I am a firm supporter of our troops. That includes returning veterans, wounded or not, and the troops deployed. I have given to, or worked with, many nonprofits. I’ve spent numerous days collecting food and toiletries for care packages. I have enjoyed the opportunity to give back for many reasons, but primarily because I remember the feeling of receiving care packages and letters addressed to “Any Service Member” during Operation Desert Shield (Persian Gulf in 1990) aboard the USS Antietam CG-54.
The food, candy, cameras, letters, cassette tapes and pictures were all great for moral and I have sought to continue the tradition. Recently, I was introduced to an organization dedicated to the same ideals, but with a way cooler mission. AmericanSniper.org is dedicated to providing the equipment necessary to help our warfighters complete their mission by killing the enemy.
The following is the account and history directly from the organization we all need to support.
In late 2003, a small group of U.S. police snipers formed a support network to address the operational equipment needs of U.S. military snipers deployed abroad in the war on terror.
Formerly known as “The Adopt A Sniper” program, the effort began as a simple request for assistance among deployed friends, whom were also peace officers serving in the National Guard and Reserve. These peace officers were employed as SWAT team snipers at home in the U.S. and were also assigned as snipers within the United States military.
As the initial war in Afghanistan stabilized and the war in Iraq progressed, the urban mission profiles of police and military snipers were found to overlap. The gear and supplies needed to accomplish the two missions were found to be virtually identical. Once deployed, these military snipers requested assistance from their SWAT sniper friends in procuring the specialized gear, which was better suited for their missions and but not supplied by their parent military entity for a variety of reasons.
Due to the enormity of the commitment in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the differences between the various units and staff personnel, many American snipers and designated marksmen were, and still are, spending personal funds and enlisting their families and friends in procuring gear and getting it to them in the middle of a war zone. Consequently, these servicemen often go without the gear they desperately need, due to the expense associated with procuring it.
The police snipers were all too aware of the expense associated with the specialized gear needs of their military brethren, due to their own experiences commonly associated with police department budgetary constraints. They were also acutely aware of the necessary, albeit seemingly endless red tape and agonizing wait times associated with the procurement process of any government entity.
So the police officers decided to radically broaden the scope of their efforts and made the commitment to aid as many snipers in the military as possible—no matter the theater of operation—for as long as the officers could sustain the program.
Using contacts developed throughout the police and military sniper communities, the police snipers were able to network with military snipers deployed abroad, obtain their overseas addresses, and began sending desperately needed gear and supplies specifically tailored to the sniper mission and currently at the forefront of the war on terror. Due to the immediate unity and lifelong bonds formed between the two groups of professional American snipers (most of whom had never met), the name of the organization was officially changed to AmericanSnipers.org.
The AmericanSnipers.org effort makes no distinction between the full-fledged sniper teams who are often fully trained and equipped, to the designated marksmen of the mechanized, mortar and cavalry units who, like their full-fledged sniper brethren, are also assigned the daunting task of denying the emplacement of IEDs. These designated marksmen are often doing what is normally a sniper’s job, without the training and ancillary gear normally associated with the infantry sniper MOS. They are often assigned to a Stryker, Cavalry or other non-infantry unit and equipped with an M14 rifle that is often older than the sniper’s parents. Due to their unit type, sniper related gear is often not on their Modified Table of Equipment and these men often must literally do something with nothing. Amazingly—as they have always done—they are doing the job regardless of the obstacles.
AmericanSnipers.org has defined its mission to assist these specialized troops and what began as a few police snipers sending gear from their own gear bags, has grown into a full-time program currently supporting snipers and designated marksmen in over 150 sniper platoons of the U.S. military.
The snipers and designated marksmen are encouraged to work through their own supply systems and to make their needs known to their superiors to maintain continuity and flow of information. However, that failing, AmericanSnipers.org has the ability to provide gear that goes directly from an AmericanSnipers.org shipping point, to the exact military address of the sniper. When the sniper’s deployment ends, he either gives the equipment to his replacement (if it is serviceable) or keeps it if he re-enlists and plans to return to overseas duty in a sniper billet.
The American Snipers program is entirely funded by civic donations and currently staffed by both operational and retired police and military snipers (or members of their families).
All monies donated go directly back into the organization, including:
- Purchasing gear or shipping charges for a U.S. military sniper platoon deployed abroad
- Minimal organizational operating costs that consist primarily of running the website and traveling to high-profile venues to accept donations—donations vastly exceed the cost of travel incurred and account for the primary income sustaining operations
The staff sends receipts for donations only upon request. No person receives a salary or kickback in any form whatsoever and staff members conduct the entire effort on their own time.
Business owners often donate perfectly serviceable, albeit blemished products, due to the nonprofit status of the organization.
As we begin 2013, AmericanSnipers.org has supported snipers and designated marksmen in over 1,000 different platoons of the United States military and has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in funds and equipment for snipers in all branches of the armed forces. The National Defense Industrial Association awarded AmericanSnipers.org the Carlos N. Hathcock II Award for 2007.
www.AmericanSnipers.org operates as a project under the 501.C.3 non-profit status of the organization Snipersonline UA.
Anyone wishing to assist the program with monetary or gear donations or for further information is invited to visit the website at www.AmericanSnipers.org.
Do you have a favorite military organization you support? Tell us about them in the comment section.