New Army Sniper Is a First

Sgt. Maciel Hay has more plans
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2023 3:40 PM CST
Female Sniper Becomes an Army First
Army Sgt. Maciel Hay after graduating from sniper school at Fort Moore, Georgia, last month.   (U.S. Army)

When Maciel Hay was attending college near Sacramento, a friend told her she couldn't make it as an Army sniper. "Needless to say, that person is no longer in my life," said Sgt. Maciel Hay. She graduated from sniper school in Georgia last month, Stars and Stripes reports, to become the Army's first active-duty female sniper ever. A cavalry scout, Hay is stationed in Germany with the 173rd Airborne Brigade and headed next to an assignment in Anchorage. While she is the first woman on active duty to become a sniper, a female Army National Guard soldier completed the program two years ago.

Shooting is not new to Hay. "I grew up shooting, mostly rifles and handguns, on my family's ranches," she said in a statement released by the Army. In fact, her nickname from childhood was "sniper," but that's not why. "The nickname came from the fact that I could find things really fast, similar to how a sniper does target detection," she said. Sniper school is difficult—with an attrition rate of about 60%, the Army says—but that hasn't been her only achievement in the service. Hay qualified as an expert with the M4 assault rifle while in basic training, then as a marksman in sniper school. After that, she graduated from airborne school, per the Army.

Her next goal, once she's in Alaska with the 1st Squadron (Airborne), 40th Cavalry Regiment, is to become a jumpmaster. And she's getting advice to sign up for Ranger School. "It's great to hear stories about paratroopers doing great things," said Sgt. 1st Class Antwon Jones, the platoon sergeant who encouraged Hay to apply to sniper school. "But especially when it's a female defying the odds and proving women are just as capable to do anything when they have the motivation and drive to win." (More US Army stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.