A Montana Army National Guard soldier has become the first ever woman to graduate from the US Army’s seven-week Sniper Course at Fort Benning, Georgia.
The soldier, who has requested her name not be made public, enlisted with the Montana Army National Guard in December 2020. She was sent to Fort Benning to complete Infantry One Station Unit Training and had just qualified as an expert shooter when she was recommended by training staff to attend the US Army‘s Sniper Course due to her superior performance.
She began the course in September 2021. It trains selected soldiers in “the skills necessary to deliver long-range precision fire and the collection of battlefield information.” The course is only open to those enlisted in cavalry, infantry or Special Forces roles.
Soldiers are trained in range estimation, target detection, sniper tactics, concealed movement, advanced camouflage techniques, known and unknown distance firing on stationary and moving targets during the daytime and in different weather conditions, and advanced marksmanship.
“The Soldier met every standard required to graduate the United States Army Sniper Course,” said Captain David Wright Battalion Commander at the Sniper School. “She arrived prepared for training and physically conditioned to succeed. We are proud of the results of her efforts and the quality of 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.”
Women in the Army have continued to make history following all combat jobs being opened to them in 2015. Last year, a National Guard soldier became the first to join the Green Berets, while others have since graduated from the Army’s Ranger School.
On hand at the graduation ceremony on November 5, 2021 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.
“We’re all incredibly proud of her,” said Captain Joshua O’Neill, the soldier’s commanding commander during her infantry training. “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.”
“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,” added Major General 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.”
As she has completed her training, the unnamed soldier will return to her unit.