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Snipers with 2-1 IN keep an eye on security

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Soldiers with 3rd Platoon, A Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division participated in a partnered operation to assist their Afghan National Army counterparts in maintaining security gains made in Zharay district of Kandahar province Oct. 10.

Partnered operations such as this have helped bring security to a region where the Taliban and other insurgent groups have operated in for years.

"Today we observed patterns of life on a known insurgent activity area in a village they are known to intimidate and operate in," said 2nd Lt. Tory Hoyt, who serves as the 3rd Platoon leader. "In addition to that, we were to do a unilateral support-by-fire for a strong point that the ANA has."

The support-by-fire operation incorporated mortar teams and a sniper section, which stood ready to eliminate any threats posed to the security of the region.

The sniper section plays a key role to this end by providing continued support to their ANA counterparts as they continue to take on more responsibility for the security of the region.

"The ANA are taking the lead in a lot of operations and we are stepping back and supporting them more," said Hoyt. "The sniper section allows us to sit back and let the ANA do their job, and the ANA know we can still support them."

The sniper team consists of well trained and disciplined Soldiers who have mastered the skills in delivering rifle fire with absolute precision.

"We never stop training," said Sgt. Jeremy Trop, who serves as a company sniper section leader with A Company. "Training is the biggest factor in keeping your nerves down so we are ready to shoot when you need to."

For a sniper, waiting to shoot can be the hardest part of a mission.

"Ninety percent of our job is sitting and waiting," said Trop. "We work in a two-man team so we can take turns with one person focusing on the target and the other pulling security in the rear."

Though maintaining a watchful eye on any possible threat is crucial, maintaining communication with friendly forces is just as important.

"The key is communication," said Trop. "We have to make sure we know where they are at all times because, if I have to take a shot, I have to make sure my fields of fire are clear."

The skills and discipline the sniper soldiers bring to the fight has proven an irreplaceable asset to the soldiers of A Company.

"[The sniper section] is extremely squared away and great soldiers that are always willing to work hard," said Hoyt. "I am totally confident in their abilities and their willingness to go out there and do what needs to be done."

Article by Sgt. Ryan Hohman, Army.mil