JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- Senior Master Sgt. Nathan Brett and Staff Sgt. George Reinas practiced as an Air Force sniper team on a range here, July 27. They are among a rare group of individuals in the Air Force security forces field.
Brett and Reinas are both certified Air Force snipers with the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. Both were event coordinators for the advanced marksmanship competition for Air Mobility Rodeo 2011.
One of the weapons they used in the competition, and in their team practice, was the M-24 sniper rifle.
The M-24 sniper weapon system is a militarized version of civilian-made rifle, according to a U.S. Army fact sheet. It was adopted as the Army's primary sniper weapon in 1988 and is called a weapon system because in addition to the rifle, it can come with a detachable sight and other accessories.
"The M-24 is a very effective weapon system," said Reinas. "It's one of the standard weapons used for Air Force by snipers and has an maximum effective range as far as 1,500 meters. A sniper team, using the weapon correctly, can be very deadly in a combat situation."
Brett said he hopes the recent Rodeo 2011 competition will help build more awareness around the Air Force and the military about the importance of the sniper program and the capability they bring to the fight.
"We want to establish an identity to the Air Force sniper program," said Brett, who is also the superintendent for the 421st CTS. "This competition offers a look into where we are today with the program and where we need to make improvements. I would like to see this program go back where it once was."
An Air Force sniper team consists of a shooter and a spotter. The shooter, for example, can use an M-24 weapon system, and the spotter is often equipped with a high-grade spotting scope. As a team, they get rounds on target.
"It takes a lot of practice to be a well-trained sniper team," Brett said. "There's not a lot of us in the Air Force, but we are capable to go anywhere a sniper team is needed because of that training."
Reinas added, "A sniper team is a two-person team with both people capable of either shooting the rifle or using the spotting scope. That's why we practice, often on our own time, to make sure we are at our best."
Article by Master Sgt. Scott Sturkol, Headquarters Air Mobility Command Public Affairs