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The American Sniper Other American Snipers Look Up To

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
May 17, 2024 3:02 am

The American Sniper Other American Snipers Look Up To

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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May 17, 2024 3:02 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, long before Chris Kyle penned "American Sniper,” which became Clint Eastwood’s Oscar-nominated movie masterpiece — Carlos Hathcock was already a legend. Hathcock was so efficient and fearless during the Vietnam War, that he wore a white feather on his gear—taunting the Communists to come find him.

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With a single bullet, snipers can change the outcome of a battle or even a war. Long before Chris Kyle penned American Sniper, which became Clint Eastwood's Oscar-nominated movie masterpiece, Carlos Hathcock was already a legend. Hathcock was so efficient and fearless during the Vietnam War that he wore a white feather on his gear, taunting the communists to come find him. Our next story comes to us from Colin D. Heaton and Mike Droberg, two military veterans and the founders of the YouTube channel Forgotten History.

Their videos focus on military heroes, actions, and events spanning across the globe and are watched by hundreds of thousands of people. Here's Colin Heaton with the story. Carlos Norman Hathcock was born on May 20, 1942 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Hathcock supported his extremely poor family by shooting and hunting at an early age with a.22 caliber JC Higgins single shot rifle. He later graduated to using a Kar 98 German Mauser that his father had brought back from World War II. Hathcock joined the Marines on May 20, 1959 at the age of 17 and rapidly became a known quantity.

He had won the matches at Camp Perry in 1965 and the Wimbledon Cup shooting championships. In 1966, Hathcock deployed to South Vietnam as a military policeman but later became a sniper after captain, later major, Edward James Land wanted snipers in every infantry platoon. At that time there was no formal sniper school in the Marine Corps and snipers were designated according to a Marine's marksmanship record and field expertise.

Land knew right away that Hathcock was a natural. Hathcock soon went to work protecting Marines and one enemy was a woman. The story of the woman VC called the Apache has been questioned but here is how Carlos explained it. I really don't like to talk about her to tell you the truth. She was a...

I don't like to use bad words. She was a very bad woman, a very bad woman. Had her own sniper platoon down there and I think they were out to get all my snipers myself, everybody and she'd been torturing a lot of people prior to us getting there and that was a primary objective, kind of for me and I was in her own backyard. She would tromp it out of mine and I didn't like that and she sent that one kid that she'd captured. This one's a very, very personal, very personal. Saw her come and saw the group coming, there was about five of them and saw her squat down to tinkle and that's the thing that was her and the guy in front of her was trying to get her to stop because they were running right towards us where they'd seen her before.

You're trying to get her to stop, she didn't but I stopped her. I put on one extra for good measure because I was the best shot I ever made, I think. Best shot I ever made. The NVA and VC called Hathcock Long Trang, which means white feather, because of the white feather he kept in the band on his bush hat. At that time in Vietnam, all the troops that was wearing garbage on the dog tags, peace symbols, you need a peace symbol, you know, all kind of garbage, grenade pins, all kind of mess in their hats and stuff. Well, I picked it up.

Why I picked it up? It's because I was just going to the bad guys, see? And the snipers don't do this, I'm not supposed to do it, but I was kind of a very belligerent individual, I guess, as a sniper and kind of like to flaunt my authority, I guess. After a platoon of Vietnamese snipers failed to kill him, many Marines in the same area donned white feathers to deceive the enemy and confuse them. Ho Chi Minh placed a bounty of thirty thousand dollars on Hathcock because he was so effective, and through a mishap, they learned his name. It was believed that one of the local women working on the base accessed Hathcock's service record book. In those days, sniper kills were recorded in the SRB. Generally, rewards put on U.S. snipers ranged from eight dollars to two thousand dollars. Hathcock held the record in the SRB for three years, and it was recorded in the S.R.B. The S.R.B.

was the most popular record in the U.S. in the United States. Hathcock held the record for the highest bounty ever placed on a Marine, and he killed every Vietnamese sniper who came after him. In one of the most remarkable sniper versus sniper duels in history, Hathcock and his spotter, John Roland Burke, were stalking the enemy sniper called the Cobra in the jungle near Hill 55. This was a firebase southwest of Da Nang where the Cobra had already killed several Marines to lure Hathcock out to kill him.

The stalking lasted for two days. Carlos said this North Vietnamese sniper was sent down there to get me, which I really didn't appreciate, and he was doing a bad job on the hill. The colored gunner was starting right outside my door with my hooch, and I watched him die and took a bow right then. I was going to get him, some way or another, and I left Da Nang the first time with 86 confirmed, and the whole gob of problem was, and I figured I was a little bit better than what they were, so just a smidge because I was still alive, and I got John Burke, who was my partner, and we went out. As a team leader, I trailed him. Very cagey, very smart individual, and I figured he was close to me as good as I was, but there ain't no way. Ain't nobody that good, so, and you got to think like that too.

You got to think like that, and I made a mistake. I fell on an old rotted tree, and he made a shot and hit my partner's canteen, and Burke and I both thought he was hit. It was all the warmness running down over his legs and stuff, and I noticed the homeless canteens. You ain't hurt.

Yeah, you ain't hurt. Just killed the devil out of your canteen. That's all, and we moseyed around and mingled around, and he started running. Bad guy started running, and we worked around to where I was in his old spot. He was in my old spot, which was a bad thing for him because he was facing the sun by that time. That was afternoon by then, and the sun glinted off his lens of a scope, I guess, and which I didn't know at that time. Well, I saw the glint. I shot it where the glint was, and it just happened to be the right time, and by the looks of things, I was just the quickest on the trigger. Otherwise, Nancy would kill me because I shot right through his cup, right straight through his cup. Didn't touch his eyes.

Didn't touch his eyes, and it didn't do his eyesight no good on that side either. Hathcock and Burke collected the dead sniper's rifle, as Hathcock wanted to keep it as a trophy, but it was later stolen from the armory after he checked it in. And you're listening to the story of Carlos Hathcock, and it's being told by Colin Heaton and Mike Droberg of Forgotten History, and you're also hearing from Carlos Hathcock himself. Born in Little Rock, he supported his family hunting, and obviously that marksmanship came in handy when at 17 he signed up for the Marines. There was a $30,000 bounty on his head by Ho Chi Minh himself.

That's how feared Hathcock was. When we come back, more of this remarkable story, a true American sniper, and believe me, you want a good sniper on your team in deployment for sure. More of this remarkable story here on Our American Stories. From BBC Radio 4, Britain's biggest paranormal podcast is going on a road trip. I thought in that moment, oh my god, we've summoned something from this board. This is Uncanny USA.

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Talk to your doctor about your screening options or visit cdc.gov slash screen for life for more information. And we continue with our American stories. Few Vietnam-era Marines are more storied than legendary sniper Carlos Hathcock. Yet his legend is not rooted in confirmed kills or the longest shots taken, though he held both records in his lifetime. It was his talents for tracking and hunting that were his greatest weapons. He taught himself to shoot as a boy, just like Alvin York and Audie Murphy before him. He dreamed of being a U.S. Marine his whole life and enlisted, as I said before, at the age of 17. Hathcock was a world class sharpshooter by then, winning the Wimbledon Cup Shooting Championship in 1965, the year before he would deploy to Vietnam and change the face of American warfare forever.

I like shooting and I love hunting, but I never did enjoy killing anybody. It's my job, he said famously. Let's continue with the story.

Here again is Colin Heaton. Hathcock was offered a top secret mission, which he accepted knowing nothing about it until he was briefed after acceptance. The mission was to kill a North Vietnamese general far behind enemy lines and he would be alone this time. Following his insertion several miles away, he entered the enemy controlled area. It took him four days and three nights without sleep as he crawled inch by inch over 1,500 yards of an open field after already covering two miles just to get to that point. Hathcock was wearing a hastily assembled ghillie suit from the local vegetation to blend in with the surrounding terrain and he was almost stepped on by patrols as he laid camouflage of grass and vegetation in a meadow shortly after sunset. During this process he came face to face with a deadly bamboo viper and managed to outlast the reptile until it crawled away. He then managed to complete the stalk and get into a concealed position and not long afterward the general came into view. I did not know what none of my people did and so I took the mission on myself and figuring I was maybe a little bit better than all the rest of them because I was the one training them all. It's supposed to be better and I come out of the tree line back there and got onto the open land and I went to my side and it go flat on the belly because it made a bigger slug trail when I was on my belly and it wormed on my side very minutely, very minutely.

I knew I had a long ways to go. Didn't want to tire myself out too much and patrols were within arms reach of me. I could have tripped the majority some of them and they didn't even know I was there. I was in their backyard. I was in their backyard and they didn't expect a one-man attack. They didn't expect that and I knew from the first time when they was coming lollygagging by me that I had it made now. This would be good.

This would be real good. So I just continued squirming along, squirming along and come many patrols, many patrols come by. There was two twin 51s on my left, two twin 51s on my right and I could see them cooking their groceries and wishing I was there to have a little bit of it but I was definitely hungry. I was thirsty but you got a job to do. Can't let none of that enter.

Just you're in your bubble and that's all is your job, your job. And crawled up on that little rise with an escape route to my right and I just made it to the wind and the temperature, humidity, the whole ball of wax. Try to run through my mind real quick and I dumped the bad guy. Hathcock fired a single shot that struck the general in the chest, killing him from a distance of 700 yards using his preferred Winchester 300 magnum bolt-action rifle. Carlos was deep inside the enemy compound but this was the easy part. Now he had to escape the area without being captured. His egress and evasion was on. He egressed out of the area as the soldiers went to the trees to hide and he made his escape without being actively pursued.

He had to leave the area without being actively pursued. That is the toughest part of a deep penetration mission, surviving after making the shot. On September 16, 1969 Hathcock was riding on an LVTP-5 armored personnel carrier full of Marines on Highway 1 north of Landing Zone Baldy, a U.S. Marine Corps and Army, Army Republic Vietnam Base located northwest of Chu Lai in Quang Nam Province when the APC rolled over an anti-tank mine. The explosion rocked the heavy vehicle and wounded all the Marines on board and a fire broke out. Hathcock jumped off and ran to the rear and pulled seven Marines from the vehicle which was an incinerator. Hathcock then collapsed suffering first, second, and third degree burns to his face, arms, and legs and his uniform was aflame.

Another Marine grabbed him and pulled him away and placed him in water alongside the road in a rice paddy and he was still smoking. While recovering, Hathcock received the Purple Heart. Nearly 30 years later he received the Silver Star for this action saving those Marines. Although Hathcock had 93 confirmed kills which had to be confirmed by the spotter and a third party who had to be an officer, he estimated that he had killed between 300 and 400 enemy personnel during the Vietnam War. However, not to be sidelined, Hathcock returned to active duty and along with now Major Ed Land established the Marine Corps Sniper School at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. The results of his efforts saw the establishments of Scout Sniper Schools at Stones Bay, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Camp Pendleton, California, and Marine Corps Base Kaneohe Bay in Hawaii. Despite returning to active duty, Hathcock was in daily constant pain but he continued teaching snipers. Hathcock's health began to deteriorate and in 1975 he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and he was medically retired with full benefits and 100% of his pay just 55 days short of the full 20-year retirement requirement.

Hathcock was honored by having a rifle named after him derived from the older semi-automatic M-14 and named the Springfield Armory M-25 White Feather due to his nickname. I met Carlos Hathcock twice. Having been a sniper myself, I was well versed in his exploits. Carlos summed up his philosophy.

The second line of the facts is great. It's very, very great and very harmful to the bad guys, very harmful. One shot, one shot will put a whole company down, a whole company because it denies them movement.

It denies them movement, restricts their movement and that's what's good for lanying, very good for lanying. I did not like to kill him. I really didn't like to kill him but to pit myself against another living, breathing human being who could kill me just as quick as I could him. That was the challenge of it.

That was the challenge. See, only when you're needed, only when you're needed are you the good guy. Only when you're needed. Seems like because that's training in the powers that are. They look down on snipers and everybody else looks down on snipers because we have a job.

People down below do not understand that job, do not understand what can be done for last night. Carlos Hathcock, the legendary white feather, died on February 22nd, 1999 in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He is buried at Woodlawn Memorial Gardens in Norfolk, Virginia and his legend still stands. And a terrific job on the editing, storytelling and production by our own Greg Hengler. And a special thanks to Colin D. Heaton and Mike Droberg, two military veterans and the founders of the YouTube channel Forgotten History and terrific partners of this show.

Visit their YouTube channel, visit it often. And a special thanks posthumously to the legend, to the great Carlos Hathcock, the sniper par excellence, who in the end started marine sniper training. It had not existed before. And my own mother's brother, well, he did something called paratrooping, which had not existed before in World War II. And so many of those innovators and those dreamers paid the price of being the first. And imagine being a sniper without training, because it is one of the deadliest jobs there is in the military, because the other guy's sniper is looking for yours and yours theirs. It is a very special and very singular type of talent. And my goodness, that secret assignment that he described to kill a Vietnamese general and how many lives he could save crawling those 1500 yards, as he said, squirming, not just crawling like a snake. And then I dumped the bad guy with his Winchester bolt action rifle.

The hard part, of course, the getaway. And what a thing so many of our soldiers do for us doing things like this, crawling in a swamp. And of course, the record is surreal, 93 confirmed kills, an estimated 300 or more by his account, and then establishing the Marine Corps Sniper School. And ultimately, his final statement, I did not like the killing.

It was his job. The story of Carlos Hathcock, the legendary white feather, an American sniper here on Our American Stories. From BBC Radio 4, Britain's biggest paranormal podcast is going on a road trip. I thought in that moment, oh my God, we've summoned something from this board. This is Uncanny USA. He says somebody's in the house and I screamed. Listen to Uncanny USA wherever you get your BBC podcasts, if you dare.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-17 04:34:08 / 2024-05-17 04:42:46 / 9

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