Penn., Lithuania Partner to Compete in Best Sniper Competition
U.S. Army Sgt. Dalton Weist, a soldier assigned to 1st Battalion, 109th Infantry Regiment, poses for a photo during the European Best Sniper Competition at Hohenfels Training Area, Germany, Aug. 5, 2022. The Best Sniper Competition challenges Soldiers from Allied and Partner nations to test their shooting skills, as well as work with other Soldiers in accomplishing various sniper tasks, like targeting, stalking, pistol fire, and night operations. (Photo Credit: Spc. Joshua Casson) VIEW ORIGINAL

HOHENFELS, Germany – “My Dad taught me how to shoot at a very young age. I started with a simple .22 BB Gun Red Rider like everyone else. I took a passion to it,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Dalton Weist, 1st Battalion, 109th Infantry Regiment, Pennsylvania Army National Guard.

Weist’s passion for shooting has led him to become a European Best Sniper candidate. He is the only American Soldier competing on a first-ever combined Pennsylvania-Lithuania team during the Best Sniper Competition at Hohenfels Training Area, Germany, Aug. 5-11.

The Best Sniper Competition challenges Soldiers from Allied and Partner nations to test their shooting skills and work with other Soldiers in accomplishing various sniper tasks, like targeting, stalking, pistol fire, and night operations. The 2022 Best Sniper Competition features 36 teams from 18 countries.

The American-Lithuanian team is the first of its kind, said Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Stegmeier, Joint Multinational Readiness Center’s match director. JMRC is the 7th Army Training Command directorate that coordinated and executed the competition.

“This is our first year with a one and one: One team from one country and another country combined,” Stegmeier said.

This team is a product of the National Guard State Partnership Program between Lithuania and Pennsylvania, which began in 1993, but these teammates were new to Weist.

“Previously, I’ve dealt with a lot of the Lithuania National Guard units,” Weist said. “The guys I’m with today are active duty. They seem like really good people, and I’m very confident in their abilities and hope I don’t let them down.”

Stegmeier spoke of the partnership between the Pennsylvania Army National Guard and Lithuania.
“They have a state partnership with Lithuania. Building a relationship and a co-team is leaps and bounds in showing how we as partners can work together,” he said. “Talking to (Weist), I think this is going to be a great partnership.”

Weist said that his team had discussed differences in the equipment and tactics they use to complete their missions. During the competition, he will utilize his Lithuanian counterpart’s weapons system. Stegmeier highlighted the interoperability between the two countries.

“Sharing weapons is awesome. I think it’s always good to learn something new off a new weapons system,” said Stegmeier.

Weist said there is a language barrier, but he has been able to get past it with help from his team’s coach.
“But, once you get to this level, the one thing that is universal is weapons,” Weist said.

Weist added another benefit to the two-country team-up - the competition builds readiness and interoperability on a personal level that crosses international borders.
These team-ups are starting to spread across the competition just now, according to Stegmeier.
“We might see some more of these teams next year as well,” he said.

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