News Branch Marine Corps

End of an era: The last class of Marine Scout Snipers graduates on Dec. 15

The last HOGs night will take place the night before, aboard Camp Geiger in North Carolina. 
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marine corps scout sniper
U.S. Marine Corps Scout Snipers have a long standing history of being the deadliest marksmen on the battlefield. (Photos courtesy of U.S. Marine Corps. (Task & Purpose composite image.)

The last class of Marine Scout Snipers is scheduled to graduate on Dec. 15, marking the end of the 0317 MOS and a long tradition of producing some of the deadliest snipers on the battlefield. 

The last HOGs night will take place the night before, aboard Camp Geiger in North Carolina. 

Marine scout sniper candidates are initially called Professionally Instructed Gunmen, or PIGs, but once they graduate from the course, they are called Hunters of Gunmen, or HOGs. 

The HOGs night, a tradition for all scout sniper graduates including legends like Carlos Hathcock and Charles “Chuck” Mawhinney, is where scout snipers gather around a bonfire to receive their HOGs tooth, a 7.62 bullet on a 550 cord necklace. The rite of passage is traditionally attended by Scout Snipers past and present.

Jonathan Taylor is the executive vice president and COO of the USMC Scout Sniper Association. He served as a Scout Sniper from 2006 to 2013, deploying three times to Iraq and once to Afghanistan. He’s helped put together the HOGs night for years, helping to attract celebrity guest speakers and getting invites out to as many scout snipers as possible. 

“It’s usually just a smaller group with the graduates and then a few, you know, a few stragglers here or there. This one is scheduled to be big,” Taylor said. “We’re already getting emails from people. I think they are planning for 50 at the HOGs night, but that’s just off the top of the head of the staff NCOIC. I would say it’s closer to 60 to 70.”

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The night will include a pig roast and goodbyes — for now — to the Scout Sniper course and MOS. Celebrity guest speakers like Naked and Afraid star Justin Governale and Cody Alford, former Scout Sniper and Marine Raider, will attend the last HOGs night and graduation the following day. 

“It’s definitely a bittersweet event,” Taylor said. “But, you know, the Scout Sniper program is going away. We don’t know how long it’s going to be gone for, but this will be the last one for the time being.” 

Logan Stark, a former Marine Scout Sniper who deployed to Okinawa, Japan; and Sangin, Afghanistan, acknowledged that though there are mixed emotions, he’s confident that with the current state of the world, this won’t be the last we’ve seen of the Scout Snipers. He pointed out that the Marine Scout Sniper course has come and gone multiple times since the first course took place in 1918. 

“I think that there’s very much a break in case of emergency mentality for Scout Snipers right now,” Stark said. “I think that if all of a sudden the warfare landscape switched dramatically overnight, I think we would see the program brought back immediately. But, who knows.”

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