The United States’ war with Vietnam was undoubtedly “a different kind of war”. Guerilla tactics and a largely jungle environment throughout the theatre of Vietnam made this a supremely unique conflict in the annals of American military history. Faced with this type of unique enemy and terrain, the American Armed Forces undoubtedly had to evolve and adapt their tactics accordingly. One element that is particularly extraordinary and exclusive to the Vietnam War is the development of highly organized scout-sniper training. Prior to the Vietnam War, the United States had zero trained snipers. By the time the War had ended, trained American snipers had killed more than 13,000 enemy soldiers. The impact of these efforts must be examined on a number of levels. First, one must examine what lead to the necessity of development of a sniper-training program in Vietnam. Next, the nature of this training itself and the results it produced, followed by outstanding examples of individuals involved in this modern practice and the financial and economic impact their success had on the Vietnam War. Well-trained snipers played a miniscule role from a United States perspective in World War II. The United States Marine Corps did establish two sniper training schools during World War II, one in California and one in North Carolina. However, these training camps were largely flying by the seat of their pants, no official training manuals or procedures existed at this time, not to mention the fact that the camps were quickly abandoned after the War was over. Only the USSR and China would employ sniper-training programs after the War. To this note, what little attention and development was paid to the practice of sniping was out of fear of it factoring in some capacity during the Cold War. While the purpose of this writing is very much to highlight the fact that the practice of professional sniping rose to prominence during the Vietnam War, it is important to note that the first...
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