Sabado, Disyembre 30, 2017

Why snipers are glorified, glamorized?

By Mortz C. Ortigoza

Can you still remember that famous and courageous soldier who took off his Kevlar helmet and bullet vest as quid pro quo to ISIS rebels in Marawi City so he could save a four years old girl  and other Christian hostages from the ISIS rebels in Marawi City in exchange of containers of water, soft drinks, and biscuits?
Yap, he is Army Captain Jeffrey Buada, commander of the 15th Scout Ranger Company.
Image result for military sniper
 British Royal Marine snipers with their L115A1 sniper rifles.
After he was feted recently by his town Mangaldan in Pangasinan for his conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in Marawi, I asked Buada, a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy, about those incidents while we consumed our snacks treated by Mangaldan Mayor Bona Fe D. Parayno and the town’s chief of Police Superintendent Jeff Fanged.
 Buada’s wife told me that the spouse is a sniper, too.
Indeed he was as I saw earlier on his shoulder badge a sniper’s logo embroidered with a glaring red word “Sniper”.
Marksmen like Buada played a major role in the urban warfare in the Philippines where the State Security just won in a protracted Pyrrhic victory against the international terrorist Islamic groups and their associates’ Maute Muslim rebels in the now scorched to that ground Southern Philippines’ city.

What price glory when the entire city was not only obliterated but turned into smithereens? JesusMariaHusef! 
When Lieutenant Colonel Fanged, an alumnus of the Philippine National Police Academy,  posed what Buada was thinking when he was saving each of the hostages unarmed while enemy snipers lurking around ready to shoot him.
“Siguro magda –dive din ako doon sa (inaudible). Parang tinitingnan ko na rin medyo tumaas na rin ang confidence ko alam ko marami naka secure and nakabantay sa amin. Pag may nangyari  sa amin sigurado ako may makapag react ng mabilis. Naka focus sila sa pag secure sa amin (I’ll duck for cover. I have self-confidence because I know my comrade in arms were watching. In case something happened to me and my companion I know they were there to fire at the enemies. They were focus on our security),” Buada said.
“How many rebels you negotiated? Those who hid around? Do they have snipers?” I posed.
“They were 40 to 60 (combatants),” The Scout Ranger’s warrior told me on the tough but easily annoyed and hungry Moro ideologues they were chasing and exchanging shoots for several days.


The other day I was browsing the book I bought at Book Sale in Robinsons - Calasiao titled “Into the Fire”. It was a firsthand account of the most extraordinary battle in the Afghan War. It was narrated by Marine Corporal Dakota Meyer, a recipient of the Medal of Honor - an award that happened after three decades in the history of U.S combat, and written by Bing West, a Marine combat veteran who served as Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Reagan Administration. Bing is also a veteran of the wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He is also an award winning war correspondent and book authors that suit him best as he had an actual experiences of what he penned.
I relished Page 32 of the book as Dakota said that the U.S Marine Corp emphasizes on marksmanship.
“Every Marine is a rifleman. It makes no difference what rank you are or how sophisticated your job is. Marine General Jim Jones was the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe and served as President Obama’s first national security adviser. Even in those prestigious top jobs, he still signed his emails as “Rifleman,’ Meyer cited.
He said the U.S Marines were acknowledged as having the finish sniper training program. He cited that in that training school of the Corps if you qualified, where 50% of the candidates failed, one received a special “Military Occupancy Specialty” – 0317 that the holder, just like those pin or badge given to the Scout Rangers and Navy SEALs, is given pride and fulfillment.
Meyer said that civilians are wowed and mystified with the sharpshooters that many of them posed when they meet one: “How many enemies have you killed?”
He cited that the greatest snipers in the world so far were Finnis Sniper Simo Hayha who held the world record of most killed enemies in World War II when the Soviets invaded his tiny country.
“He killed more than 500 Russian soldiers. He was called the “White Death” because his white camouflage uniform blended into the snow”.
The other celebrated sharpshooters were a platoon of South African soldiers, recruited from big  animal game hunting, to fight in World War 1 in Europe. Each of these former hunters average by 125 Germans and their allies killed in that mostly trench battles.
“In Vietnam, Marine Sgt. Carlos Hatchcock, killed 93 of the enemy. In Iraq, Chris Kyle, a SEAL, recorded 160 kills”, Meyer said.
Son of a gun, my favorite Vasily Grigoryevich Zaytsev, whose true- to- life story was put into film titled Enemy at the Gates casting actor Jude Law as Zaytsev, was not mentioned by the Marine Medal of Honor Awardee and Bing West.
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MARKSMAN- Sniper of the elite Philippine Army's Scout Ranger.The Rangers in this South East Asian country are veterans of jungle combats in Mindanao. They lately found themselves battling
in an urban warfare the ISIS terrorists in  Marawi City's siege in that Southern Island. 

Despite the rank either he is a plain private or a lieutenant, arrays of patches like these earned this warrior a respect to those who understand the ugliness and complication of the Kill Business.
"Hanga ako sa iyo Bunny, hinde ka lang airborne, hinde ka lang sniper, Scout Ranger ka pa!" I told 

a Corporal assigned at the Tactics Department in the PMA when I was working there in the late 1980s.
Photo Credit: Philippine Army's Scout
Vasily was a sharpshooter of the defunct Union of Soviet Socialist Republic in World War – II.  Before November 10, 1942, he killed 32 German soldiers with a standard-issue rifle. Between November 10, 1942 and December 17, 1942 in the Battle of Stalingrad Zaytsev killed 225 enemy soldiers, including 11 snipers that probably included that swashbuckling German Major the Fuehrer Adolf Hitler ordered sent to haunt down the effing pain- in- the- ass Russian’s marksman.

                                        Glamorized and Glorified
What romanticized and glamorized the sniper, for me, came from the chutzpah of British Director Stanley Kubrick in his Full Metal Jacket’s flick, critics said the best combat movie ever produced, where Marine Drill Master Gunnery Sergeant Hartman showed his antics and skills.
Hartman, who in real life is Marine Corps Retired Staff Sergeant Ronald Lee Ermey (born March 24, 1944), was a former Marine Drill Instructor and a student at the University of Manila when he was assigned at Subic Naval Base when the Yanks were still here in the early 1980s.
In Full Metal Jacket, based on the novel “Short Timers” by Gustav Hasford, the foul mouthed drill sergeant lectured the Marine recruits at Parris Island, South Carolina before they were transported to Vietnam by citing historical events and characters about the greatness and danger of an excellent or a rogue Marine marksman.
Here are the excerpts from those exchanges:
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: Do any of you people know who Charles Whitman was? None of you dumbasses knows? Private Cowboy?
Private Cowboy: Sir, he was that guy who shot all those people from that tower in Austin, Texas, sir!
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: That's affirmative. Charles Whitman killed twelve people from a twenty-eight-story observation tower at the University of Texas from distances up to four hundred yards. Anybody know who Lee Harvey Oswald was? Private Snowball?
Private Snowball: Sir, he shot Kennedy, sir!
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: That's right, and do you know how far away he was?
Private Snowball: Sir, it was pretty far! From that book suppository building, sir!
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: All right, knock it off! Two hundred and fifty feet! He was two hundred and fifty feet away and shooting at a moving target. Oswald got off three rounds with an old Italian bolt action rifle in only six seconds and scored two hits, including a head shot! Do any of you people know where these individuals learned to shoot? Private Joker?
Private Joker: Sir, in the Marines, sir!
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: In the Marines! Outstanding! Those individuals showed what one motivated marine and his rifle can do! And before you ladies leave my island, you will be able to do the same thing!
Geez whiz! 

By the way, according to Corporal Dakota Meyer the standard sniper rifle is the 16.5 pounds M40-A3 equipped with an adjustable cheek rest, a heavy twenty-four-inch barrel, and a bipod stand. It has a 7.62 millimeter (.308) rifle based on the Remington 700 short action fired the M118LR 7.62x51 HPBT military action-only cartridge that retained supersonic speed out to nine hundred meters.
“In addition, we used the standard infantry M4 5.56 millimeter rifle and the monster M107 Barret. 50 –caliber,” he stressed.
The Barrets were the favorite show boat of the Moro rebels in the South but expert said since they were locally and crudely manufactured their accuracy and lethality are doubted.
The first time I touched, held, and wielded an empty sniper M24 Sniper Weapon System (SWS) was when Police Superintendent (Lieutenant Colonel) Noel Vallo acquiseced to my request when he was the Chief of Police of the 86 villages’ San Carlos City, Pangasinan several years ago.
Vallo’s Uncle Vivencio Vallo, a former town administrator and a lover of combat history, told me his nephew whom he considered his son is a sniper and a graduate of the PNPA – the police version of the elite PMA where Scout Ranger Captain Buada graduated in 2007.


(You can read my selected columns at and articles at Pangasinan News Aro. You can send comments too at

1 komento:

  1. Comments taken from reactions of readers in Face Book
    Francisco Dulguime: snipers why dont you aim your finger on the problem of the country sure its the problem of the country

    Enrico Tan: You will be a hero.

    Aris Jariol GLORIFIED SNIPERS are those who fight against AGRESSION from another country..


    magkaiba ang MILITARY, POLICE na SNIPERS dahil ON THE LINE OF DUTY yun..pero ANG MGA NANG ASSASSINATE, walang glory dun!

    bakit, may award ba na BEST ASSASSIN???


    Ricky Padilla Balingbing: Drugs is the problem of the country thas why they must be shoooot!!!!

    Pol P Page Sniper: always a Hero while Assasin are well hired Criminal just for money only not patriotic love of Country .

    Jarrence S Williams: bakit hindi binaril si P. D