Photo Information

A scout sniper chambers another round as he engages targets from a rooftop Jan. 26. The Scout Sniper Platoon and Reconnaissance Marines with Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, attended a ten-day training package headed by National Sniper Champion Todd Hodnett who taught the Marines how to improve their lethality with new shooting formulas, shooting positions and techniques.

Photo by Cpl. Scott M. Biscuiti

Marine scout snipers scope out new tactics

30 Jan 2008 | Cpl. Scott M. Biscuiti

Thanks to new sniping tactics picked up by Marine scout snipers in Kuwait, insurgents caught in their scopes are guaranteed to have a bad day.

 The Scout Sniper Platoon and Reconnaissance Marines with Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, attended a ten-day training package Jan. 20-30 headed by National Sniper Champion Todd Hodnett who taught the Marines how to improve their lethality with new shooting formulas, shooting positions and techniques.

 “Training with Todd Hodnett has taken our capabilities to a level that I didn’t think was possible as a scout sniper,” said Cpl. Ryan Lindner, a scout sniper with Scout Sniper Platoon and Napa Valley, Calif., native. “Todd has really revolutionary tactics about shooting (around, over and within buildings.)”

 During the training, the snipers where able to effectively engage targets that were behind buildings and many Marines hit targets at distances that they never attempted before.

 One particular technique learned on the ranges was shooting loopholes. This technique makes the shooter virtually invisible from enemy detection by allowing him to shoot through a two-inch hole in a wall while 20 to 30-feet away from the hole.

 “I’ve done stuff out here that I’ve never even heard of before,” Cpl. Scott Koppenhafer, a scout sniper with Scout Sniper Platoon, said about the training. “It directly correlates to everything we would do in combat.”

 1st Lt. Frank Edwards, Scout Sniper Platoon commander, said the Marines have been using personal digital assistants or PDAs to expand their capabilities.

 “PDAs are relatively new to the Marine Corps and very new to our platoon,” said the Olney, Md., native. “It’s a quicker, more efficient way for our guys to do math calculations such as atmospheric pressure, wind speed and target range so they can make their adjustments faster.”

 Using the hand-held devices was a new experience for many of the Marines.

 “This is the first time I’ve worked with them,” said Koppenhafer, a Mancos, Colo., native. “It used to take a week on the range going through boxes and boxes of ammo to build up data for your rifles. The PDA cancels that out. What used to take a week, now takes an hour.”

 In addition to learning advanced formulas and using modern technology to gain the upper hand, the Marines prepared themselves for the unexpected by shooting with different ammo and storing the results in their PDAs.

 “If a sniper is in a firefight and has to switch to different ammo, he already has the data in his PDA,” said Edwards.

 As time changes, so too do the tactics and technological advances available to snipers. Learning what they are and how to employ them will keep Marine scout snipers at the top of the food chain, said Lindner.

 “Taking what Todd has taught us enlarges everything we can do,” said Lindner. “We can engage targets a lot faster, farther and with a lot more accuracy. It will make us that much more of a combat multiplier out on the battlefield.”


Marine Corps News

Colonel James W. Lively
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Colonel Lively is a native of Dallas, Texas. He received his commission in 1996 through the Platoon Leaders Course program after graduating from Texas A&M University with a BA in Psychology.

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Lieutenant Col. Le E. Nolan
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Lieutenant Colonel Nolan is a 2001 graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology and received his commission through Officer Candidate Class 180. After completing flight training as a CH-53E pilot, he reported to HMH-361 in MCAS Miramar.

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11th Marine Expeditionary Unit