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Long Precision 2019 increases multinational Sniper capabilities

10 Jun 2019 | Capt Clay Groover 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit

UCEDA, Spain – U.S. Marine Corps snipers with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Africa 19.2, Marine Forces Europe and Africa, participated in exercise Long Precision 2019 with snipers from Spain, Italy, France, and U.S. Army’s 173 Airborne Brigade, June 10-21, 2019, at training areas near Uceda, Spain.

SPMAGTF-CR-AF is deployed to conduct crisis-response and theater-security operations in Africa and promote regional stability by conducting military-to-military training exercises throughout Europe and Africa.

The Spanish-hosted exercise featured multiple training scenarios designed to expand proficiency and multilateral interoperability of the Snipers.

“The first day we conducted barricade shoots,” said U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Xavier Johnson, a sniper with SPMAGTF-CR-AF 19.2. “Instead of shooting off our conventional tripods, we were shooting off of barrels, construction equipment, cars, and other things. We also conducted stress shoots, which required us running to different yard lines and shooting at multiple targets from different positions.”

Each day of the exercise featured complex training scenarios designed to physically and mentally test the snipers in order to increase their capabilities and lethality.

“We’ve rehearsed setting up urban hides, infiltration, and exfiltration,” said Johnson. “It’s been a good experience to learn how different people conduct their sniper training in different countries.”

The Spanish Armed Forces put together the challenging training schedule, which allowed the multinational service members to train in both day and night operations.

“Working with the Spanish has been great,” said U.S. Marine Cpl. Isaac Swofford, a sniper with SPMAGTF-CR-AF 19.2. “They like to learn and they have some great facilities and ranges out here. The courses of fire for both the [M4] carbine and snipers that the Spanish have set up has been great.”

The U.S. service members also had the opportunity to increase multilateral interoperability by observing and discussing different techniques through unique scenarios. The Spanish Armed Forces also incorporated the Italian, French, and American service members into the scenarios so they could experience the techniques firsthand and learn a new way to do things.

“The Spanish conduct urban reconnaissance very differently than we do,” said Swofford. “They integrate ropes a lot, which is an interesting tactic to see. The rappelling training has been good as well because the Spanish have shown us some instances where it would be useful and a viable option.”

The outcome of the exercise was increased interoperability, enhanced lethality and sniper proficiency, and stronger relationships between the participating forces.

“The Spanish are very good at what they do,” said Johnson. “It’s been good to learn a different outlook on how people conduct their sniper training in different countries.”