The sniper with one of the longest kills in Afghanistan has a message for Joe Biden

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Sergeant Nicholas Ranstad was 20 minutes into a nap erstwhile his spotter woke him up.

Four Taliban fighters were 1.28 miles distant from nan hut wherever nan Army master sniper was surviving successful Kunar Province successful northeastern Afghanistan.

If nan insurgents had looked much carefully, they would person seen achromatic marks connected boulders beside them. Ranstad, a 28-year-old Florida native, had been utilizing them for target believe for weeks.

Now, however, his AK-47-wielding target could sprout backmost while they were surveilling nan U.S. postulation checkpoint.

Nick Ranstad group up connected apical of a Afghanistan Border Patrol (ABP) hut and sewage into nan prone position.

He peered down his scope, and sewage nan precise region from his spotter Alex Simpson: nan force was 6,778ft distant - 22 shot fields. It was an immense region for immoderate marksman.

He tried to trim his heartbeat by taking slow, heavy breaths, past pulled nan trigger, unleashing a information walking astatine almost 3,000ft per second.

Army master sniper Nick Ranstad killed a Taliban violent from 1.28 miles distant successful 2008. At nan clip it was nan longest termination by an American successful Afghanistan

A mates of seconds later he saw a burst of ungraded six feet beneath nan men. It was a miss. 

Angry pinch himself for a tenth of a second, he looked down nan scope astatine his target again and saw nan men scrambling.

‘I wish I had changeable higher,’ he told

The militants had nary thought wherever nan changeable had travel from. Three of them took screen down nan biggest boulder, but 1 was exposed.

Ranstad pulled nan trigger of his Barrett M107 again, and 2 seconds later he saw 1 of nan men rolling down a hill. The remainder is history.

Later he recovered retired that his termination successful January 2008 was nan longest by an American sniper successful Afghanistan to date.

He was happy pinch his shot, but says he was prouder to deterioration nan azygous and service successful a team.

His grounds has been surgery since, but his sanction is still etched successful subject folklore.

The historical changeable is 1 of nan stories nan American subject looks backmost connected pinch pridefulness from its 20 years successful Afghanistan.

But what happened to Ranstad successful nan years that followed has go each excessively communal among veterans from nan War connected Terror.

That communicative is 1 nan Pentagon doesn’t want you to hear.

Eleven years aft sidesplitting nan Taliban combatant pinch a once-in-a-lifetime shot, he walked into nan location of a friend, Marine seasoned Sean Miller.

Like Ranstad, Miller was a chap seasoned who struggled pinch PTSD.

He had changeable himself successful nan head.

Ranstad was 20 minutes into a nap erstwhile his spotter woke him up successful January 2008.  Four insurgents were successful beforehand of boulders he had been utilizing for target practice 

Ranstad called 911 to study a suicide, but ended up being arrested and taken into custody because of nan flurry of emotion he felt successful nan seconds that followed.

When he saw his friend’s assemblage he was truthful upset he fired 4 rounds into nan level of nan house.

He past ripped down nan Marine emblem extracurricular Sean’s location and draped it complete his body.

The responding officers publication him his Miranda authorities and he ended up successful jailhouse for respective days earlier being released connected a $10,000 bond.

He was charged pinch reckless usage of a firearm and firing it wrong a dwelling, and it took 13 months to clear his name.

Ranstad admits his guidance successful that infinitesimal of rage wasn’t right, but nan business showed signs of a situation that runs acold deeper.

Ranstad pulled nan trigger of his Barrett M107, and 2 seconds later he saw 1 of nan members of nan Taliban rolling down a hill. The remainder is history

Now 45 years old, joined for 18 years and pinch a child, he has been retired of nan subject for six years.

He was honorably discharged because of his ain conflict pinch PTSD and nan ongoing effects of a traumatic encephalon wounded (TBI).

Thousands of veterans suffer from TBIs during their service, but trying to get an charismatic test for them is simply a struggle.

It intends veterans cannot get afloat benefits - moreover if they suffer symptoms specified arsenic headaches, insomnia, confusion, frayed memory, bad balance, racing hearts, paranoia, slump and random eruptions of rage aliases tears.

Ranstad’s communicative and his interactions pinch Sean earlier his tragic decease are a achy reminder of nan shortfalls of seasoned attraction crossed nan United States.

It is an rumor he says has been overlooked for excessively long, a sentiment thousands for illustration him work together with.  

In 2011, Ranstad met past Vice President Joe Biden pinch his spotter Simpson, who was successful Walter Reed Medical Center aft being paralyzed during his 2nd circuit successful Afghanistan

They are needs captious for some Joe Biden and Donald Trump to reside successful nan 2024 election.

He says it is clip to prioritize those who served their state complete migrants who are fixed benefits specified arsenic free healthcare and housing.

Thousands of veterans are surviving connected nan streets and galore extremity up losing nan invisible warfare they conflict erstwhile they return home.

Ranstad was a subject brat.

His great-great grandfather was a medic successful nan First World War. His grandfather was an infantryman successful nan Korean War. His begetter was nan Navy’s Chief Masters-at-Arms and his uncle was an Air Force combatant pilot.

His aunt is successful nan FBI and his relative is simply a sheriff’s deputy.

He wanted to travel successful their footsteps, looking up to and respecting them for their desire to protect Americans and springiness backmost to their country.

When he signed up to nan Army he had wanted to subordinate a vessel platoon, but location were nary slots available.

His 2nd prime was a Cavalry Scout, and nan Army needed snipers. So, he was sent to sniper school.

Ranstad leads a occurrence squad of Air Force associated terminal aerial controllers successful hunt of a high-value target during an workout successful Germany successful 2008

He proved himself pinch a agelong weapon and ended up winning nan German Schutzenschnur Silver Aiguillette Medal. 

Only a fistful of nan astir skilled U.S. work members are invited to compete.

It was a motion of nan marksmanship that would make him a fable successful nan military. 

Ranstad was connected his only deployment successful Afghanistan successful northeastern Kunar Province, adjacent nan Pakistan border, erstwhile he encountered nan Taliban fighters.

For months he had been surviving successful nan hut, conscionable complete a mile away, crossed a valley from nan boulders he utilized arsenic target practice.

Most snipers train pinch targets half a mile away, Ranstad's was much than doubly that.

Each clip he took a shot, he aliases his spotter would constitute down his notes successful a ‘dope book’.

He and Simpson recorded nan wind, nan temperature, nan clip of time and nan accuracy.

The variables were important erstwhile nan force came into his statement of sight.

The deadly Barrett M107 firearm he held successful his hands could sprout .50 caliber rounds nan size of basking dogs.

What happened to Ranstad successful nan years that followed has go each excessively communal among veterans from nan War connected Terror. His communicative is 1 nan Pentagon doesn’t want you to hear

They recreation astatine supersonic speeds for up to 1,750 yards.

Ranstad was shooting Armor Piercing Incendiary (API) rounds which created a firework effect connected impact.

He kept doing it to people targets for nan Apache helicopters connected position nearby, fresh to beryllium deployed.

Ranstad felt for illustration nan firearm was portion of him. He could deed anything. Whatever nan region anyone stated it could shoot, he could occurrence it further.

He was manning a checkpoint successful nan area wherever nan Taliban was executing building workers, to extremity others supporting U.S-backed projects.

Snipers whitethorn beryllium portrayed successful Hollywood arsenic gunmen roaming battlefields picking disconnected their targets, but they are chiefly utilized for intelligence and surveillance.

In mini teams they dishonesty successful wait, sometimes for weeks, to scout retired an enemy’s position. Then they relay nan location to onslaught teams aliases units fresh to behaviour a raid.

He knew insurgent fighters were successful nan area, truthful erstwhile he spotted nan group, he relayed nan accusation to his platoon sergeant who gave him nan go-ahead.

The Taliban decapitated immoderate building workers earlier that week and near notes successful Farsi stating: ‘This is what happens erstwhile you activity pinch nan Americans.’

Ranstad didn’t opportunity a connection arsenic Simpson communicated his corrections of nan upwind and nan power signatures from nan crushed done his spotting-scope.

The firearm was perfectly still and he had reached an almost meditative authorities arsenic he raised nan scope level pinch nan horizon.

Then he sent nan information crossed nan valley faster than nan velocity of sound successful nan guidance of nan oblivious men connected nan different side.

Eleven years aft sidesplitting nan Taliban combatant pinch a once-in-a-lifetime shot, Ranstad (pictured) walked into nan location of a friend who had changeable himself successful nan head

He was angry he missed pinch nan first try, arsenic he prepared for each changeable expecting to kill.

The militants started to scramble. Ranstad assumed his targets thought they were being changeable astatine crossed nan separator from Pakistan, conscionable crossed nan river.

Three recovered screen down nan boulder, but 1 was successful nan open.

But he instantly composed himself and listened arsenic Simpson called retired a correction.

He pulled nan trigger again.

That’s erstwhile nan unreality of particulate from his first miss was replaced pinch a corpse rolling down nan hill.

Ranstad’s termination group an American grounds that wasn’t acold from nan 7,972ft changeable by Canadian Army Corporal Rob Furlong successful Afghanistan successful 2002.

The reported grounds sniper termination is 2.14 miles from an unnamed Canadian sniper during a circuit of Iraq successful 2017.

Ranstad told that, looking back, nan changeable was ‘pretty cool’, but nan squad astir him and winning nan warfare was much important to him.

He went connected to look connected TV shows to talk his termination and moreover met nan owners of Barrett, nan sniper manufacturer, and told them really to amended their weapon.

In 2011, he met past Vice President Joe Biden pinch his spotter Simpson, who was successful Walter Reed Medical Center aft being paralyzed during his 2nd circuit successful Afghanistan.

Despite nan honors and nan prestige, however, nan stark reality of being a post-9/11 warrior group in.

‘After my deployment I started noticing it,’ he told

There was dense drinking, fights pinch his family, and he was paranoid and waking up successful nan mediate of nan nighttime pinch acold sweats.

‘It was each nan cliché symptoms,’ he said. He knew he had PTSD.

At first he didn’t want to admit it to himself because of nan ‘man up’ mentality that dominates nan Army.

The cognition was that you ne'er sought help, nevertheless overmuch you needed it.

‘There was a stigma past and it’s still moving done nan ranks for illustration a virus.

‘Soldiers deliberation location is thing incorrect pinch them mentally but successful each actuality, they were injured.’

Eventually, aft he was medically discharged successful 2018, he sought thief and had his first brushwood pinch nan Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

‘At first, I thought it was supportive. There were tons of resources and they knew what they were doing.

‘But nan much I worked pinch them, nan much I recovered retired curen pinch nan VA was lacking.’

They would schedule important appointments up to six months isolated and would support switching doctors truthful he would person to many times spell done nan aforesaid tests.

‘Being a expert successful nan VA is simply a revolving door,’ he said.

He besides ran into nan problem truthful galore different veterans face; being fixed medicine pills alternatively of treatment.

‘When we sewage backmost from deployment and we had to reintegrate back, 1 of nan stops was intelligence wellness doctors.’

Ranstad is pictured firing a Barrett M107 - nan aforesaid firearm he utilized for his record-breaking changeable -in a conception for The History Channel

The agency was small, but nan statement of troops waiting to spot nan medics was retired nan door.

‘The guys (service members) were stepping retired pinch brownish bags of each kinds of drugs.

‘God knows really overmuch money these pharmaceutical companies made that time and really galore dependents they created.

‘In my acquisition I felt for illustration a dart committee for pharmaceuticals. The doctors and therapists were throwing darts and seeing what stuck.

‘They gave maine thing 1 clip and it made consciousness much depressed and suicidal than ever earlier successful my life.

‘I told my therapist and she said, “Ohh, we request to get you disconnected that immediately.”

‘I said, “No s***” and she put connected immoderate different s*** that didn’t work.

‘They didn’t moreover show maine astir nan withdrawals.’

It meant he gave up connected nan VA and now gets his attraction from a backstage healthcare provider.

He gives Biden praise for passing authorities to protect veterans exposed to toxic pain pits, but attraction for work members will ‘always beryllium an issue’.

‘It seems for illustration a batch of measure introductions but thing seems to beryllium getting passed.’

His connection to Biden is to push moreover harder to protect those who person served. 

But 1 of nan astir disgraceful acts he has ever seen from a president was erstwhile Biden looked astatine his watch during nan honorable transportation for nan 13 American work members killed successful nan disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal.

'I watched him look astatine his watch nan first clip while nan first soldier, draped successful nan flag, was transported.

'He ne'er saluted anyone, past kept looking astatine his watch.'

'I genuinely do not cognize really nan parents didn't face him connected nan tarmac. I don't judge I could've held my tongue.'

He is besides furious astir erstwhile White House property caput Jen Psaki's 'backhanded' apology for lying astir nan watch successful her memoir.

'I felt it was truthful disgusting. I felt she gave specified a backhanded apology, positive she knows her assemblage truthful she gives 2 s*** astir what anyone thinks. 

'I'm irked conscionable remembering that day. It's sad that it took backlash for her to retract her quotes. 

'If I was a family personnel of 1 of nan fallen I'd writer nan s*** retired of her.'

Ranstad says nan VA needs much money and each seasoned needs an assigned counsellor to group them up pinch a circumstantial curen program.

Many are still bounced astir physicians and attraction facilities, moreover though they request urgent and changeless care.

His spotter Simpson has to thrust from North Carolina to Virginia because he doesn’t person a section spinal and symptom specialist.

He and Simpson are still adjacent friends and unrecorded successful nan aforesaid neighborhood. 

It was during Ranstad's curen wherever he had his first brushwood pinch Sean. 

Ranstad met Sean for nan first clip successful 2017, erstwhile some were attending therapy sessions for PTSD.

‘When I first sewage there, I was very standoffish and he was nan first 1 to talk to me.

‘It was astir apt because he had felt that measurement sometime successful his first curen process. I judge this was his third.’

During nan sessions they became bully friends. They kept successful touch, speaking almost each day.

They would often talk astir nan struggle to get benefits.

‘I cognize he was stressed astir getting imperishable disablement position and I tried to show him he would beryllium approved.

‘But astatine nan aforesaid clip nan VA was jerking him around. He was getting exhausted pinch nan process.’

The travel for veterans to get nan capable level of compensation for injuries they suffered tin return years, and is mired successful reddish tape.

The benefits are approved for Americans whose symptoms will ne'er improve, but immoderate dice earlier they ever get a chance to spot it.

Sean was having continuous wellness problems and Ranstad was trying to thief him get backmost connected his feet.

‘I detoxed him astatine my location for astir a month, and he sounded good. We would do regular “hello” texts, but thing crazy.’

One night, Ranstad sewage a matter from Sean that concerned him.

He said he was emotion bad, and Ranstad told him he was going to make nan 5 and a half-hour thrust from Fort Liberty (which was named Fort Bragg astatine nan time), North Carolina, to his location successful Virginia.

Sean responded that he was good and not to worry. Ranstad didn’t judge him and told his woman astir his concerns. 

She said he needed to spell cheque connected Sean to make judge he was alright.

It was May 2019. During nan drive, Sean wasn’t responding to matter messages and Ranstad became progressively worried.

When he arrived astatine Sean’s location successful Warren County he knocked connected nan doorway but location was nary response.

So, he climbed done an unlocked model and recovered Miller successful nan surviving room, dormant from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Distraught, he took retired his ain weapon and fired into nan level respective times.

He was letting disconnected steam, but now wishes he hadn't mislaid his cool.

Sometimes he questions if he should person gone into nan location astatine all, but if Sean had been live erstwhile cops turned up location could person been a standoff.

‘It would’ve been really bad for nan constabulary department,’ said Ranstad. ‘Not to return thing from nan section but Sean was not nan 1 to messiness with.

‘They later thanked maine for going successful first. In nan arena he was live I would’ve had a overmuch amended chance of de-escalating nan business if location had been one.’

Ranstad called 911 to study nan death.

When first responders arrived, he explained to officers he had gone wrong to cheque connected Miller’s welfare.

He was past informed of his Miranda authorities not to self-incriminate. Later, he was charged pinch reckless usage of a firearm and jailed.

‘I deliberation they thought I was suicidal and wanted to clasp maine truthful they trumped up immoderate charges to clasp maine for a mates days.

‘They (the guards) were rather hospitable to maine successful nan jail. Even nan bosses came successful to cheque successful connected maine and beryllium pinch maine to spot if I needed anything, which I thought was weird.’

Ranstad’s termination group an American grounds that wasn’t acold from nan 7,972ft changeable by Canadian Army Cpl Rob Furlong successful Afghanistan successful 2002. The reported grounds sniper termination is 2.14 miles from an unnamed Canadian sniper during a circuit of Iraq successful 2017

Even though he was released aft a fewer days, nan opening of a 13-month ordeal had only conscionable begun.

It wasn’t until June 2020, aft nan hold for ballistic laboratory trial results and navigating lengthy reddish tape, that nan charges were dropped - pinch nan thief of his lawyer Jerry Talton.

‘He called maine astatine work. It felt for illustration 1,000 pounds was lifted disconnected maine and my family’s shoulders. We had closure.’

For Ranstad, it wasn’t conscionable astir clearing his name. Sean’s tragic decease represented nan devastating consequences of a deeply-flawed strategy of veterans’ care.

Following his death, Ranstad’s woman called Sean’s therapist, who informed her he had been approved for nan benefits he had been waiting truthful agelong for.

‘I don’t cognize what was said but I cognize my woman laid into (the therapist),’ he said.

Whether Ranstad was getting attraction from nan VA aliases nan backstage sector, he said it was for illustration being connected a conveyor belt.

Staff were dispersed thin. The backstage assemblage accommodation were built for illustration resorts pinch immense backing from nan VA. 

But nan value of curen for each seasoned was sacrificed.

Instead, he recovered nan champion therapy was talking to nan men and women who besides served. It’s that comradery he still misses, years aft he near nan military.

‘I’ve seen truthful galore soldiers reasoning they’re mentally sick and I show them, “No you were injured.”’

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