September 05, 2008
Marine Corps News|by Cpl. Nicole A. LaVine
MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. — A quick flash catches the eye of the Marine as he gazes through the sights of his Winchester Model 70 .30-06 Sniper Rifle at a cluster of bushes on the opposite side of a hill. He zeroes in on the target, releases a breath and takes his shot. The round explodes from his rifle and penetrates the scope of the hidden sniper’s rifle, killing the enemy instantly.
This is not the plot of a high-action film. This is the true story of a legendary former Marine Corps scout sniper named Gunnery Sgt. Carlos N. Hathcock, who holds a service record of 93 confirmed kills and more than 300 probable kills during the Vietnam War.
Sgt. Jeremiah B. Johnson, chief scout sniper of Scout Sniper Platoon, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, said he believes legendary Marine Corps snipers like Hathcock blazed a path on which all Marine Corps snipers strive to tred on.
“When you look at Marine Corps snipers, you see they’re well known in history for their skills,” said Johnson, a Hemet, Calif., native. “We live off those legends and hope to become those ourselves. People come into scout sniper platoons for multiple reasons – they are one of the most elite services, are held at such an incredibly high standard and hold the utmost level of responsibility.”
The definition of a Marine Corps scout sniper outlines the most sacred role of a sniper: “A Marine highly skilled in field craft and marksmanship who delivers long-range, precision fire at selected targets from concealed positions in support of combat operations.”