I just got back from the SHOT Show in Las Vegas. It was a lot of fun and I walked about a hundred miles.
I always enjoy looking at all the guns and stuff, but I will freely admit that I also enjoy looking for “celebrities” as I walk around the show.
This year, we looked at a reproduction of a sniper rifle that is modeled after the sniper rifle used by Marine sniper Chuck Mawhinney in Vietnam.
It is being made by Remington and only a limited number are being produced and sold.
His original rifle is on display at the National Museum of the Marine Corps.
Here’s a picture of the rifle.
And here’s a picture I took of the reproduction rifle at the SHOT Show.
The next day, as we were walking around, I told my buddy Liem, “Look at that guy. That’s Chuck Mawhinney!” We had talked about what he had done at supper the night before, and I couldn’t believe that I was actually seeing him in person. Bu he had a big crowd of people talking to him and I didn’t want to barge in, so we walked on.
After that, I could have kicked myself for not speaking to him, as he is a real hero of mine. I got madder and madder at myself for letting an opportunity to shake his hand get away.
Near the end of the day, I was sitting near the Press Room waiting for Liem to meet me to go to the hotel, when I saw Mr. Mawhinney walking towards me with his son. I wasn’t going to let such an opportunity pass me again.
I stood up and said, “Hello Mr. Mawhinney, I would like to shake your hand.”
We shook hands and I said, “It is a real honor to meet you, sir. I have read a lot about you.”
He said, “The honor is mine. What’s your name?”
I told him and he said, “Well this is my son, and his name is Don too.”
I said, “I can remember your name”, and shook his hand too.
I told Mr. Mawhinney about reading of his experiences as a sniper and how much I admired him.
Chuck Mawhinney served in Vietnam in the late 1960s and was credited with 103 confirmed kills and 216 probables by the Marine Corps. But he then returned to the states and went to work for the Forest Service and kind of faded into obscurity. He neither sought fame nor recognition.
The well-known Carlos Hathcock become famous (well deserved) as the “top sniper” of the war with 93 confirmed kills. The great book “White Feather” was written about his exploits. But years later, a guy doing some research found that Mawhinney had actually had more kills than Hathcock. No one even knew his name at the time.
A book was written about Malwinney’s service and he finally became well known. After his retirement from the Forest Service, he has started speaking at sniper conventions.
I asked him, “Would you mind if I took a picture of you?”
He said, “Sure, I’m all over that!”
I dug my camera out and asked him and his son to stand together so I could take a picture and he said, “No, give my son the camera and he can take a picture of you and me.”
So here it is.
I asked him if he knew my buddy Brian Sain from AmericanSnipers.org, and he said, “I sure do know Brian. In fact, I am on my way to the Blackhills Ammunition booth to see Brian in a little while.” I told him to say Hi to Brian and tell him that we had met.
Chuck was as nice of a guy as you would ever want to meet. He was down to earth and just shot the bull with me and acted like we were long time friends.
It was a real pleasure to meet a guy that has long been a hero of mine. He is a living legend to the sniper community and deserves our respect for his service.