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HATHCOCK'S HEROISM


Hathcock has one of the most impressive mission records of any sniper in the Marine corps. During the Vietnam War he amassed 93 confirmed kills, saving the lives of hundreds or even thousands of Marines. The Vietnam army put a $30,000 bounty on his life for killing so many of their men. Rewards put on U.S. snipers by the NVA (North Vietnamese Army) typically amounted to $8.


It was Hathcock who fired the most famous shot in sniper history. He fired a round over a very long distance, which went through the scope of an enemy sniper, hit him in the eye, and killed him. Hathcock and Roland Burke, his spotter, were stalking the enemy sniper, (which had already killed several Marines) which they believed was sent to kill him specifically. When Hathcock saw a flash of light reflecting off the enemy's scope, he fired at it in a split second, pulling off one of the most precise shots in history. Hathcock reasoned that the only way that this was possible would have been if both snipers were aiming at each others scopes at the same time, and he fired first.


Keep in mind that he volunteered for this mission, but he had to crawl over 1500 yards of enemy territory--much of it open field--to shoot an NVA commanding general. Information wasn’t sent until he was en route. (He volunteered for a mission he knew nothing about.) It took 4 days and 3 nights without sleep of inch-by-inch crawling. One enemy soldier almost stepped on him as he laid camouflaged in a meadow. At another point he was nearly bitten by a viper, but he didn’t flinch. He was bitten by bugs, he was scorched by the sun, he was almost delirious with fatigue. He had scabs and blisters from crawling for days.


He finally got into position and waited for the general. When he arrived Hathcock was ready. He fired one round and hit the general through the chest, killing him. The soldiers started a search for the sniper, and Hathcock had to crawl back to avoid detection. They never caught him. As he set in the dark not sleeping and not being able to see what was slithering around him, he wondered why would he take this incredibly dangerous assignment just days before his deployment was over. He said, "I made this decision in my right mind and I will finish this in my right mind."


(From a sermon by Jeremy Poling, Trivial Pursuit, 3/21/2011)

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