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    It takes two: Paratroopers compete in the 2018 International Sniper Competition

    It takes two: Paratroopers compete in the 2018 International Sniper Competition

    Photo By Sgt. Michelle Blesam | U.S. Army Sgt. William Shealey, left, and Sgt. Clinton Scanlon, both assigned to...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Michelle Blesam 

    49th Public Affairs Detachment   

    The relationship between a sniper and a spotter is a unique bond that requires a high level of trust that few may ever experience within their career.

    “I think we both have a similar attitude: cool, calm under pressure,” said Sgt. Clinton Scanlon, a member of the two-man sniper team from the 82nd Airborne Division competing in the 2018 International Sniper Competition on Fort Benning, Georgia, from Oct. 15 through 19, 2018.

    Scanlon and Sgt. William Shealey, both infantrymen assigned to 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Abn. Div., had only worked together since late August but displayed a synergic relationship throughout the competition that made them highly competitive amongst 30 teams participating in the international event.

    “I’ve had sniper partners before, and if you missed the shot or something went wrong, they would get frustrated,” said Scanlon, a Springfield, Missouri-native. “We’ve never had any issues like that between the two of us.”

    The All American team competed against some of the best snipers in the world from across the U.S. Army including active duty, reserve and National Guard forces, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, local law enforcement agencies, and 10 international teams.

    For the first time in nearly a decade, the U.S. Army Sniper School required all teams to use only the school’s weapons and equipment.

    “We’re leveling the playing field; no team is going to have a technological advantage over another,” said Capt. Gregory Elgort, the commander of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment. “It comes down to how well you can shoot and how well you can work as a team.”

    Scanlon thought the standardization of weapons helped his team hold their own.

    “It brings out the skills of each shooter, rather than relying on the equipment they’re using,” he said.

    Shealey however, attributed their competitive edge to shared thinking and training philosophy.

    “We get along really well and we keep each other motivated,” said the Charleston, South Carolina-native. “Within the last few months we stepped up our training quite a bit.”

    They trained on multiple small arms ranges in preparation for the competition: sniper, M9 pistol, and M4 carbine ranges. They completed stalking and target detection exercises.

    Differing personalities presented obstacles that training doesn’t necessarily overcome but communication helps. Scanlon, the spotter, is more talkative while Shealey, the shooter, is the opposite.

    Staff Sgt. Rueben Keenan, Shealey’s former sniper instructor and a cadre member for the competition, described his former student as quiet, reserved and attentive.

    “The team works very well together,” said Keenan. “They were able to work through problems very quickly to come to a conclusion and meet in the middle.”

    There is more at stake than just missing a competition target if you don’t trust the person next to you.

    “On a deployment, it heightens the trust required because it’s not only a shot that could be missed but another Soldier’s life, or you and your spotter’s life, that could be on the line,” said Scanlon.

    After competing in 20 events that tested all aspects of working as a sniper team, Scanlon and Shealey placed fourth.



    Date Taken: 10.24.2018
    Date Posted: 10.24.2018 18:59
    Story ID: 297597
    Location: FORT BRAGG, NC, US 
    Hometown: CHARLESTON, SC, US
    Hometown: GULF SHORES, AL, US
    Hometown: SPRINGFIELD, MO, US

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