Inside the Coast Guard’s Elite Counter-Terror Sniper Team had the unique opportunity to spend a couple days with the Coast Guard’s Maritime Security Response Team down in the Tidewater area and our multimedia editor Glenn Anderson shot a great piece profiling the unit’s precision marksman observer team.

They use Mk-11 and SR-25 rifles for their work, since most of their targets are of the shorter range varieties. They do have a bunch of surveillance equipment for the “observer” part of the mission and support the Coast Guard’s door kickers when needed.

And they’re also the only unit in the MSRT that gets to wear MultiCam combat uniforms…

  • JMan

    Sorry, but Coasties aren’t elite. They might be equipped with a sniper rifle but in reality their skills are not up to par with the other service snipers, (maybe they tie with Air Force Snipers). I’m willing to say that all of Air Force snipers and all Coasties snipers have no kills.

    • Ramadi ’06

      as much pride as i have in being former Infantry US Army, i would be willing to bet that there are a few kills aquired by the airforce. though there skills may not be as great they are still good. also there are air force special operators are work closely with the other SOF teams that are in operation around the world and even if there are no documented kills from these wanderful men, that does not mean they have taken lives from a hide,.

      • Ramadi ’06

        sorry i meant “wonderful” not wanderful

    • Dave

      I’m willing to say a) that USAF snipers probably have a few kills in Afghanistan and b) that drug interdiction is still a pretty dangerous job and wouldn’t be surprised if they did have a few kills.

      I’d also like to point out that drug interdiction is a law enforcement effort where neutralizing targets isn’t preferable to arresting them and having EVERYONE come home alive, criminals included. That’s not to say that the team in the video wouldn’t be willing to hot some fool and raise world IQ a little when a suspect decides to draw on a US force…

    • Ignorance

      JMan how ignorant you are, if you every served in the military then I dont understnd why your so quick to make a negative comment, how about “cool that was a good article” but no the only thing you have to say is your stupid comment, what where you a veterinarian in the army and your mad cause you never saw combat? Not every MOS in every branch is a “killer” or is in direct combat. Every branch has certain MOS’s that get to see combat, not EVERYONE. And you make a comment about Air Force?! are you kidding me? do you know anything? I’ve seen those guys all over Iraq and Afghanistan, shootin sh*t up, not PJ’s like everyone thinks is their only combat troops, but Combat Controllers and TACP’s. Im sure they have plenty of kills, I didn’t realize you knew every member of the Air Force and every kill ever made over seas. You need to stop making comments and just appreciate what other people do, damn hater. Oh and what credibility I have is MOS 8152, 0312 USMC.

      • Tree

        This is the tits, Rah

      • AD USAF

        Hooah. Well said buddy.

    • Derek

      The MSRTs that this article is referring to train with Navy SEALs fairly often. So you can say they aren’t elite and have sub-par skills if you want to, but if they’re training with the SEALs, I’d be willing to be a good bit that their skills are just fine and that they’re pretty damn elite. Do some research next time before you post a comment demeaning anyone who serves our great nation. As a Sailor myself I find it extremely offensive when my brothers and sisters in arms, no matter which service, are insulted, and I’m sure most, if not all other members of the military do as well. No matter which branch, it’s their service and sacrifice that allow you to enjoy your continued freedom; instead of making derogatory comments, try being thankful.

    • Deputy D

      Have you ever served? Have you ever put Xhairs on a head? Do you a CKC? SERVICE MEN AND WOMEN DESERVE RESPECT WHETHER THEY ARE COOKING FOOD OR PERFORMING COUNTER T WORK. The entire machine relies on a team environment. Sum of the parts, greater than the whole thing. Don’t hate Jman

    • AFwarhammer


      Seems to me anybody who has the right “skills” can be an elite “anything” no matter what service you’re in.

    • DGoose

      dont worry about it JMAN, just know that if you ever go on a boat that takes on water or if you are ever at sea somewhere alone, cold and on the brink of death that the dolphin or jayhawk that hovers above you is going to launch a rescue swimmer from upwards of 15 to 30 feet to go after you (regardless of sea state or weather) just so that you can live another day to bash the coast guard. we’re just full of dumb, lazy, un “elite” personnel aren’t we……

    • Monty

      JMan, those that speak of being elite or having skills above others, rarely do.

    • Sonny

      Get it through your thick skull. The Navy has submarines and the Air Force has bombers. The Coast Guard has their missions. All five work as a team to do what is best for the good ole US of A.

  • PuddlePirate

    True, Coasties have no kills. But we use precision marksmanship on a regular basis to provide disabling fire to Go-fast vessels. You can’t compare the missions of the CG to those of the other branches of the military.

    • Ramadi ’06

      true the Army and Marines are combat oriented srvices not that im putting down the Coast Guard, but their role is not “to close with and kill the enemy”.

  • Ramadi ’06

    these wonderful men and their capabilities.

  • Baretta68

    This is for JMan….I know for a fact Air Force Combat Controllers got kills. But either way why are you hating? Did you go through the Coast Guards sniper training? do you have any clue what their training consists of? I dont, thats why I dont say anything about it, but you seem to be mad at your life or possibly your military career and thats why you bash everyone else. Every Special Ops guy I have met has said nothing but good things about all branches of the military and they are the most elite of them all, why? cause they apparently appreciate what anybody does to serve this country. Until you served in every Rate, AFSC, and MOS in the entire Military shut your mouth!

  • Guest11

    Yeah really so quick to bash, I didnt realize the video was all about how they are killing people over seas, its just simply how they have an elite sniper team for their role in the military, thats all. Local Police Departments have elite sniper teams, wanna bash them too? There is probably a better sniper on lets say NYPD ESU then a Marine Scout Sniper, what deparment or branch you serve in does not make you a better shooter, its your training, and like Baretta said if you havent been through their training, which im sure you havent, then how do you know what their training consists of?, for all you know they could go through Marine Scout Sniper Training.

  • 0314MC

    If i didnt join the Marines I would have joined the Coast Guard, I was very impressed with their presence in Iraq and the Arabian Gulf. I saw them over in Bahrain, they’d go out and board boats with insurgents on them, I knew of a couple instances where they got into shoot outs in the gulf. Didnt they lose a guy from an IED on a boat?

    • CG-girl

      Yes, we did lose DC3 Bruckenthal in 2004 to an explosion off the coast of Iraq. 2 Navy sailors also died in the explosion, and several others, both USCG and Navy were wounded.

      But before anyone talks bad about a coastie sniper, picture what some of them do on a regular basis: They are in a helicopter, tracking a go-fast on choppy seas, and they have to take out an outboard engine. That’s one tough shot, I don’t care who you are or what training you have. You aren’t steady, your target isn’t steady. Coast Guard has skills, we just use ’em differently. We use our skills every day, not just when we are deployed like a lot of military ratings. We are great at what we do. Just like the Army, Marines, Air Force, and Navy are great at what they do.

  • Josh

    I will give props to anyone who can put rounds on target at 800 yards. I don’t care who you are that is a TOUGH shot. Also in my opinion Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers especially those stationed in Alaska have got to be some of the most hard core dudes on the planet BAR NONE.

  • DhuntAUS

    hahah Jman got drilled for that one didnt he

  • Seriously?

    I train with SEALs all the time (for the past 6 years). I’m not elite. Just lucky.

    They have a better than average job in the USCG. Maybe due to their marksmanship.
    I’m not knocking some of these guys being good at what they do, but when you throw the word “Elite” around, you demean the Operators who are the embodiment of the word.

  • jeep1435

    Why is everyone so quick to bash the coast guard. The coast guard has been in every conflict that every branch has. lets not forget who saved over 500 hundred marines. thats right the coast guard did WWII. Our snipers may not shoot to kill. its mainly for taking out engine block at high speeds in the water so we can catch the drug smugglers for intelligence to question them on who they are working for to catch more.

  • shawn1999

    Aside from Jman, I don’t think anyone is bashing the CG, but rather the use of the term “Elite”.
    Defined as “the choice or best of anything considered collectively, as of a group or class of persons. ”
    In my opinion, I do believe CG snipers are among the Elite. They can put 1-2 shots in the engine of a 90+ mile per hour vehicle, performing evasive manuevers, using a helicopter as their shooting platform. I’d definately say that’s on par with the SEALs’ ability to cap 3 Tangos from one bouncing ship to another, without injury to the hostage.
    For Jman, who is going strictly on kills, not precision or difficulty of shot: Get better parameters. Sometimes, its more profitable by NOT killing a target. These guys don’t shoot to kill unless the Tangos show hostile intent. Until then, their only objective is force the Tango to disengage and stand-down. Sometimes a few warning shots fired into the water before the bow of the target from an LMG suffice. Sometimes they don’t. Checkout Modern Sniper on the Military channel. This video does NOT do justice to the CG Sniper folks.

    Here’s what the CG Snipers do best:

  • CG Overwatch

    The Coast Guard should be commended for what they have accomplished regarding standing up new units and capabilities since 9/11. Many of the “traditional” Coast Guardsmen do not appreciate the new missions, with political maneuvering taking place that may see the new capabilities disappear.

    Keep your eyes on the Coast Guard they may be the new kids on the block, but they will meet the standard.

    Long live the DOG!

  • Johnny Quest

    So Jman can get his head out of an orifice where the sun doesn’t shine, I know for a fact that more than one ‘Coasty” has gone through BUDS and then the complete SEAL training. There is more cross training between branches now than there has ever been.

    Jman’s post reminds me of the recent AF Combat Jumpers article on this site with guys saying that same thing about them.

    As far as ‘elite’ is concerned, the USCGA is the ONLY academy that the attendees are there based on merit, not appointment like the others.

    • Crest

      “As far as ‘elite’ is concerned, the USCGA is the ONLY academy that the attendees are there based on merit, not appointment like the others.”

      Well that used to be the case, not any more. Apperently it is more important now to judge someone on their race and religion rather than just merit.

      As for topic on had, the Coast Guard does not have “snipers” we have Precision Marksman. May be a zero, to a lot of difference depending on how you look at it though. They are very good at what they do, its not the same as the other services, but they skill level is no less for their job then a marksman from a differerent branch.

      • Johnny Quest

        The politically correct crowd has infiltrated the Academy you say? Shame, but I guess that is the road we are well on our way down.

  • justacook

    hey the USCG is part of the MIitary so why are we hateing our own brothers in arms. They might not serve in Combat outpost or anything like that but they do wear a uniform of the Armed Services and I turn green on the sea i am glad to have them on our side. Please if any one says they are not elite then try and do what they do and see if they can do better, if not shut up and sit behind that desk. I am Air Borne and ASSLT and I am not Elite even tho PPL say the Air Borne Corps is elite

  • Guest

    Coming from someone that’s prior military service, I will say beyond any shadow of a doubt, it’s a world of difference between the combat arms and the USCG. They’ve proved their worth more than once in this world. The most memorable have been during and after hurricanes….While every other branch had to sit still because local, state and federal politicians were jacking jaws, the USCG were on scene doing their jobs and did quite well considering circumstances.

    Having land based rescue experience in the mountains, lakes and streams of the western USA and observing them in action, I have no qualms about the men and women of the USCG. You may come to my rescue any time!

    OORAH, Guardians!

  • shawn1999

    I think there is a stat on accuracy- something like 95% in ops accuracy- meaning, despite everything working against them, they still hit their target nearly every single time that it mattered. I think the sniper competition should include an activity which simulates this- see how the other branches do (just like I think there should be one that tests endurance and observation capabilities like those the Marine Recon shooters have honed).

  • Robert A Schwehr

    Apples and oranges!Like they told us in 1968 and at Quantivo in,68` 69`and 70`,”Everybody can`t be a Marine”via DI and range officers,”but you can serve your country in the Army,the Navy,the Air Force or even the Coast Guard”.As for USCG kills damn right they exist,stats don`t compare but ask the 1st Marine Division,82nd or Seal team or even Delta Force about USCG kill yes spell KILL here.Remember circa Vietnam years overseas and even in CONUS circa 1979 and God and a select few know when and where else. Anyone who thinks one Branch by itself can prevail in War is tragiclly and sadly mistaken and shoulld go back to basic,Cape May,Paris sland,San Antonio or Where Ever!!!!.Army Colonel former officer USCG.”That is(expletive deleted )all”.Pipe that.

  • CoastieW720

    I’m a Seaman in the Coast Guard currently on an anti-drug patrol our HITRON shooters are the best I’ve seen and have taken out 4 go-fast vessels and provided us with tons of intel on other targets. that being said the best intel we got was from an airforce AWACS. I would love to find out more about this marksmanship program and how to get in.

    SN USCG WHEC 720

  • Stefan

    Coast Guard has guns? They need to be back home stopping drug smugglers.

  • Y’know, even if some don’t want to grant the HITRON shooters “elite” status among the other branches of the military (which I WOULD), I don’t think anyone would begrudge them being considered elite within the Coast Guard itself at least! “Bless ’em ALL!!”

  • MCvet

    Its usually people that never served a day in the military that say sh*t about certain branches of the military or guys that have a less than appreciative job in their branch. Like Sailors in the Navy who sit at a screen all day and never heard the sound of a bullet wizzing by their head, they will be your ones who will bash lets say the Coast Guard or Air Force, cause they want to be the only ones with boats in the water and the only ones with planes in the air, oh and lets not forget they have the Seals, you know the only special ops guys in the entire military, lol ok!.

  • MCvet

    Its immature and unbelievable that certain people who join for the love of their country and a large amount of patriotism can say anything bad about another person or service of this country that makes any attempt to protect it or serve it. Its all good to have pride in your service, but to take it to that other level where you got something negative to say about another branch….well than you should just not serve. Every branch of the military has its certain jobs that are cooks or are computer geeks, not every Marine(just as an example, I am a Former marine so its ok) is out there runnin and gunnin, trust me I know. But everyone works together and without one we could not prevail, never forget that the next time you got something to say about someone or entire Branch the Military.

  • Infidel4LIFE

    I saw a Coastie take shots at a motor going about 90, from a helo. That takes skill. Its good they have this extra capabilty. They serve in war zones and have EARNED the respect. Its great.

  • Mod88

    Im pretty sure the person that wrote the article is calling them elite, not the Coast Guard, so lets not get our pretty little pride panties all in a bunch. Oh and I forgot everyone here who had something to say about them being elite knows “exactly” how good of a sniper they are right? I forgot theres only one elite sniper in the entire world! Idiots.

  • K Van Dyke

    Haven’t seen all spec ops. Was an army knuckledragger back when and gradumatated to some spec unit in which we trained with different countrys and yes the coasties. Each has skills another needs or utilizes, and each individual in the units have something to learn from. I hope folks understand that when in training or in country no matter the unit there was some verbal slanders in jest but we were there to learn and learn we did. heck we were met by an Aussie “merc” team( special unit not on the charts) and those guys were awesome and got us out of some deep do-do. So, in prespective I don’t think it’s right to bash any unit from any area of the military in the US or any other country for that matter. Each has a job to do and respect of a fellow warrior is necesary to work as a functioning team. JMHO but Coasties from what I’ve seen especially lately since i watch their maneuvers are great at what they do and the rescuse in maddening conditions no one in their right mind would “run” into but they do it, they’re trained to do it, and they sometimes die doing it, so kudos to the USCG!
    Thus endeth my diatribe.

  • Carl

    I’ve got a lot of respect for the USCG and most of you have it correct in saying that unless you “walked in their shoes,” you cannot possible know what skills it takes for their mission.

    The U.S. Army has run a International Sniper competition at Ft. Benning since 1987. This is a grueling 3 day, no sleep, little food, event that has two man teams from all over the world trying to win. The stalking phase is amazing.

    While the USCG does not send teams to this since their missions don’t require the kind of “kill approach” to the target, the USMC does send their teams. Unfortunately they have only won once in the last ten years and that was last year. Since they won becasue they sent their entire Scout Sniper School Instructor’s (instead of regular Marine line company Snipers) I’m not sure they should have accepted the award.

    Most years, the U.S. Army wins the first 3-5 slots. The Germans also do very well.

  • Joe Coastie

    I can tell you for sure that you are wrong, at least on one count.


    what the **** do you know about it JMAN? everyone’s got a job to do and unless you’re carlos hathcock i’d suggest you not mouth off about who has what skills. if you think that people in the coast guard and air force have no skills then you probably couldn’t tell your *** from a hole in the ground.

  • Adam

    Coast Guards DOG Operators are elite. a normal person can’t do what a PSU Gunner can do. and they probably have chalked up some PMOT kills especially if they are patrolling of the coast of Somalia against pirates, or heavy narco-terrorist. i also saw someone mistake this unit for HITRON which is similar just in helicopters, i presume these shooters would be on the cutter or land depending on location. and JMAN these guys and MSRT train with the SEAL’s they are a mix of SEAL’s and SWAT in my opinion. You can’t prove they don’t have any kills. WWII. Vietnam and even the gulf they had kills, obviously since they carry a SIG SAUER and an M4A1 they have gotten some kills

  • jmrd

    MSRT precision marksmen observer team’s missions are to provided cover to the MSRT members from enemy hostiles from a helicopter and other stuff. HITRON are the ones who disabled go-fast boats engine from smuggler.

  • Grant Combs

    What’s the matter JMan… Didn’t score high enough on the ASVAB’s? Couldn’t get into the Coast Guard? Common problem. SEMPER PARATUS!

  • Grant Combs

    Wrong-o Ramadi ’06. Coasties have fallen face down in every major conflict since the revolutionary war. Tell that to PO1 Douglas Munro, posthumous winner of the CMH in WWII. Killed moving stranded Marines around Guadalcanal. Or Lieutenant Jack Rittichier whos remains were just repatriated from Viet Nam. He was flying an Air Force HH-3 Golly Green Giant on a rescue mission that ended in flames. Get your history right before you make another (I’m not putting you down) foolish statement.

    • Grant Combs

      ++Jolly++ Doh!

  • Grant Combs

    Yet another low scoring ASVABer; It’s not your fault, just genetics…

  • Grant Combs

    Semper Paratus young Coastie! Thank you for your service, keep up the good work. (in spite of Cmdnt. Papp!)

  • Shelly Millington
  • Shelly Millington
  • Adam B

    I’m sure the coast guard has killed some people, obviously they required MSRT and MSST and a M240 on a RHIB, something tells me they earned needing more than a SIG SAUER. Also it’s a law enforcing branch, they see combat more than most against drug runners, pirates, other water and land borne threats. Learn your stuff before you start talking smack.

  • Notyard

    Iggy. Copy that. Nuff said.

  • John

    I am a Coast Guard Veteran and all I can tell you guys is we have been doing elite stuff before the war, during the war and after the war is over. Most of our “elite” stuff is done in SAR which to some may not get the headlines but trust me it is very bit as exciting as combat and every bit as dangerous. The USCG is second among the branches of services for lives being lost in the line of duty BTW(%).

    As far as Coasties never shooting anyone? Mainly the Coast Guard snipers target will be outboard motors on go fast boats. The war on drugs the the Coast Guard finds itself in the middle of deals with NARCO criminals and at times there is gun play although it be a rare case on boardings, etc. When it does happen the person being killed or doing the shooting is not a US Citizen and so there is not much reported on it in the US and in their home country a narco getting killed is not really news. The Coast Guard maintains a very low profile and a very high level of professionalism at all times and are highly trained highly skilled individuals.

  • John

    HAHA Yep that is it I think. I remember sitting in the recruiters office and the guy constantly answering the phone. He had a few questions for the callers. It was one hang up after another one. I felt very lucky to be just interviewed having made it through the phone screening.

    Of that very stringent screening we lost 40% who quit in basic and who formed the largest company there waiting for paperwork to be discharged.

  • moomoo

    And how many do you have fucknuts?

  • C.G. 70-74

    This is a great advancement from boarding junks & sampans off the coast of Vietnam. An 82fter would pull up with M-60s for cover fire and a boarding party of maybe 2 or 3 guys with M-16s or model 12 shotguns would climb on board and check out the stuff….Operation Market Time. 7 Coastguardmen KIA and 59 WIA in Southeast Asia. The Coast Guard has always been low key…doing things and going places unsuspected….Who would suspect the C.G.? I believe C.G. Law Enforcement are the only military personel to be armed everywhere , all the time, and at the becken call of the President. They now are under Homeland Security ( use to be Dept. of Trans.) (During War ,Dept. of the Navy)