From: Bart Bobbitt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Combat Experience w/.45 ACP
Oft times, comments on this net are about GYSGT Carlos Hathcock's sniping
adventures in Vietnam. Here's one that very few know about, but is probably
just as good as far as accuracy during combat is concerned.
A Navy SEAL Team was returning from a mission over North Vietnam in a chopper
when it got hit pretty bad. The pilot and one crew member were killed and
the copilot was wounded. Going into autorotation, the copilot managed to set
the chopper down in a clearing. After landing, a few rounds of enemy fire
were starting to come in. Seems the M60s were also damaged beyond use by
the crash landing and initial RPG hit, the only M16 fell out on the way down.
The only firearms left was M1911s.
The remaining crew member was carrying a match conditioned M1911 and had a
few boxes of ammo. As more enemy small arms fire started comming in, the
copilot and crew member also noted that the VC were comming out of the jungle
and approaching them; shooting as they came. The crew member took out his .45
and took careful aim as he shot at each attacking VC. About 30 minutes later
it was all over. Between reloading magazines and radioing for rescue, the
copilot was pretty busy, but a rescue chopper finally arrived on the scene.
As the rescue chopper came in and landed, its crew noticed a lot of dead VC
laying around. The downed helo's remaining crew were picked up and on their
way out, they counted the dead VC; 37 in all. Their distances from the downed
helo were from 3 to about 150 yards; all shot by the crew member with his
M1911 .45 ACP. About 80 rounds were fired by Petty Officer R.J. Thomas, a
member of the USN Rifle and Pistol Team.
Petty Officer Thomas was recommended for the Congressional Medal of Honor, but
by the time the recommendation got all the way up through the chain of
command, the recognition was reduced to the Navy Cross.
This incident has been cited this as the only known of example of top-level
combat marksmanship since SGT Alvin York's escapades in WWI.
[[ For what seems to be an authoritative account of this
incident, which puts it into context and differs somewhat from
the above account, see the web page "Battle at Ha Tien 23
March 1969, Da Dung Mountain Area", by Seawolf Door Gunner
Bill Rutledge, at
-- Norman ]]
From: email@example.com (Bart Bobbitt)
Subject: Re: Sgt York and other movies
Organization: Hewlett-Packard Fort Collins Site
Bill Vojak (firstname.lastname@example.org) wrote:
: Something in the back of my mind says "Springfield .30-06" as the
: standard issue for WWI GIs. Is this correct? Are these guns still
: available? If so, how much would someone expect to pay for one in
: good condition?
M1903 Springfields are still seen for sale. Prices range from $150 to
over $1000, depending on condition and specific variations. The stripper
clip method of loading is still used today when NRA match rifles are shot
in rapid fire matches. You start with 5 rounds in the magazine, shoot them
in your bolt action rifle, then reload with the stripper clip and shoot the
last five rounds. At 200 yards, you sit and have a total time of 60
seconds. At 300 yards, you shoot prone and have a total time of 70 seconds.
In both matches, your time starts with you standing and you have to first
get into position, then shoot. The 10-ring at both ranges is 7 inches dia.
: A while back someone posted the info about the Vietnam era marine (?)
: who defended a downed coper with just a single .45 handgun. By time
: it was over he had killed dozens of enemy soldier. Don't think that
: this one ever made it to Hollywierd. Did the guy even get a medal
: for his actions?
Yes, he did. Petty Officer Second Class Robert J. Thomas was the person
in question; a frequent member of the US Navy Rifle and Pistol Team. His
pistol was a match-conditioned M1911 hardball competition pistol. He
was put in for the Congressional Medal of Honor, but that was reduced to
just the Navy Cross. He's now Commander Thomas who, in less regular
USN work, is the Officer in Charge of the US Navy Rifle Team. I've known
Commander Thomas for about 23 years.
: I know that there also was "The Gene Audry Story", but think that
: the circumstances around his fame were far different.
Could you be thinking of the Audie Murphy WWII incident?