John E. Boitnott, Staff Sgt; Korea

Sean the Nailer

May 20, 2006
Winnipeg, Mb.
By Ned Forney:

He was wounded during the attack on Pearl Harbor, fought at Iwo Jima and Okinawa, and became the most famous Marine Corps sniper of the Korean War . . .

By the time Staff Sgt. John E. Boitnott left Korea in July 1952, he was one of the most talked about Marines of the Korean War.

The Marine sniper, who earned the Bronze Star, Navy Commendation Medal, and six purple hearts, had gained national attention by his unorthodox, but highly effective, method of taking out enemy soldiers.
During a two-day period, Boitnott, assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, used his M1C Garand sniper rifle to make nine confirmed kills - with nine shots - an extraordinary feat considering the firing conditions, rifle, and scopes used during that time.
But it wasn’t just Boitnott's outstanding marksmanship that earned him so much respect. It was also how he acquired his targets. And that's where his trusty assistant, PFC Henry Friday, came into the picture.
The young, hard-charging Marine was the staff sergeant’s observer/spotter. But he had another job. Friday had volunteered to do something most people would consider crazy. Acting as a live decoy, the PFC would calmly and courageously walk along his company's lines - fully exposing himself to enemy fire - while Boitnott zeroed in on unsuspecting Chinese snipers trying to kill the Marine.
The plan worked, and Friday, proud of his role in the unconventional plan, was never hit.
With war correspondents showing up to cover the story, both Marines were soon receiving national attention. Within days, top-ranking Marine officers were also turning up.
Impressed with the good work but also worried that Friday was taking unnecessary risks, they terminated the operation. According to 5th Marines’ records, however, Boitnott continued his streak, earning eight more confirmed kills before he was severely wounded by enemy rifle and mortar fire and sent back to the States.
Boitnott, who joined the Marines in July 1941, just months before Pearl Harbor, told people that after being hit in the helmet by a Chinese sniper’s bullet, he had made a promise to himself and his men to take down as many enemy snipers as possible.
Promoted to Master Gunnery Sergeant, Boitnott retired from the Marine Corps in 1971 after 30 years of service. He died in his sleep on October 13, 2008 at the age of 86.
Today we pay tribute to Boitnott and all the snipers who served during the Korean War. Without their remarkable skill, bravery, and dedication, hundreds of young Americans would never have come home.
Lest we forget.


Gunny Sergeant
Nov 6, 2011
Great post!

If his M1C was equipped with a USMC Kollmorgen scope optically he had as good as you could get in the day and it would still be respectable today.

People that have those scopes pine for turrets on their newer scopes that feel as good.


instaG= hashtagdorgan
Aug 19, 2010
North Denver, CO
Would love to know the distance on the 9 confirmed kill run. Id guess 2-3 hundred yards...? VERY cool regardless.

Also very surprised his man Friday didn't get straffed by machine gun fire...good planning I spose.

Leads me to my last point, Friday rides to town on Friday, stay for 3 days, then Friday leaves on Friday...How is this possible?? lol.