Michigan National Guard Team Wins Sniper Title

Michigan National Guard Team Wins Sniper Title

Photo by: Michigan National Guard

The U.S. Army won the top three spots in the grueling 2016 International Sniper Competition at Fort Benning, Ga., with a Michigan National Guard team capturing the top prize.

More than just shooting is involved. The competition judges marksmanship, observation and reconnaissance skills, but also stealth, concealment, reporting skills, and mental and physical endurance over 96 hours.

Forty-two teams from around the globe took part in the 2016 event, which ended Friday. The winners of the International Sniper Team Trophy this year were Sgt. Saykham Keophalychanh and Sgt. Nicholas Mitchellof Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 126th Infantry Regiment, a Michigan National Guard unit. They are coached by Staff Sgt. Nikolas Discher.

U.S. Army special operations teams finished second and third, but the names of the competitors were not released. The second place team was from the 3rd Special Forces Group and third place went to a team from the 19th Special Forces Group.

The three top teams traded places in the completion until the Michigan unit took the lead on the final day.

The 2015 International Sniper Team title was won by a team from Ireland.

Fort Benning describes sniping as “one of the most demanding challenges the Army has to offer.” “It takes a special type of Soldier to meet the challenge and continue this proud tradition. The highest standard has already been set; it is now up to you to meet the challenge,” Benning officials said in explaining the competition.