Ok, I found the original captions, and those soldiers are US Army Special Forces guys, using SOCOM weapons. The M14 does indeed have a SIMRAD rail so it was clearly set-up for night missions, which makes sense given they were securing the off-shore oil platforms at night during that conflict. SIMRAD was cutting edge back then. The African American solider also has a very early Litton hand-held laser range finder, which was also new and cutting edge technology back in Feb 1991. Definitely SOCOM gear that came out of Crane. Glad these pics were posted.
(Personally I don’t think they were posed pics, based on what was happening in late Feb 1991. My now retired contact at Crane said he remembers when those pics were published. It’s the only ones I’ve seen of Desert Storm snipers under SOCOM).
Btw, the Feb 27, 1991 photo caption in USA Today
only referred to them as “US military snipers take aim at retreating Iraqi forces.” My guess is per Operational Security they didn’t or wouldn’t reveal their identity or branch to the US photographer, hence the rather ambiguous “US military snipers” reference used in the newspaper.
I need to find a SIMRAD scope ring for my replica: