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Super-sniper emerges in Fayetteville w/ 316 “confirmed” kills

I’m always somewhat naively amazed by stories like this (Google cache version – original link has been pulled) because I have to wonder how these guys think they can get away with claims like this.  The first thing that obviously catches your eye are the inordinate number of ARCOMs and AAMs the man claims (54?).  He claims he was a Ranger and claims “six Overseas Service ribbons for combat” but no CIB (all this apparently dutifully written up without question by the “reporter”).  And of course the award from the “emperor of Saudi Arabia” along with “several dozen others”.  Several dozen, mind you:

Jeff "Rock" Harris refuses to display his medals and honors in his Kinston home.

He tries to keep the awards – three Purple Hearts, two Silver Stars, a Bronze Star, 23 Army Commendation Medals, 31 Army Achievement Medals, six Overseas Service ribbons for combat, an award from the emperor of Saudi Arabia, along with several dozen others, he acquired during his time as a U.S. Army Ranger – packed away. However, those around him refuse to let him forget how important his time in the military was.

Yeah, I can understand why he refuses to display them (someone wondered what the gross poundage of the oak leaf clusters would be). Then this:

"I have 316 confirmed kills as a sniper, and that’s only in that last three years I was in the Army," Harris said. "Every one of those horrifies me regularly because they were somebody’s children, somebody’s husband or father."

He still feels conflicted about what he had to do, but in the end, he knew it was his duty as a sworn soldier.

"They’re bad people and they’ve done bad things, but who am I to take that away from them?" he asked. "But it was my job to do. Lives were safer because of that – but it’s never easy."

Gee, really?   316 confirmed kills, eh?  Funny, but the 4 most storied snipers in our recent history, the top four snipers, only had a little over 400 confirmed kills between them.  So here we have super-sniper who apparently absolutely no one knows about and he killed almost 3 times the confirmed number of our most lethal sniper, Adelbert Waldron (109 confirmed) had in VN.  In fact he so badly outshot Chuck Mawinny (103 confirmed -VN), Eric England (98 confirmed-VN) and Carlos Hathcock (93 confirmed-VN) that he ought to be a legend in the SpecOps community.

Except apparently no one there has ever heard of him.

Finally there is this bit of “corroboration” which is just as puzzling:

James Murphy served in the Army as a Ranger with Harris and said he wouldn’t be alive if not for Harris’ heroic actions. Murphy recalled after he and another soldier were hit by a rocket-propelled grenade in Mogadishu, Harris ran to their position and carried both of them a half-mile away "not knowing if we were alive or not." He drove them to safety in a burning vehicle and returned to continue to fight.

"If you know him, you are privileged," Murphy said. "If you served with him, you were in the presence of a true American patriot. If he is your friend, you should be honored. He gives hope to humanity that there are still decent, amazing people all around you."

Mmmm … half-mile.  Didn’t know if they were alive or dead (really?).  Drove them to safety in a burning vehicle.  Huh … so that relief taskforce in Mogadishu wasn’t really necessary – all they had to do was follow super-sniper out … in his burning vehicle.  Hey, at least it would be easy to follow.

Of course this should all be easy to check out – as I recall, it was B Co., 3rd Bat, 75th Ranger RGT that was at Mogadishu.  This nonsense has already caught the attention of the US Army Ranger Association (that’s where I found out about it).   Their quick internal checks came up empty on the guy and Murphy.

Two questions – how does a person think such a story will pass undetected and unchallenged?  The irony is this piece was in the Fayetteville Observer.  Yeah, that’s right, the newspaper of the town in which Ft. Bragg, NC is located.  Yeah, no one there is going to notice, are they?

Which brings me to the second question – how does something like this get through the editorial process without being heavily questioned, especially in a paper that should have a staff thoroughly educated in the military given their proximity and the huge part the base plays in the life of the town?  Whatever happened to fact checking?  What ever happened to knowing enough about your subject that you’re not as easily gulled as these folks appear to have been?

Anyway, something tells me this isn’t going to turn out well for “Rock”.

/sarc

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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34 Responses to Super-sniper emerges in Fayetteville w/ 316 “confirmed” kills

  • It’s not polite to assume that somebody’s lying, I guess.

    “I have 316 confirmed kills as a sniper, and that’s only in that last three years I was in the Army,” Harris said. “Every one of those horrifies me regularly because they were somebody’s children, somebody’s husband or father.”*

    Color me cynical, but I’m guessing that this bit of gloss helped dissuade the reporter and layers upon layers of fact-checkers looking too deeply into the story.  “Hey, here’s a SNIPER – a man who’s killed over 300 terrorists – who HATES what the Army made him do!  Quick!  Blow the dust off those Jesse McBeth stories; I think we can reuse some of that material!”

    Bah.

    —-

    (*) I don’t say that snipers – or combat vets of any description – don’t feel remorse, as I know that many of them do.  However, this seems a bit too cliche for me.

    • But the guy had to make 316 “gutsy calls” there.  That should count for something.

    • A couple of shows on the Military Channel that I stumbled on respecting snipers had interviews with some of the guys.  I stink at names, but the ones I recall were from VN (a rather storied engagement at a river crossing) and Iraq (some really amazing shooting skills).  Neither guy had the least remorse.

      • But no one I’ve ever encountered with real honest combat time has told THOSE kinds of stories.

        I’ve heard stories of trucks dropped (dropped, not lowered….) from helicopters, gear moved from place to place to hide it from inspection, stories of Air Force guys bitching about plywood floors in their tents in Baghdad, bars in Vung Tau, shore leave in Hong Kong, Australian drinking buddies, Marines going through the berm/minefield in Desert Storm, engine fires on B52′s, U2 flights over the Kola penninsula, etc

        I have yet to hear any of them talk about killing anyone, though I know damn well some of them did.

        • I had a fellow worker (now dead) who, while with the Air Force, escorted a shipment of “funny blue containers with nuclear emblems on them” to Gitmo during the Cuban missile crisis.  Then there was the even funnier story was about how the railroad car, that contained those “funny blue containers with nuclear emblems on them”  showed up on base with only a simple padlock for security.  Having no idea what was in the car, they used bolt cutters to open the car.

  • Uh, it was a “Call of Duty” newspaper for Call of Duty players?

    I’m surprised the guy didn’t count his zombie kills too, but maybe there weren’t medals awarded for those.

    Meanwhile…the emperor of Saudi Arabia?   What, no medals from the Prince of Persia?
    What level of eduction does the reporter have?

    • emperor of Saudi Arabia

      I wonder if he showed the reporter his collection of DragonBalls.

      • No, they were stacked in the box under his medal of excellence from the Sultan of Ompapamaumau, and he didn’t want to dig down too deep, you know how those stacks of boxes can be if you upset their balance.

    • I bet to the next reporter he told about all his kills with the new experimental “Lancer”, which combines gun with chainsaw….

  • Heck, I had over fifty confirmed sniper kills just yesterday. I was playing the “Truth and Reconciliation” level on Heroic. Mostly Sangheili Elites, but also some Jackals, and even a few Grunts when I had plenty of ammo to waste.

    If I express remorse, can I get an article in the Nashville Tennessean? More to the point, can I convince them that the Sangheili are actually an Afghan tribe allied with the Taliban? Shouldn’t be too hard, as long as the reporter is female and doesn’t play Halo.

  • Real snipers never talk about their kills. It’s other people who keep count.
    I have looked several times on the net for records of snipers in the 9th Inf Div and it”s as if they didn’t exist.
    I know they did because I was one of them. It does mention some of the Marines having snipers.                               9th Inf Div 5/60th Inf Vietnam 1970

  • Whatever happened to fact checking?  What ever happened to knowing enough about your subject that you’re not as easily gulled as these folks appear to have been?

    You will find…over and over…reporters are some of the most ignorant people on the planet.
    It is actually amazing how dumb almost all of them are, and how little they try to inform themselves on the subjects they PRETEND to know something about.
    The reportage on the Gulf oil spill was a prime example.

    • Well, it wasn’t the editors who outed Michael A. Bellesiles and the fabrications in his book Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture:

      http://chronicle.com/article/Michael-Bellesiles-Takes-An/123751/

      If Bellesiles had published his fabrications before the internet I think he would have gotten away with it. Sure, some would have known about this or that falsehood, but they would have had no platform to get the word out.

    • “reporters are some of the most ignorant people on the planet”

      And even worse, they have no curiosity. Curiosity is a good cure for ignorance.

      • One of my favorites was the chickie reporter who soberly said of a huge explosion/flash fire in Texas that it was caused by methanol, rather than methane.  I guess the extra suffix sounded more “sciency”…or something.
        Of course, all her colleagues were reporting that a “salt dome” had “exploded”.  Which would have been impossible for anyone to even say who knew a damn thing about combustion.  There is essentially no oxygen in a salt dome filled with gas.  The valving on the surface had failed, and natural gas had leaked into the atmosphere, providing a very unhappy combustible mix that finally found an ignition point.

  • Not sure how the guy got an award from the emperor of Saudi Arabia, seeing as how SA has a king.

  • He drove them to safety in a burning vehicle …

    Obvious troll is obvious

  • In college, two of my room mates had fathers who were Marines and close friends. The were WW2 / Korean War Marines, and contractors in Vietnam.

    I recall showing one of the fathers my new Springfiled 1911, and he looked at the pistol. He was a marine DI and shooting instructor early in WW2 (he was part of the old breed, he was USMC prior to the war), and he told me about using a 1911 in Korea. He saw a Chinese or NK up close, pulled his pistol and shot at the guy up close and MISSED. It was the first time he had a clear shot up close at someone, and he MISSED. But they got the guy with a BAR.

    The other father shot and killed an NVA or VC during Tet ’68 IN FRONT OF my room mate, who was a toddler. Both of my room mates had Vietnamese mothers, and during Tet the father went with a Jeep to rescue the family. As he was loading them into the Jeep, the VC or NVA came up and the father shot him dead with a 1911.

    • There was a Finnish sniper from the ’39 war who racked up a huge number of kills. 505 confirmed (according to Wiki) with possibly a total reaching 800:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simo_H%C3%A4yh%C3%A4

      I suspect part of his success was due to the natue of the Red Army. And speaking of the Red Army, they made much propaganda hay from their snipers during WW2, and while they were no doubt effective, I don’t trust many of their claims.

      For example, the famous “Enemy at the Gates” story about the sniper duel is false. The Russian sniper is real, but the German sniper sent to hunt him is a fabrication.

      • Rather like the Luftwaffe kill claims in WWII? (Hartmann – 352 “kills”) Germany supposedly had one pilot shoot down 17 British aircraft in ONE DAY during the Africa campaign. Trouble is, the British lost only nine aircraft that day IN THE WHOLE theater.

  • Claiming to be an American spec ops or Marine hero seems to be rather stupid. They always get outed. If you are gonna make fake claims you might as well claim to be SAS or Sealous Scout or some other foreign type, not easy to verify US forces.

    • Yeah, but you don’t get the, “Really?  WOW!  Let me buy you a drink!” response if you claim to be SAS, GSG9, etc.  It’s always struck me that, if I wanted to pretend to be a bada**, I’d claim, “Yeah, I was there but (drops voice to a conspiratorial whisper) I just can’t talk about it.  You understand, right?”

      • Also might be the times. Once upon a time Sealous Scouts and GSG9 were well known, now not so much.

        For some reason, claiming to be a SEAL is “in”. Back in the early 90s a surfer/hippie type who wanted to rent a cabin from my dad claimed to be a SEAL “snipe” (I assume he meant sniper). It was obvious to me he was FOS.  

  • Article looks a lot like an app for Deathstroke the Terminator I got once at my Batman RPG.  (Rejected it, once I was done snickering).

    • You probably don’t believe Conan armed only with his trusty butter knife slaughtered hordes of warriors at the Gates of Shadraz either.

  • Sounds like someone ripe for prosecution under the Stolen Valor Act.

    • Depends on whether he wore any of what he claims to have earned in public and/or whether he tried to use this story as a means of claiming veteran’s benefits. Unlikely they’ll prosecute someone just for lying.

  • Here’s a follow up to the article
    “A Kinston man who told a story of sniper kills and surviving Somalia now stands accused of making at least most of it up.”
    http://m.fayobserver.com/articles/2011/07/06/1106304?path=/articles/2011/07/06/1106304

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