It is no hidden fact that in various conflicts women have operated as snipers and have performed brilliantly in combat, just look the USSR in World War 2 for confirmation. You can also read about some individual female snipers in our history section as well. But for the first time in US Army history, a female soldier is now a fully qualified sniper and has been awarded the coveted B4 identifier.

This story has extra meaning to me personally as this first female graduate is a member of the Montana National Guard, which is where I served as a sniper several decades ago. But back then women were not even allowed to be in the infantry. Progress continues and it is outstanding that we have reached this point.

This announcement was made this week by the US Army and while the name of the soldier has not been released, we do know that she went straight from One Station Unit Training (OSUT), which incorporates both basic training and advanced individual training into one longer school at Fort Benning, Georgia. She was a part of a new program where the US Army takes a select few students that have excelled in OSUT and sends them straight to Sniper School. The Army had tried this same approach back in the 1990’s and it failed miserably with only one of two of the candidates ever graduating. But the program today is better integrated with OSUT and OSUT itself does a much better job preparing the sniper school candidates, and frankly, the quality of soldier has likely gotten better as well.

Sniper School is a very demanding and difficult school and the standards are the same for every student, regardless of gender. For a more detailed look at the school you can read about my own personal experience. The school now is even two weeks longer than it was when I went through with some added content for urban and desert operations. By all accounts this female graduate is an outstanding soldier and we offer our congratulations! If she reads this and is interested, we are still located here in Montana and we would love to conduct an interview (confidentialities can be maintained), and hear your story. But in the mean time, good job, and now its time to continue the fine sniping tradition of not only the US Army, but the Montana National Guard.

Sniper Central.

4 Comments

Brandon Ewing

This is great! Women have always had a history in the sniper world. It was bound to happen in the US Army. When I went through US Army sniper school in 2005 we had the NCOIC of the the Israeli sniper school visit, that person was a woman. I’m sure they don’t just hand that position to anyone. Enjoyed the write up and love the last name.

Reply
Chris Weldon

“Progress continues and it is outstanding that we have reached this point”

Mel, I respect you immensely but let’s just say I disagree with that statement wholeheartedly. I retired as an 11B some years ago and had several combat deployments. Females have no place in this MOS. This is a physical field and it is no exaggeration to say that life may hinge in one’s ability to carry wounded out of the field of battle. It is also no exaggeration that women present monthly problems in field that men don’t and last but certainly not least is the fact that men and women together in the field will lead to physical complications. Passing a watered down (and yes it is watered down) infantry, sniper and selection course doesn’t change biological facts. Our previous leaders were not stupid and they used good, sound logic when they prohibited women from combat arms. Not sure why you’re going here but combat should be the last place for wokeness. No offense is intended but not everyone agrees with this.

Reply
mele-02

Chris, no offense is taken and I appreciate feedback and open discussion and thoughts, even if critical of what I wrote. I had a hard time deciding if I should write that statement or not, but in the end I did because everything I read indicated there was not a change of standard for women going through sniper school. If we are going to allow both genders to serve side by side, then I agree with you, there simply cannot be a change of standard because of gender, the 220lb guy next to you is not gonna get lighter because you are a female. I do not know what the Army has done for infantry standards, but for the Sniper School, everything is the same no matter what, and that is what I am writing about here. Females have a long and successful history as snipers (see the comment above about the Female Israeli Sniper School NCOIC). Now, an argument can be made that the standards at sniper school were relaxed during the great sniper run up during the GWOT, but that has nothing to do with allowing women through, that came after the change.
Thanks for the comments and shedding different views on this.
MEL

Reply
Chris Weldon

“because everything I read indicated there was not a change of standard for women going through sniper school”

What the army says and what the army does are two totally different things. In my somewhat educated opinion, the US military has become totally politicized. Flaunting women graduates out as “proof” of equality. Some may disagree but they will never convince me it was a fair standard. Now, as far as women snipers in history, when pushed to a point of desperation where women must be used, then yes, they have performed admirably. But what was the measuring criteria? A little bit of something is better than all of nothing. That doesn’t mean we’re equal. Would a platoon of female infantry soldiers be equal to a platoon of male infantry? Would they be as strong? As fast? As mentally strong in the face of extreme violence? I highly doubt it. In Russia, for example how many women spetsnaz operators have you heard of? Actually, I have heard of some but but with the caveat that they are used differently. Sort of a sneak element when women can get in or through places men can’t. That I can understand. Women do have certain traits that are very useful. That said I am sure no Russian commander believes a female operator is equal to a male operator. Why I bring up Russia SF is simply because it is an old school more brutal type and not quite as concerned with the appearance of equality compared to our SF community. Not saying anything bad about our operators and I’m sure hell week is …well…hell. That said it seems our country has a serious case of wokevid and it has funneled into our military and the face of equality overshadows reality.
In summary, Men and women are different. We compliment each other each other strengths and weaknesses. Compliment not compete.

Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *