MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO --
He is tired and feeling the slight pang of hunger set in, covered in camouflage face paint and sweat, yet, Rct. Terry Hathcock, Platoon 1074, Company D, sits extremely disciplined. His back straight as a board, his eyes straight ahead.
Though his drill instructors are making him a Marine, discipline also runs in his family.
“I was about eight years old when I found out about my cousin,” said Hathcock, as a slim white smile begins to form in the midst of green and black face paint. “One of my friends read it in a book and asked me about him. I had no clue who he was so I went home and asked my grandpa.”
Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Hathcock found out he was related to a Marine Corps legend.
GySgt. Hathcock was a Marine Corps sniper with 93 confirmed kills during Vietnam. He set the record for longest combat kill of 2,500 yards in 1967 and held that record until 2002. His confirmed kills, enthusiastic commitment and remarkable details of each operation he accepted made him the legend that he is known as today.
“The way my grandpa explained it to me is I’m (Hathcock’s) third cousin,” said the Dallas native. “Growing up he would tell me little things about Carlos here and there.”
Though joining the Marine Corps was something the Duncanville High School alumni always wanted to do, after graduating his senior year he found a job as a dock worker loading at a freight company.
“I was working at a trucking company right out of high school, the pay was good so it took be a little while to realize that serving my country as a Marine was what I really wanted to do.”
The 23 year-old first stepped on the yellow footprints back in February, but due to a broken hand, he was dropped from Co.L into a medical rehabilitation platoon and then finally assigned to his current platoon with Co. D.
“As soon as I got to this platoon, most of the drill instructors knew I was related to the gunnery sergeant so they put a lot of pressure on me because of that,” said the second oldest child of four. “They put me in that shadow, but it makes me want to better myself, it’s a pair of pretty big shoes to fill but I’m not intimidated.”
Hathcock’s unwavering sense of pride in his self and the family name is something people notice.
“When he broke his hand, he wrote he wasn’t coming home until he was a Marine,” said his wife Shanna Hathcock. “I think very highly of him. He always gives one hundred percent. He is very loyal and honest.”
As others around Hathcock take note of his character, he holds one leadership trait close to his heart.
“Without loyalty I believe all the others fall away,” said Hathcock. “For example, if I wasn’t loyal to my wife and I cheated on her how could I be loyal to anything else? It would affect my job and other areas of my life.”
As Hathcock marches across the parade deck today and takes his place among the ranks of United States Marines, he will not be placing his feet in the shoes of his cousin, but more so stepping beside them.
“Everyone knows him as a (legend), I look up to him and I want to push myself to do the same thing.”
Hathcock is an expert rifleman, and shot a 334 on the range, missing the range high score by one point.
“I was really happy he scored that high,” said Staff Sgt. Fernando Lopez, senior drill instructor, platoon 1074, Co. D. “He’s a Marine’s Marine. He’s very humble but he speaks up if something is wrong, and he’s always looking out for his brothers. I’m very proud of him.”