America lost a great hero yesterday, born and raised in Oregon, who grew up hunting deer and made his mark hunting men.

Marine Corps Sgt Chuck Mawhinney called Viet Nam, “the ultimate hunting trip”.

A friend of his, who knew I had met him and that I admired Sgt Mawhinney, emailed me yesterday to deliver the news that the deadliest Marine Corps sniper in history had passed away in his longtime Baker City home.

Mawhinney was born in Lakeview, Oregon and just graduated from high school in ‘67 when he got his draft notice.

A recruiter promised him the Marines would let him go in AFTER deer season, so he ditched his plans to be an aviator.

It’s not a surprise that a teen who grew up hunting Eastern Oregon, where long shots are the rule, would end up at the Marine Corps’ sniper school.

Sent to Vietnam, he exceeded all their expectations, with 103 confirmed kills and 216 probable kills in just 16 months.

Just remember, every one of those kills likely saved the lives of scores of his fellow Marines.

He came home to Oregon and was so quiet about his service that years later, when a reporter came to tell his story, some of his neighbors didn’t even know he’d been in the military.

He worked for the Forest service the next 30 years. 

He passed away yesterday at the age of 75.  Rest in peace Sgt Mawhinney. 

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