‘The coolest thing in the world’ : Snipers from around the world compete in New Brunswick
Some of the world’s best snipers are gathered at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, to compete against their peers in an elite profession that is the stuff of movies and myths.
“I thought it was the coolest thing in the world basically. I wanted to shoot people in the face and I got to do it,” said Sgt. Steven Thompson, of the United States Marines reserve.
Thompson spent five years in the active forces, including two tours in Afghanistan, and said he was in the 19th annual Canadian International Sniper Concentration at this sprawling base in central New Brunswick to win.
It includes teams from Canada, France, Australia, the Netherlands and the United States.
Most of the snipers interviewed Friday took a more analytical approach to their task. Capt. John Bourgeois, officer in charge of the Canadian Forces Sniper Cell, said the event is both a competition and a chance to compare notes and improve skills.
“The shooting part of being a sniper is the easy part. What we’re doing is challenging the snipers on every other part of being a sniper. They’re going to be required to navigate over 40 kilometres through deep, thick woods. They have timings to meet and plan their missions to get through this exercise. We’re going to push them to their limits,” he said.
The event comes just three months after a Canadian Forces sniper set a record in Iraq for the longest confirmed kill at 3.5 kilometres.
The shot killed one fighter with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which the military said thwarted an attack on an Iraqi military unit.
WATCH: Canadian sniper sets record for longest confirmed kill in military history
While that sniper has not been named, Bourgeois said the other snipers are proud of him, rather than jealous.
Sgt. Ivan Sanson, of the 2nd Battalion Royal Canadian Regiment, agrees – but said it doesn’t diminish the competitive nature of snipers.
“Everyone in the sniper community is very competitive. I think you have to be. It’s important that they strive to be the best,” he said.
© 2017 The Canadian Press