Guard Soldier first woman to graduate Army Sniper course

By Maj. Ryan Finnegan, Montana National GuardNovember 8, 2021

Guard Soldier is 1st woman to graduate Army sniper course
The Pennsylvania National Guard’s Marksmanship Training Unit (MTU) held its annual Pennsylvania State Sniper Match at Fort Indiantown Gap Dec. 5-8. The winning team consisted of Sgt. Chavez and Spc. Schneider, with the Maryland National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 175th Infantry Regiment, which is a component of the 28th Infantry Division and therefore wears the keystone patch. That team will represent Maryland at the all-Guard Winston P. Wilson Sniper Championship Feb. 15 at the Robinson Maneuver Training Center, Ark. Pennsylvania will be represented by Staff Sgt. Joshua Sterndale and Spc. Andrew Scalice with the 2nd Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 28th ID, Pennsylvania National Guard. (Photo Credit: Spc. John Bright) VIEW ORIGINAL

HELENA, Mont. — A Montana Army National Guard Soldier became the first woman to complete the U.S. Army Sniper Course at Fort Benning, Georgia, Nov. 5.

At this time, the military is not identifying this Soldier by name.

"We are extremely proud of this Soldier's achievement and recognize that this is a milestone for not only Montana, but the entire National Guard and Army," said Maj. Gen. J. Peter Hronek, the adjutant general for Montana. "This Soldier had to volunteer several times to reach this goal, which is a demonstration of her dedication and commitment to service."

The Soldier enlisted in the Montana Army National Guard in December 2020. She was then sent to Fort Benning to complete Infantry One Station Unit Training (OSUT), a 22-week course that combines Army basic training with advanced individual training in infantry skills.

While attending OSUT, her training staff and chain of command recommended she attend the sniper course due to her superior performance, which included qualifying as an expert shooter.

"We're all incredibly proud of her," said Capt. Joshua O'Neill, OSUT company commander. "She epitomizes what it means to be an infantry Soldier, and there wasn't a doubt in our minds that she would succeed in the U.S. Army Sniper Course."

The Soldier began the course in September 2021. This intensive seven-week course trains selected individuals assigned to sniper positions in the skills necessary to deliver long-range precision fire and the collection of battlefield information.

"The Soldier met every standard required to graduate the United States Army Sniper Course," said Capt. David Wright, battalion commander, U.S. Army Sniper School. "She arrived prepared for training and physically conditioned to succeed. We are proud of the results of her efforts and the quality training provided by the sniper course cadre. We wish her luck as she heads back to her unit as a U.S. Army Sniper Course-qualified sniper."

On hand for the sniper course graduation ceremony were Command Sgt. Maj. John Sampa, command sergeant major of the Army National Guard, and Command Sgt. Maj. Claudena Brady, state command sergeant major for the Montana Army National Guard.

With the completion of training, the Soldier will join her unit.

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