Tennessean says country roots give confidence he needs to be a sniper


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Drizzt
March 12, 2003, 10:59 AM
Tennessean says country roots give confidence he needs to be a sniper

By CHANTAL ESCOTO
The (Clarksville) Leaf-Chronicle


CAMP PENNSYLVANIA, Kuwait — Growing up in East Tennessee, Zed Shipley learned to love the country life.

Today, in Kuwait with the Army's 101st Airborne Division, this 21-year-old sergeant from Bristol, Tenn., is far from the Appalachians. But he says his simple Tennessee roots help give him the confidence he needs as a sniper in his unit's elite scout platoon.

Here at Camp Pennsylvania, an American base not far from the Iraqi border, it's not often you see Shipley without his M-21 sniper rifle, with the high-powered scope that allows him to see and shoot from long distances.

''I love this weapon,'' Shipley said. ''I've hit dog tags at 1,000 meters. It's the most durable weapon and will shoot in the most extreme conditions.''

The camouflage design he spray-painted on the rifle stock is his own, and he treats the rifle like his baby.

Shipley is a team leader in the scout-reconnaissance platoon — the battalion's eyes and ears —for Fort Campbell's 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment.

The five-man teams go ahead of the battalion in enemy territory to gather information, such as looking for enemy soldiers or positions ahead, and report back to the unit.

The missions last about five days and sometimes require 40-mile treks through rough terrain while the team members carry 100-pound rucksacks full of supplies and equipment.

''He's a great soldier, and dedicated,'' said Staff Sgt. Thomas Bevins, 30, Shipley's squad leader. ''He cares about his men. He's a great follower, which makes him a great leader.''

Shipley has graduated from the demanding Army training for its Rangers, one of its most elite infantry units. He also has completed airborne and air assault training, along with that of the Pathfinders, the soldiers who land ahead of the paratroopers to mark landing zones for the larger invasion force. That training, he said, gives him the stamina to survive the grueling missions.

But it was the love of the country life that led Shipley to the Army and the love of family that pushed him to his potential.

''I've always lived in the country. We live on a lake and have a houseboat out there (in Bristol) and a house,'' Shipley said. ''My mom always had horses, and I love hunting and fishing. I was raised in a good Christian family.''

Because his mother, father and brothers were in the military, he thought it was only natural that he followed tradition. But it was his brother, Jaime Shipley, 31, who was an Army Ranger, that inspired him to shine.

''I chose my brother as my role model,'' Shipley said. ''He would come home and tell me about special operations and airborne missions. I wanted to see what my brother experienced, and when I joined the Army, he thought it was cool. But when I joined the Rangers, my brother and I became closer. It was something we both experienced. Nobody else in my family has that bond.''

That bonding is why Shipley said he chose to be with the scouts, because it's a tight-knit group — just like family.

''In the country life, everyone knows each other. That's why I wanted to be in a smaller operations team, because everybody knows each other,'' he said.

''I love my country and I love my family and my girlfriend, who I'm going to ask to marry me when I get home. I want to do what I have to do so my family can live their lives free.''

http://www.tennessean.com/iraq/101/archives/03/03/30068263.shtml?Element_ID=30068263

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buzz_knox
March 12, 2003, 11:26 AM
We raise them good in these parts. :)

JCOJR
March 12, 2003, 11:38 AM
Amen, Buzz. I'm glad he's on our side. Dog-tags at 1000 meters consistantly!

4v50 Gary
March 12, 2003, 01:10 PM
I can hit dog tags at 1000 meters easily. Just give me a 24' x 24' target with dog tags covering the entire target. Don't ask me to pick out any particular tag though. It'll ruin my shotgun pattern. ;)

Kudos to this young sniper.

Carlos Cabeza
March 12, 2003, 02:11 PM
Makes me proud to be from the same country !

Trisha
March 12, 2003, 04:27 PM
Outstanding. Absolutely outstanding.

Some our brightest and best from Park County are currently deployed. It hits home.

MountainPeak
March 12, 2003, 05:27 PM
Lets see now..... We have a guy from TN vs the fat guy from Iraq running with his AK. I know who I'm putting my money on!:D

yesterdaysyouth
March 12, 2003, 06:21 PM
must be nice to have the skill and the rifle to hit dogtags at over half a mile...

JimP
March 12, 2003, 08:07 PM
I smell bull-hockey. An M-21??/ That went out with the hula-hoop; we shoot M-24's now. He's 21 years old and: 1) an NCO; 2) former ranger in bat ("...then I joined the rangers.."); 3) graduate of ranger school, airborne, air assault, sniper.... and then transferred to the 101st ....all at 21 yrs old; 4) can hit dogtags at 1000 yards???? :what:

I think we may have a "fluffed-up" article here..... :scrutiny:

Atticus
March 12, 2003, 08:34 PM
Kind of a tradition.. huh.
http://www.grunts.net/legends/alvinyork.html

swampgator
March 12, 2003, 09:52 PM
posted by JimP

I smell bull-hockey. An M-21??/ That went out with the hula-hoop; we shoot M-24's now. He's 21 years old and: 1) an NCO; 2) former ranger in bat ("...then I joined the rangers.."); 3) graduate of ranger school, airborne, air assault, sniper.... and then transferred to the 101st ....all at 21 yrs old; 4) can hit dogtags at 1000 yards????

I think we may have a "fluffed-up" article here.....


Okay here's the way it works. Soldiers joins under the Ranger option (forgot the enlistment code) and goes to OSUT (basic/ait) Infantry Training for about 15-17 weeks. Then he attends basic Airborne school for 3-4 weeks. Then he goes to RIP (Ranger Indoctrination Program) for 3 weeks. If he passes RIP he goes to one of the Batts for 6-12 months (time varies based on unit needs, etc) then goes to Ranger School.

By this point the soldier is an E-3 or E-4, but in a battalion most likely an E-3. Depending on age at enlistment he can be as young as 18. After Ranger school, the soldier goes to PLDC and can then be promoted to Sergeant, an NCO. E-1 to E-5 in about 2-3 years.

The other schools, Air Assault, Sniper and Pathfinder are routinely offered to Rangers, based on unit needs and school availability. Keep in mind that all Infantry schools are at Ft Benning, and over 1/3 of all Rangers are stationed there. Ranger=schools.

But the part about hitting dogs tags at 1000 yards is either fluff or damn fine shooting ability.

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