LANSING, Mich. –
The 3rd Battalion, 126th Infantry Regiment held a selection event for their scout platoon and sniper section, April 27-30, 2023, at the Camp Grayling Joint Maneuver Training Center.
Cadre, consisting of members of the section, evaluated eight soldiers through a series of events designed to test their physical and mental fitness.
“We are looking for soldiers who are self-driven and have initiative,” said Army Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Rivard, 3-126th Infantry Regiment, scout sniper section platoon sergeant. “We want someone who can take the information we are giving them, apply it, and continue their growth as a soldier.”
“Overall, the events are to assess if they have the fortitude to push through being tired, hungry and not quit,” continued Rivard. “We work in small teams and as the saying goes ‘you are as strong as your weakest link’, so if we go to war, we want people who can pull their weight.”
The events consisted of a variety of classes, a Ranger Fitness test, a long-distance run, land navigation, construction of a surveillance site, a long-distance ruck, and a candidate interview.
According to Rivard, upon selection, soldiers not already holding the infantryman MOS will reclass into the career field. Once in the section, scouts attend the U.S. Army Reconnaissance Surveillance Leadership Course and snipers attend the U.S. Army Sniper Course.
“Scouts work in six person teams and do area, zone, and route reconnaissance,” said Rivard. “They also have the ability to do long range surveillance. Our snipers have the same abilities but work in two person teams and do precision fire.”
The section falls under the 3-126th Infantry Regiment Headquarters and Headquarters Company and serves as an asset for the battalion commander.
“Basically, before the battalion commander pushes his people forward, they will want to know what's ahead of them and what to expect," said Army Sgt. Dane Burton, 3-126th Infantry Regiment, assistant scout team leader. “The teams will go out ahead and send back an accurate depiction of the battlefield to the commander.”
This trust-built relationship between the command and the section allows for a more flexible training schedule for the section.
“Our commander knows that he can count on us to perform, so we get the freedom to train for that,” said Burton, “We make our own training schedule, so we can ensure our guys are prepared for whatever can get thrown at us.”
In addition to the home station training, unit members also get priority for other Army schools such as Air Assault, Pathfinder, and Ranger School.
Typically, the selection is held one or two times a year, however with the 3-126th Infantry Regiment’s upcoming rigorous training schedule, the next selection will be held in 2025.
This year's selection event produced five qualified candidates who will continue to be trained and evaluated by their unit ensuring qualified placement.