RAS AL GHAR, Saudi Arabia -- The United States Marine scout sniper is considered one of the deadliest weapons in the Corps’ arsenal.
A scout sniper can hit a target a thousand yards away. Their military occupational specialty school consists of 10 weeks of rigorous training, with more than half of it spent in remote areas. When conducting a mission, the scout sniper inserts under the cover of darkness and moves stealthily into position, often waiting days in solitude for an opportune moment to clear an enemy objective. Bang. Head shot. Mission accomplished. He extracts without being noticed.
The Saudi Arabia Marine sniper is one of the newest weapons in the Saudi’s arsenal. To make the Saudis more proficient in their occupation Marines from scout sniper platoon, Weapons Company, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), took part in Nautical Union, a week-long bilateral training exercise with the Saudi Marines. The training exercise is part of the MEU’s six-month deployment throughout the Western Pacific and Middle East region in support of the Global War on Terrorism.
“Honestly, I came into Saudi Arabia not knowing what to expect,” said Lance Cpl. Ward A. Kruse, scout sniper, Scout Sniper Platoon. “I didn’t know how proficient and organized the Saudi snipers would be.”
Although there is always room for improvement, the Marines were really impressed with the Saudi snipers.
“Their ability to shoot tighter groups beyond what their rifles (Steiner Rifle) are capable of displayed their use of the fundamentals of marksmanship,” said Cpl. Edward M. Thomas, scout sniper, Scout Sniper Platoon. “I was surprised to see that they had ghillie suits in a desert environment, but it showed that they were truly dedicated to master the skills of becoming a sniper.” They spent days on the ranges here shooting their sniper rifles at targets 300 to 500 meters away.
“Their weapon systems are different then ours,” said Kruse. “But despite the difference in rifles and a bit of a problem with the language barrier, I think we did our job.”