FORT POLK — Two Fort Polk Soldiers recently represented the 10th Mountain Division at the annual International Sniper Competition held at Fort Benning, Georgia, Oct. 13-20.
Staff Sgt. Nicholas Mills and Staff Sgt. Amsey Remchuk, 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, finished 23rd in the event that pitted the best snipers from Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps and National Guard units, civilian agencies and foreign militaries.
For the Fort Polk duo, preparation for the event began in early August when they traveled to Fort Drum, New York, to compete for the right to represent 10th Mountain Division.
“We won that competition, then at the end of August, we returned to Fort Drum and trained at the 10th Mountain Division Light Fighter School.”
Remchuk said Staff Sgt. John Brady, sniper liaison for the 10th Mtn Div, provided additional training for the pair.
“He (Brady) is a sniper subject matter expert and provided us valuable training and insight,” Remchuk said.
Mills said he and Remchuk trained at Fort Drum until leaving for Fort Benning in early October. “We went down a little early to fire on some of their ranges,” Mills said. “A lot of the teams do that to get a feel for the layout and what to expect.”
Remchuk said teams were not allowed to use their own weapons for the competition.
“Everyone had to shoot the same weapons,” he said. “That evened the playing field because some teams have bigger budgets and are able to purchase more expensive and specialized weapons and equipment. This did a better job of identifying the most talented snipers and teams, as opposed to who could buy the best equipment.” Mill said the competition was regimented and fast paced.
“There was not a lot of down time,” he said. “During the three days we competed, we got about one hour of sleep each night. The competition pushed you to your limit.”
As an example of what the snipers faced, Remchuk said the first event set the tone.
“We had to run 2.2 miles, carrying everything you would need for the first day including weapon, ammunition, food, clothing, everything,” he said. “You had 20 minutes to run the 2.2 miles, climb a three-story building, find your target and engage it. Everything was timed — movement, shooting, everything.”
Mills was the spotter and Remchuk the shooter, and although the competition was a team event, Mills sometimes the teammates had to work separately.
“While one team member was tackling one event, the other might be doing something else,” he said. “They tested every situation you can imagine to include hitting a man-sized target at a mile with a 50 caliber machine gun.”
Both men said they would like to see sniper teams from other units at Fort Polk and throughout Louisiana, to include civilian teams such as state police, sheriff’s office and police department teams, train together.
“I think we could learn a lot from each other,” Mills said. “It would make us all better in the long run.”
Learning from others was something Mills said he took from his time at Fort Benning.
“We learned a lot and we all picked each others’ brains during down time,” he said. “This was our first time in any type of competition, but a lot of the teams, especially National Guard or foreign military, had been there before. We were able to learn a lot from them.”
Remchuk said the contest gave him a chance to compete against the best.
“From the time I was 9 years old, being a sniper is the only thing I ever wanted to do,” he said. “To know I have the capability to do what I do, and do something that I know not many people can do, is something I’m proud of.”