Talk:Carlos Hathcock

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Killing of an NVA general[edit]

Which general did he assassinate? Wouldn't the fact that a general had been assassinated be recorded in Vietnamese or American history? The fact that this guy's name is known but the so-called "general"'s name is not known makes me suspect that this story is a load of crock. DHN (talk) 04:27, 14 December 2014 (UTC)

Feats and Miracles[edit]

WHO signed their names attesting to Carlos Hathcock's 93 great feats...LET ME GUESS? How come there are no listings of his confirmed kills with dates and signatures in his books? Are we supposed to believe in these miracles with our faith? I once read a sign on a polygraph testers desk that read, “IN GOD WE TRUST” everyone else gets tested. People should put as much faith in the books about Jesus Christ as they do in books about Carlos Hathcock. Jesus had more credible witnesses to confirm his miracles and his feats were recorded in the official documents of the SITREPs (Supreme Commander Situation Reports), “THE NEW TESTAMENT”.

THE BIG QUESTION: How come Carlos Hathcock never received any medals for act's of bravery as a sniper and WHY? You would think he and Corporal John Burke would have received the “Medal of Honor” or have at least merited a "Bronze Star" for killing a whole Company of NVA regulars (80 men) in Elephant Valley...OVER A PERIOD OF 5 DAYS. I know people who have received the Bronze Star for a Hell of a lot less! You would also think he would have received some kind of recognition for crawling 1000 yards in enemy territory over a 4 day period to kill an NVA General…WITH ONLY A QUART OF WATER! The stories of killing Apache and Cobra were noteworthy of medals themselves. Carlos did receive a Silver Star in 1996 some 37 years after saving fellow marines from a burning AMTRACK in 1969, not for his feats as a sniper. I question WHY the Marine Corp waited so long to present this medal?

With the technology we have today and had in Vietnam, CONFIRMED KILLS should be accompanied with a photograph or a video to be considered credible. They have small video cameras today that can be attached to a spotter's scope and used in the field. This would help dispute any matters with snipers who are glory hunters tallying up numbers. If a sniper does not have a video camera and cannot get close enough to take a picture, they make what is called a zoom lens for cameras…IT"S LIKE A SCOPE! I am sure a sniper who wanted to add to his tally would find a way to zero in a camera to get another shot. If there is no VIVID PROOF of a kill, the kill in question should be required to have a witness and then be reported as a PROBABLE or a WIA. 21:14, 22 December 2014 (UTC) (talk)George B. Norman[1]

Haters gonna hate!--Mike - Μολὼν λαβέ 15:32, 24 December 2014 (UTC)

I would call it controversy Mike, not hate...some people close their eyes to the truth and don't want to know the truth. Mike Searson, I imagine you were in the Marine Corp. I am not trying to put down the marines and I am sorry if what I said hurt your feelings. I live in Virginia Beach, Virginia and talked with Carlos Hathcock on several occasions. As you can tell I question his feats and I only listed a few. There are many questions that went unanswered when I talked with him! (talk) 21:13, 24 December 2014 (UTC)George "Ben" Norman - Vietnam Sniper 1970 -1971

Well, you're not making yourself look good, sir. You can't hurt my feelings, because I have mother was n M16, my father was the devil, himself! In all seriousness, though, the confirmed kills and dates should be in Gunny's SRB (Service Record Book). Back in the day for a USMC Sniper kill to be confirmed, it had to be witnessed by n officer and a kill sheet filled out, with description of the target, etc. (Gunny always said their were many more than the 93)If you are so concerned do a Freedom of Info Requwst or contact Charles Henderson, Charles Sasser, or any of the other authors directly who may have copies. Henderson is a very good source for this kind of information. It's certainly more viable than attempting to go back in time with gun cams s your last paragraph seems to suggest. Have a Merry Christmas and thank you for your service.--Mike - Μολὼν λαβέ 23:43, 24 December 2014 (UTC)

Exactly the kind of response I expected Mike. Thank you for your service and Merry Christmas. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:52, 25 December 2014 (UTC)

Meh, guys like you did the heavy lifting to make it easier on guys like me when I served, you guys literally paved the way for us and through lessons built on your experiences made us better soldiers, Marines and sailors! Take care!--Mike - Μολὼν λαβέ 04:08, 25 December 2014 (UTC)

Taking Mike's suggestion, I submitted a FOIA request to the National Personnel Records Center for everything releasable on Hathcock. What there is available discredits Henderson's books and Hathcock's claims. Henderson relates an alleged conversation between Land and Henderson that supposedly took place on 21 Nov 66, (pg 101 of Marine Sniper), in which it is claimed Hathcock had "in a single month, killed more than 30 enemy soldiers, confirmed. Forget probable kills." The problem is, according to his service records, Hathcock did not actually join the scout sniper school until 24 Nov 66 - three days after that supposed conversation. That's right. Fully a third of his alleged kills magically were made before he embarked on his career as a sniper. With that kind of foundation in fantasy, it is hard to credit anything attributed to Hathcock's legend.

Worse for the legend is the citation for his end of tour award (Navy Commendation Medal w/ V device) with the scout sniper school. Covering Hathcock's entire period with school (24 Nov 66 to 28 Mar 67 - or just 4 months), he was credited with just 7 confirmed kills. That's right. Just 7 confirmed kills. This for a period in which Henderson/Hathcock claimed Hathcock had amassed 80 "confirmed" kills (pg 152). That's a staggering 91% exaggeration/fabrication rate. Only two sentences in that citation (which ran on for no less than than 28 lines) deal with combat; the remainder extoll his administrative and teaching skills.

With that paltry kill tally, there is no basis for the bulk of the remainder of the legend. A King's Ransom bounty? No, not for 7 kills. He was the only one who could kill the Frenchman? He had no reputation and quite probably no kills at that point, so why would he have been sought out for the mission? He was the only one who could kill the enemy general? Based on what record? There hardly was any record at all.

Nope, it appears to be all hype based on a foundation of myth, exaggeration and fabrication. (talk) 20:31, 18 April 2015 (UTC)

So why don't you publish your findings so we can take a look at the alleged "releasable content"? I am particularly curious about this "alleged conversation between Land and Henderson that supposedly took place on 21 Nov 66" when Henderson had just graduated High School and would have been in his first semester in college and not yet a Marine.--Mike - Μολὼν λαβέ 20:57, 20 April 2015 (UTC)
Good catch. The conversaion was, of course, between Land and Hathcock (again, see the referenced page in Henderson's book). And I am working on an article as you suggested; it's up to 63 pages so far. In the meantime, I'd be happy to fax anyone who cares a copy of the award citation so they can view it for themselves. Or, you can take your own suggestion and contact NPRC yourself rather than rely on the claims in a work of fiction. (talk) 20:46, 24 April 2015 (UTC)

To the anonymous poster, I'd be interested in reading that article if you posted it anywhere.John Simpson54 (talk) 20:14, 7 November 2016 (UTC)

Factual accuracy[edit]

The article is full of embellishments and factual inaccuracies, especially regarding the purported assassination of the NVA "general". None of the sources given can name who the general is. What kind of source is that? This supposedly happened in the 20th century, not the middle ages. A general being assassinated would be news; the only sources mentioning this are not independent from Hathcock himself. If some NVA sniper claimed to have assassinated a US general without naming names, they'd put him in the loony bin. As Carl Sagan once said, "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." DHN (talk) 08:06, 29 December 2014 (UTC)

At least 7 sources name the fact. Who gives a shit what his fucking name was, he's worm food.--Mike - Μολὼν λαβέ 14:38, 29 December 2014 (UTC)
People who cares about the truth does. This "worm food" is supposedly a general, someone much more notable than some random person like this Carlos Hathcock. Isn't part of his notability based on this supposed feat of killing a general? At least have the decency to name him. All the seven "sources" given just repeat the claim from Hathcock himself about this supposed feat - are there any independent sources that verify this? You claim to have killed someone but can't pinpoint who, when, and where and you expect people to swallow this? DHN (talk) 15:32, 29 December 2014 (UTC)
I never claimed to have killed anyone. No, his notability does not come from killing a general, it was the three day stalk, fieldcraft, etc that was notable in that instance. His notability comes from the creation of the official USMC Scout Sniper School and his influence on training and tactics that continue to this day. In that instance, the end result of a dead officer means little in comparison to the methods used to achieve it.--Mike - Μολὼν λαβέ 16:58, 29 December 2014 (UTC)

NBC News by Bill Briggs: But how are a sniper's kills confirmed and cataloged with any precision? For the record, the U.S. Army "does not keep any official, or unofficial for that matter, record of confirmed kills," said Wayne V. Hall, a spokesman for the Army. SIMILARLY, U.S. SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND treats that tally as "unofficial," said Ken McGraw, a spokesman for the command. "If anything, we shy away from reporting numbers like that. It’s so difficult to prove. And what does it mean?" McGraw said. (talk) 17:45, 29 December 2014 (UTC)Vietnam Sniper - George "Ben" Norman[2]

Agree on the lack of factual accuracy. A few more examples:

- Between 3 Oct 66 and 1 Jan 67, Hathcock supposedly racked up "60 or 61 confirmed kills". However, 1MARDIV daily SITREPs on sniper activity show that with snipers employed 578 times, the division's TOTAL sniper effort accounted for only 8 confirmed kills, 4 probable kills, 1 probable enemy wounded and 3 unspecified. None were credited to individual snipers, because the Division did not keep records on individual sniper claims. While reports are missing for 7 of these 92 days, it's pretty clear Hathcock's tally is almost entirely imaginary.
- Of those 8 confirmed kills, 4 took place some 85 kilometers away from where the book says Hathcock was operating. The remaining 4 were not credited to Hathcock's unit. So we cannot attribute a single confirmed kill during this period to Hathcock
- Since the known reports on sniper activity discredit/disprove virtually all of these 60/61 'confirmed kills', his 'record setting' tally of 93 'confirmed kills' ought to be adjusted down to something in the low 30s - and that's if we give him the benefit of the doubt for not similarly exaggerating the remaining 30 kills!
- The shooting of the 'Chinese colonel' appears to have been lifted from a real event that took place about that time, but, again, 85 klicks to the north. It was highly embellished in the retelling.
- Hathcock claimed to have seen the 'Chinese colonel's' collar insignia with a gold star and braid. Problem is, the Chinese PLA abolished rank, and the collar rank insignia tabs, 18 months earlier as part of the effort to reestablish the revolutionary spirit in the military. And the insignia he described would have been a Chinese major general under the old system. Whoever fabricated this story didn't bother to check their facts.
- The 'King's Reward' bounty was supposedly based on info from an article in an issue of the SEA TIGER (the MAF's internal newspaper). Problem is, that article (which interviewed Hathcok's NCOIC, MSG Wilson) came out a full month after the book had the bounty being issued. The article never mentioned the white feather, never mentioned "Hathcock and company", and in fact Hathcock was the last sniper mentioned - coming even after Roberts, the sniper Hathcock loathed. Reinke's platoon of snipers was given credit for the bulk of the Division's sniper kills - not Hathcock; Hathcock was only mentioned as having made 5 kills with five shots; it never mentioned him having the top tally or anything else the book claimed.
- Another issue of the SEA TIGER credited Reinke - not Hathcock - for reintroducing the M2 with scope for sniping. (Far from Hathcock 'pioneering' the use of the M2 in that role, it had been a common technique 15 years earlier in the Korean War, and an appendix in the field manual for the M2 even addressed the topic.)
- If it were true, the Elephant Valley episode would have been the largest combat action in the 1MARDIV for the month - by far. Yet there is no mention of it in the Division's monthly Command Chronology - which, among other things, reviewed the contacts for the period.
- None of the monthly intelligence summaries include anything on the Apache, nor do the operational reports mention her, or the captured and killed Marines.
- And finally, yet another issue of the SEA TIGER, this time interviewing Reinke, revealed that individual sniper claims didn't just include those they shot. They also got to claim credit for enemy casualties resulting from indrect fire that they called in. Which calls the entire issue of these tallies into question. If we can't discern between shots and shells, what validity do these individual sniper claims have?

It appears that the vast majority of the events in this book were simply fabricated. There is no contemporary evidence for any of it, and the documentation we do have from that period directly discredits every incident in the book that can be pinned down to a date and location. One can't help but get the impression that the book is merely a collection of hoary sniper fables, repackaged and attributed to a man who was, after all, a champion shooter. My sympathy is for the memory of Reinke, many of whose exploits seem to have been expropriated by Hathcock or Henderson. (talk) 19:59, 16 January 2015 (UTC)

Interesting. I read the book back in the 90's during my most fervent neocon zealot phase of my life. As I let loose my notions of propaganda and how I may have been influenced by it, certain aspects remained. One of those was that Carlos Hathcock was a hero; I just accepted it as fact. After all, I read the book. Even coming to this talk page, I found myself becoming agitated by the comments made by DHN. But in a process that is ongoing (and has been for 15 years), I read on trying to keep an open mind. All of you have provide much food for thought. Thank you for taking the time to make your points in a (mostly) civil way. I'm not sure that I will be able to contribute but will definitely view the article in a different light. --SlimJimTalk 08:00, 23 August 2015 (UTC)

"At least 7 sources name the fact." That's horsecrap. 6 of those "sources" all trace back to the original claim in Henderson's book. John Simpson54 (talk) 19:00, 6 July 2016 (UTC)

Use of works of fiction as sources[edit]

It's very telling about the questionable nature of the claims in this article that it makes extensive use of the Henderson books, which are published by a publisher specializing in erotica and romance. There is no fact-checking at all, and the entire book is a romanticized retelling of Carlos Hathcock's supposed feats. The book itself has a disclaimer "this is a work of fiction". DHN (talk) 16:19, 29 December 2014 (UTC)

That was that publishing company when it was founded. It evolved and was an imprint of Penguin Books and after the 70s specialized in military titles, read more than just the first sentence of an article.--Mike - Μολὼν λαβέ 21:32, 29 December 2014 (UTC)
Apparently you didn't read the source. It has a disclaimer right in the beginning that it's a work of fiction!
I read it before the best part of you ran down your mother's leg.--Mike - Μολὼν λαβέ 21:32, 29 December 2014 (UTC)
Age is not an indication of wisdom. If you bothered to read it, you'd notice the disclaimer right at the copyright page.
Well, i took it out; why are you still running your cryhole?--Mike - Μολὼν λαβέ 21:32, 29 December 2014 (UTC)

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  1. ^ Vietnam Sniper - 25th Infantry Division, 3rd of the 22nd and the 2nd of the 12th {George "Ben" Norman}
  2. ^ Briggs, Bill (2014-07-30). "Confirmed kills: A solemn secret for military snipers is becoming a pop-culture hit". NBC News. Retrieved 5 September 2014.