Sergeant Hay makes history as the US Army's "first active-duty female sniper"

(To Maria Grazia Labellarte)

U.S. Army Sergeant Maciel Hay, scout, 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment (1-91 CAV), 173a airborne brigade passed basic training qualifying as proficient with the M4 assault rifle, becoming "the U.S. Army's first active-duty female sniper."

The 173rd Airborne Brigade is "the U.S. Army's contingency response force" in Europe and provides rapidly engageable forces in the U.S. European Command, U.S. Africa Command, and U.S. Central Command areas of responsibility.

Deployed to Italy and Germany, the brigade regularly trains alongside NATO allies and partners to build partnerships and strengthen the alliance.

Soldiers who attend sniper school undergo a rigorous selection process like the one Hay underwent.

Generally, candidates are experienced infantrymen who have demonstrated exceptional marksmanship skills. They must meet specific physical and mental requirements: the demanding nature of sniping operations requires a high level of physical fitness, discipline and concentration.

In preparation, Hay was also tasked with creating a "ghillie suit" (camouflage clothing typically worn by snipers).

Years earlier, a close friend told Hay that she wouldn't make it in the Army and that there was even less chance of becoming a "sniper."

History, as always, finds a way to mock incredulous people and to prove wrong those who underestimate willing and dreamy individuals.

Another woman they "didn't see coming"?

Photo: US Army