“Make the mortars stop”

Sniper stops insurgents from 950 yards

A reader gives me the heads up to this story.

Sandoval, 26, saw that one of the men was about to place a mortar in a mortar tube. He knew he had to make a well-aimed shot before the insurgent gunner launched the deadly round. Sandoval cleared his thoughts and slowed his breathing as he gently squeezed the trigger of his M-40A3 sniper rifle. The 7.62 mm round covered the 950 yards in a flash, slamming into the chest of the first insurgent.

“The battalion (executive officer) ordered me to ‘make the mortars stop,'” said Sandoval, a native of El Paso, Texas. “I took it personally and went out specifically to stop the insurgents.”

With two more insurgents still alive and ready to continue the mortar attack, Sandoval composed himself for the next shot at the assistant gunner. The last two shots took out the driver of the vehicle that carried the weapon.

“When I finally spotted them along a tree line, I realized how far they were but it was surprising how easy it was,” said Sandoval.

Those four shots were the longest in Sandoval has taken since he became a scout sniper.

950 yards. That’s almost [over] half a mile.

The mortars stopped.



  1. Dear Murdoc, I thought I had done something wrong when I posted a message recently praising Gunnery Sgt. Carlos Hathcock. I later came back to this message board and found my message had been ‘wiped’. I didn’t use bad language or attack anyone. I merely mentioned The Gunny had 93 confirmed kills and most likely double that amount while serving in Viet Nam. Of course, my immediate reaction was I did something wrong and you deleted my tribute to a fine Marine. From your reply I guess I was wrong.

  2. Damn it. I’m sorry Toejam. I must have deleted your comment accidentally. I’ve been under a HUGE spam attack for about four days now and your comment isn’t the first legit one I’ve accidentally deleted. My apologies. I’ll restore it if I can. For the record, I’ve only ‘wiped’ one non-spam comment EVER on this site. Intentionally, at least. And when I do that, I will put a [comment deleted] notice up. If anyone’s comments just up and vanish for no apparent reason, let me know. My policy is to restore them IF I CAN and to note the original time/date when I do so. I’m going to have to do something about this.