Marine snipers take top prize, again


Nov 3, 2008
Marine snipers take top prize, again

Another SOI-West scout-sniper team wins National Guard competition

By Gidget Fuentes - Staff writer
Posted : Thursday Dec 10, 2009 10:04:25 EST

When the dust settled at the tail end of a weeklong sniper competition in Arkansas last month, it was a team of Marine scout-snipers who topped the leader board. Again.

Sgts. Daniel Gilland and Jose Lucero beat 14 other teams in the second annual Inter-Service Sniper Sustainment Exercise at Fort Chaffee, grabbing a first-place finish at the competition sponsored by the National Guard Marksmanship Training Center’s Sniper School.

The sergeants, both instructors at School of Infantry-West at Camp Pendleton, Calif., finished ahead of the same Army Special Forces team that came second to another two-man Marine sniper team from SOI-West at the International Sniper Competition at Fort Benning, Ga., in October.

Gilland, 26, and Lucero, 24, spent about three days training on the range before traveling to Arkansas for the competition, where they maneuvered and fired M40 and M107 sniper rifles in tactical combat scenarios — including helicopter aerial shooting, stalking and navigation — through day and night shoots that at times included firing at multiple targets and from different positions.

Perhaps the toughest event was a stalking exercise where teams had to identify and kill targets they had encountered the day before. “We hit every single one,” said Gilland, a Tennessee native.

They encountered the Special Forces team several times and figured they were doing well, but they didn’t know until the awards banquet that they finished first. “We really were just doing our job. That’s what we do,” said Lucero, of El Paso, Texas.

Gunnery Sgt. Andrew Sullivan, Scout Sniper Basic Course chief instructor at SOI-West, coached both winning teams and beamed with pride.

“There were some damn good shooters at the competition. It was a fight every day,” Sullivan said. “You had no idea who was ahead; you had no idea about points until the banquet.”

Col. Brennan Byrne, who commands SOI-West, was thrilled with the teams’ victories.

“We were hitting the targets, we are applying what we know about marksmanship … in a tactical environment,” said Byrne. “We beat the Army in two different venues with two different teams. I think it speaks to the strength of what our guys are.”

Lucero, Gilland and Sullivan — along with Sgts. Grant Royal and Josh Huskey, who took top prize at the international event — were SOI-West’s honorees at the Dec. 8 graduation of Marine Combat Training Battalion’s India Company.

Said Royal: “We have bragging rights at the school house.”
Uber-awesome for the guys. They've been training with a vengeance since last year's competition.