He’s the most famous sniper you’ve probably never heard of. Marine Gunnery Sergeant Carlos N. Hathcock II was a Marine Scout Sniper who served two tours in Vietnam, first in 1966, and returning in 1969. Until the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq he held the record for the most confirmed kills in the United States military. During the course of his two tours in Vietnam he recorded 93 confirmed kills and over 300 unconfirmed kills, building a reputation that was so renowned the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong placed a bounty on his head that was equal to three years pay or approximately $30,000. He was known by the army he hunted as “White Feather” for the single white feather he kept tucked in a band on his bush hat. His exploits against such deadly adversaries as “The Apache,” “The Cobra,” and “The General” were the stuff of legend!
What drives military members to murder? Maybe it’s the violent nature of the work; or some childhood trauma; or a psychological disorder; or maybe they’re just bad people. Maybe it’s all of these things or a combination or none of them. The truth is we often don’t know what compels someone to kill. If you’re looking for answers, you’re not going to get them here. What you’re going to get are six stories of military murder that will leave you shaking your head: The Infidelity Solution Murder; The Hi-Fi Murders; The ‘How Far Can I Get’ Murder; The Proposition Murder; The Coward Contractor Murder; and The Canadian Panty Thief Murders. And although it’s not a murder story, we chat about the Air Force’s ‘Master Solution’ to a missing finger mystery and how it backfired.
Ever since the American occupation of the Marianas, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa, the main Japanese islands had been under constant bombardment by long-range bombers of the United States. The city of Tokyo and many other cities on the Japanese mainland were leveled by day-and-night firebomb raids. As Italy and Germany had already done, Japan was paying the price for its grandiose plans for world conquest. But the island nation wasn’t ready to surrender.
Then the United States unveiled the biggest surprise in the history of warfare. It was the deadliest weapon ever designed–the atomic bomb. And although the initial test detonation at Trinity was several times more powerful than scientists had predicted, U.S. officials questioned if it would be enough to compel Japan’s surrender.
On August 6, 1945, “Little Boy” provided an answer.
Most of you have probably heard of Antonio López de Santa Anna, the self-proclaimed “Napoleon of the West,” and the story of the Alamo. What you probably haven’t heard is how, just a few months after the Alamo, Santa Anna parked his army directly next to Sam Houston’s much smaller American force by the San Jacinto River and ordered everyone to take a siesta. Houston literally caught the Mexican force napping and after convincing himself that the scene before him wasn’t some heat-induced hallucination, he plowed his troops through Santa Anna’s army while they slept, crushing them in just 18 minutes!
The fateful day that changed the course of Sergeant Major Charles Morris’ life was June 29, 1966. On a search-and-destroy mission in Xuan Loc, South Vietnam, he came within 20-feet of a Viet Cong machine gunner and was shot in the chest. He returned fire and took out the machine gun nest as the platoon came under heavy fire from an enemy force that significantly outnumbered them. For the next eight hours, Sergeant Morris refused medical attention as he continued to direct and encourage his men. He would earn the Medal of Honor for his actions that day.
Last seaman laid to rest in USS Arizona; Astronaut reenlists 800 soldiers; Air National Guard wants some Space Force action; Drone pilots get a medal; Good-bye South Korea curfew; Revealing DNA tests; Pentagon sets rules for Skynet; No. 1 coffee; Social justice finds the Air Force song; Tin Can at 20,000-feet.
Internet porn hits home; Basic training and intro to military discipline; M16 necklace; Marching and airplane-watching; Gun-wielding drunk-driver on base; The EEO freeze; Busted, promoted, then busted again; The man with $200 in his pocket; Honey? Did you do something wrong?; Pushup Ninja; The Black Flag; Follow the matrix; Clap for the Air Force Song, dammit!; Why Chief Hanks is right; and The Shirt said to sweep the parking lot.
This is the story of Chris, who takes a job hauling a mobile long-range acoustic device from Florida to San Diego which results in a spiraling digression into the hilarious deficiencies of the giant voice system at Kunsan AB, Republic of Korea, with a few stops along the way prompted by a snake, a couple of blown tires, and the Radiator Springs-like hardtop of the southwest. This show is our tribute to USAF Command Post Communication.
What happens to the bodies after a battle? This is an aspect of military life that often goes unnoticed because we’re more focused on the living. Still, we can’t just ignore those killed on the battlefield. And thanks to the Grave Registration Service (what is now Mortuary Affairs), they’re not forgotten. These professionals ensure those who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice are treated with dignity, reverence, and respect.
And they do! Just ask Kevin Bacon!
Everyday folks probably aren’t too familiar with Bill “Pits” Pitsenbarger, but now, tens of listeners of this podcast will know him and the heroic act that earned him the Air Force Cross and eventually, after a push from some old Viet Nam vets, the Medal of Honor. And for those who don’t listen to our podcast, there’s a movie coming out on October 25 that will tell Pitts’ story, but we’re gonna tell it first!
So, who was Bill Pitsenbarger?