AUGUSTA (AP) – A legendary Marine scout and deadeye sniper, Gunnery Sgt. Carlos Hathcock II was so good at his job that the North Vietnamese put a $30,000 bounty on the sharpshooter they called “White Feather.”

Hathcock, who got the nickname from the feather he sometimes wore in his floppy bush hat, had 93 confirmed kills, one from 2,500 yards away. His exploits were detailed in two books, “Marine Sniper” and “White Feather.”

Hathcock died in 1999 at age 57. He will be honored this summer at the National Rifle Trophy Championship as it marks its 100th anniversary at Camp Perry, Ohio.

As a top prize in the competition, Houlton artist Glenn Hines has sculpted a bronze trophy that shows Hathcock in uniform holding a rifle across his chest.

Hines’ sculptures cover an array of themes. He drew attention in the 1980s for his depiction of Maine peace advocate Samantha Smith, which stands in front of the state museum and library in the capital.

His other work includes a law enforcement memorial, also in Augusta; an underground railroad image in Brewer that depicts a runaway slave emerging from a well shaft; a Vietnam War memorial in Bangor and a statue of Civil War Gen. Joshua Chamberlain in Brewer.

The Hathcock model presented a special challenge because it was first done as a scale model one-third the final size, Hines said.

“It was important that I get his likeness in the bust,” said Hines, adding that he’s since been told by several people familiar with Hathcock that it was a close representation of the sharpshooter from Arkansas.

Some 6,000 shooters are expected to compete from mid- to late August in the marksmanship events at Camp Perry, an Ohio Air National Guard base in Port Clinton.

With its base, the trophy is more than 3 feet tall and will be permanently displayed at the site.

Military as well as civilian shooters will participate in the competition, which includes youths and teams. The Marine who compiles the best aggregate score in the national individual and team matches, and an event called the President’s 100, will be the year’s Hathcock award winner.

“They’re all very difficult,” said Jim Vose of Lincoln, Maine, who came up with the idea of naming a trophy for Hathcock and arranged to have it made.

“They shoot 10 shots from 200 yards standing, 10 shots from 300 yards rapid-fire, then 10 shots from 600 yards prone,” said Vose, a Marine veteran who served at the end of World War II and volunteers as staff at the national competition.

Vose, a jeweler and gemologist who owned a store in Lincoln, said his interest in marksmanship had an unlikely rejuvenation when he dumped his boat in a chilly Maine stream four years ago.

“I was fly fishing and I fell out of the canoe. It got me nervous, so I traded my canoe for a pistol,” Vose said. “I hadn’t fired a round in 45 years.”

As his interest in competitive shooting grew, Vose saw an ad seeking volunteers for the national match in Ohio and signed up.

While working at the competition a couple of years ago, Vose was given a book about fellow Marine Hathcock and eventually came into contact with Hathcock’s son, Gunnery Sgt. Carlos Hathcock III, also an accomplished marksman.

Vose said he couldn’t help but notice the absence of a trophy at the site of the national rifle championships to honor the older Hathcock, who was so skilled as a marksman that a unit was built around him in Vietnam.

Hathcock was awarded a Silver Star, the third-highest military decoration, for his heroism in saving the lives of seven Americans from a fiery mine explosion in Vietnam. He was severely burned during his rescue and was awarded a Purple Heart. His widow, Josephine Hathcock, lives in Stafford, Va.

“He deserves a trophy, and I don’t see one around here,” Vose recalls telling competition officials. “I asked if I could look into it.”

Vose was given the go-ahead by the Civilian Marksmanship Program, which promotes the sport, and found Hines through a fellow jeweler.


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