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Pendleton Snipers receive congressional award

Two Camp Pendleton sniper teams received special congressional recognition after crushing snipers from around the world in two recent Army sponsored competitions.

Representatives from California’s 49th congressional district delivered Congressional Recognition Awards to the five School of Infantry West Marines, on behalf of San Diego congressional representative and Army veteran Darrell Issa, at Camp Pendleton’s Marine Corps Combat Training graduation, Dec 8.

“The fact is, what you guys do every day is outstanding,” said Don McKinney, representing congressman Darrell E. Issa, 49th California Congressional District, U.S. House of Representatives. “I have spent a lot of time out in the community, and all of us appreciate the commitment and the daily sacrifices you make to defend our nation.”

The scout sniper teams and coach received the award as guests of honor while attending India Company’s MCT graduation of 291 Marines and have a combined total of 38 years of military service with 15 combat tours.

“We went to the competition representing more than Scout Sniper School West or the Marine Corps, we went for the Marines overseas fighting the war today,” said Sgt. Grant L. Royal, scout sniper instructor, SOI West, Camp Pendleton. “We only get better from the lessons they learn fighting the enemy. This victory is for them.”

Royal and his teammate, Sgt. Josh W. Huskey, were service class and overall winners at the ninth annual U.S Army International Sniper Competition at Fort Benning, Ga., held Oct. 14-22. In addition to two-man teams from every U.S. military branch and the FBI, Britain, Ireland, and Spain’s military were among the 32 contenders.

“We knew going in that we were the best,” said Royal. “Our victory shows everyone else that we are the real deal and we mean business.”

Fellow Scout Sniper School West team, Sgt. Daniel S. Gilland and Sgt. Jose R. Lucero, brought back another victory weeks later after taking 1st at the second annual Inter-Service Sniper Sustainment Exercise at Fort Chaffee, Ark., Nov. 7 to 13. The Pendleton snipers took first from the very same Army Special Forces team that their fellow Marines beat out for a competition title a month earlier.

“After hearing about how the first competition went from our coach, we knew we were going to see some serious competitors,” said Lucero.” The Air Force was impressive and the Army had some great teams out there.”

Gunnery Sgt. Andrew Sullivan coached both teams from Camp Pendleton’s Scout Sniper School West.

“The recognition is fantastic, but we didn’t do anything out of the ordinary,” said Royal. “We already knew we were going into an Army competition to face different branches, countries and services. All we did was show up, carry ourselves professionally and do our job, like Marines do,” added Royal.


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