September 16, 1969
Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Hathcock’s second tour in Vietnam abruptly ended when he was riding in an assault vehicle that struck a 500-pound mine near the South Vietnamese village of Que-Son. Despite being covered with flaming gasoline that burned him almost beyond recognition, he returned to the vehicle and rescued seven marines. He refused a recommendation for a Medal of Honor for this heroic act but was awarded a belated Silver Star in 1996. After recovering from the burns, he served for another ten years, training U.S. Marine Corps snipers until his forced medical retirement in 1979. Hathcock is believed to have attained the highest number of recorded kills in the history of the Marine Corps.