Military Snipers.

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I'll confess that this post is really just bragging about my late father... to a degree.
He was the kindest and gentlest man I've known... in the small town I grew up near on a farm he was well known for helping out anyone who asked or needed something.

Wife and I were visiting some friends this past weekend and of course the Ukraine was part of the discussion... guy mentioned to me that he saw the the top Canadian sniper was headed over there.... I actually chose not to talk about my father for some reason. I've mentioned more than once here that he was a Marine in Korea and was at the Choson reservoir. In fact we was in the recon company and they were the last ones out and held up the rear on the march back south. When he landed at Inchon he was 147 lbs and given the job as the BAR man.. but possibly because he had gotten pneumonia while on the submarine he was stationed on while waiting to land and possibly because somebody figured out there were other marines better suited to lug a BAR around... plus the fact that when he qualify at Paris Island on the rifle range he had shot a perfect score... they reissued him a rifle with a scope... he said he used a '03 Springfield but the picture below shows an M1 with scope and cheek rest...

The following I heard this past summer; A friend from high school told me that his father and my father were talking one day and the other guy said something to my father about in war and battle you probably have no clue as to whether you actually killed someone.. according to my friend my father's response was he knew exactly how many men he had killed, what there rank was and where he hit them.....
Another interesting fact about the old man... I was 33 years old when I found out he was 1/4 Cherokee
 
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contender

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Many folks who saw combat prefer to not discuss it. Especially with their families. Not uncommon.
And as for being Cherokee,, well, it too could have been a factor of family life not shared easily. Used to be a bit of a "stigma" to many.
 

Mobuck

Hawkeye
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That sort of work doesn't often get discussed. I didn't learn much about what my Dad did in WW2 until I attended one of his Army unit re-unions after his death. It was very enlightening and I finally began to understand why he was the way he was. I also realized why he was so upset when I took the path I did after high school.
 

dweis

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I easily understand.why the OP’s father did not relate his wartime experiences to his family other than acknowledging he was in the war. I was married in 1972, 4 years after finishing the last of my 2 tours in Nam. My wife would ask me about my experiences. I would answer this way. I was a Marine combat photographer in Nam. I spent 26 months there. I documented the inhumanity of war, and I just did not want to relive it by talking about it. When our two children would ask the same question i gave them the same answer. To this day I don’t speak of it. Anyone who wants to know what war is like can just turn on their TV. Semper Fi.
 

harley08

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I easily understand.why the OP’s father did not relate his wartime experiences to his family other than acknowledging he was in the war. I was married in 1972, 4 years after finishing the last of my 2 tours in Nam. My wife would ask me about my experiences. I would answer this way. I was a Marine combat photographer in Nam. I spent 26 months there. I documented the inhumanity of war, and I just did not want to relive it by talking about it. When our two children would ask the same question i gave them the same answer. To this day I don’t speak of it. Anyone who wants to know what war is like can just turn on their TV. Semper Fi.
I kind of understand why you do not want to talk about it. But I am sure a lot of folks would love to hear about your experiences. Maybe you could write them down, if you have enough of them it might turn in to a book. If you never do anything they will be lost forever!
 
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"after finishing the last of my 2 tours in Nam. My wife would ask me about my experiences. I would answer this way. I was a Marine combat photographer in Nam. I spent 26 months there. I documented the inhumanity of war, and I just did not want to relive it by talking about it."

When returning home and getting out of the Marines there seem to be such a stigma on us that participated in that war, so why in the hell would we even want to talk about it. Any problems our fellow Service Men had with what they may have encountered there was sweep under the rug. Go home take two aspirins don't think about it. Me and my best friend Thurgood talked about it from time to time and what a yugo storm it was and moved on with our lives. However there were a lot of people that didn't move on very well.
 
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dweis

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I kind of understand why you do not want to talk about it. But I am sure a lot of folks would love to hear about your experiences. Maybe you could write them down, if you have enough of them it might turn in to a book. If you never do anything they will be lost forever!
Excellent suggestion. I’ll give it same thought. I’ve written 5 trade books over the past 15 years so the idea of writing a book is appealing.
 

173rdLRRP

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I easily understand.why the OP’s father did not relate his wartime experiences to his family other than acknowledging he was in the war. I was married in 1972, 4 years after finishing the last of my 2 tours in Nam. My wife would ask me about my experiences. I would answer this way. I was a Marine combat photographer in Nam. I spent 26 months there. I documented the inhumanity of war, and I just did not want to relive it by talking about it. When our two children would ask the same question i gave them the same answer. To this day I don’t speak of it. Anyone who wants to know what war is like can just turn on their TV. Semper Fi.
Never hurts to attend a reunion with your friends. We have one for N Rangers every few years (173rd ABN LRRP/:74th INF (LRP)/N Rangers. This is held in conjunction with Cowboys Helicopter Coany and Caspar Helicopter platoon.

As one guy said on leaving our first reunion. 30 years ago“I have put away the ghosts of 20 years and I never have to talk with these clowns again!” ( or similar words - this is a family rated thread). No one has heard from him since.

LRRP operated in 5 - 6 man teams and folks keep in touch

No one remembers an engagement in the same way aka Rashomon effect. Larry Cole from our team once said “just segue the most John Wayne remembrances and we all use that story.”
 

Mobuck

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I must be different, I plan to keep those demons behind a very strong locked door lest some of them return causing great harm.
BTW, the LRRP's were some gutsy guys. Did you ever work with 'Nungs'?
 

KIR

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Excellent suggestion. I’ll give it same thought. I’ve written 5 trade books over the past 15 years so the idea of writing a book is appealing.
So it can be turned into a work of fiction like the movie the Hurt Locker?
 

173rdLRRP

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It was Special Forces that worked with Nungs. A number of folks from our 1966-67 LRRP platoon became career SF. I have heard nothing but good about Nungs.

My original TL SMG Jakovenko was on Son Tay Raid. TL after me was CSM PatTadina (dec) who had 5 years patrolling and 116 CQK with 80 weapons recovered. TL after him was Lazslo Rabel who was killed in 28th month of patrolling. His wife Eva received MOH from President Johnson.

These three are legend and in Ranger Hall of Fame. Most of the rest of us were fillers.
 

173rdLRRP

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It was Special Forces that worked with Nungs. A number of folks from our 1966-67 LRRP platoon became career SF. I have heard nothing but good about Nungs.

My original TL SMG Jakovenko was on Son Tay Raid. TL after me was CSM PatTadina (dec) who had 5 years patrolling and 116 CQK with 80 weapons recovered. TL after him was Lazslo Rabel who was killed in 28th month of patrolling. His wife Eva received MOH from President Johnson.

These three are legend and in Ranger Hall of Fame. Most of the rest of us were fillers.
Jakovenko put down about 40 on Son Tay raid according to books. He was main MGer with element Green Leaf there. He carried an M60 and 600 rounds. I hear from in email from him several times each month.

Rabel was credited with about 40 CQK
 

JimmyDee

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Memphis, Tennessee
I easily understand.why the OP’s father did not relate his wartime experiences to his family other than acknowledging he was in the war. I was married in 1972, 4 years after finishing the last of my 2 tours in Nam. My wife would ask me about my experiences. I would answer this way. I was a Marine combat photographer in Nam. I spent 26 months there. I documented the inhumanity of war, and I just did not want to relive it by talking about it. When our two children would ask the same question i gave them the same answer. To this day I don’t speak of it. Anyone who wants to know what war is like can just turn on their TV. Semper Fi.
An excellent response. I've had mixed feelings about "talking about it." In the early 70s, I kept my mouth shut. Later, I met some folks who weren't entertaining themselves with trivial questions and, with them, felt that I wanted to share some memories. But, after being stung a couple times, I decided to keep my mouth shut. Now, I hardly acknowledge that I'm a veteran.
 

173rdLRRP

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An excellent response. I've had mixed feelings about "talking about it." In the early 70s, I kept my mouth shut. Later, I met some folks who weren't entertaining themselves with trivial questions and, with them, felt that I wanted to share some memories. But, after being stung a couple times, I decided to keep my mouth shut. Now, I hardly acknowledge that I'm a veteran.
Share memories with those with whom you served. No one else matter.

Our RTO somehow felt that some thought unkindly if him and had bad feelings about himself for 50 years. We managed to get him to attend platoon/N Ranger reunion five years ago (last I attended). Five of us from team 4 were there (Jakovenko had health issues and Moya had passed - Jake left RVN in December 1966). He found he had been greatly appreciated and respected. He became a narcotics cop and police firearms instructor. He taught for Jeff Cooper. He said he felt better about himself and life than he had for 50 years.

The RTO for Team 3 was “lost” for 55 years. One guy from team 3 located him a month ago. He is delighted. All 3 other survivors from team have been talking with him. He had lost his contact information when he got home and did not know how to get back in contact. Team 3 had an epic engagement that resulted in one DSC, three SS, and two BSMV between the six of them.

I was Unit Director for Rangers (173rd LRP-173rd Provisional LRRP - 74th INF (LRP) - N Ranger lineage) for 8 years under 75th Ranger Association and was basically ombudsman, edited unit articles for 75th Ranger quarterly, and did write ups for our unit Ranger Hall of Fame submissions. There was a lot of getting folks back kn contact with other and getting widows and children in contact with those that knew their husbands and dads aka closure.
 

vito

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Several of my relatives served in combat in WW2, and none ever talked about it. One of my uncles was a glider pilot on D-Day, then was an infantryman in the 101st for the rest of the European campaign. He lost his eye during the Battle of Bastogne. The only thing he ever said to me about that battle was how cold he had been. My grandfather had served in the Czarist artillery during the Russo-Japanese War in 1905-06. When, as a kid, I asked him about that war he just hesitated, then said war is terrible. I served in Vietnam, in the 101st as a Captain but not in a combat role. For me the experience was boring, hot, at times a bit scary I have no idea if the few times I fired my weapon if I hit anyone or not. And I lost touch with the few friends from that part of my life.
 

reuben_j_cogburn

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Vids featuring Chuck Mawhinney





My Dad was never shy about his time in the pacific.. He talked about his experiences in a very matter of fact way. Actually most of the people I knew growing up had a very pragmatic way of dealing with things.
Being from Minnesota farm country. Dominated by Finlanders, Norwegians and Swedes.. (and more than a few Germans)... Things like death and dismemberment didn't seem to really affect them much...
What did surprise me was at his funeral, how many people in the little farming town actually served in his regiment or saw him over there... They told me even more stories that my Dad must have just forgotten about....
I really regret not recording things... but I guess... who of the young'uns in my family would even care...
 

harley08

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133
"after finishing the last of my 2 tours in Nam. My wife would ask me about my experiences. I would answer this way. I was a Marine combat photographer in Nam. I spent 26 months there. I documented the inhumanity of war, and I just did not want to relive it by talking about it."

When returning home and getting out of the Marines there seem to be such a stigma on us that participated in that war, so why in the hell would we even want to talk about it. Any problems our fellow Service Men had with what they may have encountered there was sweep under the rug. Go home take two aspirins don't think about it. Me and my best friend Thurgood talked about it from time to time and what a yugo storm it was and moved on with our lives. However there were a lot of people that didn't move on very well.
No one is going to know what happened, how you felt, how your buddies felt. How you best friend got hurt or died. How you stepped on a pungi stick trap - OR any thing. I was not there nor were all of us that really want to know what it was like. thanks, Rocko
 

mexicanjoe

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My late brother was a survivor of the Bataan Death March, and he didn't speak of horrors he experienced. He talked about it with my other brother for all of 5 minutes and that was it. I came along late in my dads life and wished I had been around my brother more. One day when I walk through the East gate and see him and daddy I can ask him, not that it would be important.
 

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