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Archives: Meet the Man the ‘American Sniper’ Called Greatest

The Virginia Pilot goes into its archives to republish the story of the man who might have been America’s previous top sniper: Gunnery Sgt. Carlos Norman Hathcock II.  

“The new film “American Sniper,” based on the autobiography by former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, has spurred debate about both Kyle and the craft of the sniper.”  

“While Kyle is considered the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history with 160 confirmed kills, he called the late Carlos Hathcock, a former resident of Virginia Beach, the greatest sniper of all time. The book and movie tell the story of Kyle, who was killed in 2013.”  

In 1987, The Virginian-Pilot told Hathcock’s story : “One shot. One kill.: That is the sniper’s creed and no man in any war embodied it more than Gunnery Sgt. Carlos Norman Hathcock II. During two tours in Vietnam, he was credited with 93 confirmed kills. By Hathcock’s own count, jotted in the dog-eared notebook he carried in his shirt pocket on each mission, the number was actually three times that. But some bodies were carried away by the enemy and others were obliterated by ensuing artillery fire. And some of Hathcock’s kills were simply too extraordinary for his commanding offers to believe.”  


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