Carlos Hathcock: From Competition to Combat

  • Caleb Tillery

Gunnery Seargent Carlos Hathcock is arguably the most prolific shooter from the Vietnam War. He is credited with 93 confirmed kills while working as a sniper for the United States Marine Corps.

For reference, Rambo’s maximum count in his most casualty-filled movie is 78.

However, little focus is placed on his time shooting competitively and developing the skills that would lead to his ultimate success.

Like many soldiers, Carlos was something of an outdoorsman during his adolescent years. He would spend most of his time in the back woods of Little Rock, Arkansas.

Once Carlos turned 17, he enlisted in Marine Corps. During his initial rifle training, Carlos would qualify as an expert marksman.

Surprise, surprise.

He would then go on to become a member of the Marine Corps Rifle Shooting Team (surprise, again). This extremely prestigious competition unit is focused on winning shooting events.

Through competition and training, the team would develop a level of skill and knowledge in which they would disseminate to deploying soldiers. Carlos would break virtually every record previously held and receive numerous awards, most notably the 1965 Wimbledon Cup U.S. Long Range High-Power Championship.

After his time competing and training soldiers, Carlos would volunteer for combat. He served in two tours of duty during the peak of the Vietnam war. He would become best known for his lethality and his willingness to do whatever to complete the mission.

But that’s another story, entirely.

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