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04-17-04, 04:05 PM #1
FALLUJAH, Iraq "It's a sniper's dream,"
FALLUJAH, Iraq - Taking a short breather Friday, the 21-year-old Marine corporal explained what it was like to practice his lethal skill in the battle for this city.
"It's a sniper's dream," he said. "You can go anywhere, and there are so many ways to fire at the enemy without him knowing where you are."
The role of snipers has become a significant tactic for Marines in this "Sunni Triangle" city. Marine experts say Fallujah is among the most "target-rich" battlefields for snipers since the World War II battle for Stalingrad, during which German and Russian snipers dueled for months.
In negotiations aimed at ending the standoff in the city, the insurgents have demanded that the Marines pull back their snipers.
A shaky truce exists between the Marines who surround the city and the fighters within the circle.
But the cease-fire allows the Marines to carry out defensive operations within the city, which, among other things, they define as allowing fire on insurgents who display weapons, break the curfew or move their forces toward U.S. troops.
While official policy discourages Marines from counting the people they have killed, the custom continues. In nearly two weeks of conflict here, the corporal from a Midwestern city has emerged as the top sniper, with 24 confirmed kills. By comparison, the top Marine Corps sniper in Vietnam killed 103 people in 16 months.
"As a sniper your goal is to completely demoralize the enemy," he said. "I couldn't have asked to be in a better place. I just got lucky, to be here at the right time and with the right training."
The military has asked that sniper names not be published. Insurgents were said to have placed a bounty for the killing of any Marine sniper.
"If you're going to be a sniper," said the corporal, "you just have to accept the things that come with it."
The corporal was a scout during last year's battle to topple Saddam Hussein's regime. He remembers his first time as a sniper in action.
"The first time you get the adrenaline rush afterward," he said. "During the shooting, you have to take care of your breathing. It felt good to do my job, good to take a bad guy out."
Marine snipers, whose motto is "one shot, one kill," fire from rooftops in crowded urban areas of Fallujah, as well as exploring the city by foot. It sometimes takes hours to set up a shot, as the sniper hides in the distance, waiting for the opportune moment.
04-17-04, 05:14 PM #2
Very interesting !
I had read somewhere that the Iraqi militia were using two man sniper teams with scoped rifles In Falluja.
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