Dead Center: A Marine Sniper’s Two Year Odyssey in the Vietnam War – Ed Kugler, 1999
A rough, tough sniper’s account of two years action in Vietnam with the Marines.
In true pulp fiction military bravado style the front of Dead Center (aff) reads, “Delivering death from a distance – one man’s account of precision marksmanship in Vietnam”…a statement somewhat belied by the photos we see of a thin and gaunt looking Kugler standing with his sniper’s rifle.
This book however is raw and muscular in style and delivers a powerful account of Kugler’s journey as a sniper through the 4th Marines and then into a specialist five-sniper team that hunted for the enemy in the Co-Bi Than Tan valley.
There’s some riveting and involving stuff here dealing with snipers’ duels where US and VC rival snipers would spend hours of watching, waiting and keeping still before an explosion of deadly violence would interrupt. Fans of bushcraft would be equally as interested in this work as would those looking for snipers stories – in Dead Center (aff) Kugler goes into much technical depth about how much he learned in the ‘ Nam .
Moving around, living off the land and leaving little trace were of paramount importance to the survival of these deadly ghost soldiers as much as an unwavering aim and heart and nerves of steel. The slang of the marines is authentic and this is a raw, manly read written by one tough fellow. Recommended sniper’s stuff.