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Random tidbits from my stint as an American sniper

by Darrius Dickerson 2 months ago in list

A brief AAR (After Action Review)

Random tidbits from my stint as an American sniper
Circa era NOV '09. Photo cred: CJ from the DMV (DC, MD, VA area).

Diving in headfirst:

1.) Don't ever forget that a sniper's most valuable weapon is his/her ability to remain undetected. Leaving equipment and waste all willy nilly is a big no-no. "Periodt".

2.) Be mindful that your spotter, the peanut butter to your jelly if you're a gunner in a sniper team, may have to cuddle with someone else if you're unavailable and the temps drop tremendously. A fact of life.

3.) Don't underestimate the amount of "cool points" you can earn from an eclectic taste in music. I may or may not have been commended for playing some Jack Johnson during a routine "health & welfare" check (aka barracks inspection).

4.) One can easily lose cool points for wearing a kufi while in civvies (aka civilian clothes) during a routine, morning check in. Especially so if it's styled after the Pan-African flag, and your sniper section leader is not hip to it being more of an African garb than that of Islam (during heightened tensions between the Western World and the Middle East, no less).

5.) You're unlikely to win friends breaking extremely expensive and difficult to replace optics (aka scopes). Don't do it.

6.) Speaking of which, "Consistency is the key to accuracy." Also, "aim small, miss small."

7.) Just because you're in a small section of snipers doesn't mean that racism can't be fomenting. As one of my mentors used to remind me often, "Slavery really wasn't that long ago."

8.) Don't downplay the significance of the confidence placed in you by your sniper buddy. If he/she needs you to listen to him/her for the entire evening before y'all go on a routine, Friday morning ruck march, guess what you're expected to do.

9.) Practicing target detection (TD) isn't a terrible idea. All the cool kids play the game I Spy and/or chess.

10.) Any sniper anywhere in the world just about is liable to be decent at math and/or knows the "mil dot ratio", if he/she is worth their weight in salt. That's just a fancy way of saying that they can feasibly guesstimate the distance between themselves and their targets with the use of the little notches on the reticles of their scopes.

11.) Situational awareness (SA) is paramount. You don't want to find out that there's a "walker", for example, hot on your trail as he/she is sinking his/her teeth deep into your flesh (heaven forbid).

13.) On a similar note, always keep a halfway decent blade on you if you can. Yes, your mind is your most valuable weapon; though, you don't really want to be attempting to dissuade hooligans from attacking you out in public with just your bare arms. Rather, "bear arms" as the Second Amendment supposedly gives us the right to (while obeying all local and federal laws or whatever).

14.) Don't skip leg day too much in preparation for the tryouts to sniper section. If you do, "You're gonna have a bad time!" (-South Park.)

15.) Read as much as possible during your downtime; especially when it comes to firsthand accounts by snipers that are more experienced than you are or will be. "Not all readers become leaders. But all leaders must be readers."- President Harry S. Truman (1884-1972).

16.) A sense of humor is a must have. "Simple and plain."

17.) As a person of color, there's a chance that you could be breaking barriers by being selected to a sniper section. As the colloquialism goes, "You gotta represent!"

18.) "Take care of your POV (Privately Owned Vehicle) and it will take care of you." No sense in having to depend completely on your Battle Buddies to get to and fro (bear in mind that there was no Lyft or Uber back when I was in a sniper section).

19.) Last but not least, and tying back into my first bullet point for this post, the less people in your personal life that know about you being in a sniper section, is likely for the better. The term Opsec (Operations Security) immediately comes to mind.


In short, revel in the glory; though, "Don't ever get stuck on your laurels."- Bas on his seventh track "Clouds Never Get Old" off of his sophomore and 2016 album "Too High to Riot".

Darrius Dickerson
Darrius Dickerson
Read next: My Review of "Da 5 Bloods"
Darrius Dickerson

A Grunt that’s been stuck in traffic for the past 15+ years, it seems; from DC to SEA & Iraq, to back in The District. I love my Little Monsters more than life itself. Born Day: 4/20.

P.S.- My Drumpf posts were prev. posted w/ diff. pics.

See all posts by Darrius Dickerson