Irish Snipers Beat Out US Marines, Rangers

Caption: Staff Sgt. Desmond McClellan (near) and Sgt. Cameron Pope (left), infantrymen of 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, identify and shoot targets Oct. 19, 2015, while their coach and supervisor, Staff Sgt. Tom Appledorn, watches close by during the International Sniper Competition on Fort Benning, Ga. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Joshua Laidacker)Caption: Staff Sgt. Desmond McClellan (near) and Sgt. Cameron Pope (left), infantrymen of 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, identify and shoot targets Oct. 19, 2015, while their coach and supervisor, Staff Sgt. Tom Appledorn, watches close by during the International Sniper Competition on Fort Benning, Ga. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Joshua Laidacker)

Put down that Guinness.

A team of Irish snipers beat U.S. Marines and Army Rangers in the 14th annual International Sniper Competition recently held at Fort Benning, Georgia.

Here’s what Ben Wright, a reporter for The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer newspaper, wrote about the potentially historic achievement:

‘The two-man team, who didn’t want their names or photos used, emerged as the winner in a field of 36 teams from around the world. A team from the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, at the post was second, and a U.S. Marine Corps School of Infantry-West took third place in the four-day competition that pushed soldiers mentally and physically for 96 hours.

Col. William Thigpen, commander of the 316 Cavalry Brigade, pointed to consistency as the key to success for the Ireland team over the course of 16 events. Teams were tested in long-range marksmanship, observation, target detection, stalking, reconnaissance and reporting and the ability to move with stealth while concealed.

‘They demonstrated the most consistency across the board,” Thigpen said … ‘I’m almost positive this is the first international team to win the competition,” the commander said. ‘We are fair in everything we do. That’s how the numbers registered. They were the best team in 2015.'”

Check out the full story here. Meantime, some pictures from the event are below.

Caption: Sgt. Wilberto Garcia (near) and Sgt. Bryan Coslett (far), both infantrymen with 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, take aim at targets during a pistol range Oct. 22, 2015, during the International Sniper Competition, at Fort Benning, Ga. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Joshua Laidacker)

Caption: Sgt. Wilberto Garcia (near) and Sgt. Bryan Coslett (far), both infantrymen with 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, take aim at targets during a pistol range Oct. 22, 2015, during the International Sniper Competition, at Fort Benning, Ga. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Joshua Laidacker)

 

Caption: Sgt. Bryan Coslett (above) and Sgt. Wilberto Garcia (below), both infantrymen with 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, drag a 195 pound sled before starting a rifle event Oct. 22, 2015, during the International Sniper Competition at Fort Benning, Ga. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Joshua Laidacker)

Caption: Sgt. Bryan Coslett (above) and Sgt. Wilberto Garcia (below), both infantrymen with 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, drag a 195 pound sled before starting a rifle event Oct. 22, 2015, during the International Sniper Competition at Fort Benning, Ga. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Joshua Laidacker)

Featured photo attribution: Staff Sgt. Desmond McClellan (near) and Sgt. Cameron Pope (left), infantrymen of 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, identify and shoot targets Oct. 19, 2015, while their coach and supervisor, Staff Sgt. Tom Appledorn, watches close by during the International Sniper Competition on Fort Benning, Ga. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Joshua Laidacker)

About the Author

Brendan McGarry
Brendan McGarry is the managing editor of Military.com. He can be reached at brendan.mcgarry@military.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.
  • Edward

    Called Irish luck! Still not as tough as a Marine Sniper.

    • Army 91W

      Read the last sentence of the article before commenting. I served honorably as a Medical Personnel with 2nd MEF in 03 and 1st Big Red One in 06 both in Iraq. Our Armed Forces is the best but today in Sniper Competition, the Irish Armed Forces win it fair and square. They deserved it.

    • Rick

      Marine Sniper & Ranger or special opt. We need to learn where we made mistake and train our Special Opt better. We need to learn new skills from other Special Opt. from other countries.
      We need to learn to adopt what is best for our special opt.

      • Hobart

        Improvise, adapt, and overcome Oh-Rah, Gung Ho. This is how we stay on the razors edge, we must master and absorb every technique to stay on top. MYGSGT 1/9th.

  • JonesB

    When I was in the US Army, we had combat maneuvers with several other infantry units from countries like Jordan, Mexico, Colombia… We wouldn’t win every exercise. You’d be surprised how effective and well trained the soldiers are from the countries I just mentioned.

  • keep in mind all the good snipers are busy.

    • C. Fears

      Are you saying that our guys were second or third string players? It’s ok to give credit where credit is due. Hats off to the spirit of competition.

  • recon grunt

    No it is Irish whiskey that keeps there hands steady . Really it is like any game . If you think the competitors are crappy you will loose just like WW2 started out . Never underestimate any one male or female when they are shooting at you .

  • ron spiker

    Congratulations, to all who participated in the event. Competition breeds better consistency and greater trust among the service organizations.

  • J.look

    yeah yeah yeah me uncle emit did the same damned Leprechaun shootin triicsters with a splash of gold dust befer our eyes..an puff Emit won ! He did the Scottish fusiliers the damn same way too !

  • karnoff

    They were the most consistent… What that doesn’t mean is they were the top in ever competition,they consistently preformed. I am also going to say what a poster above stated, there are many well trained troops around the world. I think the problem with the Irish wining says that the comp is testing stuff the U.S. forces are not currently training to do, due to they’re deployments. I’m sure that will change come next year.

  • ODUILL

    not as tough as marine sniper, how stupid and disrespectful does that sound …respect is earned in this case tested ..respect is given ..this team are from the FIANOGLACH (IRISH ARMY’s COUNTER TERRORIST UNIT…) RANGERS ALL THE WAY…

    • guest

      just stupid american arrogance that will one day get alot of people killed.

  • Scuba Steve

    What they don’t tell you is that there are 20 or so teams from the U.S. Army, two teams from the U.S. Marine Corps, and the rest made up of international teams. So, it’s quite impressive for the Marines to score so high, even more so for the Irish team.

  • Van

    Well heck they are all set up to go up against the Taliban and ISIS ship ’em on over. Give our guys a break. What were they using for targets pictures of Prince Charles?

  • AirborneSaint

    Thank God a SEAL didn’t win… they’d write a book about it and then make a movie out of it as well. Salute to the boys from Ireland!

    • Jango Soprano

      I concur!

    • john patrick

      AMEN

  • BigSky

    What I always get a kick out of is that the best teams are almost always deployed during the competition especially over the last decade, plus the insane number of teams from the US Army or when they are non deployable from the AMU which shouldn’t even count.

  • John

    Congratulations, Irish! Footnote: Many of the US Marine Teams are busy right now….

  • joe

    Congrats to teh Irish– better than it being a Chinese team winning with an off the shelf walmart rifle— worse yet if it was that fat kid from North Korea– kim fung pung or whatever his name is..

  • Tony

    Only 300+Men have made it in the ranks of this unit since it formed in 1980 to Combat Terrorism !
    The selection process is extremely professional .

    I know I served in the unit for many years now serving US Military .

    Well done to the Fianoglach sniper Team .

    Tony

  • CPowell

    GOOD! Congrats, Ireland.

    Healthy competition will make all these teams just a bit better — be it for pride, shame, anger, or just simply a trick or tweak learned.

    Congrats to all the teams…

  • Valvatorez

    Our guys lost because their still using outdated 7.62×51 rifles. It’s good for semi auto DMR. However for Ireland and other countries who want to do more then shoot fanatics who live in the desert. .338 is sniper round of choice.