Politics & Media
Jun 12, 2009, 05:43AM

Confessions of a Marine Sniper

An Undercover Interview.

When I was 18, I (along with every other 18 year old American male) had to register for the US Army.  It was a formality of sorts…No one really gets drafted anymore, and I was pretty sure that I would be of no use to the Army…that is unless they needed help with iTunes or picking uniform colors.  But it was the law and I registered even though the thought of going to war scared the shit out of me.  It doesn’t matter how much I love this country, I would not be a good soldier….This installment of Undercover Interview is with a Marine sniper who not only went to combat, but offered up his services a second time in Iraq after he had left the Marines because he “wanted to fucking kill people.”   I don’t judge, I just ask the questions…..and the answers are insane.  Enjoy.Undercover Interview- I Was a Sniper

So what was your job?Scout Sniper, team leader.Whats that exactly?Its basically battalion reconnaissance….I guess you don’t know what that means?I have no idea what that means.OK.  In layman’s terms we go out in support of companies in two or four man teams to do missions for that company, whether its sniper missions or observation missions or sometimes they’ll drop us out ahead of time to scout the area before they come in and do a raid. How long did it take you to become a sniper?To be a school-trained sniper it took about 2 years.Was it something you wanted to do when you first joined the Marines?No.  I didn’t know about snipers at all.  I was actually a machine gunner first, and one day I was out sitting on my pack like a drone like everyone else just doing what everyone else does, and I saw a group of four guys walk right up to the colonel and were basically bullshitting with him.  They had kick-ass gear, and they were wearing Gilly suits which are the bush looking suits that you wear to hide.  They carried themselves differently, and I was like “Fuckin’ A…who are those guys?”  They were like rock stars.So what does it take to become a sniper?First you have to try out for the In-Doc (indoctrination) which was two weeks long.  I did mine in Japan when I was deployed there.  The first week is basically hell where they basically thrash the shit out of you non-stop.  You’ve got to run around with a pack full of sand everywhere you go.  They break you down physically while giving you classes on ballistics, on stocking, on different traits you need to have as a sniper, and then they test you on that to see how much knowledge you retain under no sleep, and exhaustion.   The second week you apply those skills in the field where they give you mock sniper missions with the actual snipers who are currently in the platoon. They run them like they’re the enemy, and you have to observe them while they’re looking for you.   That’s basically training for the real thing, and they see how well you do.Was it hard to become a sniper?You have to be in good shape even to try out to be a sniper.  There might be 60 people who try out, and probably 30 quit within the first 24 hours. Got any crazy stories?One thing is SERE school.  It stands for Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape.  You can go through SERE once you get into the scout sniper platoon.  You don’t have to be a sniper yet, but its part of the training you should go to if you’re a sniper.  SERE training consists of torturing you…they torture you through different methods, they starve you, and they lock you in a little cement box.  You actually have to sign a waiver at the beginning of the course saying that you won’t hold them responsible for any physical damage done to yourself.  Like my partner got his nose broken….they lock you in a footlocker for four hours, and then they pull you out and you can’t stand up because  your legs are numb.  You want to kill yourself by the time you get out of that fucking thing.  They come by and beat on the locker with a bat every couple minutes to make sure that you’re not falling asleep, and just to stress you out. Whats the purpose of it?The purpose is to stress you out.  They hit you and they make you do push-ups.  The worst thing that I ever experienced in SERE school was the waterboard.  Only 5-10% of SERE school students did it…they called it the water torture device.  That’s where they strap you down on a declined board and they pour water in your mouth.To simulate that you’re drowning?Yeah. They drown you.  They DO drown you.  I thought, “they’re not going to kill me…this is training, right?” I was fighting and choking and swallowing water for a minute or two, and then I acted like I passed out to get them to stop pouring water.  In the meantime they’re asking me questions like “Where did you helicopter land?” “How many are in your group?” “Where were you going?” “What are you doing in our country?”..its all simulated like you’re in another country.  I’m thinking that they’re going to stop doing this, but they don’t.  They just keep pouring the water.  I couldn’t hold my breath any longer and I started inhaling water.  I freaked out….I’ve never freaked out worse in my life.  I ripped a leather strap off the board, and then pulled the cloth off my face, turned my head to grasp some air, and then five guys jumped on me.  They kept holding me down pouring water in my mouth.  I was choking, and I though I was dying….I FELT like I was dying. At that point I would have probably told them where my mother lived.  It sucked so bad (laughs).Was that the worst part of training?The worst part for me was when I was doing this training mission in Arizona in these rocky hills in Yuma, and I almost got shot by a Cobra helicopter.  It was nighttime, and a training mission mind you.  I had an infrared strobe that I was trying to signal the helicopter with, but instead they shot at a target that was behind me.  Huge frickin’ 40 millimeter bullets just zipped past me at chest level just an arms length away.  I could feel the concussion of the guns going off.  I dropped to the ground and crawled out of there.  I had to run back to the point where I was supposed to get picked up to take me out of there.  I only had 30 minutes to cover a mile of rocky hills, so I was basically sprinting on rocks, falling every three steps.  I had bloody knees and hands from falling.  It was just a fucking nightmare mission.


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