Shooter: The Autobiography of the Top-Ranked Marine Sniper
By Jack Coughlin and Casey Kuhlman with Donald A. Davis
Hardcover in dustjacket, 320 pages, photographs, indexed
Published by St. Martin’s Press, May 2005
Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.4 inches
Shooter is the story of U.S. Marine Staff Sargent Jack Coughlin, told in his own words. SSGT Coughlin is a sniper. The book opens with an engagement in Mogadishu, Somalia against Somali militia. Next are a few chapters focusing on training, exercises, and base life. Then more training after 9/11 and deployment with the 1st Marine Division and the war in Iraq.
The bulk of the book focuses on Coughlin’s experiences in the three weeks it took his unit, the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment to reach Baghdad from their starting point in Kuwait. He chaffed at his position within the Headquarters and Services Company and clashed with his Company Commander, but had the respect of his Battalion Commander. While he was arguably one of the most experienced snipers within the Battalion, while assigned to the H&S Company his job was not sniping. He was often able to get into the thick of the action with his own small support team however, and usually with the support (and even insistence) of the Battalion CO.
This is very much a “boots on the ground” narrative, with Coughlin describing details of each action, what he did, what he saw, and what he felt – both good and bad. The Marines lived in their vehicles and endured heat, sandstorms, and MREs while under constant threat of attack by chemical weapons and the regular Iraqi Army, along with ambushes by irregular forces.
This was a very fast read for me as I enjoy this type of book. It is full of Marine bravado and pulls no punches on the descriptions of combat and the specific tactics used to achieve each objective. An engaging account, recommend.