The Killing School: Inside the World's Deadliest Sniper Program

Author: Brandon Webb

Those who watch the face of their victims

School of Assassins is a book written by a former U.S. Navy soldier, commando, sniper, but most importantly a man who for several years led a training program for snipers. From under his care came people, who then joinedthe ranks of special formations of the U.S. Army, including the famous SEALs. Brandon Webb led the selection of candidates and then supervised the course of training aimed at creating perfect assassins, that is, soldiers capable of waiting for hours in an ambush and then to kill the target with a single shot, sometimes from a distance of more than a kilometer. The publication is filled not only with accounts of the loudest and most daring seals operations, but also descriptions of exhaustive training and exercises and psychological analysis of people who, like few on the modern battlefield, had the opportunity to look in the face of each of their victims - except that they watched them in the viewfinder of the target scope. The eponymous "School of Assassins" was attended by all the most famous American snipers, including the notorious countless daring actions in Iraq and Afghanistan: Jason Delgado, Nicholas Irving, Rob Furlong and the most famous of them all Chris Kyle.

(...) I have an extraordinary relationship with death.

For most of us, death is a mystery, something we fear and try to avoid, sometimes to the point that we deny its existence. Finally, as we reach our 60s or 70s, death begins to circulate around us, taking away those we know and love.

My face of death is as well known as the bartender's face in my favorite pub.

On a frosty morning on March 4, 2002, I sit with seven colleagues in the MH-47 Chinook helicopter, codenamed Razor 1. We don't fly. We are grounded at Bagram Air Base in northern Afghanistan and are waiting for permission to take off. We're creating a QRF (Quick Reaction Force) and we're going to fly to The Shahikot Valley near the Pakistani border, about a hundred and fifty miles south, to the rescue of Neil Roberts, the guy from the Navy SEAL who was shot down there, and the SEAL squad who was supposed to get him out of there, and he himself came under enemy fire.

After all, there is a command. Only that instead of START, we hear get off.

At the last minute, for reasons unknown to us to this day (undoubtedly political), we are pulled out of the machine and replaced by a branch of the U.S. Army Rangers, and we sit with our hands folded. Five of that rescue squad, the unit that replaced us, never returned to base. Roberts didn't come back, too. He became the first U.S. Navy SEALs soldier killed in what people call the war on terror.

A few weeks later, another SEAL soldier, Matthew Bourgeois, gets off the outskirts of Kandahar with a humvee straight to the mine. The strangething thing is that two months earlier I was standing there, in exactly the same place when our humvee stopped on an armed anti-tank pass. This damn thing didn't tear us apart just because the builder was doing the job (...)

Excerpt from the book

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