A Vietnam Hero

To the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese, he was known as “White Feather” for the feather he wore in his cap, and they had a $30,000 reward for him. They sent their own snipers to get him, and he killed them all.

One of their best, named The Cobra, had him in his sights 500 yards away, and Carlos Hathcock, seeing the flash of his scope lens through his own scope, fired a fraction of a second first.

His bullet went through the enemy’s scope, killing him. Five hundred yards and hitting a lens maybe an inch in diameter.

A number of Hollywood movies have used this as a scene, but only Hathcock really did it.

The SEAL’s own Chris Kyle, considered to be the deadliest sniper in military history, credited Carlos Hathcock as his inspiration.

A sniper has a special temperament. Days may transpire before he fires a shot. I can remember back in my Army days, having an instructor who was a sniper in Vietnam. And he said that a sniper has one of the most dangerous jobs, because once that shot is made, they are all after you.

Another one of Hathcock’s exploits involved killing a North Vietnamese general, headquartered at a plantation house in Laos. The house was surrounded by 2,000 yards of open field. He spent days in his ghillie suit, crawling inches at a time across 1,200 yards of that field just to get into position.

After he killed the general, he had to slowly crawl across that field while NVA soldiers were fanning out trying to find him and kill him.

But a good sniper is many times as effective as a single soldier. They can strike terror over 1000 yards away. I can remember reading a biography about Hathcock years ago, and at one time, if I am remembering the story,  he held off an entire North Vietnamese company for over a day, having caught them in an open field with only a few rocks for cover.

Here’s a bit more about him, including his encounter with The Apache.

Among his other famous kills was when the sniper took out an NVA platoon leader known only as Apache. She enjoyed torturing captured American soldiers and was hated by the Marine forces that operated in the area.

One day Apache captured a private and sadistically tortured him within earshot of Hathcock’s own unit. She skinned the man. She cut off his eyelids, before taking his fingernails off and castrating him. Then she let him go.

As a result, Hathcock took his spotter and they trailed Apache and her platoon. When she stepped off the trail to relieve herself, the sniper took his chance. He even put a second bullet in the hated torturess  just for good measure.

I saw this interesting biography on him on YouTube. There are 2 places where the video goes blank for a few seconds – hang in there.

This is the book I read years ago, and I recommend it highly.


04/01/20 Here’s a 52 minute interview with Hathcock





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Filed under Heroes Among Us, Marines, Vietnam

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