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Interesting story


Sisco
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41 minutes ago, DNP said:

Was he pushing a wheelbarrow to carry his balls?  Sounds like a legendary badass. Thank God for men like him. 

It was unreal, surreal.  We did the funeral detail for the first female killed in Desert Storm - her dad was some bigwig Air Force guy from the area.  I just see this old guy walking up to me after completion of the ceremony, with a big white handlebar mustache - and a fucking Congressional Medal of Honor as his top ribbon.  Mind blown.  Snapped a FASTASS salute to him, RIGHT AWAY.  I was blown away.  He approached me, because of the Ranger Tab.  We were talking Ranger to Ranger, right then.  I was the NCOIC of the funeral detail.  We talked for 15 minutes, and my fucking complete idiot Lieutenant (funeral detail OIC) comes right up to me and says "SGT Hartley, we need to go, come on..."  Didn't even realize he interrupted a CMH recipient that was engaged in conversation, speaking, telling his story.

I quickly told that LT that I'd "be along" as soon as this conversation was finished.  When it was finished, I turned towards the others that were waiting, and I tore that motherfucker a new center of uranus.  In front of all the soldiers on the detail.  Fucking moron. 

Lewis Millet is the only enlisted man to ever be Court Martialed for Desertion (found guilty), then immediately be given a Direct Commission to 2nd Lieutenant.  :hail:

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6 hours ago, 98Z5V said:

It was unreal, surreal.  We did the funeral detail for the first female killed in Desert Storm - her dad was some bigwig Air Force guy from the area.  I just see this old guy walking up to me after completion of the ceremony, with a big white handlebar mustache - and a fucking Congressional Medal of Honor as his top ribbon.  Mind blown.  Snapped a FASTASS salute to him, RIGHT AWAY.  I was blown away.  He approached me, because of the Ranger Tab.  We were talking Ranger to Ranger, right then.  I was the NCOIC of the funeral detail.  We talked for 15 minutes, and my fucking complete idiot Lieutenant (funeral detail OIC) comes right up to me and says "SGT Hartley, we need to go, come on..."  Didn't even realize he interrupted a CMH recipient that was engaged in conversation, speaking, telling his story.

I quickly told that LT that I'd "be along" as soon as this conversation was finished.  When it was finished, I turned towards the others that were waiting, and I tore that motherfucker a new center of uranus.  In front of all the soldiers on the detail.  Fucking moron. 

Lewis Millet is the only enlisted man to ever be Court Martialed for Desertion (found guilty), then immediately be given a Direct Commission to 2nd Lieutenant.  :hail:

Great Story!

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  • 4 weeks later...

God Bless Melvin James Kaminsky AKA Mel Brooks and his three brothers for their service to our country during WWII.

Mel Brooks, the Brooklyn-born funnyman best known for directing side splitting comedies such as Spaceballs, Blazing Saddles, The Producers, is not somebody most people would associate with life and death type of dangerous work. Yet, that is precisely what Mel Brooks during the Second World War, when he fought the Nazis as a combat engineer clearing minefields under enemy fire, and was in the thick of in the Battle of the Bulge. As he put it: “I was a combat engineer. Isn’t that ridiculous? The two things I hate most in the world are combat and engineering“.

Born Melvin James Kaminsky in 1926, Brooks was raised in poverty after his father’s untimely death when the future comedian was only two years old. Understandably, growing up without a father was rough, and it left its mark on Brooks, as a child and into his adulthood. As he put it decades later: “There’s an outrage there. I may be angry at God, or at the world for that. And I’m sure a lot of my comedy is based on anger and hostility“.

Growing up small and sickly in a borderline slum in Brooklyn, Brooks developed a sense of humor and a precocious comedic talent early on. 

Brooks graduated high school in 1944, with nebulous plans to go to college and study psychology, but then decided to enlist in the US Army. As he described his decision: “I enlisted to go to college, not to be in, you know, foxholes and shot at. But listen, that’s what happens in a war. Being a kid of seventeen, eighteen, I was a peacenik, I was against war, but I knew what Hitler was doing to Jews. So, I really did feel this was a proper and just war, and a war that should be fought. My mother had four stars in her window. I think the limit was three if you had children in the army – that is, I think I could have gotten out of it, but I was gung ho at being a soldier“.

Mel Brooks, the Warrior
Like many Americans, Brooks was extra fired up to fight the Nazis, but was also well aware of the extra risks faced by Jews if captured by the enemy. As he put it: “My brother Lenny was an engineer gunner in a B-17, and in his 35th or 36th mission, his Flying Fortress B-17 was hit, and they all bailed out, and they landed in Austria. He knew he had on his dog tags, for Hebrew and he had heard rumors that the Germans were taking Jewish troops and sending them to concentration camps. So in his way down, while still in his parachute, he ripped [his dog tags] off. ”

Sent to Europe in 1944, Brooks’ qualifications that got him into ASTP marked him out as a soldier of high intelligence. So his first assignment was as a forward artillery observer – a job that requires quick thinking on the fly. He was then assigned to a combat engineer unit, the 1104th Engineer Combat Battalion (ECB), attached to the 78th Infantry Division. Combat engineers often went out ahead of the main assaults, to clear out obstacles for follow on troops.

Brooks’ unit used demolitions to blast a way clear for the main forces, repaired bridges destroyed by the Germans in a bid to slow the Allied advance, built bridges from scratch, helped lay out and construct field fortifications, and otherwise offered whatever support they could. The combat engineers often did their work under the enemy’s noses, while subjected to artillery raining down on them, and German snipers doing their best to pick them off.

The 1104th ECB became the first unit to throw a bridge across the Roer River, and later on, it built bridges across the Rhine. Brooks’ tasks included clearing minefields and defusing land mines. It was a hairy job, that was made even hairier when he had to do it while exposed to enemy fire. As Brooks described it to Conan O’Brien on his show: “You take a bayonet, and you look for mines – planted mines. And they could blow a tank, I mean they’re big. You find them, unearth them if it could blow up a tank, it could certainly take away a Jew in no time“. On at least five occasions, Brooks’ unit had to down their tools and pick up rifles to fight as infantrymen, and took casualties while doing so. He also fought in the Battle of the Bulge during the winter of 1944-1945.

Mel Brooks, the Veteran
In recalling his WWII experience decades later, Brooks observed that: “War isn’t hell. War is loud. Much too noisy. All those shells and bombs going off all around you. Never mind death. A man could lose his hearing“. 

He distilled his wartime experience to its essence when asked what he thought during the war about saving Europe and the world: “You thought about how you were going to stay warm that night. How you were going to get from one hedgerow to another without a German sniper taking you out. You didn’t worry about tomorrow“.

Aware of the jarring contrast between his comedic persona and his serious wartime experiences, Brooks once mused to reporters: “I was a combat engineer. Isn’t that ridiculous? The two things I hate most in the world are combat and engineering“. 

The end of the war in Europe came while Brooks and the 1104th were carrying out a reconnaissance in the Harz Mountains of northern Germany. Brooks, by then promoted to corporal, had survived the war, healthy and hale, and had grown up and matured real fast from the teenager who’d enlisted just a year earlier. He closed his days in Europe by taking part in organizing shows and entertainments for American soldiers, as well as for Germans.

Finally, the time came for Brooks to return to civilian life, and resume his quest to become a professional funnyman. After the war, Brooks was discharged from the Army, and he went back to entertainment. 

Like most WWII veterans, Brooks never viewed himself as a hero, and went out of his way to downplay his wartime experience. He simply saw himself as one of the many millions from his generation who had answered their country’s call, donned uniform and did their part, then returned home, happy to be alive.

The Giant Killer book & page honors these incredible war heroes making sure their stories of valor and sacrifice are never forgotten. God Bless our Vets!
Story source Khalid Elhassan

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Flaherty’s Colonel, later commanded the 101st Airborne.

101st Airborne Divisions General John H. Cushman was credited by the Army with leading at least 10 operations that led to the deaths of 820 North Vietnamese troops and the capture of 200 more. 

During his second tour in Vietnam 1967 and 1968, General Cushman, then a colonel, took part in some of the fiercest fighting of the war. After North Vietnamese launched the Tet Offensive in January 1968, General Cushman often oversaw field maneuvers from the air, sitting in the jump seat of an unarmed command helicopter.

He sometimes surprised his troops by flying through heavy fire to assist at the front lines. He received the Air Medal after one mission, the Bronze Star Medal after another, and the Distinguished Flying Cross after a third. His citations noted that at times he airlifted soldiers to front lines and helped transport the dead and wounded.

On March 16, 1968, General Cushman saw that the soldiers in an advance unit under his command had been cut down by machine-gun fire from a hidden bunker. After disembarking from his helicopter, he ‘‘moved forward to join the lead riflemen of the platoon’’ and helped coordinate a rocket attack, according to a citation accompanying his award of the Silver Star.

‘‘Exposing himself to hostile fire at close range,’’ the citation continued, General Cushman ‘‘remained with the artillery forward observer near the enemy positions until the rocket attack was successfully completed.’’

Years later, a staff sergeant wrote to General Cushman, describing conditions on the ground.

‘‘I tossed over a dozen hand grenades and fired about 200 rounds from my M-16,’’ the sergeant wrote. ‘‘We were almost out of ammo and I gave the command to fix bayonets.’’

At that desperate point in the battle, General Cushman’s helicopter could be seen returning to the front lines, hauling fresh supplies of ammunition.

‘‘I saw your chopper come in on the other side of the small river — you were getting a lot of fire . . . and I thought that they were going to shoot you down,’’ the sergeant wrote. ‘‘I tried to wave you off but you kept comming [sic]. I got some of my troops and we crossed the river and retrieved the ammo. You gave us a hand salute. I saluted you back and we held our own.

‘‘If it wasn’t for your bravery probably all of us would have died that day.’’

Two months later, on May 30, 1968, General Cushman spent hours under fire in his helicopter, directing commanders in the field well into the night. His actions resulted in a second Silver Star.

Parts of General Cushman's exploits in Vietnam are covered in the book, The Giant Killer. Then Lt. Richard Flaherty believed to be the smallest man to serve in the US military served proudly under Cushman and fought with him side by side during the "Tet Offensive." Cushman took a liking to his little aggressive Lieutenant and nicknamed him, "the One Meter Lieutenant." When we interviewed 95 year old Cushman by phone he laughed, "my One Meter Lieutenant really took it to the enemy." 

General Cushman passed away at the age 96. RIP sir and soft landings AATW. 

The Giant Killer book & page honors these incredible war heroes & patriots making sure their stories of valor and sacrifice are never forgotten. God Bless our Vets! Available now on Amazon & Walmart.

Story by Matt Schudel

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The movie “Hacksaw Ridge” was based on Doss’s story:

The incredible story of American Hero Private First Class Desmond T. Doss

Doss was born in Lynchburg, Virginia on February 7, 1919, and was a strict Seventh-Day Adventist and attended a school of the same faith until the eighth grade when he left school to go to work to help his family during the Depression.

At the outbreak of World War II, Doss had a job in the Newport News shipbuilding yards and was offered a deferment  But he turned it down and enlisted in the army on April 1, 1942, hoping to be a medic due to his refusal to carry a weapon because of his religious convictions.

His fellow troops considered him a coward, a misfit and he was bullied during his training with the newly reformed 77th Infantry Division. He further angered the military when he asked for a pass on Saturdays to observe his Sabbath

His unit’s officers tried to threaten, cajole and harass him into carrying a weapon. But he remained steadfast in his beliefs. They even tried to court-martial Doss for refusing to obey a direct order to carry a rifle.

But despite all of it, Doss remained true to his upbringing and never held a grudge against his fellow troops who bullied him. Whenever one would need treatment for their injuries or ailments during their training, Doss was always there for them. Little did they know how much.

During the invasion of Okinawa, the 77th Division was assigned the task of taking the Maeda Escarpment. The Japanese plan was to let the Americans climb up and once they reached the top to annihilate them with concentrated machine gun and mortar fire.

The Americans reached the top and initially took the bloody ground called Hacksaw Ridge but the Japanese counter-attacked and forced the Americans off the top with horrendous casualties. The Americans were forced to order a retreat. Everyone except Desmond Doss.

Doss disobeyed orders and remained behind for 12 hours, slowly making his way from one wounded man to another, treating their wounds and then carrying them to the edge of the escarpment and slowly lowered them down to other Americans waiting to take them to a field hospital.

Doss stayed on the escarpment and kept praying to God to allow him to “save one more” and he did until there was no more left to save.

In an incredible brave episode with Japanese soldiers constantly trying to pick him off, Doss miraculously not only survived but saved 75 men during the night. Finally, he came down covered with the blood of his comrades but able to soldier on another day.

Two weeks later, while his unit was continuing the fight, he was in a foxhole with two other American soldiers, a Japanese soldier lobbed a grenade into the hole. Doss attempted to kick the grenade out of the hole but it exploded and severely wounded him in both legs. He treated his own wounds but had to wait nearly five hours for a stretcher bearer to carry him to safety.

But as soon as they arrived, Doss noticed a more severely wounded soldier and rolled off the stretcher and told the bearers to carry the other soldier to safety. While awaiting another one, a Japanese sniper shot him in the arm, shattering the bones in his upper left arm. Doss then crawled 300 yards to the field first aid station. When reaching there he discovered he lost his bible.

His commanding officer told Doss that he’d be the first conscientious objector to be awarded the Medal of Honor. When he met President Truman at the White House, Truman shook his hand and held onto it while the citation was being read. Truman told him, “You really deserve this. I consider this a greater honor than being president.”

At the ceremony, Doss received an even greater gift. His commanding officer presented him a slightly charred, waterlogged bible. After he was wounded, every man in the company combed thru the battlefield after the battle until they found it. The man who had been bullied, threatened and harassed for his religious convictions had earned the undying respect of his fellow soldiers after all.

Doss died in 2006 and is buried at the National Cemetery in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Medal of Honor Citation:
Citation: Private First Class Desmond T. Doss, United States Army, Medical Detachment, 307th Infantry, 77th Infantry Division. Near Urasoe-Mura, Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands, 29 April – 21 May 1945.

PFC Doss was a company aid man when the 1st Battalion assaulted a jagged escarpment 400 feet high. As our troops gained the summit, a heavy concentration of artillery, mortar and machine-gun fire crashed into them, inflicting approximately 75 casualties and driving the others back. Private First Class Doss refused to seek cover and remained in the fire-swept area with the many stricken, carrying them one by one to the edge of the escarpment and there lowering them on a rope-supported litter down the face of a cliff to friendly hands.

On May 2, he exposed himself to heavy rifle and mortar fire in rescuing a wounded man 200 yards forward of the lines on the same escarpment; and two days later he treated four men who had been cut down while assaulting a strongly defended cave, advancing through a shower of grenades to within eight yards of enemy forces in a cave’s mouth, where he dressed his comrades’ wounds before making four separate trips under fire to evacuate them to safety.

On May 5, PFC Doss unhesitatingly braved enemy shelling and small arms fire to assist an artillery officer. He applied bandages, moved his patient to a spot that offered protection from small-arms fire and, while artillery and mortar shells fell close by, painstakingly administered plasma. Later that day, when an American was severely wounded by fire from a cave, Private First Class Doss crawled to him where he had fallen 25 feet from the enemy position, rendered aid, and carried him 100 yards to safety while continually exposed to enemy fire.

On May 21, in a night attack on high ground near Shuri, PFC Doss remained in exposed territory while the rest of his company took cover, fearlessly risking the chance that he would be mistaken for an infiltrating Japanese and giving aid to the injured until he was himself seriously wounded in the legs by the explosion of a grenade. Rather than call another aid man from cover, he cared for his own injuries and waited five hours before litter bearers reached him and started carrying him to cover. The trio was caught in an enemy tank attack and Private First Class Doss, seeing a more critically wounded man nearby, crawled off the litter and directed the bearers to give their first attention to the other man. Awaiting the litter bearers’ return, he was again struck, this time suffering a compound fracture of one arm. With magnificent fortitude, he bound a rifle stock to his shattered arm as a splint and then crawled 300 yards over rough terrain to the aid station.

Through his outstanding bravery and unflinching determination in the face of desperately dangerous conditions, Private First Class Doss saved the lives of many soldiers. His name became a symbol throughout the 77th Infantry Division for outstanding gallantry far above and beyond the call of duty.

Story source Medal of Honor Archives & Steve Balestrieri SOFREP

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1 hour ago, Sisco said:

The movie “Hacksaw Ridge” was based on Doss’s story:

The incredible story of American Hero Private First Class Desmond T. Doss

 

 

This is an amazing story.  I've had that movie for a few years.  After watching it, I read as much as I could about Doss.  What a stud.   :hail:

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Korean war hero Maurice Micklewhite Jr.

Maurice Micklewhite Jr., the future Academy Award winner AKA Sir Michael Caine was drafted into the British Army in May 1951. In August 1952, he arrived in Korea as a member of the 1st Battalion Royal Fusiliers. Stationed on the front lines along the Samichon River, Caine saw extensive combat and participated in dangerous nighttime patrols into no man’s land. 

Mickelwhite was sent to the front along the Samichon River Valley, where he fought the Chinese and North Koreans in raids and patrols, often at night. In 1953, he would contract malaria and get sent home. Three years later, he earned his first acting credit playing a British Army private in Korea under the stage name Michael Caine.

Military service wasn't a foreign concept to the young actor. His father served during World War II and, like many Britishers, Caine and his family felt the war every day. Even though the family fled London to escape the German Luftwaffe during the Blitz, Caine would return to work odd jobs for the film industry at age 16.

In 1951, he was called up to serve in the British Army. After a quick stint in the forces occupying Germany, he was sent to combat training in Japan and eventually landed in Korea. Caine and the 1st Fusiliers operated near what is today the border between North and South Korea. He was just 19 years old.

His experience gives him a lot of sympathy for today's soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, he wrote in his 2010 memoir, "The Elephant to Hollywood."

"I know what it feels like to be sent off to fight an unpopular war that no one at home really understands or cares about," he wrote. "And then to come back and meet a complete lack of understanding. Or worse, indifference."

Caine didn't know anything about Korea or the war or why the two sides were fighting. His entire experience in the military before training to go to Korea had been at the firing range with an obsolete Lee-Enfield .303 rifle.

Nothing, he says, could have prepared him for what happened during his first watch on guard duty during the absolute darkness of the Korean night.

From his trench, the night was split open by enemy flares lighting up the battlefield and by the hordes of the enemy charging towards him. The first time he heard a Chinese trumpet break the stillness, he barely had time to ask his buddy what that was before hundreds of trumpets joined in.

"There in front of us, a terrifying tableau was illuminated," he recalls. "Thousands of Chinese advancing toward our positions, led by troops of demonic trumpet players. The artillery opened up but they still came on, marching toward our machine guns and certain death."

Caine describes the minefield they'd constructed to defend themselves from such a human wave as "suddenly irrelevant." Wave after wave of Chinese infantry committed suicide, throwing themselves onto barbed wire so their bodies could be used as a bridge.

"They were eventually beaten off," the actor says of the Chinese soldiers. "But they were insanely brave."

After getting sent to war so early in his life, Caine came to believe that war ages kids well beyond their years. He and his mates were approaching 20 years old when they went to the front lines of Korea. On the way back, they encountered the units who would be replacing them.

"They were 19-year-olds, as we had been when we went in," Caine says. "I looked at them and I looked at us, and we looked 10 years older than they did."

The actor recalls the closest he came to death during the war, on a night time patrol in no man's land. It was a moment that he says still haunts him to this day.

Three British troops covered themselves in mud and mosquito repellant in order to make their way deeper into the valley, an area they had been fighting to take for weeks. They were headed for the Chinese lines to try and gather information. On their way back to their own lines, they suddenly smelled garlic in the air.

"The Chinese ate garlic like chewing gum," Caine says. "We realized we were being followed."

The fusiliers threw themselves on the ground as a unit of Chinese pursuers began searching the brush for them. Rather than die in the weeds, the trio decided to charge the enemy, guns blazing.

This incident comes back to the actor when others try to attack him or bring him down. He thinks about what happened on that hill in Korea, and realizes that no one could ever make him feel hopeless again.

"I just think, as I did on that Korean hillside, 'You cannot frighten me or do anything to me and if you try, I'll take as much or as many of you with me as I can.'"

Photo of Caine from the movie, "A Bridge Too Far."


Story by Blake Stilwell

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  • 2 weeks later...

Lost a legend Christmas Night.

RIP Rogue Warrior... 
November 21, 1940 – December 25, 2021
Richard Marcinko, the rough and tumble first commander of the Navy’s storied SEAL Team 6, passed away Saturday at his home in Virginia, the National Navy SEAL Museum announced on social media. He was 81 years old. 

Already a highly decorated officer with more than a decade of service in the SEALs, in 1979 Marcinko was one of two Navy representatives on a Joint Chiefs of Staff task force assembled to help develop a rescue plan during the Iranian hostage crisis. The subsequent mission, Operation Eagle Claw, was disastrous, leaving 12 casualties and seven aircraft and helicopters destroyed or abandoned in Iran. It’s aftermath, however, would see Marcinko at the forefront of an emerging mission for America’s special operations personnel. 

In 1980, Marcinko was selected by the Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Thomas B. Hayward, to build a new SEAL unit dedicated to rapid response, hostage rescue, and counter-terrorism operations. 

While special operations have grown immensely in the decades since, at the time it was an underutilized and undermanned aspect of the military. 

The now iconic name – SEAL Team 6 – started as a bit of Cold War-era deception. At the time, there were only two active SEAL Teams. Marcinko designated his new unit “six,” hoping that the Soviet Union and other nations would greatly overestimate the size of the Navy’s special operations community. 

Marcinko led the unit from 1980-1983, hand picking new members from across the Navy’s existing SEAL Teams and Underwater Demolition Teams. As commander, Marcinko helped establish the aggressive, hard-charging culture of his new unit, and made little effort to conceal its maverick nature, openly flaunting rules and regulations. In his autobiography, “Rogue Warrior,” Marcinko wrote of the importance of drinking together and often as a fixture in building Team 6’s solidarity. 

Marcinko’s personality and the nature of the unit weren’t for everyone. Adm. William McRaven, who would later go on to lead Special Operations Command and oversee SEAL Team 6 during its famous raid against Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, was drummed out of the unit after disagreeing with Marcinko over what he perceived as a culture of recklessness.  

Over the ensuing decades, SEAL Team 6, nowadays known as the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, or DEVGRU, would continue to live up to Marcinko’s rogue reputation, taking on some of the nation’s most dangerous and secretive missions. From Operation Anaconda, to the MV Maersk Alabama hijacking, to the aforementioned bin Laden raid, the unit’s exploits have been recounted again and again, and made the focus of dozens of movies and books. 

Marcinko retired from the Navy as a commander in 1989, going on to become a best-selling author and motivational speaker and military consultant. His 1992 autobiography “Rogue Warrior,” as well as its subsequent sequel “Rogue Warrior: Green Team” sold millions of copies and are filled with countless exploits from a lifetime spent at the forefront of the special operations fight. Marcinko later used the Rogue Warrior brand for a series of eight bestselling novels, co-written with Jonathan Weisman, according to Marcinko’s Amazon author profile. 

How SEAL Team 6 founder Richard Marcinko shaped America’s modern-day special operations forces
Author and former U.S. Navy SEAL Richard Marcinko arrives at Sapphire Pool & Day Club on August 1, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/FilmMagic)
Marcinko’s career was also not without its troubles. In 1990, he was convicted of defrauding the government over acquisition prices for hand grenades and sentenced to 21 months in prison, eventually serving 15.

Marcinko was born on Nov. 21, 1940, in the small, eastern Pennsylvania town of Lansford. Enlisting in the Navy in 1958, he would rise through the ranks and eventually make his way to a SEAL team in 1966. 

In 1967, Marcinko deployed to Vietnam with SEAL Team 2, participating in a raid at Ilo Ilo Island which the Navy described as one of its most successful operations in the Mekong Delta. During a second deployment, which came during the Tet Offensive in 1968, Marcinko led his SEAL platoon in house-to-house fighting, later rescuing several American nurses and schoolteachers trapped in a nearby hospital. Marcinko would go on to be awarded four Bronze Stars, a Silver Star and a Vietnamese Cross for Gallantry, according to the National Navy SEAL Museum. 

Last night, Christmas evening, we lost a hero, who’s also known as The Rogue Warrior, the retired Navy SEAL commander AND the creator of SEAL Team Six.

Story by Task & Purpose

 

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Today…

“It was 77 years ago today. I was 19 years old. What a day that was. After a brief tank battle in the  morning, tanks of Patton’s 4th Armoured Division entered Bastogne. McAuliffe's simple greeting of "Gee I'm awful glad to see you guys" set the tone. The serious work of mopping up the German forces in the area was still the job of "we Battered Bastards of Bastogne."   

Twenty two ambulances took our wounded out to hospitals. The weather was still nasty, but we were now out of the foxholes at last, eager to go on the offensive. The seige of  Bastogne ( which, according to Patton was "The outstanding achievment of this war" ) was over!”
-  Vincent Speranza, author of NUTS, A 101st Airborne Division Machine Gunner of Bastogne 

 

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This Man needs no intro

The Sniper Legend known as "Whitefeather."

US Marine Sergeant Carlos Norman Hathcock II
Stories of exploits in Vietnam by legendary Marines are commonplace, but few Marines have had as many stories told about them as the sniper Carlos Hathcock. Though he held records for the most number of kills as well as the longest successful shot, he did not see these as important. Gunny Hathcock enjoyed the hunt rather than the killing.

The hunts that Gunny Hathcock undertook are the stuff of legends and movies. Hathcock was an uncannily successful marksman that showed his ability at a very young age. He was deployed to Vietnam in the military police but soon transferred to take up duty as a sniper.

It was quickly apparent that he had found his niche in the Military. His trade-mark white feather worn in his gear was a taunt to the enemy to come and find him, which they never did. Gunny Hancock died of multiple sclerosis in 1999, but he gave a series of candid interviews about his time as a sniper in Vietnam before he died.

Gunny Hathcock reminisced about the time he and his observer ran into an NVA infantry unit. The NVA were crossing an open rice paddy, and it was apparent that they were very new, with shiny new uniforms. The sniper noted that they had no means of communication.

Working in conjunction with his observer, he shot the officer at the front of the platoon, while his observer shot the rear officer. The snipers then shot four platoon members before the last remaining officer started running back across the paddy to the cover of trees on the side. Gunny Hathcock stopped him from reaching the safety of the trees.

The platoon hunkered down in the paddy with no leadership, so the sniper team decided to stay and fight rather than melt into the surrounding jungle.

For the next five days, the sniper team would harry the platoon during the day and call in artillery support at night. The sniper team would then move under cover of darkness, and the next morning the platoon would attack the position they held on the day before.

An NVA Sniper – ‘The Cobra’
Once a person assumes legendary status, many takers always want to wrestle the crown from your head, and Gunny Hathcock was no exception. The NVA were well aware of Gunny Hathcock and were determined to remove him from the field, so they sent their counter-sniper, The Cobra, to undertake the task of killing Hathcock.

The Cobra made the mistake of shooting a Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant outside Hathcock’s quarters on the base. The man died in front of Hathcock, which made it personal for Hathcock to kill The Cobra.

Hathcock had come to the end of his first tour in Vietnam and had accumulated 86 confirmed kills with a mountain of probable kills.

Returning for his next tour, he and his observer took their kit and prepared to trail The Cobra.

Hathcock stumbled over a decaying tree, allowing The Cobra to take a shot. The shot missed Hathcock but hit his observer’s water canteen. The Cobra ran off, and Hathcock followed. Eventually, the two teams had switched places. This played into Hathcock’s hands as The Cobra now faced into the sun.

Hathcock remembers how he saw the sun glint off The Cobra’s scope, and he fired at that position. When Hathcock went to check that he had killed his man, he found that his shot had passed cleanly through his opponent’s telescopic sight, without touching the sides.

VC Sniper – Apache
The one story that Hathcock was reluctant to speak of concerned a Viet Cong (VC) sniper named The Apache.

The Apache was a sadistic woman who had served in the war long before Hathcock went to Vietnam. When Hathcock arrived with his platoon, they were told of The Apache and how she liked to torture Marines within earshot of the base to undermine the American soldiers’ morale.

Hathcock recalled how The Apache had skinned one young Marine alive for a day and a half until she let him go. He died in the wire, an act that made Hathcock determined to put an end to this sadistic person.

While out on a regular patrol, he came across a group of VC. He recognized one of the group as The Apache.

When she stopped to urinate, much to the troops’ concern with her, Hathcock shot her. Not content with killing her with his first shot, he sent a second down just to make sure that she was dead.

One sniper against an entire NVA base
Gunny Hathcock took his fellow Marines’ safety very seriously and often took on the most dangerous missions himself. One of these dangerous missions was to eliminate a high-ranking NVA officer, but it also meant that he had to infiltrate an NVA base.

Rather than undertaking the two-mile trek through hostile territory on his belly, he instead opted to use a sniper-crawl on his side as this minimized the trail left behind. He had to avoid patrols and slide around two machine-gun nests during his crawl to enter the base.

The NVA did not expect a single man to invade the base, and when NVA soldiers strolled past him, he knew that he had entered undetected. Ensuring that his escape route was clear, he set up a firing position around 700 yards from where he expected to see his target.

He took the shot, eliminated the officer, and made his escape, as the soldiers on the base did not run toward him but rather to the surrounding jungle to seek cover.
He did not need a sniper rifle to take a shot.

A story attributed to Gunny Hathcock concerned a VC sniper that was harassing Hathcock’s base. Hathcock was determined to end this sniper’s rule of terror.

One of the golden rules of sniping is that the sniper should never fire more than three shots from any one position before moving to a new post.

Hathcock noticed that the VC sniper seemed to prefer one specific position and took many shots from it. He did not have his sniper rifle, but that did not stop him from patiently zeroing in on that position using the base’s 105mm M40 Recoilless Rifle.

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When the sniper took his next shot, Hathcock fired back, and the sniping stopped.

Silver Star Citation: 
CITATION:
The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Staff Sergeant Carlos N. Hathcock, II (MCSN: 1873109), United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as a Sniper, Seventh Marines, FIRST Marine Division, in connection with military operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam on 16 September 1969. Staff Sergeant Hathcock was riding on an Assault Amphibious Vehicle which ran over and detonated an enemy anti-tank mine, disabling the vehicle which was immediately engulfed in flames. He and other Marines who were riding on top of the vehicle were sprayed with flaming gasoline caused by the explosion. Although suffering from severe burns to his face, trunk, and arms and legs, Staff Sergeant Hathcock assisted the injured Marines in exiting the burning vehicle and moving to a place of relative safety. With complete disregard for his own safety and while suffering excruciating pain from his burns, he bravely ran back through the flames and exploding ammunition to ensure that no Marines had been left behind in the burning vehicle. His heroic actions were instrumental in saving the lives of several Marines. By his courage, aggressive leadership, and total devotion to duty in the face of extreme personal danger, Staff Sergeant Hathcock reflected great credit upon himself and the Marine Corps and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.


Story by Erik Mustermann

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