News: Scout snipers keep watch over Marines
Story by Cpl. Ed Galo
AGHA AHMAD, Afghanistan – The snaps and cracks of accurate small-arms fire break the silence of the day.
As rounds impact their rooftop, a team of scout snipers and other Marines keep calm and work to sight in on their enemies.
Marines with Scout Sniper Platoon, Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines provided over watch as other Marines with Alpha Co. executed Operation Helmand Viper to disrupt insurgent activity in Agha Ahmad, Afghanistan, August 29, 2012.
As part of Operation Helmand Viper, the Marines with Alpha Co. interrupted enemy supply lines in the local area.
“I took my team out, and we provided surveillance of the battlefield for intelligence gathering,” said Cpl. Eric Mabry, scout sniper team leader, Alpha Co.
The Marines inserted via MV-22 Ospreys and CH-53E Super Stallions in the dark of the night to minimize enemy detection. Once they landed, they quickly cleared their way through compounds and found one suitable to operate from.
“The insert went well,” said Mabry of San Antonio. “But the original compound we planned on (using), we couldn’t really see much from there, so then we moved and we had pretty good eyes on from new our compound. We had good fields of view, good fields of fire.”
Not long after the team of snipers was in place, they took fire from the enemy. The attacks continued throughout most of the day.
“As the day progressed, we started taking some pretty accurate small arms fire, little bit of machine gun fire, some IDF,” he added. “From there we just attempted to locate the enemy and reduce the targets.”
The Marines kept vigilant, and despite limited cover on the rooftop, they searched the area from where they were taking fire. They saw a man off in the distance that seemed to be directing the enemy shooters.
“There he is! It’s a spotter,” shouted one of the Marines on the rooftop as he oriented everyone to the spotter’s location. The alleged spotter would look off into the distance towards the Marines’ location and then hide just before the Marines would get shot at.
They continued to observe the suspected spotter until they were absolutely sure that he was helping the enemy. Once they confirmed his actions, the Marines called to their higher command and requested permission to shoot the spotter.
Two shots, fired simultaneously from high powered rifles, eliminated the threat.
However, the shots still continued and were becoming more accurate. The small arms and machine gun fire sounded like it was barely inches over their heads.
They decided to fire an FGM-148 Javelin missile at the wall where some of the fire was coming from.
“The way we usually do it,” said Cpl. Joshua Taylor, javelin team leader. “Snipers locate the target, I get locked on the target and my A-Gunner will prepare the missile for launch. I’ll get to my firing position…. and pull the trigger.
“I was just trying to keep steady and trying to do my job and make sure I do my part,” continued Taylor. “The Javelin was definitely effective.”
The missile hit its intended target, and the desert fell silent once more.
EDITOR’S NOTE: First Battalion, 1st Marines is a part of Regimental Combat Team 6. RCT-6 serves as the ground combat element of Regional Command (Southwest) and works in partnership with the Afghan National Security Force and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to conduct counterinsurgency operations. The unit is dedicated to securing the Afghan people, defeating insurgent forces, and enabling ANSF assumption of security responsibilities within its area of operations in order to support the expansion of stability, development and legitimate governance.