Adelbert F. Waldron: The unsung hero of the Vietnam War


This is one of the few public images Adelbert F. Waldron. Here in the jungle Vietnamese, with his trusty M14

Whenever we talk of American snipers , the first name that comes to the fore is that of the famous Carlos Hathcock , a great example for his teammates both on and off the battlefield. His 93 confirmed kills make it one of the most effective snipers U.S. history . However, there is often forgotten shooter whose confirmed death toll exceeds that of the legendary Hathcock . This is the U.S. Army Sergeant Adelbert F. Waldron , who during his stay as elite shooter in the U.S. military managed to end the life of a total of 109 enemies , the highest figure achieved American sniper in U.S. history .

Waldron served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War , specifically the 9th Infantry Division. In that country remained only 8 months, but in this short period of time he truly amazing feats as a target to bring down a distance of over 900 meters and firing on a moving platform . However, despite all its merits and received numerous military awards , Bert Waldron is an absolute unknown to most fans rifle shooting long distance . An unsung hero whose unruly and rebellious character finally get him away from the frontline.

Selected shooters Training the 9th Infantry Division U.S. Army

Selected shooters Training the 9th Infantry Division U.S. Army

Adelbert Waldron was born in 1933 within a humble family. His parents divorced when Waldron was just a child , a situation the most prolific sniper in U.S. history never overcome. Completely lacking in love and affection , the little Adelbert spent long hours hunting in the forests of Baldwinsville ( New York ) . They say those who knew him best as one of his three wives , Betty Waldron, that this childhood marked by loneliness and its relationship with firearms , defined throughout later life. In 1956 Waldron joined the U.S. Navy (U.S. Navy) , where he remained about 12 years.

On May 7, 1968 decided to change the destination and enlisted in the Army (U.S. Army) , and a week later, on May 14 , began his education and training in Fort Benning (Georgia ) . Erected as Sergeant, on November 4 of that year landed in South Vietnam, specifically the Division 9th Infantry Regiment. Waldron unit was the biggest operations conducted in the Mekong Delta, one of the most hostile territories with a greater number of insurgents throughout the Vietnam War . In this dangerous stage, where almost daily every American soldier confronted face to face with death , Waldron got the better of himself: an amazing skill in handling his rifle and astounding precision to make long distance shots .

Great decorations
Before starting their first skirmishes , Waldron said a program volunteer 18 days of training for selected shooters who taught the Mayor Willis L. Powell in Vietnam itself . After completing the course , and having proven to be an excellent shot , it was time to prove their effectiveness in the battlefield . Thus, during the first half of 1969 , Sergeant Waldron managed to accumulate a total of 109 confirmed kills on the side of the Viet Cong, a record which earned him to get some of the most prestigious awards granted by the U.S. Army .

Distinguished Service Cross, one of the awards he received Waldron

Distinguished Service Cross, one of the awards he received Waldron

In this sense , Bert Waldron is one of the few American infants has twice received the “Distinguished Service Cross” ( Distinguished Service Cross ) , one of the most valued military honors by American soldiers . However, it is the second highest award you can receive a U.S. Army soldier ( second only to the Purple Heart ) , and is awarded to soldiers who have acted with extreme courage in situations where his eyesight has seriously danger. He received two shares outstanding during the year 1969 , undoubtedly the busiest military career all Adelbert F. Waldron . This authentic off series also was awarded three Bronze Stars and one Silver Star , awarded by an overnight operation which took place on January 22, 1969 in the province of Kien Hoa. There, in one night , Waldron took the lives of 11 soldiers of the enemy .

Another of his outstanding performances took place on January 30, 1969 northeast of Ben Tre . Waldron and ambushed observer at the intersection of two dams and waited until 20:00 pm to make a first down . It was a Viet Cong soldier who had detected a strange movement among a grove of trees in front of the position where Waldron was . The requested Vietnamese soldier fire artillery against that position, but their commanders refused their request to consider that it was an area populated by civilians. On cue , Waldron struck this soldier , and waited until 8:40 p.m. in that position until he passed a convoy with 16 members of Viet Cong . In this case , and at night , Waldron killed 8 Vietnamese soldiers with accurate shooting made ​​from an approximate distance of 500 meters. Best of all is that Waldron only needed 8 shots to take down his 8 enemies , ie made ​​after the famous motto of the sniper : one shot, one low (one shot , one kill ) .

Vietnam Hunting Club

Vietnam Hunting Club

A similar story in this case the account Lt. Gen. John Ewell , who in his ” Sharpening the combat edge: The use of analysis to Reinforce military judgment” Waldron credited to one of the most unlikely and difficult shots in the history of snipers . According to Ewell account , ” an afternoon Waldron was sailing down the Mekong River aboard a Tango boat when an enemy sniper fired from a shore with his boat . While the rest of the crew of the boat were very nervous tense and trying to get to safety and find his adversary , who was shooting at them from a distance of over 900 meters , Waldron grabbed his rifle, his enemy located on top a palm tree and struck him down with one shot . And all from a moving platform . These were the faculties of our best sniper . ”

A Leatherwood M14 and a viewer
These heroic actions starring Bert Waldron have more merit even if we consider that all the low achieved with a semiautomatic rifle , the legendary M14 . While the rest of “top snipers ” U.S. military did bolt action rifles like the Winchester Pre -64 M70 Carlos Hathcock . The model used by Waldron was specifically known as M21 , M14 an upgraded version intended for infantry sharpshooters . The M21 rifle was delivered equipped with leather sling classic and visor M1907 ballistic calculator ART Leatherwood 3-9x (Adjustable & Ranging Trajectory ) . Accurate to distances greater than 800 meters , the M21 fired standard 7.62mm NATO cartridge .

Shooter select a viewer Leatherwood M14 and ART

Shooter select a viewer Leatherwood M14 and ART

The Rock Island Arsenal modified over 1,400 units of its M14 to turn on the M21 and sent to Vietnam in 1969. From then until 1988, the M21 with the Leatherwood ART viewer became the official manning rifle shooters all U.S. Army selected . Developed by U.S. Army Captain Jim Leatherwood , Leatherwood ART optical sight had a unique system of calculation able to calculate ballistic projectile fall in shooting up to 1,000 meters. All the time select shooters learned to handle these viewers that today. In certain operations or ambushes, Waldron also used the primitive Starlight night vision , which acoplaba his M21 rifle with a silencer to abate very specific goals overnight.

Because of its notorious actions , Waldron became one of the American soldiers most feared and wanted by the Viet Cong communist forces . This Bert Waldron forced to use a code name , which was ” Daniel Boone” . Hence the saw signs that the Vietnamese army offered a $ 50,000 reward to whom they deliver to sniper known as Daniel Boone . This forced the U.S. Army to return to the U.S. Waldron , having spent just eight months in the Vietnamese jungle . The sniper returned home on July 21, 1969 and shortly thereafter began to work as a shooting instructor in the training program for elite shooters of Fort Benning (Georgia ) .

Larry Burrows, LIFE magazine photographer, captured this snapshot of young American soldiers in the jungle Vietnamese

Larry Burrows, LIFE magazine photographer, captured this snapshot of young American soldiers in the jungle Vietnamese

However, shortly later, in March 1970 , decided to abandon the Army and joined the company MAC (Military Armament Company ), owned by controversial Werbell Mitchel , and manufacturer of mufflers Sionics that Waldron had used in Vietnam as well popular as the MAC -10 submachine guns and MAC -11 ( designed by Gordon Ingram ) . From Werbell hand , a renowned engineer and former weapons CIA agent , Adelbert Waldron made ​​works of various kinds, among which include acting as a mercenary or soldier of fortune in different scenarios.

From the 1980s Waldron ‘s personal life became increasingly troubled . He divorced his wife Betty , with whom he had been married from 1969-1981 , remarried , and was lurching from side to side trying to make a living until 1995 when he died in complete anonymity . Perhaps this is the main reason that , despite having served as inspiration for many soldiers in the battlefield , Waldron has not ever enjoyed all possibly deserved recognition . After his short but very intense step by Vietnam, never really adapted well to civilian life , and was able to find steady work . Surely , he knew his place was in that jungle .


One thought on “Adelbert F. Waldron: The unsung hero of the Vietnam War

  1. A mistake here. The Medal of Honor, not the Purple Heart, is the highest award that be given to an American serviceman.

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