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Cover image for 13 cent killers : the 5th Marine Snipers in Vietnam
13 cent killers : the 5th Marine Snipers in Vietnam
Other title(s):
Thirteen cent killers

1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Ballantine Books, 2003.
Physical Description:
xiv, 272 pages : illustrations, maps ; 18 cm
Opening shots, 1966 -- 1st Division Sniper School : Gunnery Sergeant Vernon D. Mitchell -- 5th Marine snipers, Chu Lai, Vietnam : Corporal Ronald R. Willoughby -- VC sapper attack, Marine Corps base, Chu Lai : Tom Casey -- Night ambush, Chu Lai : Tom Casey and Vaughn Nickell -- Sniper operations at An Hoa : Sergeants Tom Casey and Ronald Willoughby -- Operation Tuscaloosa : Ron Willoughby and Vaughn Nickell -- Six O'clock Charlie gets zapped -- Casey's shooters go into battle -- Storm clouds gather over Go Noi Island -- Searching for the enemy -- The Viet Cong brace for battle -- The sniper's assault -- Snipers invade Antenna Valley : Fred Sanders and Dennis Toncar -- Snipers called into Arizona : Sergeant Tom Casey and Ron Willoughby -- Jayne Mansfield visits An Hoa -- Gunny Mitchell comes to Casey's aid -- Great leaders are made, not born -- New snipers report to Chu Lai -- Night patrol with Bravo 1/5 -- 5th Marines push into Antenna Valley -- Casey's friend dies a hero's death -- Buddy Bolton and John Culbertson team up at sniper school -- Big Jim Flynn and Tony the Greek go on patrol -- The snipers get rescued by grunt mortars -- The 5th Marines make their summer offensive.
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"It's not easy to stay alive with a $1,000 bounty on your head."

In 1967, a bullet cost thirteen cents, and no one gave Uncle Sam a bigger bang for his buck than the 5th Marine Regiment Sniper Platoon. So feared were these lethal marksmen that the Viet Cong offered huge rewards for killing them. Now noted Vietnam author John J. Culbertson, a former 5th Marine sniper himself, presents the riveting true stories of young Americans who fought with bolt rifles and bounties on their heads during the fiercest combat of the war, from 1967 through the desperate Tet battle for Hue in early '68.

In spotter/shooter pairs, sniper teams accompanied battle-hardened Marine rifle companies like the 2/5 on patrols and combat missions. Whether fighting their way out of a Viet Cong "kill zone" or battling superior numbers of NVA crack troops, the sniper teams were at the cutting edge in the art of jungle warfare, showing the patience, stealth, combat marksmanship, and raw courage that made the unit the most decorated regimental sniper platoon in the Vietnam War. Harrowing and unforgettable, these accounts pay tribute to the heroes who made the greatest sacrifice of all-and leave no doubt that among 5th Marine snipers uncommon valor was truly a common virtue.

Author Notes

John J. Culbertson served with the 2/5, 1st Marine Division, at An Hoa, Vietnam, from December 1966 to July 1967. He completed 1st MarDiv Sniper School in Da Nang and was wounded in action, earning three Purple Hearts. John Culbertson presently heads the Youth Development Tae Kwon Do Academy in Oklahoma City. He is a 5th degree black belt master.