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Long Rifle: A Sniper’s Story in Iraq and Afghanistan Military Life & Institutions Joe LeBleu Lyons Press


17th January 2013 History Books 27 Comments

Long Rifle is gripping and moving, but most of all, inspiring. As 9/11 altered the terrain of so many lives, it shaped that of Joe LeBleu:

He could only watch as Innocent people died and fires raged in the ruins of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. As a former U.S. Army Ranger, Joe LeBleu knew what he had to do, return to active duty! By the time he received another honorable discharge in 2005 as a Sergeant, paratrooper, and sniper team leader, he had become known as Long Rifle for shooting an Iraqi insurgent at 1,100 meters in Fallujah. That single shot remains the farthest in Iraq by any American or British sniper.

As 9/11 altered the terrain of so many lives, it shaped that of LeBleu. He takes us with him from that haunting day in New York, to the sweltering heat and ambush-rife conditions of desert and urban combat in Iraq. From here we enter a different world: the mountains of Afghanistan. His accounts of sniper missions against the Taliban and Al Qaeda are riveting. Finally, he trusts his gut and returns to civilian life, settling near Las Vegas and going on to serve as a Firearms Instructor while assisting Pat Garret in training Mark Wahlberg for his role as a Force Recon Marine scout/sniper in the Major motion picture, Shooter.

Raw, gritty, passionate, and provocative, Long Rifle is both the first memoir by a U.S. Army sniper from the 9/11 generation and a stirring testament to the core values of American soldiers: integrity, honor, and courage. LeBleus journey to war and back also testifies to the enduring power of love: He carried his dream to return to Natalie, his wife for six long years…

A legendary American marksman tells his storyHe could only watch as fires raged in the ruins of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. But on that day, standing in lower Manhattan, former U.S. Army Ranger Joe LeBleu knew what he had to doreturn to active duty. By the time he received another honorable discharge in 2005as a sergeant, paratrooper, and sniper team leaderhe had become known as Long Rifle for shooting an Iraqi insurgent at 1,100 meters in Fallujah. That single shot remains the farthest by any American or British sniper in Iraq.
As 9/11 altered the terrain of so many lives, it shaped that of Joe LeBleu. Joe takes us with him from that haunting day in New York to the sweltering heat and ambush-rife conditions of desert and urban combat in Iraq. From here we enter a different world: the mountains of Afghanistan. Joes accounts of sniper missions against the Taliban and Al Qaeda are riveting. Finally, he trusts his gut and returns to civilian life, settling near Las Vegas and going on to serve as a firearms instructor and a technical advisor for a major motion picture.
Raw, gritty, passionate, and provocative, Long Rifle is both the first memoir by a U.S. Army sniper from the 9/11 generation and a stirring testament to the core values of American soldiers: integrity, honor, and courage. The authors journey to war and back also testifies to the enduring power of love: For six long years, Joe carried with him his dream to return to Natalie, his wife.

Native New Yorker Joe LeBleu, retired from the military, reenlisted after 9/11 and saw action of the leader of a sniper team in both Iraq and Afghanistan. This is his story.Long Rifle: A Sniper’s Story in Iraq and Afghanistan

Sniper: American Single-Shot Warriors in Iraq and Afghanistan

“The best-of-the-best snipers in action today discuss gunfights, long distance shots, stalking, and more. This is real, it is stirring, and yes, even horrifying.”

- Larry Cox, Shelf Life

Heart-pounding real-life tales from the militarys most experienced snipers

From the peaks of Afghanistans Hindu Kush to the subtropical marshes of south central Iraq, American snipers have braved heart-pounding situations to hit their human targets dead-on. Few military feats stir the imagination like the image of a pair of riflemen waiting quietly in a building, in a bomb crater, or a mountain pass for the enemy to walk into their crosshairs. Sniper comprises real-life tales from the militarys front line snipers, their hits and their misses, the anguish of loss, and the anxiety of the first kill. Authors Gina Cavallaro and Matt Larsen provide riveting accounts of American soldiers and marines on the battlefield, take a rare look at how Rangers and Special Forces snipers train and operate, and at why todays wars have changed the militarys sniper competitions.


Sniper: American Single-Shot Warriors in Iraq and Afghanistan










  • 27 responses to "Long Rifle: A Sniper’s Story in Iraq and Afghanistan Military Life & Institutions Joe LeBleu Lyons Press"

  • Ty Brown
    4:24 on January 17th, 2013
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    I absolutely hate reading but I picked up this book and was hooked. My wife almost fell over when I told her to be quiet because I was reading. Very straight forward writing style. The author pulls no punches. Having been there myself I can attest to the accuracy of this book. It definitely shows what it is really like for service members deployed to combat zones. Thanks for having the courage to put your experiences into writing for the world to see.

  • elvisman
    6:33 on January 17th, 2013
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    This book was extremely powerful and poignant. I laughed, I cried. It is a frighteningly accurate depiction of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. What else would you expect from someone who has been there and done that? It is the memoirs of one man’s journey through this horrible thing called war and truly brings to light the sacrifice that our brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, sons and daughters, are really making for this country. Kudos to the author for having the courage to put his very personal experiences of loss, sacrifice and love for his country into writing for the world to see. That takes amazing courage. Most people who have been there and done that have absolutely no desire to relive the experience even within the confines of their own minds let alone in such a public venue as a book. My hat is off to you. You are one truly courageous and selfless man.

  • X'Owl'er_
    7:23 on January 17th, 2013
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    Let me start off by saying that I have never been in combat. So deciphering what really happens and what doesn’t happen, is slightly challenging. However there are times when you know that somebody is blatantly lying. And after reading this book, I have come to the conclusion that Joseph LeBleu is telling the truth in his memoirs. Which brings me to my next point, a lot of readers that have written a review for this book state that one of the negative elements in this book, is the author’s political rants and Bush bashing. This book is his story, his thoughts, his conclusions. It is not a publication that chronicles the events in Iraq and Afghanistan. And when he divulges into the political realm, he is showing how decisions made at the executive level trickle down and effect the men on the ground. Sometimes it is good and sometimes it is not, but no matter what, there is a result. A lot of other readers dislike this book because it wasn’t all blood and guts, I’m glad that it wasn’t because I want to see both aspects, combat and politics. He does have some very good stories about battles that he was involved in as a sniper. I would go into it, but I don’t think Joseph would appreciate that. If you want to know these stories, buy his book, it’s that simple. Also take into account that this is not a manual on being a sniper. Yes, he does dabble a little into the logistics and proceedings of being a sniper, but it is not what his book is about. If you are looking for a book that is entertaining, intelligent, and most of all passionate. Then I recommend “Long Rifle”. We are blessed that Joseph LeBleu opened up his heart and soul to people that he doesn’t even know by writing this book.

  • Toddzio
    7:37 on January 17th, 2013
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    Mr. Lebleu told his story in a way that engrossed me and had me plotting out the firefights in my own imagination. His struggles in Iraq and Afghanistan are known all too well by veterans everywhere and I applaud his determination to keep fighting even though the rules of engagement were a joke. Mr. Lebleu holds no punches and tells everything like it is with no smoke or mirrors. His views embody what so many think yet he still wants to stand toe-to-toe with the enemy. I congratulate him and thank him along with all the other Rangers and Snipers for all their hard work during these wars.

  • MannyLegacy
    10:41 on January 17th, 2013
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    Gina Cavallaro and Matt Larsen explore combat experiences of American snipers who practiced their art in Iraq and Afghanistan in this fascinating 2010 Lyons Press release. A number of book on snipers and sniping in general and the sniper experience in Iraq/Afghanistan have appeared in the past few years. SNIPER, AMERICAN SINGLE-SHOT WARRIORS IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN is one of the most recent – and better – volumes to be published.

    SNIPER relates the experiences of various Army, Marine and Special Forces snipers between 2001 and 2008. Some ended in kills, some ended in shots not taken, some ended with American soldiers killed or wounded. Cavallaro and Larsen’s book does a good job of underscoring the fact that snipers don’t always engage in dramatic ENEMY AT THE GATES sniper shootouts but that the role of the sniper has evolved over the years. As documented in SNIPER, those soldiers often serve more as intelligence-gathering and force-multiplying assets.

    The stories related in SNIPER, many of which are told in the words of the men themselves, are informative, poignant and affecting. The book provides an insider’s view of the training and exploits of some of America’s finest fighting men. Recommended.

  • Kelli D Smith
    15:40 on January 17th, 2013
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    I read it. that is some good news because if I don’t like a book at all I stop reading it. This book has many good stories but for me there was never really a flow. These are short stories of different Snipers (God Bless them all), so I get that the whole book may not flow. But in many cases the individual stories didn’t flow.

  • jail person
    16:43 on January 17th, 2013
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    This is a great book and a great collection of events that have taken place. I know Matt, Gina and some of the Snipers in this book personally and it really does them justice!! Way to go Matt and Gina!!!!

  • Devon Smith
    18:30 on January 17th, 2013
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    I am currently working on my thesis for grad school and part of it involves the War in Afghanistan so I bought the book. Most of the book involves his experience in Iraq which doesn’t help me out much for my thesis, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and was glad I purchased it. I enjoyed it so much that I am writing a review for it. It took me a little while to get into the book (about 20 pages). I actually put the book down and read another book before I finished LeBleu’s. Once I got past the funerals and schooling, I could not put the book down. His book was like an action movie in regards to the way he describes his battle accounts. The description of the people, landscape, and how he takes it all into account is amazing. LeBleu and the way he tells his story makes him sound like a true starting varsity badass.
    LeBleu’s book, in my opinion, puts an American readers emotions to the test. He does not hide his opinions on war, America, or politics. The reader has to keep an open mind and be understanding when reading this. LeBleu put his life on the line for America and throughout the story mentions many stories where he could have been killed. Just because his book carries his opinion on politics and the wars in both countries, I think opinion should be over looked by the reader for how powerful and descriptive his experience in both countries were.

  • oldmerguy
    20:08 on January 17th, 2013
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    I really don’t understand why this book received so many bad reviews. So many people saying Joe LeBleu is a liar and this stuff never happened so on and so fourth. Lucky for me I read this book before i saw these reviews on amazon, because if I would have read these reviews first I probably wouldn’t have read this book at all and I would have assumed Joe made it seem like he was the James Bond of OIF Killing every one in sight, blowing S@*T up, not being afraid of IED’s or even 20 Insurgents with AK’s.

    The fact is this is a great book and while there is a lot of action in the book, the only confirmed kill Joe has is the one insurgent at 1100 meters. Where is all the “lies” that many of the reviews claim? Nothing in this book seemed far fetched. This is a book that really shows what it’s like to be a sniper, what its like to go out on missions, have a close call or two, and what Iraq and Afghanistan is really like. The beginning of the book even has a description of what Joe had to go through in Sniper School. Very Cool!

    This really is a great book, and i would Recommend it. People need to stop trying to cut this book apart and stop trying to beat Joe into the ground and just take this book for what it is: A book about one of the toughest jobs in the military written by a guy who risked his life to do it, and decided to share his story with the world. Thanks Joe, well done!

  • daouddee
    1:25 on January 18th, 2013
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    The narrater was difficult to listen to, especially when quoting guys with southern accents. Very hard on the ears.In addition, during the first two tracts I thought I was listening to Ophra’s show. Sorry this isn’t longer, but my writing teacher taught me that less is more.

  • bigloo
    2:06 on January 18th, 2013
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    I MYSELF HAVE NO MILITARY EXPERIENCE,SO TO READ WHAT MANY PEOPLE HAVE WENT THROUGH IS MIND BOGGLING.YOU HAVE TO FIND A PERSONAL WAY TO NOT LET THINGS GET TO YOU.I BELIEVE ONCE YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR TAKING A LIFE YOU ARE TRULY NEVER THE SAME MENTALLY.SO FOR ANY AND ALL MILITARY PERSONS TO DO WHAT THEY DO,I RAISE MY HAND TO YOU..THIS WAS INTERESTING READING..VERY ENLIGHTING TO HAVE A INSIGHT TO THE THINGS THAT TAKE PLACE THAT MOST FOLKS WILL NEVER HAVE A CLUE ABOUT, SOME CHOOSE NOT TO KNOW THINGS, I ASK QUESTIONS MYSELF.YOU OBVIOUSLY HAVE QUITE A SKILL, IT WAS SUCH A SHAME THAT YOU HAD A LITTLE TROUBLE FINDING A CIVILIAN JOB ONCE YOU LEFT THE MILITARY.GLAD YOU FOUND SOMETHING YOU LIKED.

  • Mike Bunata
    2:46 on January 18th, 2013
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    Is this the best book you’ll ever read – no. Does this book have heart? Yes. I would recommend this to my friends who have served and are interested in this type of thing. If you haven’t served, then you probably can’t relate. Yes, there are areas that this feels a little choppy, but that didn’t bother me.
    The title bothers me more than anything as the author says more than once in the book that snipers are not ‘Single-Shot Warriors’, and their role is much more about laying in uncomfortable, dangerous places just to provide real time intel or small unit support for the mission.
    Early in the book, the author is standing beside someone who is killed by an enemy sniper. The rest of the book is dedicated to this fallen warrior. That speaks volumes to me.

  • PorfessorKZ
    4:39 on January 18th, 2013
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    This one is hard to put down! Very realistic account of the stealth, determination and marksmanship that it takes to be a sniper. Impressive long range kills! Kept me on the edge wanting to know what was going to happen next. It takes courage to write an account of what one goes through in war and Mr. LeBleu doesn’t hold back on details. Good book.

  • Harry W
    6:22 on January 18th, 2013
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    Unlike other books on sniper’s role in combat, it seems to me that this one cast light on the subject from a more emotional point of view. No, no “sob stuff” in it but stories of different encounters and decisions soldiers had to make are accompanied not only by dry facts but also by describing the way they thought and felt about it, in hindsight as well. Two most moving and personal stories in the narrative embrace the book as a whole – one starting the book and the other one ending it. These two will stand out in one’s mind and remind the reader of the “Sniper:…” and of the war on terrorism that can harldy be won.

  • Duncan Sequeira
    8:04 on January 18th, 2013
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    it didnt really flow, but some great stories, but also some fillers also. it could have been better on such an interesting topic. not enough praise given to these guys.

  • Smithers
    9:49 on January 18th, 2013
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    Congratulations Mr. LeBleu! This book gives a unique perspective into a “taboo” art of the military few can comprehend. As I’m sure, you expected, the “haters and experts” have chimed in. So-called paper “snipers” and most civilians(including REMFs) will find it hard to place themselves in your shoes as they read of the trials and tribulations. This being said, I applaud you for your service to our country, your willingness to share your experiences and insights and your dedication to your friends and their legacies. As a proud American and veteran, I salute you and all REAL veterans who have and are serving this great country. Thank you!

  • Ay yi yi
    11:54 on January 18th, 2013
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    It was an informative book with some great short stories. The format made it enjoyable as it was broken up into many differnt stories from differnt units and theaters. I recomended it to several people and I wouldnt hesitate to read it again.

  • Curtis Perry
    17:50 on January 18th, 2013
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    Riveting! This book was hard to put down once I began reading. Mr. LeBleu is quite obviosly an individual who has been in some extraordinary situations; Situations that most would discount as false or exaggerated if they have not walked in Mr. LeBleu’s boots. Mr. LeBleu has also pointed out some error’s in the judgement of politicians and senior military members alike, both of whom would rather make decisions as they see fit, rather than base those decisions from input offered by those with boots on the ground. As a former Marine of 24 years and a combet vet, I am a firm believer that politics do not win wars, combat troops and their supporting elements are who defeat the enemy. Bravo for sharing your memoirs with us Mr. LeBleu, Bravo!

    LGS

  • Christy
    18:00 on January 18th, 2013
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    Being someone that has participated in sniper operations in both Afghanistan and Iraq I can say that this is the first, and only, authentic sniper book that has been published during the current conflict. Being a avid reader, I will pick up anything that has to do with the military. Unfortunately I have found very few realistic, authentic accounts of current combat operations. Sniper goes to great lengths to cover all aspects of sniping in the Global War on Terrorism. I like the fact that short stories were used, the reader gets to see the differences between conducting sniper operations within a city and out in the rural areas, as well as how different units and branches of the military operate. The folks interviewed were superb professionals, I know this because I get to work with them. Great book Gina and Matt.

  • Muskoka
    20:23 on January 18th, 2013
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    Rather boring treatment of what should have been very interesting. Many first person anecdotes were so vanilla as to sound like a trip to Walmart. The few good stories help make this book a B-.

    BD

  • Angry Developer
    22:18 on January 18th, 2013
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    This cover caught my eye. I couldn’t help but wonder what was gonna happen when that goofy looking guy pulled the trigger on the Barrett. Would he survive? I had to know, so I bought the book. Mr. LeBleu is my kind of author. I read this book cover to cover without stopping for food or drink. He has a very engaging sense of humor and writing style that had me on the edge of my seat. He pulls no punches and sugercoats nothing. He tells a shameless story and I felt like I actually knew the man by the time I finished the book. I wish him good health and good luck in all his future endeavors. If he ever publishes another book I would love to own it. I like the book enough that I’m going to try and make one of the stops on the book tour and get my copy autographed by a true American patriot. This is a must read for any red blooded American.

  • sajjad farooq
    0:03 on January 19th, 2013
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    i watched Joe growin up, but was blind to the events that were actually taking place across the ocean. the only thing u can b sure about media coverage is that is probably off the mark. it was nice to read the raw, unpolished account of a soldier, who was actually there.

  • Walt French
    0:39 on January 19th, 2013
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    I am a big fan of Military books but this one was just okay. It is essentially a collection of short stories from various people and their tour of duty overseas.

    I would recommend Lone Survivor. Also Warrior Elite by Dick Couch

  • jlrlee
    3:57 on January 19th, 2013
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    An incredibly gripping book about the true life stories of Snipers on the battlefields of both Afghanistan and Iraq. From the preface to the end of the book Ms. Cavallaro is able to take the stories of these Warriors and pull you back into their world on the battlefields of both Afghanistan and Iraq. After serving three deployments overseas, the stories were told in such detail that I was brought back to the battlefield and could feel the elation of mission accomplishment to the gut wrenching feeling when things were going terribly wrong. I could once again smell the “smell of Iraq”. Which is a smell that no one that has ever deployed will ever forget. For people that have never served in the Army or the Marine Corps it is a real eye opener and a step away from what is generally portrayed in movies. To the person that has deployed in support of the Global War on Terror, it is an window that allows people to see the stresses of all your brothers that punch outside of the wire on a daily basis. This book does the Sniper Community real justice.

  • Ross Cestari
    5:53 on January 19th, 2013
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    Having recently read another work in this genre, “House to House”, which is deserving of five stars, “Sniper” isn’t. Everything is relative. It’s an interesting series of vignettes, many a bit repetitive, which do a good job of describing the role of the sniper in modern warfare. The authors cannot go into great detail as to methodology since that is classified, but they provide a decent picture of this “asset” through direct reports of experiences snipers have had in Iraq and Afganistan.

    I think my favorite chapter was 12 describing how a prominent terrorist was taken down. The book gives you a good sense of the unique characteristics a good sniper has to have, the sacrifices those who pursue this course endure, and the difficulties they often have getting command to utilize them to their highest potential.

  • Austin David
    7:04 on January 19th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    Long Rifle feels like reading random entries from a know-it-all’s field diary. Often, the entries don’t particularly lead anywhere. They just sort of drift off aimlessly. Long Rifle really needed a good editor and perhaps a ghost writer. That said, it’s not all bad. Some of the entries are quite engaging, but there are much better military/special-ops books out there.

  • Steve Bryans
    8:48 on January 19th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    I read Long Rifle twice, because I wanted to write a well read review of this book. All I can tell you is this book is it! This is combat on the squad and platoon level, where battles are won or lost. People in America see Pentagon briefings and the nightly news about smart bombs and push button wars; well, Joe was one of those push buttons! Combat is both brutal and dynamic. It is the grunt in the field who wins a war, not a Pentagon briefing. I too was in lower Manhattan on 9-11 and experienced the same emotion Joe did. I volunteered to go back on active duty that day and was accepted. This is more than a book about Joe as the sniper, it is about Joe the Patriot and Joe the Soldier. Joe’s journey in life is one that I greatly respect. His days in a Ranger Regiment prepared him well for his tour in Iraq and Afghanistan. The battles and firefights in Fallujah kept me riveted while reading about Joe’s experiences fighting through them. The IED attacks took me back to Iraq and my experiences with them. Being a soldier in a firefight is tough, it even tougher when your head is rattled. Being a sniper in a fire fight after an IED attack, is even tougher. You have to recover quickly and get your wits back. In Olympic biathlons, the shooters have to cross country ski and then shoot targets; Joe was able to recover after being ambushed and doing 500 yard dashes to a good firing position, and still bring deadly fire on the enemy. This is why sniper school is so grueling. Firing a weapon in combat is never akin to a rifle range. Joe hit targets with deadly accuracy. Joe also followed orders when they were dead wrong. When in an over watch position and confirming an insurgent IED was emplacing a road side bomb to kill Americans, his Headquarters refused to allow him to fire. He held his fire, even though he knew this to be dead wrong. Joe and well as many of us in Iraq, knew then the war was declared “mission complete”, it had just begun. The then Sec Def, Donald Rumsfeld told the American people that we only faced “the remnants of a dying regime”; Joe was in Iraq fighting a full blown insurgency. I don’t blame him in the least for feeling frustrated and critical of the decisions being made thousands of miles away. Soldiers have to fight through bad decisions and they understand them to be bad decisions,very quickly. Joe’s mission in Afghanistan as a sniper truly drives home the conditions of fighting in mountains, rather in a flat desert. The Physics of firing a bullet are part of the stock and trade of a sniper and Joe understands how to put a shot on his target in any combat condition. Glad I was never in his sights! I recommend this book to every Soldier through General. It is truly a book from a Soldier’s perspective.
    LTC Gary R. Stahlhut, US Army Retired

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