that move behind obstacles.
“It could be everything from taking exceptionally long shots to dealing with complex situations to how they communicate about what they happen to be seeing in a given situation that we might set up for them,” he said.
And while the past two years have seen less international participation because of the pandemic, this year’s competition highlighted not only a relaxation of COVID restrictions but the importance of friendly international military competitions.
“For our international partners—everyone is from Europe,” Tucker said. “And we currently face a common threat there that harkens back to the Cold War.
“So this has been a great opportunity for us, this year, to improve the interoperability that will be required of all of us to meet treaty obligations with NATO as well as with other allies.”
The complete list of team rankings is here:
1. U.S. Army Special Operations Command
3. 20th Special Forces Group
4. U.S. Marine Corps Marine Advanced Sniper Course
6. 1st Special Warfare Training Group
7. 7th Special Forces Group
9. 10th Special Forces Group
10. 1st Special Forces Group
11. 75th Ranger Regiment
12. 3rd Special Forces Group
13. Coast Guard
14. The Netherlands
15. 19th Special Forces Group
16. Naval Special Warfare Seal Team 1
17. NSW Advanced Training Command
18. USMC 3rd Raider Unit
19. U.S. Secret Service
This year’s competition was hosted by Range 37 personnel, Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, Special Warfare Training Group.
Rachel is a Marine Corps veteran and a master's candidate at New York University's Business & Economic Reporting program.