Army Staff Sgt. Jim Gilliland learned how to shoot at age 5
His quarry stood nonchalantly in the fourth-floor bay window of a hospital in battle-torn Ramadi, still clasping a long-barreled Kalashnikov. Instinctively allowing for wind speed and bullet drop, Shadow's commander aimed 12 feet high.
A single shot hit the Iraqi in the chest and killed him instantly. It had been fired from a range of more than three-quarters of a mile, well beyond the capacity of the powerful Leupold sight, accurate to 3,300 feet.
"I believe it is the longest confirmed kill in Iraq with a 7.62mm rifle," said Sgt. Gilliland, 28, who hunted squirrels in Double Springs, Ala., from the age of 5 before progressing to deer -- and then to insurgents and terrorists.
"He was visible only from the waist up. It was a one-in-a-million shot. I could probably shoot a whole box of ammunition and never hit him again."
Later that day, Sgt. Gilliland found out that the American soldier who had been killed by the Iraqi was Staff Sgt. Jason Benford, 30, a good friend. . . .