PDA

View Full Version : Met a Vietnam "sniper" - looking for facts


Winchester_73
September 26, 2012, 02:19 PM
So the other day, I met a Vietnam "sniper" - and right then, I was suspicious because IMO many people with that kind of combat experience don't talk about it, esp unsolicited, for a variety of reasons. I work at the VA and so I get to talk to veterans.

The guy went on to say he carried "either a M16 or M14, a grenade launcher, and a 9mm sidearm". He stated that as a sniper, he had an open sight M16 but he sometimes carried the M14 instead, also open sighted. He was USMC. He didn't elaborate on the 9mm, but I'm wondering what it was, if that happened at all? A hi-power? From my limited knowledge on such subjects, I thought many USMC snipers had Winchester model 70s or a Remington bolt rifles. I also didn't think Vietnam snipers would have had open sight rifles, unless perhaps in a special situation?

Not trying to open a can of worms here, and I don't know much about this. Just wondering if anyone here can shed light on these claims.

He didn't brag about any combat specifics other than he could "shoot a flea at 500 yds" (better than I could). But nothing about kills, or medals/honors but he said his spotter one silver star or something for saving a man's life.

Was any of this true or possible ?

youngunz4life
September 26, 2012, 02:31 PM
ok here's the deal....hopefully someone else can fill in more blanks I am only throwing in a little:

maybe people don't talk about it usually(like the grandpa WWII stories etc), but that does not mean they always don't. people are people and there are all kinds too. also, maybe he liked you. as for the flea comment. if he was a sniper the guy can shoot dawgone at least close to what he said. I was in the army with some "hawkeyes" and they were not snipers. I am left eye dominant but shoot righty so I can not shoot a flea at 500yards but can shoot well and/or well enough and I am the judge of me. I still shoot to this day and have since I got out of army.

vietnam....they did have a transition from the weapons you were talking about. as an example we used the m16A2 when I was in the army last decade cuz I guess during the vietnam war soldiers were running out of ammo because their adrenaline, fear, lack of experience(draftees), whatever would hold down the trigger and the ammo would go quick(then no ammo and bye bye you're tied to a tree and made an example of by enemy forces). the most I could do with mine was hold the trigger and get a three round burst...it wouldn't keep firing.

furthermore, we are going back some years but even today not counting different jobs up the yingyang that are very diverse in all military branches, an officer trains with the 9mm and carries it andor is issued it manytimes. no for every enlisted joe schmo. that doesn't take into account we are talking about a time of war, his job being out in the field might require a backup sidearm, and marines/grunts/etc had gofers and stuff(climb thru tunnels to shoot the badguys.

my dirty penny...hope that helps+all the best
gunz

geetarman
September 26, 2012, 02:53 PM
Most of the people who were really in the crap don't talk much about it.

I know a few guys who were Rangers and other than the dates in-country, they don't dwell on it with others who were not there.

I would not call the guy a liar but I would not blindly accept his story either.

I was in the Navy and not in Vietnam, but when I hear former "Swabs" telling sea stories, I just bounce that against my experience and make the determination if the person is genuine or not.

HiBC
September 26, 2012, 03:01 PM
I am not a veteran.Thats OK,its important to me I am honest about that.It has to do with respect for those who have served,and respect for myself.

I can't say whether the gentleman you spoke with was for real,or not.

I know I have run into some phonies who introduce themselves as "Navy Seal Sniper" etc.One guy alledged he was a Ranger,had no idea who William Darby was,no clue about Roger's Rules,and...folks who make this stuff up are trying to cover up a lack of something in themselves.That lack becomes apparent.

I'm talking about competence,confidence,leadership,etc. The "Follow Me" factor.

Keep your BS detector up.

So far,of the folks who have made such claims,none of them can tell me what a mil dot reticle measures dot to dot at 1000 meters.

I just find someone else to have a conversation with.

sgms
September 26, 2012, 03:19 PM
U.S.M.C. sniper teams from the Vietnam era were sniper, spotter, and (not always) security. The sniper were issued Mod 70 Winchesters with Unertl 8x glass(most often but others scopes were used) or a Remington M700-40x with a Redfield Accur-Trac 3-9x X 40m/m glass. The spotter would usually carry the M-14 but may have had an M-16. Any security would be using M-16's also.
Side arms were becoming a tool of sniper teams but I am unaware of any regular issue 9m/m, the 1911 was still the pistol of the day during the Vietnam era. So if it was a 9 m/m it was probably a personal pistol.
As posted later in thread the Army did issue the M-21 or XM-21 sniper system a National Match M-14 with a tuned trigger and a Redfield/Leatherwood ART (automatic ranging telescope)scope on a side mount. I may be wrong about this but I think suppressors for the M-21's were starting to appear at this time also.
Have found one confirmed use of a M-14 as a snipers weapon by the USMC. Marine Sergeant Chuck Mawhinney USMC sniper with 103 confirmed and 216 probable kills, on Valentine's Day 1968, in a night action Mawhinney and his spotter engaged a platoon of NVA soldiers at a river crossing at range not over 100 yards used an M-14 rifle(rather than his normal Model 70 bolt rifle) in simi-auto with a starlight scope killing 16 NVA with 16 rounds in 30 seconds before withdrawing from the area. Mr Mawhinney is said to have told nobody not even his wife about his time at a sniper for over 20 years until Joseph Wars book "Dear Mom: A Sniper's Vietnam" brought him into the public view. (Footnote from the document this came from says that the History Channel has also covered this action in one of its programs on snipers.)

Woody55
September 26, 2012, 03:22 PM
The weapons selection doesn't sound like a sniper. And the 9mm pistol was not used by the Marine Corps then.

What a combat veteran says has a lot do with who he is and who he is talking to. I had a friend who was my Dad's age who was a scout in World War 2. He didn't have much to say about it until I came back from overseas. Then he had all sorts of stuff to talk about his experiences.

youngunz4life
September 26, 2012, 03:28 PM
all good posts and the one before you is sortof what I was getting at

And the 9mm pistol was not used by the Marine Corps then

an officer very well might have had a 9mm(even if it wasn't issued) but not definitely to either possibilities.....

Quentin2
September 26, 2012, 03:29 PM
Well it's certainly possible and probably true. So I'd accept him at his word. I was in Vietnam, and though not a sniper can say first hand there were a lot of M16s and M14s there! (As if I'm saying anything new! :D)

As far as a 9mm, I never saw one but no doubt they were there. As you implied the Hi-Power would be one of the most likely.

Old Grump
September 26, 2012, 03:53 PM
If you get a good look at his DD-214 assuming he has one you will probably find he did his best fighting when he issued boots and had to argue with somebody who said they didn't fit. How old is he? There are a lot of us Viet Nam Vets dying every day but somehow there are more vets out there now then we actually had in service then and way more Viet Nam vets than we ever had over there. Call me jaundiced prejudiced and skeptical of all these heroes coming out of the woodwork now.

geetarman
September 26, 2012, 03:58 PM
^^^^^^^What he said.

I would think most anyone who served in Vietnam would be in their late 60s by now.

SFW
September 26, 2012, 04:23 PM
Really depends on when they served. My dad is turning 60 next month and served a tour in Vietnam. His older brother is 65 and served two tours. It was a long war. I really think it all comes down to personality. My dad won't discuss anything other than he was there and some of the sites he saw while there. My uncle will talk your ear off about it if you let him. Of course he was a 30 year Marine, with lots of interesting stories.

SIGSHR
September 26, 2012, 04:41 PM
Sounds fishy to this Army veteran. The Marines had a very rigorous sniper school-read 93 Kills about Carlos Hathcock, and AFAIK only those who graduated from it were allowed to call themselves snipers. Anyone with an iron sight M14 or M16 is a "rifleman"-which is an honorable and noble title.
9MM sidearm-and where'd he get the ammo for it? "Grenade launcher"-the M-79, another standard issue weapon. The Marines transitioned to the M16 in early 1967, that led to all the complaints about the M16 jamming. Again his DD214-provided it's genuine-will detail his true service record.

jonnyc
September 26, 2012, 05:03 PM
One or two holes......possible. That story looks like Swiss cheese.
Sad, but smile, nod, and move on.

Art Eatman
September 26, 2012, 05:14 PM
SFAIK, designated snipers usually had a good number of years of experience before the selection.

We pulled out of Vietnam in 1972, forty years ago. Figure a guy goes in around age 18 or 19, does five or six years before designation. Add 40 to all that and your sniper-guy oughta be around 65 years old. Roughly.

Strafer Gott
September 26, 2012, 05:18 PM
Army snipers that I knew used the M-14. To me, they would be called designated marksmen today. Lots of experimental warfare was used in the Nam, everything from helicopters to weapons and tactics. Disposable rocket launchers, the CAR 16's, under barrel grenade launcher was the XM 203, and I think the M16A2 had an X on it too. The tactics my unit used was the arclight, discretion being the better part and all. Sure takes your breath away, if your close enough. Gabby enough?

kraigwy
September 26, 2012, 07:15 PM
Before we jump to conclusions lets look at the reality of Sniping in Vietnam.

It wasn't until 69-70 that Sniping, School Trained Snipers, and decated sniper rifles showed up.

Average sniper kills in Vietnam was just north of 400 yards, well within the range of the M16a1.

I was there in 1967-68 and only seen one, what was called a Sniper Rifle, Some unit was passing through our AO and one guy had a Model 70 in '06. We were setting around BSing their SGT asked our SGT if he wanted to get a "sniper rifle", My Plt Sgt says "why, my boys do just fine with their '16s, besides who wants to deal with an odd ball round, we have enough problems getting Huey's to bring us '16 & 60 ammo" he added, "no sir, if we need snipers I got some boys who do just fine as it is".

Some people called thems snipers, some didn't. But our favorite trick was to mount a Starlight Scope on a M16a1 and send out a couple guys to cover a re-supply point we just left.

It worked quite well. We got resupplied every 5-7 days, and had to carry every thing we had. So a lot of crap was thrown away. Ham and Lima beans for example. Excess crap from Sundre packs.

Anyway after we left, the bandits would move in and go through our trash piles. Our guys would set up a couple hundred yards away and it was like shooting fish in a barrel.

Another method was when we set up ambushes. We'd set up on a trail and then send rifle men, with M16a1s w/or without starlights (depending on the time of day) to cover trail junctions on both ends of the trail we were set up on. They normally got in some pretty good shooting.

I never believed a guy had to be "school trained" or have a fancy rifle to be considered a sniper.

Way too many people do, but that's ego talking.

So if someone tells me they were a sniper in Vietnam, I'd consider the missions rather then they were school trained or had some desinated sniper rifle.

Age is a different matter. We've all ran across guys who were in Vietnam but if you did the math you'd find they were drafted at 8-9 years old.

As to 9mm's, yeap I've seen some Brownings over there, don't know where they got them, probably privately owned, didn't ask, didn't care, I had my 1911a1 and it suited me.

I'd be willing to bet, if you looked up the true defination of sniping. (The act of engaging targets from a protective distance------not distance per se, but the distance or circumstances to lessen or eliminate the chance of being detected----could be distance, concealment, noise, etc etc), you'd find the M16a1, with or without irons, had more confirmed then all the other "sniper rifles" combined.

10-96
September 26, 2012, 07:57 PM
Winchester 73- I work for the VA too. Some days you'd swear there's only 4 or 5 truck drivers, cooks, clerks, mechanics, fuel supply folks etc registered in the whole system.

Eppie
September 26, 2012, 08:12 PM
I was 17 when I joined the Army in July '72 and with the exception of Basic and AIT I spent all my 3 years in Germany. The only combat I did was with the local beer in K-Town.

I know for fact that:
1. 9mm were not adopted by DOD until late 80's. It would have cost an enlisted man nearly a month's wages and would have required is commanding officer approval. Zero chance of that.
2. Americans pulled out of Vietnam in May 1975, I separated in July
3. With very few exception enlisted men were not permitted to have sidearms.
Back in those days the payroll officer still had to pickup cash and checks for payday and the Colt 45 was the only pistol available, I was one of 4 guys that took turns escorting the pay officer and that was the only time I wore a sidearm or saw anyone wear a sidearm (except the MPs). It was a beat up old thing that was older than I was, and probably had been through WWII.

Any enlisted man that claims to have had a side arm is either a liar or special forces. Any enlisted man that says he was issued a 9mm in the 60's or 70's is a bad liar.

kraigwy
September 26, 2012, 08:28 PM
Any enlisted man that claims to have had a side arm is either a liar or special forces. Any enlisted man that says he was issued a 9mm in the 60's or 70's is a bad liar.

That's not quite true. Lots of GIs in Vietnam had their family send them all sorts of hand guns. Most were revolvers, or the most I've seen.

It was kind of a "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Infrantry units didn't care in the bush, but normally it was sugested they keep them out of sight when in the rear.

As to enlisted carrying hand guns, it was "if you can come up with one you can carry it". I carried a 1911a1. I don't really remember how I came about getting it, but I had it most of my tour, left it with another guy when I left country.

oldmanFCSA
September 26, 2012, 08:31 PM
Some of us served as civilians doing "pest" control at air bases using Mod 70 Winchesters with Unertl 8x glass usually chambered in 300 Win Mag. Troops were not "allowed" to shoot orangatans (sp?), civivlians could. Go figure.

TXAZ
September 26, 2012, 08:45 PM
I have two, 80-90 year old relatives that served their country, one as a landing craft operator in WWII, the other as a spy for the CIA for several decades that followed.

Until recently, neither talked details, and both were in the thick of it multiple times. As they age, I've felt as if the greater details (no nuclear launch codes, but some things you can find in history books, only first hand) was their seeking an affirmation that what they did was a good thing.

Is it possible your 'sniper', or other aging veterans, as they see more twilight, are looking for an affirmation or simply want to get some things off their chest, and it's safe to do so now?

youngunz4life
September 26, 2012, 08:50 PM
Call me jaundiced prejudiced and skeptical of all these heroes coming out of the woodwork now.

when did he claim to be a hero grump?


I would think most anyone who served in Vietnam would be in their late 60s by now.

geeterman, my dad did three yrs active duty 1966-1969 and was in bac lieu(rice paddies) for at least a yr....yes, he is 60something yrs old. all my grandparents aren't passed on yet and they were WWII era(both grandpas served in that war)

kraigwy
September 26, 2012, 09:15 PM
On this topic, I'm watching the American Rifleman on TV. History of the M16.

Suckers talking about the newer M16/M4s added the comment, "This isn't your grandfathers Vietnam M16".

Really know how to make a guy feel old.

youngunz4life
September 26, 2012, 09:27 PM
LOL

SIGSHR
September 26, 2012, 10:06 PM
M-60 gunners and grenadiers-M-79-were authorized sidearms, carrying an M-16 would have been a little much on top of an M-60, like the grenadier had his hands full and the shells for the M-79 weighed quite a bit. Personally owned firearms-like many other personal items-had a way of disappearing when the owner went on R&R, in the hospital or on detached duty. I recall Uncle Sam was pretty generous in handing out 45 ACP ball ammunition and it worked pretty well all the times I used it. And if your old M1911A1 broke, the armorer could usually restore it PDQ, or issue you another one.
I read-forget where-that constantly boasting and telling "war stories" is the mark of an insecure bore. I may be a bore, but I am sure not insecure.
Perhaps I am being too much a stickler, but to me the title of "sniper" can only be claimed by those who graduated from an official military sniper course.

sailskidrive
September 26, 2012, 10:12 PM
Some unit was passing through our AO and one guy had a Model 70 in '06

Most of what I've read states that these guys used mainly Mod 70s and other sporting rifles of their own choosing.

kraigwy
September 26, 2012, 10:13 PM
to me the title of "sniper" can only be claimed by those who graduated from an official military sniper course.

Why?

There are military snipers,

There are LE snipers

and there are Criminal snipers

Hook686
September 26, 2012, 10:13 PM
Why is this important to you ?

big al hunter
September 26, 2012, 10:18 PM
Kraigwy, I saw that episode as well. I found it interesting that the only difference they focused on between m16, a1, and a2 was the rifling rate of twist.:confused:
To OP I had a coworker that tried to say he was a sniper. His best story was exactly what I saw in a movie. Sometimes the lies are easy to spot. This guy might be telling the truth. A few more stories should reveal the truth.

kraigwy
September 26, 2012, 10:37 PM
Why is this important to you ?

Because it's critical in training, especialy in LE.

There are three types of snipers (and its not school related)

ego-harmonious

ego-nonhrmonious

and psychotic

Understanding each type is critical in dealing with them.

Not only for the counter-sniper but for their commander so he can give latitude to the sniper to deal with each catagory seperatly.

Just for information the military, LE, urban guerrllas and even contract killers fall under the ego-harmonious catagory.

SIGSHR
September 26, 2012, 10:38 PM
I will qualify what I said by saying I should have restricted it to "military snipers". Old soldier that I am, I adhere to the notion that if it isn't on your DD-214 you didn't do it. When I was on active duty I knew a skydiving enthusiast whom I used to needle about being a "straight leg". When he finally said "I've made 10x more jumps than you have (probably a lot more-I made only 9)!" I pointed to the jump wings on my uniform and said "Uncle Sam authorized me to wear these, when he authorizes you to wear them then I won't call you a 'leg'." When I went through BCT the only one of our cadre who wore the DI's hat was the Senior DI or Field First. All the other cadre wore Committe Group helmets. They were doing the work of a DI but since they had not been through the course they were not authorized to wear The Hat.

Ridgerunner665
September 26, 2012, 10:42 PM
Is it possible your 'sniper', or other aging veterans, as they see more twilight, are looking for an affirmation or simply want to get some things off their chest, and it's safe to do so now?

I think this holds true...

I have an uncle that was in Vietnam, he is a Marine...I didn't know him before he went in (I was born in 1973), but Mom has always said he came back a VERY different person. Some things happened right after he got back that I won't go into here...he has always been a quiet man, soft spoken...even seems timid at times, but everything is NOT always what it seems.

In 42 years since he got back he never spoke a word about it...until last year when my son came home after boot camp. As my sons lil family party wound down I noticed him and MC sitting out back talking and could tell my son was listening very intently (not normal for a 19 year old)...I went out there, not being nosy, just curious...when I had heard enough to realize what was going on I stopped and turned to go back inside but my uncle spoke up and told me maybe I needed to hear this too.

Alot of what he had to say was about wondering if he had done the right thing...and how to live with it. He seems to have made peace with it, but it took him a long time to get there...he didn't want that for his only nephew.

kraigwy
September 26, 2012, 10:43 PM
What is put on DD214 is up to the clerk typing them out.

I don't have Sniper School on my DD214, but I have my Deploma and its in my 201 file.

My wife has 3 different DD214s, each one is different, without looking at the name you'd think it was three different people.

kraigwy
September 26, 2012, 10:51 PM
Is it possible your 'sniper', or other aging veterans, as they see more twilight, are looking for an affirmation or simply want to get some things off their chest, and it's safe to do so now?

I don't know if its that, or a means of helping your kids.

My father was in the SP in WWII, and Korean. Never talked much until I came home on leave in route to Vietnam. We had long talks about his experience, what to expect, etc. I think it helped me when I was in country.

Same thing, I've talked to my kids prior to their deployments and have an easier time talking to them after they got back.

Even my wife, I never discussed it with her until she got activated and deployed in Feb '03. I was concerned, the only thing I knew was SE Asia, didn't know what she was getting into and it got to me.

So bad I got a Kuwaitee Visa and went over to stay with her. Her position was a lot different then mind. Going over and being her "hooch boy" kept me sane.

Ridgerunner665
September 26, 2012, 10:54 PM
Yeah...you might be right....he is failing health now, maybe he was preparing both of us.

Makes sense...

FloridaVeteran
September 26, 2012, 11:07 PM
Kraig - I learn something new every day - never knew that you could have different DD-214s - I have only one, plus a different "discharge" certidicate or something like that. Did your wife get out and then back in, twice?

lefteye
September 26, 2012, 11:07 PM
I was drafted in the early fall of 1968 when I was in law school. I was allowed to defer entry until the end of the semester but had to enlist for three years. After basic and MI School at Fort Holabird I was sent to Vietnam. I was a "little" shocked when I got my orders because I was the only one in three consecutive classes at MI School ordered to Vietnam. I was 22 when I arrived at Tan Son Nhut in October 1969. I was assigned to a detachment of the the 500th MI Group, 5th Bn (Prov), in Saigon. I will be 66 in about two months. Because so many who served in Vietnam were drafted I would expect the majority of Vietnam veterans to be in their early 60's. I was a Corporal during my tour (of duty, not vacationing) in Vietnam and my assignment had me wearing civilian clothing about 90% of the time. I was issued and typically carried a Colt Detective Special .38 in a belt holster concealed (more or less) with a short sleeve sport shirt. (I was not a commissioned officer, I was not in Special Forces, and I am not a liar). I had access to numerous other weapons for different assignments, e.g., a Win. 97 short barrel, an early M16, a 1911, a Swedish K (which I never carried), and grenades (carried but never used). In fact, I never fired any weapon in Vietnam except rare practice on the far side of Tan Son Nhut. And I got only one DD 214.

kraigwy
September 26, 2012, 11:23 PM
I have only one, plus a different "discharge" certidicate or something like that. Did your wife get out and then back in, twice?

I just checked with her, it was actually 4 DD214s

She got out of the Navy in '80, and got her first. She joined the Guard (that's where I met her), most of that was AGR, meaning when she put in her her paper work to retire she got her second DD214 (because she was AGR), instead of her retirement orders she got activation orders and was sent to the desert.

When she came home, (she broke her back), she processed out through Walter Reed giving her a medical discharge. She got to Benning for final processing the clerk gave her a DD214, but it said nothing about her being medical discharged. I was with her at Benning, looked over the DD214, told her that she needed it to reflect her disability. She went back found another clerk, gave her her orders and got another DD214.

Each one reflected different awards, and schooling. Like I said, if you didn't read the names you'd think she was three different people.

That is the reason, I (and wife too) kept our 201 filds (dash 1) with our DD214's.

This really helps if you retired from the National Guard or Reserve since you are paid based on the time in service. A Twenty Year letter means your eligable to retire, it doesn't give you the points needed to draw retirement pay.

FloridaVeteran
September 26, 2012, 11:23 PM
As for Starlight scopes, I used one in the early '70s and those suckers were huge and relatively heavy. Never had, saw or held one mounted to an M-16, but that must have been a mo-fo to handle. I think it would have been difficult even on an M-14, which I favored.

SIGSHR
September 26, 2012, 11:38 PM
I suppose I could claim "sniper" status since after I was promoted to E-5 and traded my M-60 for an M-16 I was often deployed-in a very casual way-as such, I was a pretty good shot and somewhat on the cold-blooded side. And strictly speaking, I was a Vietnam Era Green Beret. HOWEVER, I completed Special Forces training AFTER my service in Vietnam-in the 1st Cav-and I NEVER served in an SF unit, I only completed the training. And yes, DD-214s are often inaccurate-and easily fabricated. (Hint: make sure you use a form correct for the time period.) Again, in deference to those who have completed military sniper courses-which I understand are pretty rigorous-I limit the use of the term to them.
Military service is once again seen as patriotic and manly and service in Vietnam is now seen as noble and honorable, hence they are all "coming out of the woodwork". On another board someone said how George Pickett met so many who said they were with him on July 3, 1863 and he said if they had been with him he would have smashed through the Union position.

Water-Man
September 27, 2012, 12:15 AM
There were also some S&W Model 39 9mm (called Mk 22 Mod 0) over there used by some Navy personnel.

madcratebuilder
September 27, 2012, 06:41 AM
I was there in 1967-68 and only seen one, what was called a Sniper Rifle, Some unit was passing through our AO and one guy had a Model 70 in '06. We were setting around BSing their SGT asked our SGT if he wanted to get a "sniper rifle", My Plt Sgt says "why, my boys do just fine with their '16s, besides who wants to deal with an odd ball round, we have enough problems getting Huey's to bring us '16 & 60 ammo" he added, "no sir, if we need snipers I got some boys who do just fine as it is".

This.

I served two tours, 67-68 and 68-69. I was one of the guys flying the '16 & 60 ammo. I was issued a M16 but carried a M2 carbine I picked up from a ARVN and a M19 S&W I had picked up in the states. In two years I never saw a single round of 9mm or .357.


I believe the OP's old soldier has watched too many movies or suffering from a delusional mental illness. The story is horse pucky.

MJ1
September 27, 2012, 10:03 AM
Don't for get the so many that just did the job on OJT. LOL


The first time my boys took me to the Vegas SOF show in '86 we met around 100 guys in cammo who claimed to be NAM SNIPERS.. Few were old enough. I don't wear patches or hats but still have guys quietly ask me while standing in a dinner line at air show fund raisers what year? Some times it's just the eyes that give them away.:rolleyes:

Cheers
..MJ..
Dak To
Kontum

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v130/montereyjack/ee27d9b6.jpg

Woody55
September 27, 2012, 10:05 AM
Sometimes people are too critical in evaluating what others say.

I have a friend who served in Italy during WW II. He told me where they came ashore and when. He told me that within a day or two that their platoon leader didn't listen to him and was shot by a machine gun that was hidden in the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Pisa is no where near where he came ashore.

It doesn't mean he is a liar.

This is a man in his late 80's who grew up ten miles from the nearest town in east Texas. I doubt if he has a sixth grade education. He may have heard of Italy before he went overseas, but I doubt if he could have found it on a globe.

I figure there was a tall structure with a machine gun in it. Someone probably said that was the Leaning Tower of Pisa. This guy wouldn't know Pisa from Pizza and that's what it became.

You find the same thing with people saying they were shot at by 88's or Tigers. Something exploded. There was a tank. Just because you read there were none where they say they were doesn't make them liars. GI's tended to call everything that exploded an 88 and all tanks Tigers.

As far as equipment goes, I think it's been adequately pointed out abover that the rules loosen in a war zone. People carry non-general issue things that they couldn't back in the states. Or in Germany.

And keep in mind that in this forum, people know a lot about weapons. I think it's been pointed out that not everyone in the service - even in the infantry - knows or cares anything about them. Lord knows I've met Soldiers who referred to all pistols as 45's and later all pistols as 9's. One of my sons was a machine gunner and a damned good one. But aside from the one he used, he couldn't tell you a thing about any other machine gun.

However, I'll admit that there is a spectrum of believabilty. Some things are just way too out there to believe. Or impossible. For example, I had someone tell me he was a SEAL who swam from the Baltic to Moscow on a mission. Look at a map.

As far as this guy goes, I don't know. I tend to think he's embroidering. But maybe not. It's not like he's asking for money.

youngunz4life
September 27, 2012, 11:15 AM
personally -and there are obviously differing opinions in this thread - I don't see anything in the OP that jumps out at me that this guy wasn't telling the truth. Now one can let their imagination turn to come to that conclusion, but really do we have enough info?

i liked the recent pix...I wish I was back where I grew up I could post a bunch. My dad actually brought back a viet con's weapon after taking it apart(he didn't need it anymore). my dad was infantry...he wasn't a photographer...but amazingly he has two huge photo albums from his personal camera showing just about Everything(that he encountered): his vietnamese buddies and other americans with red bandanas for first kills, 80something percent of the albums are dead bodies and aftermath of what he called skirmishes(I guess he felt the documentation was important), blindfolded captives probably very close to their last moments, and so-on. Absolutely no doubt someday I could be on Pawn Stars with these albums because they Are History. Absolutely also no doubt these albums aren't my property, so I can pretty much forget that idea....I don't think I could sell them anyways. many times as a child I would look at some photo albums and I always gravitated to the carnage within these albums(as well as the nice photos of holiday celebrations with poor vietnamese kids eating next to soldiers, my dad and his buddies posing among the weights or pullup bars, etc, etc

Strafer Gott
September 27, 2012, 11:26 AM
It's a fact we had all kinds of non-reg weapons, ad hoc training etc. To say there were'nt any 9mm's is just wrong. The Starlight scopes we had wouldn't clamp on an M16 until you modded the sight ramp/ carry handle. Tracers would over saturate and a line to infinity would persist. Not great, but better than nothing on a dark night. After that, we gained a mortar team out of Phu Bai, who called themselves Trai Bac power and light. Nothing like a little tube support. There's a whole bunch of Lightnin-Fast Chicken F'ers that owe them big!

Chuckusaret
September 27, 2012, 11:27 AM
It has been a long time since my last tour in Vietnam but the Marine snipers where issued the Remington 700 (M20/M24)only and the spotter a M14. I have never heard of a sniper being issued a M16 as a primary sniper weapon.

Chuckusaret
September 27, 2012, 11:35 AM
Strafer Gott.............we gained a mortar team out of Phu Bai, who called themselves Trai Bac power and light. Nothing like a little tube support.............Hey, I served two tours with the 101st in Phu Bia, Camp Eagle and Camp Evans. Thank you for your service to this (once) great country.

kraigwy
September 27, 2012, 12:10 PM
I served two tours with the 101st in Phu Bia, Camp Eagle and Camp Evans

Home boys:

I was in the Recondos, (Recond Plt for the 2/502 Inf, 101st). In fact my paltoon was one of the the first ground unit on FB Bastonge.

That got to be quite a Fire Base.

never heard of a sniper being issued a M16 as a primary sniper weapon.

Never met to say the M16 was issued as a sniper weapon, what I ment was we sent out rifleman to do a sniper's job. And it worked.

However the M16a1 was tested as a sniper rilfe using the Colt Scope, and got confirmed kills out to 700 yards.

walts
September 27, 2012, 03:08 PM
Love hearing vets speak on their activities and experience in Vietnam. My dad was a Marine and served two tours. All I know is he was heavy artillery (howitzer) and that he spent some time defending Da Nang. I wish I could speak with him and learn about his experience and sacrifice over there but he won't talk to anyone. His health and hearing are failing quickly now so I doubt I'll ever know from him.

Winchester_73
September 27, 2012, 03:16 PM
Wow what an interesting thread I started. I figured when I asked about Vietnam + sniping, a good thread would develop.

As far as this guy, I acknowledge it could be true. However, I looked at it this way: there are sure a lot of non-standard things about his story:

I initially only asked if he made it to Vietnam (I saw he was old enough) and he says "ya, I was a sniper". From a physical stand point, he was short and had some curvature of his spine, and he had COPD, so he was on oxygen. I took it initially as he was trying to compensate for his disability / poor health or trying to impress me, who is younger than him. It was just my suspicion. I have a hard time believing actual snipers would mention it so casually and so readily as he did.

Also consider:

Non standard main arm. He endorsed that he never had a scope, but was a sniper. No mention of any bolt action rifle. Non standard side arm - misc 9mm pistol. While possible, the whole thing was just non standard to me. Of course, I acknowledge the "possibility" of his story and so I started this thread.

For those who believed him, understand at a VA hospital, everyone saw combat, won medals, saved their best friend, and was the best shot of their platoon, or company, etc. There are some who say "I stayed stateside" but many others who want others to be impressed by what they did or saw, and so they stretch the truth or outright lie. It happens all the time. Even in the gun world, I've met many supposed gun collectors who I could tell were full of it after 5 min. People who actually have great collections don't brag to strangers unless they're an idiot. The people who brag the most are often those who feel the most inadequate about themselves. Initially, I looked at this supposed Vietnam sniper as one of those guys, but I was curious enough to post this thread. I am much more a WWII historian than any other war or conflict. Vietnam is not an area I am very well versed in.

moxie
September 27, 2012, 03:54 PM
We actually pulled out of Vietnam on March 29, 1973. I was there. All that was left after that were the Marine guards at the embassy who left in '75.

I did see a few Hi-Powers in Vietnam. Also some S&W Model 39s that were popular at the time. 9mm ammo was definitely scarce. Had a Swedish K but let it go due to shortage of 9mm.

Old Grump
September 27, 2012, 07:35 PM
All I know is my two oldest friends, my brother my cousin and myself don't talk about on line service, just the things around it and of people we knew and loved or knew and despised. All of us except my brother are all boogered up with various ailments, some of which can be traced back to our service and some just from old age. Only my younger brother is still working, at 66 he is drawing SS and driving long haul loads all over the country because he can't afford to stay home. You do not hear war stories from me and unless you drug me or get me drunk, (a good trick since I quit drinking 50+ years ago) you never will.

My brother wears his Viet Nam veterans hat and he is always being approached by guys at bus stops because of it. Some thank him, some buy him a meal, but about half have to tell him about their time in country. Some of them are obviously 20 years to young. A huge number of them claim to have been snipers or CIA operatives and then he calls me and puts them on the line with me. Now the fun begins. So yeah my skepticism level is at a high because it's so easy to pull them off their little white horse and strip their play armor off. Those that really were there are also easy to identify. I prefer talking to them because we don't tell war stories to each other. It's more about places we both knew or at least heard of, people we knew in common or had heard about. Of course the obligatory medical resume, we all share that, its an old codger thing.

lefteye
September 27, 2012, 10:56 PM
Those that really were there are also easy to identify. I prefer talking to them because we don't tell war stories to each other. It's more about places we both knew or at least heard of, people we knew in common or had heard about. Of course the obligatory medical resume, we all share that, its an old codger thing.

My closest hunting buddy was on a Navy ship well off shore from the Rung Sat Special Zone (RSSZ) SE of Saigon where most of my less fun days were spent. We don't talk about it much . . . instead we focus on Whitetail hunting . . . which is OK.

Chuckusaret
September 27, 2012, 11:44 PM
FloridaVeteran
Senior Member

Kraig - I learn something new every day - never knew that you could have different DD-214s - I have only one, plus a different "discharge" certidicate or something like that. Did your wife get out and then back in, twice?


You comment got my attention and i had to check mine. I got a discharge and a DD-214 each and every time I reenlisted. I have five of each, after 3 yrs, 9 yrs, 15 yrs, 21 years and on retirement at 24 yrs. yes, and each and every one of them had at least one mistake on it.

Art Eatman
September 28, 2012, 07:47 AM
Having spent some time among the geriatrics at an American Legion post, I just figure on letting the Olde Pharts rattle on. No point in worrying about it. "That might not be the way it was, but it's the way it should have been."

I just nod and say, "Uh-huh, yeah..." and have another beer. It's not like he's some 40-year-old on the hustle. Let him feel good in his made-up memories; he won't be around much longer.

Me? I'm 78. I was mostly a REMF, sixty years ago...

Chuckusaret
September 28, 2012, 08:41 AM
Having spent some time among the geriatrics at an American Legion post, I just figure on letting the Olde Pharts rattle on. No point in worrying about it. "That might not be the way it was, but it's the way it should have been."

The Legion is a lot different than the VFW. All members of the VFW must have served in combat and must present a valid DD 214 for membership that shows their Combat Awards, ie the Vietnam Service Ribbon or the Iraq Freedom Ribbon and the form is checked for validity, not so for the Legion. If you tell a war story at my VFW it had better be close to fact because nine chances out of ten some other member that is present was there also. I would guess my age makes me an Olde Phart. LOL

SIGSHR
September 28, 2012, 04:48 PM
It was drummed into my head in BCT that you make sure all orders, records, etc. pertaining to you are correct, make sure your name is spelled correctly, rank and service number are correct, etc. Like making sure a hand receipt is filled out correctly and some isn't trying to pull a fast one.
I've noted that so many of these "professional" veterans are usually sad looking ones, all scruffy and ill kempt, with watery eyes that have seen the bottom of too many shot glasses, seeking sympathy for a hard life with tales of woe. And the mark of a poseur is that they always served in some elite unit, went on hazardous behind the lines missions, worked for some "hush-hush" organization, and their record are sealed by "The Agency." And are an incredible crack shot.

geetarman
September 28, 2012, 08:19 PM
You find them in all walks of life and in all professions.

I was playing an Easter service a number of years ago and it just happened I was playing a Fender guitar.

As I was packing my gear to leave, a guy walked up and said that he used to be the lead guitar player for Waylon Jennings.

Waylon used to live in Chandler when he was not on the road.

I just let the guy talk.

I am sure most of the really big music stars had a lot of lead musicians they never heard of.

A guy I know who does play a pretty mean bass also claimed to be a bass player for Gordon Lightfoot. Funny thing. . .the Gordon Lightfoot web page lists every song ever recorded by him and credits every musician who ever played on one of his records.

If someone wants to brag about what he has done in the past or puff himself up, I just let it go.

It is not worth getting into an argument. Just roll with it.

The one thing that really does bother me is the act of attributing to oneself acts of valor that were not performed by you or wearing decorations for which you are not entitled.

To me, that is a slap at every service person who served honorably and has kept a low profile.

Success has many fathers and failure is an orphan.

Strafer Gott
September 28, 2012, 08:23 PM
And that's some real solid morning report clerk speak right there.

Art Eatman
September 28, 2012, 11:54 PM
Not much we can add to this that's worthwhile...