Chuck Mawhinney, deadliest sniper in history of US Marines, dead at 75

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BAKER CITY, Ore. — Charles “Chuck” Mawhinney, whose 103 confirmed kills during the Vietnam War made him the deadliest sniper in the history of the U.S. Marine Corps, died Feb. 12. He was 75.

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Mawhinney died at his home in Baker City, Oregon, The Oregonian reported. No cause of death was given.

The soft-spoken Mawhinney, who worked for the U.S. Forest Service for 30 years, registered the kills while serving in Southeast Asia in 1968 and 1969, according to the newspaper.

“Chuck was one in a million,” Jim Lindsay, a former Baker Valley farmer, told the Baker City Herald.

Lindsay would collaborate with Mawhinney in a 2023 book, “The Sniper: The Untold Story of the Marine Corps’ Greatest Marksman of All Time.”

“He was the kind of guy you noticed walking in the room,” Lindsay told The Oregonian. “He listened to other people tell their stories. He never told his story. Nobody knew he’d been in the war or what he’d done.”

Mawhinney kept silent about his military career for years, according to He was given the title in Joseph Ward’s 1991 book, “Dear Mom: A Sniper’s Vietnam,” the website reported. Ward briefly served as Mawhinney’s spotter in 1969 and inherited the rifle that Mawhinney used, according to the Herald.

Mawhinney was not even aware of the book for years, the newspaper reported.

He insisted to Lindsay that he would not allow their 2023 collaboration to be “all Hollywood,” The Oregonian reported.

“Everything in that book came out of his mouth,” Lindsay told the newspaper. “That’s all he wanted.”

Mawhinney, who was born in Lakeview, Oregon, joined the Marines in 1967 when he was 18. His father had served in the Marines during World War II.

Many believed the record for most confirmed kills belonged to Carlos Hathcock, who had 93, according to Mahinney had 103, plus 216 probable kills, according to the website.

Author Peter Senich read Ward’s book and then confirmed Mawhinney’s numbers after delving through the Marine Corps archives.

Senich wrote an article about Mawhinney’s tour and his kill record for the December 1996 issue of Precision Shooting Magazine, according to the Herald.

Mawhinney left the Marines with the rank of sergeant and settled in Baker City, The Oregonian reported.

He is survived by his wife, Robin, and three sons.

“He was a good man,” Lindsay told the newspaper. “He was a good father, a good husband and an asset to the community. He was a pretty cool cat.”