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Montana soldier becomes first woman to complete US Army sniper course

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A female Montana Army National Guard soldier graduated from the U.S. Army Sniper Course at Fort Benning, Georgia, on Nov. 5, becoming the first woman in history to complete the course, officials said.

Military officials said in a news release Monday they are not identifying her by name. That was done at the request of the soldier, who is a native Montanan.

The accomplishment prompted praise from Gov. Greg Gianforte.

Gov. Greg Gianforte

Gov. Greg Gianforte speaks on the step of the Montana State Capitol.

“What a remarkable feat for this soldier and incredible milestone reached for our U.S. Armed Forces!” he said on social media.

Maj. Gen. J. Peter Hronek, adjutant general for Montana, offered congratulations as well.

East Helena Memorial Day Parade

Maj. Gen. John "Pete" Hronek, Montana's adjutant general, was the keynote speaker at the 2021 Memorial Day ceremony held in East Helena's Main Street Park. 

“This soldier had to volunteer several times to reach this goal, which is a demonstration of her dedication and commitment to service,” he said in a news release.

The soldier enlisted in the Montana Army National Guard in December 2020. She was sent to Fort Benning to complete Infantry One Station Unit Training, a 22-week course that combines Army basic training with advanced individual training in infantry skills.

She was recommended by her training staff and chain of command for the Sniper Course due to her superior performance, which included qualifying as an expert shooter, military officials said.

She began the U.S. Army Sniper Course in September 2021. This intensive seven-week course trains those assigned to sniper positions in the skills necessary to deliver long-range precision fire and the collection of battlefield information.

She met every standard required to graduate the U.S. Army Sniper Course, Capt. David Wright, battalion commander, U.S. Army Sniper School, said in a news release.

“We are proud of the results of her efforts and the quality training provided by the Sniper Course Cadre," he said. "We wish her luck as she heads back to her unit as a U.S. Army Sniper Course qualified Sniper."

Attending the Sniper Course graduation ceremony were Command Sgt. Maj. John Sampa of the Army National Guard, and Command Sgt. Maj. Claudena Brady of the Montana Army National Guard.

The soldier will join her unit.

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