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Often within yards of a heavily armed opponent, to deliver a single shot to destroy an enemy, the risks are enormous. To perform this dangerous job these men must train constantly, learning how to fight any enemy and blend into any terrain. As selected rigorously trained specialist are revered by their comrades, but this was not always so. In the early 18th century, when accurate long rifles joined the musket as the standard weapons for the foot soldier, there emerged a solitary warrior. He lurked in the shadows on his own waiting patiently to deliver that one shot. He was called a sniper named after his ability to hit the snipe, a nimble bird that the British tried to hunt. These early snipers could hit an enemy up to 300 yards without warning. From the beginning the mention of a sniper came with a ferocious response. This rage at the sniper ability to kill without warning virtually doomed snipers that fell into enemy hands. At the outbreak of the American Revolution 1775, the life expectancy of a sniper strongly depended on his ability to sprint to safety. Despite the risk these covert marksmen proved the ability to change the entire course of a battle, due to a single shot. The sharpshooter’s unconventional tactics outraged the British. Troops in the Continental Army didn't look upon the snipers with much more favor. They cringed at the notion of assassins in their ranks. Yet at the outbreak of the Civil War neither side hesitated unleashing the fury of the sniper. In the north Col. Hiram Bredan, held an open call urgently searching for the union’s sharpest shots. When these companies of Bredan sharpshooters began taking aim at the Confederates it was often through some of the first optical scopes. This simple telescope like devises magnified their target two to three times. Across the battle lines. Across the line confederates wielding prized British Wit worth rifles soon had Union troops cowering as well. At the battle of Spotsylvania in 1864, Union General John Sedgwick, was desperate to demystify the sniper, stood in front of his troops and stated, “Listen boys, these snipers couldn't hit an elephant at this dis...,” he never finished these words as a shot hit him in the head and went out his eye. One shot one man. It was a shot heard around the world. In Germany, Prussians didn't allow the reputation to stop them from training in this dark art of war. Half a century later with the beginning of a World War their foresight was brutally apparent. By the end of 1914,the early offences of World War had bogged down. As they were forced to dig in for the bloody trench warfare. With most infantry tactics rendered useless by the terrain, Germany released a weapon that could reach them in their protective trenches.... The sniper. Soon they were taking a murderous tool on the unsuspecting British. The Germans quickly raised camouflage to an art form. German snipers became so bold at one point that they came out of the trenches behind steel plates. The British then improvised using elephant guns and leaving a rotting mess behind those steel plates. British forces also improved with the arrival of their own sniper squads. Now fighting fire with fire. Among their best were a collection of rugged Scotsmen with the uncanny ability to camouflage themselves with what they developed the gullies suit. By late 1917 American snipers had arrived at the front. Inspired by Harold McBride the skilled US sniper, who had served much with the Canadians during the war, absorbed the tricks of the trade from allies and enemy alike. After the war they returned home expecting to instruct school for future snipers, but were shocked at the reception they received. They were thought of as men that hid from you and shot you in the back when they were able to. With the end of the war to end all wars all training was abandoned. Which would one day come back to haunt the American troops. In early 1943, American troops struggles to gain a foothold against the savage Japanese in the Pacific. The cost of each assault was counted in the numerous dead that lined the beaches. Battling their way into the jungles, the Japanese were unlike any they had ever encountered. In the early campaigns of the war, these cunning killers had to be taken out at great risk by normal infantrymen. Snipers were in short supply at this time. A sniper school was then built at Greens Farm near San Diego California. At the sniper training schools Marines quickly learned to make kills at 700 yard or more. For a Marine designated as a sniper in the Pacific, the honor of being designated as sniper was an ominous one. For the first time they were ordered to go out in teams of two to scout enemy positions beyond enemy lines. The hazardous new job was termed Scout Sniper. D-Day, June 6, 1944, the allies stormed the beaches at Normandy, France. The snipers faced German snipers everywhere. The Nazi sniper could cunningly sneak in and deliver sudden death at short range. The Russians began to take their toll on the Germans. Stories of snipers such as Limilia Pavlochinkoff, a female with over 300 confirmed kills, thrilled the Allies and enraged German commanders. In the United States sniping remained stigmatized. All sniper training was once again purged from the armed services. America was once again at war when Korea became a hill to hill fight. The US was once again forced to start a sniper school from scratch. By the end Marine and Army snipers encountered conditions similar to WWI. Although support for the snipers vanished with the cease-fire, their exile would be a short one. In 1965 the Americans threw their full weight in arsenal against North Vietnam. Us forces were confounded that the Vietnamese were able to beat technology with cunning and stealth. Snipers were again rushed to war. Marine Captain Edward J Land, was among the first snipers to hit South East Asia. From Hill 55 south of De Nang, Land trained his scout snipers in his platoon into combat. Their job was to operate in teams of two. The sniper was now paired with a spotter, who directed his fires for kills up to a mile away. By 1966 hundreds of teams of snipers patrolled the land in South Vietnam. The army opted for concentrated firepower; the Marines took their toll letting their teams loose to take their toll on the VC. When they left their command it was the most dangerous time, facing booby traps, VC, you never knew for sure who was your enemy. Any mistake at all and that sniper wouldn't come home. Starlight scopes, specialized early night vision, enabled the sniper to wield death in the darkest of night. Soon the snipers were beating the VC at their own game. Carlos Hathcock was among the well-known snipers. In 1966 Hathcocks bullets began reeking havoc. Over three days in the remote Elephant Valley, Hathcock alone destroyed an entire North Vietnamese Company. Once he crawled through a snake infested field at delivered one shot and killed a Vietnamese General in his own base camp. The American correspondents exposed him, as the enemy never could. Soon bounties were set on his and other snipers heads. A North Vietnamese sniper was sent to kill Hathcock. Rising to the threat Hathcock and his spotter were soon in the bush. For two days they tracked this sniper by bow they were calling him The Cobra. When a shot pierced his spotters’ canteen, Hathcock realized that The Cobra was in range. Hathcock patiently waited for The Cobra to make a mistake. Late that afternoon Hathcocks restraint was rewarded. He saw the glint of The Cobras scope took aim , shot through The Cobras scope into his eye and out his head. On September 16, 1969, the Amtrak he was riding struck a mine that threw him clear. He got up and got back on the Amtrak and started pulling Marines out saving their lives. He received third degree burns over most of his body. Due to a military oversight it took nearly 30 years for him to receive the Silver Star for his bravery. Although Hathcocks gun was silenced the Vietnamese still feared the sniper. In the 1970’s Hathcock and Land spearheaded the movement to add scout sniper as a full Military Occupation, which led to the first permanent sniper schools at Camp Pendleton and Camp Lejeune. Today the sniper with all his advances still depends on their oldest asset to be able to camouflage. On an ever evolving battlefield, their dangerous mission has remained unchanged, advance to the enemy as close as possible without being detected, gather all available reconnaissance, then deliver one lethal shot. Todays scout snipers prepare for the wars of the future. When they do this for real their life depends on their marksmanship, concealment and stealth. He has to have the heart and desire to carry on when most people would quit. Although their missions are rarely reported on the nightly news, snipers have always served with distinction. Thank a sniper that you know for the job they do. They are out there when we are safe at home and don't receive the recognition that they have earned. One Shot, One Kill Keep the Faith

This space is to remember a very special Marine Sniper. Because of him many are still with us today. I am honored to call him friend. Most of all he taught me to Keep the Faith

Carlos Hathcock

1/5 Scout Snipers-Vietnam

5th Snipers Vietnam

Snipers Training- Thanks for always sending me pictures guys!

The Snipe that Snipers were known to be able to shoot and for whom the Sniper was named after