COLLEGE STATION, Texas –-(Ammoland.com)- On Sunday, January 6, 2018, at Ft Gordon, Ga., three cadet two-man sniper teams from the Corps of Cadets Marksmanship Unit (CCMU) completed the 3 day, 30 mile, Mammoth Sniper Challenge placing 3rd, 6th and 24th shooting against professional military sniper teams from every branch of the US Armed Forces.
CCMU cadets fired Bergara Premier Elite rifles, mounted with Leopold Mk5 optics and Magpul magazines, Orr Tactical Ammunition, Atlas Bipods and Kahntrol Solution muzzle brakes. Two team rifles were mounted in MagPul Pro Chassis and all long guns were supported by Kopfjager Industries’ outstanding Reaper Grip and tripod. Rangefinders were provided by Vectronix. Glock 34s firing Orr Tactical ammunition ran perfectly in the most adverse conditions.
“God hates the Mammoth Sniper Challenge,” remarked a cadet at the end of the first of three days of the event. Close to 90 teams started the match, by the morning of the second day there were 22 fewer…carrying rucks weighing 75 to 80 pounds on the first day in 50 degree temps, the cadets covered over ten miles on the clock in a constant downpour while firing three different rifle/pistol events along the way.
Welcome to Mammoth!
Widely regarded as one of the most physically challenging and technically difficult sniper matches in the country, the Mammoth requires participants to carry all gear (weapons, ammo, food, camping equipment) over the entire 30-mile course…only water can be resupplied along the way.
Participants camp in designated areas using only what they have carried. Each ruck leg must be completed in the required time or the team is dropped from the official score in the match, no second chances. On the first day alone each team was required to complete timed rucks of 3 miles, 2 miles, 2 miles, and then 3 miles back to base camp. Each ruck leg ended at a shooting position where the teams engaged targets at unknown distances.
The terrain and weather combine to create conditions that challenge even the very best professional soldiers.
Shooting challenges were even more trying than the weather and the terrain. Snipers engaged targets ranging to 1083 yards, spotters used their weapons to engage targets extending to 740 yards. Both shooters fired their handguns at targets which they had to successfully engage before being allowed to move to rifle shooting positions.
Barely 40 teams completed the entire course and finished the three day/30 mile match.
The Mammoth Sniper Challenge is primarily attended by US military sniper teams (sniper/spotter). Units officially attending were from the United States Marine Corps, the 75th Ranger Regiment, the US Army Marksmanship Unit, various National Guard marksmanship units, and many Army and Navy Special Forces units, and others, who chose not to list their official unit designations. The event was won by an experienced team from the United States Marine Corps Reserve Shooting Team.
The CCMU cadet teams relied on solid equipment and a commitment to fundamental skills developed from long hours of training, weekly indoor practices with .22 caliber rifles simulating the sorts of shooting positions they expected to encounter, and constant physical conditioning. In just the third year of participation in sniper matches, and the Mammoth Sniper Challenge, this focus on basic marksmanship fundamentals has shown great results.
CCMU cadets also credit their success to two volunteer mentors to the team, both retired soldiers from 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Karl Erickson, SGM(Ret) and Kieth Gipple MSG(Ret). They give their time freely several times a year for training sessions and proudly wear the team’s colors as they play a special role in these cadets development as shooters and leaders. The CCMU team coach, Kevin Jimmerson ‘89, remarked “I cannot tell you how special every cadet is on this team. No stage is too big for them, no challenge too daunting. They remain focused on fundamentals to succeed, they never look behind them, and they never lose focus on ensuring their teammates success.”
Nothing happens overnight. In 2017 one cadet team finished 19th at Mammoth, in 2018 two teams finished 18th and 9th, and now two teams in the Top 6 (3rd, 6th) and 24th.
The eventual third place team started the final day on the scoreboard in 1st Place. A procedural penalty resulted in them earning zero points on the first event of the day, yet they finished 3rd and were still in striking distance of the eventual winners for the remainder of the match.
One of the CCMU’s team mottos is simply: “Impossible is an Opinion.”
CCMU Cadets by order of finish (sniper/spotter):
- 3rd Place Sam Slichter ‘19 & Colton Roach ‘21
- 6th Place Kit Hoog ‘19 & Wade Ledbetter ‘19
- 24th Place Kyle Post ‘19 & Garrett Fleming ‘21
About the CCMU
The CCMU was officially formed in December of 2011, but today’s squad represents the latest in over 120 years of history of marksmanship teams competing for the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M. The CCMU fields competitors in the action pistol sports, steel pistol sports, 3Gun and international trap and skeet. Team members are drawn exclusively from the 2,700 men and women of the Corps of Cadets who are all undergraduates at Texas A&M. The cadets of the CCMU are supported and funded through the Office of the Commandant of the Corps of Cadets, and the generous efforts of the Corps of Cadets Association ( http://www.corpsofcadets.org ) a private non-profit group committed to sustaining the 143 year old traditions of the Cadet Corps at Texas A&M. Please contact them to make a tax deductible donation on the teams behalf.
For more information on the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M University, visit http://corps.tamu.edu/. For information on the Corps of Cadets Marksmanship Unit visit www.cocmu.com or follow the team on Facebook and Instagram @tamu_ccmu