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Expert Marksman killed in first gunfight


KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Sgt. Marc Harper, top marksman in Alpha Company, was killed three days ago by enemy fire during a gunfight in southern Afghanistan, the Army has announced.

Witnesses report that although Harper expended his entire combat load of 210 rounds, he was unable to hit the enemy fighters who engaged him while moving just beyond 300 meters and moving slightly from side to side.

“I’m just in absolute shock,” said Pvt. Maurice Kennedy. “[Harper] was the best shot in the company. He was always chosen by the commander to lead pre-marksmanship instruction for the new soldiers.”

According to others in the unit, Harper had never deployed before, but always emphasized the importance of proper shooting technique.

“He always shot a 40 out of 40 on the range,” explained Harper’s platoon leader, Lt. Mark Thompson. “He hung back to check on our exfil route when we got hit. I was worried until I realized it was Harper.

“At that point we were all just excited to see what he could do in his first gunfight. How could I have known what was going to happen?” he sobbed.

The official report of the incident states that Harper spent almost 30 seconds laying the in prone and breathing deeply before returning fire. After expending an entire magazine with no effect, he assumed a kneeling position and continued to fire individual shots that kept falling well short of their intended targets.

“He seemed most confused when the enemy would duck down, then reappear in a different location and shoot back at him,” Kennedy added sadly. “None of us could believe he’d miss that badly. By the time we realized the guy actually had no idea how to shoot in combat, it was too late.”

Sources in Alpha Company state that Harper received his fatal injury while crawling around in the open shouting loudly for a sandbag or a large rubber mat. The Army is reportedly planning to send Harper’s company back to the target range for “remedial training.”

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  1. If he was using an M16 at 300 metres which is near maximum range against longer-range and more capable AK47s it is not a surprising outcome. However 210 rounds of 5.56 is not that much to carry so assume that the photo does not match the weapon actually being used. Asking for shooting aids in combat and expending all of one’s ammunition seems very amateurish. It also seems from the other soldiers’ comments that Harper was not well regarded despite his “expert” status. Note that rural Afghans are brought up using weapons and cover and concealment, and have the advantage of knowing home ground and initiating contacts – so they usually have a tactical advantage. (From an ex-combat soldier).

    • On top of missing the satire, nothing you said is right. 300m is not even close to max range or max effective range of 5.56×45, and the AK in 7.62×39 doesn’t have nearly the range of the 5.56. Not even close. Is the AK-47 more capable? Well, that depends on what capability is more important than you – to universally say it’s more capable is a bridge too far. 210 rounds is the basic combat load for the M-16. Native Afghans have an advantage, but it’s more strategic than tactical – making them out to be experts in IMT and small arms exchanges is a bit much.

      Did I mention this is satire?

  2. All 210 rounds? Didn’t any classes cover how annoying it is to have somebody shooting at you? No wonder they shot to kill, he might have been carrying a double load-out.

    • We had classes on how much you are a pain in the dick, complaining that you’ve blown your combat load out and you needed more ammunition.
      No, *I* need it and you can keep on making noise and drawing enemy fire.

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