A Marine reserve shooting team bested dozens of other civilian and military teams to win the Mammoth Sniper Challenge held over several days at Fort Gordon, Georgia.
The victory in the competition, held between Jan 4–6, redeems the Corps’ expert marksmen following a loss by the two-man team from the Quantico, Virginia, Scout Sniper Instructor School in October 2018.
That Quantico team was bested by the Coast Guard, placing 10th overall in the 2018 International Sniper Competition also held at Fort Benning, Georgia.
Staff Sgt. Andrew Slade and Sgt. Steven Thompson comprised the Marine reserve shooting team duo who claimed the first place prize this time around.
Thompson is a scout sniper with 1st Battalion, 25th Marines, and the two Marines were officially representing the Corps while shooting for the Marine Corps Reserve Action Shooting Team.
The three-day match is “known as one of the most difficult sniper competitions there is,” Thompson said.
Competitors have to conduct a nearly 30-mile ruck and carry all their gear throughout the entire competition.
Shooters must ruck between shooting stages and sleep in austere conditions.
A spokesperson for the sniper competition said numerous military teams to include the 75th Ranger Regiment, Arkansas National Guard, Michigan National Guard, the Corps of Cadets Marksmanship Unit (Texas A&M), and the Army Marksmanship Unit participated in the events.
Other military units competed, but may not have identified their affiliation on the roster.
Thompson described the victory as “huge win for the Marine Corps” and sniper community.
The Corps’ reserve shooting team is part of the Marksmanship Training Unit for Marine Forces Reserve.
That unit has three primary jobs, conducting formal schools like the Combat Marksmanship Coaches course and Combat Marksmanship Trainer; provide Mobile Training Teams to help reserve units with their ranges; and participating in competitions.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.