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Ken's trip to the desert


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#481 EchoFiveMike

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Posted 26 November 2005 - 1413 PM

Adam, that stuff has been repeatedly refuted. It's some corpulent, never done nothing gun nut who just decided to try and pimp rumor one more time and it got traction on the internet. S/F....Ken M
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#482 X-Files

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 2329 PM

Couldn't find if this was posted before, but what ya gotta love a three-at-a-time story. May the terrorists' suffering be legendary, even in Hell. :D

Snipers' head shots had to kill terrorists simultaneously to prevent explosions
(Filed: 20/11/2005)
http://www.telegraph.../20/nsas120.xml

Early on a warm summer morning, a few hours before traffic began to fill the streets, a 16-man SAS patrol took up ambush positions around a Baghdad house, writes Sean Rayment.

The soldiers had been told that the house was a being used as a base by insurgents - and up to three suicide bombers were expected to leave it later that morning.

Dressed in explosive vests, they were fully equipped to hit a number of locations around the city. The bombers' targets were thought to be cafes and restaurants frequented by members of the Iraqi security forces.

The intelligence was regarded as "high grade" and came from an Iraqi agent who had been nurtured by members of the British Secret Intelligence Service, also known as MI6, for several months.

Expectation among the 16 soldiers, attached to Task Force Black (TFB), the secret American and British special forces unit based in the Iraqi capital, was high. Each member of the four four-man groups was a veteran of many missions where the intelligence promised much - only to deliver little.

The plan for Operation Marlborough was simple: allow the three suspected bombers to leave the house and get into the street, then kill them with head shots from the four sniper teams. Each team was equipped with L115A .338 sniper rifles, capable of killing at up to 1,000 yards.

The soldiers, liaising earlier with their commanders, had considered the option of entering the house and killing the terrorists - but that plan was regarded as too dangerous. The confines of the house would intensify the impact of any blast, killing everyone inside.

The SAS soldiers were told that it was vital that the three bombers would have to be killed simultaneously.

If one of them was allowed to detonate a device, scores of people could be killed or injured.

In support of the covert sniper teams was a Quick Reaction Force (QRF), which would provide a dozen extra soldiers within a few minutes in an emergency. The QRF was based in a secure location nearby and a team of ammunition technical officers were on hand to defuse the bombs.

A section of Iraqi police was also attached to the operation - although they were not briefed on the detail of the attack - to deal with any crowd trouble.

Meanwhile, 2,000 feet above the city of five million inhabitants, a CIA-controlled Predator unmanned air vehicle was providing a real-time video feed back to the TFB headquarters deep inside the secure green zone.

Shortly after 8am, Arabic translators, monitoring listening devices hidden inside the house, warned the operations centre inside the militarily controlled green zone that the three terrorist were on the move. The message "stand by, stand by" was dispatched to the four teams.

As the terrorists entered the street, a volley of shots rang out and the three insurgents slumped to the ground.

Each terrorist had been killed by a single head shot - the snipers having spent the past few days rehearsing the ambush in minute detail.

The SAS troopers had been warned that only a direct head shot would guarantee that bombs would not be detonated.

Only three of the four snipers fired, the fourth was to act as a back-up in case one of the weapons jammed or a sniper lost sight of his target.

The message that the terrorists had been killed was sent back to the SAS headquarters and the troops moved forward to check the bodies for life. As they gingerly approached it became brutally apparent that the .338 calibre round - the biggest rifle bullet used by the Army - had done its job.

Operation Marlborough was hailed as a complete success and one of the rare occasions on which the coalition has been able to deliver a decisive blow against suicide bombers.
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#483 X-Files

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Posted 01 January 2006 - 1518 PM

Sniper shot that took out an insurgent killer from three quarters of a mile
Toby Harnden in Ramadi
(Filed: 01/01/2006)
http://www.telegraph.../ixnewstop.html

Gazing through the telescopic sight of his M24 rifle, Staff Sgt Jim Gilliland, leader of Shadow sniper team, fixed his eye on the Iraqi insurgent who had just killed an American soldier.

His quarry stood nonchalantly in the fourth-floor bay window of a hospital in battle-torn Ramadi, still clasping a long-barrelled Kalashnikov. Instinctively allowing for wind speed and bullet drop, Shadow's commander aimed 12 feet high.

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A single shot hit the Iraqi in the chest and killed him instantly. It had been fired from a range of 1,250 metres, well beyond the capacity of the powerful Leupold sight, accurate to 1,000 metres.

"I believe it is the longest confirmed kill in Iraq with a 7.62mm rifle," said Staff Sgt Gilliland, 28, who hunted squirrels in Double Springs, Alabama from the age of five before progressing to deer - and then people.

"He was visible only from the waist up. It was a one in a million shot. I could probably shoot a whole box of ammunition and never hit him again."

Later that day, Staff Sgt Gilliland found out that the dead soldier was Staff Sgt Jason Benford, 30, a good friend.

The insurgent was one of between 55 and 65 he estimates that he has shot dead in less than five months, putting him within striking distance of sniper legends such as Carlos Hathcock, who recorded 93 confirmed kills in Vietnam. One of his men, Specialist Aaron Arnold, 22, of Medway, Ohio, has chalked up a similar tally.

"It was elating, but only afterwards," said Staff Sgt Gilliland, recalling the September 27 shot. "At the time, there was no high-fiving. You've got troops under fire, taking casualties and you're not thinking about anything other than finding a target and putting it down. Every shot is for the betterment of our cause."

All told, the 10-strong Shadow sniper team, attached to Task Force 2/69, has killed just under 200 in the same period and emerged as the US Army's secret weapon in Ramadi against the threat of the hidden Improvised Explosive Device (IED) or roadside bomb - the insurgency's deadliest tactic.

Above the spot from which Staff Sgt Gilliland took his record shot, in a room at the top of a bombed-out observation post which is code-named Hotel and known jokingly to soldiers as the Ramadi Inn, are daubed "Kill Them All" and "Kill Like you Mean it".

On another wall are scrawled the words of Senator John McCain: "America is great not because of what she has done for herself but because of what she has done for others."

The juxtaposition of macho slogans and noble political rhetoric encapsulates the dirty, dangerous and often callous job the sniper has to carry out as an integral part of a campaign ultimately being waged to help the Iraqi people.

With masterful understatement, Lt Col Robert Roggeman, the Task Force 2/69 commander, conceded: "The romantic in me is disappointed with the reception we've received in Ramadi," a town of 400,000 on the banks of the Euphrates where graffiti boasts, with more than a degree of accuracy: "This is the graveyard of the Americans".

"We're the outsiders, the infidels," he said. "Every time somebody goes out that main gate he might not come back. It's still a running gun battle."

Highly effective though they are, he worries about the burden his snipers have to bear. "It's a very God-like role. They have the power of life and death that, if not held in check, can run out of control. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

"Every shot has to be measured against the Rules of Engagement [ROE], positive identification and proportionality."

Staff Sgt Gilliland explains that his Shadow team operates at the "borderlines" of the ROE, making snap judgements about whether a figure in the crosshairs is an insurgent or not.

"Hunters give their animals respect," he said, spitting out a mouthful of chewing tobacco. "If you have no respect for what you do you're not going to be very good or you're going to make a mistake. We try to give the benefit of the doubt.

"You've got to live with it. It's on your conscience. It's something you've got to carry away with you. And if you shoot somebody just walking down the street, then that's probably going to haunt you."

Although killing with a single shot carries an enormous cachet within the sniper world, their most successful engagements have involved the shooting a up to 10 members of a single IED team.

"The one-shot-one-kill thing is one of beauty but killing all the bad dudes is even more attractive," said Staff Sgt Gilliland, whose motto is "Move fast, shoot straight and leave the rest to the counsellors in 10 years" and signs off his e-mails with "silent souls make.308 holes".

Whether Shadow team's work will ultimately make a difference in Iraq is open to question. No matter how many insurgents they shoot, there seems no shortage of recruits to plant bombs.

Col John Gronski, the overall United States commander in Ramadi, said there could not be a military solution. "You could spend years putting snipers out and killing IED emplacers and at the political level it would make no difference."

As they prepare to leave Iraq, however, Staff Sgt Gilliland and his men hope that they have bought a little more time for the country's politicians to fix peace and stability in their sights.
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#484 EchoFiveMike

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Posted 01 January 2006 - 1847 PM

The SAS thing is GTG, although the effective range of the 338 is more on the order of 1500m vice 1000.

It'd nice to see the US Army getting their heads of their asses regarding snipers, although it's very much on a case by case basis. The unit that relieved us was hurting for gear, although it appeared to me that their command was working very hard to fix this. The difficult issue is employment.

Highly effective though they are, he worries about the burden his snipers have to bear. "It's a very God-like role. They have the power of life and death that, if not held in check, can run out of control. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

This quote right here defines the major employment problem; lack of trust. This isn't just a sniper thing, although there it's most obvious, it's a problem across the board. You have small units that have a tight bond of fellowship and a good leader and you can do ANYTHING you want. There is NOTHING the paranoid control freak commander can do to stop this and still maintain a working environment that isn't oppressively overrun with "zampolits" and "spies"

The solution isn't to try and control everything on the assumption that your troops are murderers just waiting for the opportunity to asassinate women and children, but to set high standards and expectations and give the troops the freedom to do whatever they need with the mindset that they are too good to give in to temptation. The attitude I tried to create is that of the hunter. I'm here to kill wolves, it's beneath me to shoot sheep. It's degrading and insulting to me and to my team to be thought of as someone who is expected to perform all manner of strenuous things under complex battlefield conditions and yet still have to be watched like a hawk to make sure I'm not off shooting women and children.

Whether Shadow team's work will ultimately make a difference in Iraq is open to question. No matter how many insurgents they shoot, there seems no shortage of recruits to plant bombs.

Col John Gronski, the overall United States commander in Ramadi, said there could not be a military solution. "You could spend years putting snipers out and killing IED emplacers and at the political level it would make no difference


This Col has the wrong attitude. You kill these enough of these asshats and they certainly do start going away. There are different required levels of killing needed, but there is a threshhold where you start to see real decline in enemy activity. The sniper creates fear, and once you generate that fear, you can start to get things done with the politics and negotiations. S/F....Ken M

Edited by EchoFiveMike, 01 January 2006 - 2144 PM.

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#485 EchoFiveMike

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 1443 PM

http://www.ogrish.co...ar_06_2006.html

Seems the videos we took in Iraq are starting to make it to the Internet. This was a team from E Coy that had captured some shitheads and were bringing them and their Bongo truck back to the FOB when they hit an IED. Some blast injuries and sandblasting, but nothing serious. S/F.....Ken M
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#486 ShotMagnet

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 1521 PM

Good news, there.

Realizing that it's hard to be ever-vigilant, I have to wonder why the folks in the video didn't immediately 'go hot' when they saw the three cars by the side of the road, but I'm not there and I'm not them.

Maybe they thought they were safe?

Very lucky men, in any case.

Shot
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#487 EchoFiveMike

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 2151 PM

Realizing that it's hard to be ever-vigilant, I have to wonder why the folks in the video didn't immediately 'go hot' when they saw the three cars by the side of the road, but I'm not there and I'm not them.

Maybe they thought they were safe?

Very lucky men, in any case.

Shot

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There are cars EVERYWHERE. Imagine conducting combat operations while in any major urban/suburban area. Sometimes you push them in front of you, sometimes they pull over. You could just blow every car parked on the side of the road up, but that is a decision made WAY up the chain. S/F.....Ken M
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#488 EchoFiveMike

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Posted 12 July 2007 - 1849 PM

BTT to avoid prune. S/F...Ken M
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