Army Staff Sgt. Jim Gilliland learned how to shoot at age 5

RAMADI, Iraq -- Gazing through the telescopic sight of his M-24 rifle, Army Staff Sgt. Jim Gilliland, leader of Shadow sniper team, fixed his eye on the Iraqi insurgent who had just killed an American soldier.

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. . . .


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Humble and amazingly talented. It's guys like this that should make us all proud. The M24 is built upon the Remington 700 bolt action. I have one, and could only dream of being 1/100th as good as this guy, and I practice quite a lot (and usually at 300 yards, not 1500+ yards!).

These guys in our military are my heroes.


10/18/2006 10:47 AM  
Blogger saturdaynightspecial said...

I first qualified with an M-14. Because of a windy day I lost points at the 200 yardline standing position (I was a beginner) but I ended qualifying as a sharpshooter. At the 500 yard line I easily shot ten in the black, in the easiest position - the prone (I always did.)

When I reached my first permanent base they issued us the M-16. This was difficult to qualify with initially. But after two annual qualifications it became almost as accurate as the M-14. You just had to concentrate a little more than with the M-14 especially when sighting the rifle at the range.

In the field I learned to keep sand out of it and to keep it lubed by keeping the ejector cover closed at all times. The M-16 felt like a toy compared to the 11.5 pound M-14.

I liked the M-16 for it's light weight and because it was so easy to disassemble and re-assemble. That's why I believe so many gunners like the AR-15 rifle - it's accurate, light and so easy to maintain and operate (especially for a semi-auto or self loader).

Going from the M-14 to the M-16 made me a better shooter. The M-14 (7.62 round) was a very accurate rifle at 500 yards. That's where you want to be when you shoot at your enemies.

10/18/2006 4:10 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home