Soldier Makes History, Becomes Army’s First Active Duty Female Sniper

( – The Army graduated its first-ever active duty woman sniper, Sgt. Maciel Hay last November. Hay was emboldened by the words of a friend that challenged her to defy the odds. Her efforts paid off four years later.

Hay spoke of having the nickname “Sniper” growing up due to her uncanny ability to find things quickly. She said the skill is similar to target detection in sniping. She spoke of shooting often growing up as a young girl on her family’s ranches in Oregon and California.

Hay credited her uncle Cy with giving her instruction, but said the basics “came naturally.” She realized that she wanted to be a sniper later, during her time at Sierra College.

She spoke of a close friend who suggested she could never become an Army sniper. They parted ways and that person is no longer friends with Hay, but Hay credited her derisive remarks as giving her the motivation to pursue becoming an Army sniper.

Hay said her experience in the Army has been positive with support from her superiors and colleagues during her training. She had support from her drill instructor who appreciated her shooting early and pushed her to become a sniper.

Hay progressed from marksman, to sharpshooter, and expert to graduate. The feat requires a progressively higher percentage of targets hit in a limited amount of time.

Hay’s platoon sergeant, Sgt. 1st Class Antwon Jones called her “an incredible non-commissioned officer” who adds to her team and the Army by being a part of it.

Hay said that her graduation was a group effort and highlighted how one of the projects involved the creation of a ghillie suit. The outfit is a detailed camouflage bodysuit. Hay said hers required “many hours, multiple people, and tons of sewing.”

The school takes snipers through multiple training sessions in five weeks. They work with different rifles, from the most basic to more advanced technology and practice many skills. Snipers are required to stalk their targets and avoid detection while performing reconnaissance and having the necessary survival skills to stay alive and capable of completing their mission. They also have to work in urban environments as well as forests, deserts, or in snow.

Copyright 2023,