Charles “Chuck” Mawhinney, famed USMC sniper with 103 confirmed kills during the Vietnam war, passed away on February 12th, 2024 in Baker City, Oregon. He was 11 days shy of his 75th birthday. The death was announced by the funeral home and there were no further details given.

Mawhinney in Country – USMC

When it comes to famous snipers from the Vietnam War, Charles Mawhinney is second only to Carlos Hathcock in notoriety. Chuck actually had the most confirmed kills for a USMC sniper with 103 compared to Carlos’s 93, but the book Marine Sniper written in the 1980’s by Charles Henderson made Carlos famous, while Chuck decided to just move on after the war and put his experiences behind him. Fortunately for history buffs, but unfortunately for Chuck trying to put his past behind him, Chuck’s notoriety became public from another book written in 1991 by another USMC sniper named J.T. Ward titled Dear Mom, where he mentioned Chuck Mawhinney, whom JT served with, and his kill count and the word got out. There was actually a mention of Chuck, not by name, in the Carlos Hathcock book as well, but it was a single mention made in passing.

Chuck Mawhinney, by all accounts, was an exceptional sniper and as his 103 confirmed, and 216 probable kills attests to, a very effective one. Chuck served 16 months in 1968 & 69 and returned to the states in early 1970 and was discharged a few months later, returning to his home town in eastern Oregon. While he typically was quiet about his service, he wasn’t bashful or shy when asked about it. He respected his enemy and was not a fan of tracking kill counts, and for the most part he was regarded as a consummate warrior. He notoriously used a M40 sniper rifle during his time in country and most every picture taken of him in country he is holding his beloved rifle, which is now displayed in the USMC museum.

Mawhinney’s M40 – USMC

As is common with snipers, Chuck learned to shoot and stalk as a kid while hunting in the woods around his home in Oregon. From there he applied his skills as a Marine in Vietnam after he convinced a unit to bring him on as a marksman, it turns out that was a very wise decision .

The only personal experience I have with Chuck Mawhinney is actually a non experience. When I went through the US Army Sniper School in 1997, Discovery Channel was there doing a documentary. Part of the show included an interview with Chuck Mawhinney and we as a class were scheduled to spend some time with him. Unfortunately, either our training went long, or his interview went short (I honestly do not remember), and we never did get the opportunity to meet him. But his interview did make it to the Discovery Channel show. If you would like to learn more about Chuck, a new biography was just published in 2023 titled The Sniper.

Another one of our Sniper Brothers has passed, a true warrior, and extremely skilled sniper. May he rest in peace.

Mel E – Sniper Central Editor in Chief.

Mawhinney – USMC


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