A competitor in the United States Army Special Operations Command International Sniper Competition communicates with his partner in another room while engaging targets on a live-fire range event on Fort Bragg, North Carolina, March 19, 2019. (U.S. Army/Sgt. Michelle Blesam)
The U.S. Army Special Operations Command International Sniper Competition brings around two-man snipers teams from across both the U.S. armed forces and foreign special operations forces for several days of fine marksmanship skills.
Of the 21 teams that converged on Fort Brag from March 17-22 — including Naval Special Warfare, Marine Corps Scout Sniper, MARSOC, and Green Beret teams, among others — Army Times reports that the Marine Corps Scout Sniper team placed third behind the USASOC team, which placed both first and second.
Given the elite status and popular reputation of Marine scout snipers, such a defeat may seem shameful. But to be fair, Army snipers have owned the USASOC competition for the last several years: A two-man team from the 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) emerged victorious in 2018 following the back-to-back wins for the 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) in 2017 and 2016.
Even so, the third-place finish at the USASOC competition has to sting just a little bit in light of some other recent defeats.
In May 2018, two soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division took the "high shooter" and "high stalker" awards upon their graduation from Scout Sniper Course 1-18 at Camp Geiger on Marine Corps Air Station New River, Military.com reported at the time.
The following October, not only did the Marine Corps contenders at the 2018 International Sniper Competition at Fort Benning, culled from the Scout Sniper Instructor School, come in 10th to the 75th Ranger Regiment's victorious duo, but finished behind a team from the Coast Guard's Special Missions Training Detachment.
Poor Marine Corps snipers: You just can't seem to catch a break.
The Marine Corps has tapped a new Silicon Valley defense firm to develop a "digital fortress" of networked surveillance systems in order to enhance the situational awareness of security forces at installations around the world.
Marine Corps Installations Command on July 15
announced a $13.5 million sole source contract award to Anduril Industries — the two-year-old defense technology company and Project Maven contractor founded by Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey and several former Palantir Technologies executives — for a new Autonomous Surveillance Counter Intrusion Capability (ASCIC) designed to help secure installations against "all manners of intrusion" without additional manpower.
This is no standard intrusion system. Through its AI-driven Lattice Platform network and 32-foot-tall autonomous Sentry Towers, Anduril purports to combine the virtual reality systems that Luckey pioneered at Oculus with Pentagon's most advanced sensors into a simple mobile platform, enhancing an installation's surveillance capabilities with what Wired
recently dubbed "a web of all-seeing eyes, with intelligence to know what it sees."
"This was a defensive action by the USS Boxer in response to aggressive interactions by two Iranian UAS [unmanned aerial systems] platforms in international waters," CENTCOM spokesman Army Lt. Col. Earl Brown said in a statement. "The Boxer took defensive action and engaged both of these platforms."
On July 17, Army Sgt. 1st Class Richard Stayskal briefly met with President Donald Trump at a rally in Greenville, North Carolina to discuss the eponymous legislation that would finally allow victims of military medical malpractice to sue the U.S. government.
A Green Beret with terminal lung cancer, Stayskal has spent the last year fighting to change the Feres Doctrine, a 1950 Supreme Court precedent that bars service members like him from suing the government for negligence or wrongdoing.
The new trailer for
Top Gun: Maverick that dropped last week was indisputably the white-knuckle thrill ride of the summer, a blur of aerial acrobatics and beach volleyball that made us wonder how we ever lost that lovin' feeling in the decades since we first met Pete "Maverick" Mitchell back in 1986.
But it also made us wonder something else: Why is Maverick still flying combat missions in an F/A-18 Super Hornet as a 57-year-old captain after more than 30 years of service?