The arrival at the newly-established Patrol Base Shamal Storrai (Pashto for ?North Star?) in late August 2009 of Serjeant Tom Potter and Rifleman Mark Osmond marked the start of an astonishing episode in the history of British Army sniping.
Within 40 days, the two marksmen from 4 Rifles, part of the Welsh Guards Battle group, had achieved 75 confirmed kills with 31 attributed to Potter and 44 to Osmond. Each kill was chalked up as a little stick man on the beam above the firing position in their camouflaged sangar beside the base gate ? a stick man with no head denoting a target eliminated with a shot to the skull.
Osmond, 25, was an engaging, fast-talking enthusiast, eager to display his encyclopedic knowledge of every specification and capability of his equipment. He had stubbornly remained a rifleman because he feared that being promoted might lead to his being taken away from sniping, a job he loved and lived for. Potter, 30, was more laid back, projecting a calm professionalism and quiet confidence in the value of what he did.
Potter had notched up seven confirmed kills in Bara in 2007 and 2008 while Osmond?s total was 23. Both were members of the Green Jackets team that won the 2006 British Army Sniper Championships.
On one occasion they killed eight Taliban in two hours, ?I wasn?t comfortable with it at first,? said Osmond, ?you start wondering is it really necessary?? But the reaction of the locals soon persuaded him. ?We had people coming up to us afterwards, not scared to talk to us. They felt they were being protected?.
I'll believe corporations are persons when Texas executes one.: LBJ's Ghost