By Sgt. Karen SampsonJune 1, 2017
A visit to a local café is a boost for the human spirit. Whether lured in by the ambiance, maybe to enjoy the camaraderie of friends, or enticed by savory smells and craving a bite to eat from the kitchen. A familiar, busy space where communal goals are simple, satisfaction is expected and needs are easily met.
The comforting, busy environment plays a perfect cloak. A two-man sniper team is hidden in a bar service kitchen strategically in line with targets in a neighboring building. A hand-woven lace curtain barely moves as the target is neutralized.
Building hidden sites one of the many skills sniper teams practiced during the 11-day International Special Training Center's Urban Sniper Course held at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center's training area, Hohenfels, Germany.
Enabled by Special Operations Command Europe, and supported by JMRC's Wolverine Special Operations Forces Observer Coach/Trainer Team approximately 12 sniper teams from multiple NATO special operations forces participated in the International Special Training Center's Urban Sniper Course instructed by trainers from 7th Army Training Command. The course ran May 19 -30.
The course prioritizes teamwork, communication and tactical movement during day and night operations within the landscape of select MOUT (Military Operations Urban Terrain) sites.
"ISCT conducts the Urban Sniper Course in simulated cities in JMRC's Training Area due to the complexity of infrastructure; the details of buildings and interiors," said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin Ross, Urban Sniper Course Instructor and ISTC Operations Noncommissioned Officer. "The students learn to use normal, everyday, on-hand assets as part of their mobility and as building tools towards engaging specific targets."
Sniper teams from special operations forces representing Germany, the United Kingdom, Norway, Belgium, Italy, Netherlands, Greece and Switzerland spend 172 class hours against a detailed backdrop and accurate representation of the current, real-world operational environment.
A Dutch Army Sergeant First Class attending the course plans to share the knowledge he acquires to develop a sniper program at the Dutch Army's marksman academy.
"We are using the course to refine our abilities and enhance our performance as a team," said a Special Operations Senior NCO and instructor from Netherlands' Dutch Army Marksman School. "What skills and training we learn here we will use to advance our curriculum."
The sniper teams progressed through individual classes, and in the final days of the course conducted a cumulative, scenario-driven Field Tactical Exercise (FTX). Each team performed three missions over three nights, integrating all their new skills while navigating through a cityscape of complex obstacles, and while being confronted with various unpredictable events.
"The teams will plan and conduct several live-fire missions conscious of notional civilian populace and use operation orders notionally enabled by the needs of other armed force units," said Ross.
Through this training, snipers are better able to see the urban landscape as tool box for tactical movement and camouflage.
This gives a whole new outlook entering the same café.
Located near Stuttgart, Germany, ISCT is a U.S. Armed Forces-led education and training facility for tactical-level, advanced and specialized training of Special Operations Forces (SOF) and similar units. This training center employs the skills of Multinational instructors and subject-matter experts.