A U.S. Special Operations sniper published a memoir about his tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"The Reaper" tells the story of former Army Ranger Nick "Irv" Irving’s career as the first black sniper in the Army’s Third Ranger Battalion.
In the memoir, Irving describes his possessive relationship with his SR-25 rifle, which he affectionately called "Dirty Diana" and spent hours every night painting.
Irving grew up in a family of two former enlisted soldiers, but said he was not interested in serving until he became curious about guns as a teen. He said he eventually signed up serving tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
During his training, Irving writes that his platoon officer warned him about the effects of sniping versus other types of warfare.
Irving said his officer told him: "After you kill a man, there’s no other feeling like it … Once you kill a man, you can’t replace that feeling."
While in Iraq, Irving said his fellow soldiers gave him the nickname "The Reaper" after killing 33 men in less than four months.
Irving writes about his various kills and missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, describing events like his first kill and how the tiniest of miscalculations can mess with a sniper’s psyche.
While writing about the moments before pulling the trigger, Irving said he experienced a slow motion effect as he proceeded with his kill. He describes the vividness of the smell of the suppressor’s burning gas as he saw his target collapse to the ground.
The memoir follows the release of director Clint Eastwood’s war drama, "American Sniper." The film, based on the life of America’s deadliest sniper, Chris Kyle, exceeded box office expectations with projections toward a $105 million debut weekend gross.