Fort Lewis Home to Sniper Training

Fort Lewis, the largest Army base in the Pacific Northwest, is home to soldiers who undergo some of the Army's most intense sniper training.

They are part of the Army's first new medium-weight combat brigade, which includes a large complement of snipers trained to operate in urban areas, mountains and countrysides.

The base is about 15 miles south of Tacoma, where police searched a home Wednesday as part of the investigation into the Washington, D.C.-area sniper attacks.

At a visit here last April, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called Fort Lewis a "central part" of the Army's effort to become more nimble and responsive.

As part of their Fort Lewis training, teams of snipers — one shooter and one spotter — are taught to remain undetected in an area at least 48 hours before they're supposed to fire their weapons.

In March, Lt. Victor Satterlund told The News Tribune newspaper in Tacoma that snipers' motto is "one shot, one kill," but their goal is to kill with up to three shots.

Army officials have said most of the 3,600 soldiers in the base's medium-weight combat brigade are expected to be ready for deployment as early as January 2003. The medium-weight brigades can be quickly deployed much as light infantry — but with some of the punch of heavy armor.

About 21,000 soldiers are stationed at Fort Lewis, and about 55 to 60 percent of them live off the military base.