How I Became an Army Ranger Sniper
Don't Run, You'll Only Die Tired
It was a hot summer that year, 110 degrees in the shade. We were doing training exercises in South Carolina. Digging foxholes, setting up our tents, and making sure our battle ready laser tag systems were on. Four battalions getting ready for war for and with each other. I get my foxhole ready, my tent is up, and I'm bored. What's a soldier to do?
We're in knee high grass in the fields of South Carolina. I spot the other three battalions 200 yards away. I'm thinking to myself, "Why Not." We're not doing anything except waiting.
I slowly and sneakily grabbed a bunch of the knee high grass and put it all over my BDU's, I was covered in what looked liked a snipers guille suit. I lay down, and slowly low crawled a hundred yards down the middle of this training field, where we were going to do mock training for different objectives and night training with night vision goggles. I had practically almost literally had gotten stepped on by other soldiers walking around. No one even knew I was there.
So there I was, low crawling with my M-16 donned with it's laser tag apparatus. Slowly every once in a while looking up and seeing where the other commanders were with their battalions. I get within a 100 yards, I take my last peek with where I am and where they are. 100 yards to my left, 80 yards in front of me, and the other 100 yards to my right. I slowly bring my M-16 out from underneath me, I spot the commanders, and...
Bang, Bang, Bang. All three commanders were for the like of it should have been dead, but it was training with laser tag equipment. I lay back down in the knee high grass and wait and hear, "What the Hell was that." It's not often that laser tag equipment is faulty, and for three of them to go off simultaneously. The commanders are looking around, not knowing what the hell was going on. I thought I better take my punishment. I slowly stand up and these commanders see me, donned with all the knee high grass and looking like Sasquatch holding a M-16.
They walked up to me (not very pleased) and said, "Soldier you realize we are not in training yet? What the hell inspired you to do what the hell that it was that you just did." They called my commander while I was in the front leaning rest position for push ups. They have their meeting of the minds. My commander looked at me, shook his head and said, "I'm sorry soldier," and walked away. I'm thinking to myself, "Oh Fuck."
The other three commanders still not very pleased that a Specialist, not even during training, nor during training exercises had got the best of them. They concluded that I should be properly punished, but instead, they concurred and the one commander said, "Son, I got to give you credit for doing what you did on your own accord and if you want, I can put you in, and give you my personal recommendation for Army Special forces to be, if that is what you wish, to be a sniper.
The only thing going through my head was, Oh My God. I get back to our camp, commander waiting at my tent along with my battle buddy, and told me, "Specialist Keller, don't ever do another stupid thing like that again, and if being a sniper is something that you want, I'll endorse you as well, and give you the application myself."
Did I become an Army Ranger Sniper? I thought about it, but got more satisfaction being in the motor pool and the armory. Being put in that scenario though and having ptsd through my time in service, my counselor thought that it might be a good idea to have an outlet, to write about my experiences. Even though I'm not a sniper I did write a poem about what I thought it must be like to be a sniper.
By Casey J. Keller
Silently I lay here always awake
waiting patiently for my mistake.
To haunt, to curse, my fate.
I lay here in the grass shaded by a tree
perplexed by life's mystery.
Restlessly I wonder when I will sleep.
It's not much longer, my target is almost within range.
I touch my dog tags one more time
curse my makers and take my aim.
I close an eye, I take a breath,
My finger becomes tight with the trigger,
I say a quick prayer, and end it with, "Forgive Me".
Silently, I lay still under this old weakened tree
shaded by its branches, cooled by the breeze.
Twilight finally comes, I can finally move. I make my way south to the sea
to the submarine that awaits me.
I say a prayer for the ones who have fought, who have fallen
and for the ones who haven't come home.
Regretful, I say, "I'm coming home."