U.S. Army Sgt. Maciel Hay, a cavalry scout with the 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment (1-91 CAV), 173rd Airborne Brigade grew up in Rocklin, California shooting mostly rifles and handguns. She said her nickname "Sniper" came from her ability to find things quickly, similar to how a sniper does target detection.
Now, Hay is the Army's first female active-duty sniper. Previously, only a female National Guardsman from Montana completed the course.
She qualified as an expert with the M4 assault rifle through basic training and graduated from airborne school.
Hay said shooting came naturally to her, but she credits her uncle who taught her the basics. She was inspired to become an Army sniper while attending college near her hometown.
"A close friend of mine told me I'd never make it in the Army, and there's no way I could become a sniper," Hay told DVIDS. "Needless to say, that person is no longer part of my life. But now that I look back at it, I really do appreciate the motivation."