First woman to finish Army’s sniper school is Montana Guard soldier

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It’s one of the most grueling, individually focused schools in the Army, meant to produce soldiers capable of infiltration, advanced marksmanship and more.

And, for the first time, a woman has graduated from the U.S. Army Sniper Course at Fort Benning, Georgia, Army officials said on Monday. The service won’t be releasing the soldier’s name.

The soldier who graduated is an infantry soldier from the Montana Army National Guard, according to an Army release. She joined the Guard in December 2020 and earned a slot at sniper school while at infantry training due to her “superior performance” and marksmanship, the release added.

“We’re all incredibly proud of her,” said Capt. Joshua O’Neill, who was the unnamed soldier’s company commander during her infantry training. “She epitomizes what it means to be an infantry Soldier and there wasn’t a doubt in our minds that she would succeed in the U.S. Army Sniper Course.”

She began the seven-week course in September, shortly after completing her infantry training, the release said. The course is only open to enlisted soldiers in infantry, cavalry or Special Forces roles, according to a description available online.

“The Soldier met every standard required to graduate the United States Army Sniper Course,” said Capt. David Wright, the sniper school’s commander. “She arrived prepared for training and physically conditioned to succeed. We are proud of the results of her efforts and the quality training provided by the Sniper Course Cadre. We wish her luck as she heads back to her unit as a U.S. Army Sniper Course qualified Sniper.”

“We are extremely proud of this Soldier’s achievement and recognize that this is a milestone for not only Montana, but the entire National Guard and Army,” said Maj. Gen. J. Peter Hronek, the Adjutant General for Montana. “This Soldier had to volunteer several times to reach this goal, which is a demonstration of her dedication and commitment to service.”

The list of accomplishments for women in Army combat arms has grown as more and more of them have joined the ranks of infantry, armor, and engineer formations since 2016.

The National Guard has played a major role in the gender integration process, including the first modern-day female Green Beret.

Davis Winkie is a staff reporter covering the Army. He originally joined Military Times as a reporting intern in 2020. Before journalism, Davis worked as a military historian. He is also a human resources officer in the Army National Guard.



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Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.