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Special Ops Sniper Nicknamed 'The Reaper' Is One Of The Deadliest Army Rangers In History

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Special Ops Sniper Nicknamed 'The Reaper' Is One Of The Deadliest Army Rangers In History

Nicholas Irving is the one of the deadliest Army Rangers ever.

A former member of the 3rd Ranger Batallion (75th Ranger Regiment), Irving, from Fort Meade, Maryland, has become one of the most infamous snipers in US military history after having killed 33 people in less than four months of his deployment in Afghanistan.

The staggering kill count led him to become known as 'The Reaper', though it's believed his unconfirmed targets could stretch into triple figures.

According to reports, Irving's weapon of choice was an Mk 11 rifle a modified version of the SR-25 sniper rifle, which he nicknamed Dirty Diana.

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Credit: Twitter/Nicholas Irving
Credit: Twitter/Nicholas Irving

Speaking previously about his experience, Irving recalled a 10-hour firefight that ended in retreat in Afghanistan's Helmand province on 10 July 2009.

He said: "I became comfortable with death at that point. If I died, it didn't matter. You just accept death at that point.

"We debated it, like pulling a grenade and jumping on it and blowing up. You just have to accept it at that point. It was not an option for us to be captured or anything.

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"I'd rather kill my guys and kill myself before we get captured."

Credit: Twitter/Nicholas Irving
Credit: Twitter/Nicholas Irving

Irving left the army in March 2010 after three tours of Iraq and one trip to Afghanistan, spending a total of 19 months in warzones.

It was during his final tour that he is said to have killed 33 insurgents as a Special Operations Command direct-action sniper over the course of around 100 days - though his claim has not been verified.

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His military record, however, took its toll on him, suffering from PTSD and alcoholism.

Discussing what he was like after the army, Irving said: "Hellraiser. I loved combat. I loved deploying. I had a hot temper.

Credit: Nicholas Irving
Credit: Nicholas Irving

"I was still young - about 24, 25 - and I was going into contracting. My last deployment as a contractor was 2012.

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"I was just used to that rush, like, if someone talks shit to you, beat this guy's ass. So it took me a while to get out of that mindset. Then calming down on drinking. I wasn't living off of Uncle Sam's budget. I had to find a job and stuff like that, and I still wanted to maintain a habit of alcohol.

"I learned really quick how fast you can blow through a deployment savings on alcohol. It wasn't a smooth transition.

He added: "It was a couple of years of losing a lot of stuff and almost being a homeless vet."

But with the publication of 2014 memoir The Reaper: Autobiography of One of the Deadliest Special Ops Snipers, Irving has turned his life around and become a best-selling author.

Featured Image Credit: The Reaper/St. Martin's Press

Topics: army, US News, Sniper

Dominic Smithers
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