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CRG member certified as sniper/sharpshooter

July 18, 2009 -- Staff Sgt. Anthony J. Schettino, a 108th Contingency Response Group Security Forces member, was recently selected to attend the Close Precision Engagement Course (sniper/sharpshooter school) at Camp Robinson, Ark.
For a security forces member, the opportunity to become a part of the sniper community is a dream come true.
"It gives me a feeling of great pride that I was able to complete this extremely challenging course," said Schettino. "The course has a 40 percent drop-out rate, and to be one of the 60 percent to make it through is a great accomplishment."
When someone hears the word "sniper," the initial thought is that the main responsibility is to fire a weapon with accuracy from great distances without being detected; however, there is much more to the job than just precision shooting.
"The main job of the sniper is to act as the commander's eyes and ears outside of the base," said Schettino. "We are tasked with providing intelligence reconnaissance and field observation, to go along with stalking, range estimation, and target detection."
The journey to becoming a qualified Air Force sniper began for Schettino when he left for Camp Robinson on April 12 to begin the 19-day certification course. According to Schettino, becoming certified is not as easy as it sounds.
"In addition to the endless training which took place during all hours of the night, students are required to pass difficult qualification tests with at least a 70 percent," said Schettino. "These qualifications include: known distance firing, unknown distance firing, target detection, sketching, land navigation, stalking, and camouflaging and range estimation."
The training requires tremendous mental and physical toughness as illustrated by the very high drop out rate. When asked about the difficulty of the physical training that was endured during the course, Schettino responded that PT was anything and everything that the instructors could think of, and that the hardest part was performing at such a high level while being sleep deprived.
Overcoming the stress of 18-hour days and the lack of shut eye during the 19-day course, Schettino completed the course. The final field training exercise had the students enduring a 51 hour period with only five hours of sleep.
"I feel that I have accomplished something that not everyone is able to do," said Schettino. "Becoming an Air Force sniper will enable me to serve the Air Force and my country better which was the ultimate goal."