marine corps

Marines with Battery I, 3rd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, fire an M777 Howitzer¬ during the opening day of live-fire operations for Steel Knight at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California, on Dec. 10, 2015. The tough, realistic training is intended to develop combat skills necessary to operate as the ground combat element of the I Marine Expeditionary Force.

THE GREAT AMERICAN SNIPER, Carlos Hathcock was born (20 May 1942–23 February 1999) was a United States Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant sniper with a service record of 93 confirmed kills. Hathcock’s record and the extraordinary details of the missions he undertook made him a legend in the Marine Corps. His fame as a sniper and his dedication to long distance shooting led him to become a major developer of the United States Marine Corps Sniper training program. He was honored by having a rifle named after him: a variant of the M21 dubbed the Springfield Armory M25 White Feather.

In the Vietnam War, kills had to be confirmed by an acting third party, who had to be an officer, besides the sniper’s spotter. Snipers often did not have an acting third party present, making confirmation difficult, especially if the target was behind enemy lines, as was usually the case. Hathcock himself estimated that he had killed between 300 and 400 enemy personnel during his time in Vietnam.

The North Vietnamese Army placed a bounty of $30,000 on Hathcock’s life for killing so many of their men. Rewards put on US snipers by the NVA typically ranged from $8 to $2,000. Hathcock held the record for highest bounty and killed every Vietnamese marksman who sought it. The Viet Cong and NVA called Hathcock Long Tra'ng du'Kich , translated as “White Feather Sniper”, because of the white feather he kept in a band on his bush hat.

After a platoon of Vietnamese snipers was sent to hunt down “White Feather”, many Marines in the same area donned white feathers to deceive the enemy. These Marines were aware of the impact Hathcock’s death would have and took it upon themselves to make themselves targets in order to confuse the counter-snipers. One of Hathcock’s most famous accomplishments was shooting an enemy sniper through the enemy’s own rifle scope, hitting him in the eye and killing him. Hathcock and John Roland Burke, his spotter, were stalking the enemy sniper in the jungle near Hill 55, the firebase from which Hathcock was operating.

The sniper, known only as the ‘Cobra,’ had already killed several Marines and was believed to have been sent specifically to kill Hathcock.[10] When Hathcock saw a flash of light (light reflecting off the enemy sniper’s scope) in the bushes, he fired at it, shooting through the scope and killing the sniper. Surveying the situation, Hathcock concluded that the only feasible way he could have put the bullet straight down the enemy’s scope and through his eye would have been if both snipers were zeroing in on each other at the same time and Hathcock fired first, which gave him only a few seconds to act.

Given the flight time of rounds at long ranges, the snipers could have simultaneously killed one another.Hathcock took possession of the dead sniper’s rifle, hoping to bring it home as a “trophy” but, after he turned it in and tagged it, it was stolen from the armory. A female Viet Cong sniper, platoon commander and interrogator known as “Apache” because of her methods of torturing US Marines and Army of the Republic of Vietnam troops and letting them bleed to death, was killed by Hathcock. This was a major morale victory as “Apache” was terrorizing the troops around Hill 55.

Hathcock only once removed the white feather from his bush hat while deployed in Vietnam. During a volunteer mission days before the end of his first deployment, he crawled over 1,500 yards of field to shoot a high-ranking NVA officer. He was not informed of the details of the mission until he accepted it. This effort took four days and three nights, without sleep, of constant inch-by-inch crawling. Hathcock said he was almost stepped on as he lay camouflaged with grass and vegetation in a meadow shortly after sunset. At one point he was nearly bitten by a bamboo viper but had the presence of mind to avoid moving and giving up his position. As the officer exited his encampment, Hathcock fired a single shot that struck the officer in the chest, killing him.

After the arduous mission of killing the NVA officer, Hathcock returned to the United States in 1967. However, he missed the Marine Corps and returned to Vietnam in 1969, where he took command of a platoon of snipers.

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Private Memorial Held for 12 Marines at MCBH

A private memorial was held this morning at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe for the 12 Marines who were killed in last week’s helicopter collision off Oahu’s North Shore. Officers of the Honolulu Police Department attended the memorial to pay their respects. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and the entire Marine ohana.