Capt W. McMillan, Jr., won a gold medal and GySgt James Hill a silver one

by GySgt Mel Jones

IT MUST have been a nerve-rending day in Rome for the two Marines who became the only Americans to win medals in Olympic shooting last September.

Captain William W. McMillan, Jr., after tying with a Finn and a Russian, and to blast through a shoot-off to win his gold medal. GySgt James E. Hill, after a day of matching bull-for-bull with a German youth, lost his gold medal by a single point, but earned a silver medal for the U.S. team.

Capt McMillan, who has been perforating championship bull's-eye for 10 years, carbon-copied a performance he first staged in Moscow two years ago. Then, he tied a Czechoslovakian shooter for the Pistol and Revolver World Championship at the International Matches The captain outshot the Czech in a shoot-off and won the title.

In Rome this year, "Mr. Pistol" (one of the captain's nicknames) faced another shoot-off after tying a Finn and a Russian with the score of 587x600. In the final round, the scores were:

Zabelin of Russia: 49, 37, 49
Lennoyvuo of Finland: 46, 45, 49
McMillan of the U.S.: 48, 50, 49

The Marine won the rapid-fire pistol competition by seven points.

Shortly after, GySgt Hill and Germany's Peter Kohnke matched trigger squeezes in the small-bore rilfe, prone position, shooting. There were many other riflemen, but the Marine and the German dominated their competition from the beginning.

When the firing line secured, it looked as though Hill and Kohnke had tied for the gold medal. Then the targets were checked again, and Kohnke got another point. Final tally:

Kohnke: 590
Hill: 589

The medals will join already crowded trophy cases in the Marines' homes. Capt McMillan holds the individual Corps rifle (and pistol) match records, the Lauchheimer Trophy and the McDougall Trophy records, the international rapid-fire record (.22-cal. pistol) and the pistol championship for national matches (.45-cal). Along with others, GySgt Hill has won the National Service Rifle Championship (with M-1 in 1956) and the General Lemuel C. Shepherd Trophy. He also won the Western Nationals at Los Angeles last May.

At HQMC, when Major General C. R. Allen, the Corps' Quartermaster General, heard of the medals awards, he commented on the self-control and discipline the captain and sergeant must have exercised during the shoot.

It was, MajGen Allen concluded, an example of marksmanship developing leadership. The general also recalled a time when Capt McMillan's leadership won the Corps a team pistol match at Camp Perry.

"Mr. Pistol" was team captain last year. During the pistol matches, he was told the Marines were being outshot. He sent a man to investigate. The Marines were being bested by 11 points.

Turning to his shooting partner, Capt McMillan pointed out that they had to shoot "a pair of 290s" to win. The two men stepped up and shot.

When the scores were tabulated, they had fired a 289 and a 291 - for a 290 average!


The Commandant congratulated Capt McMillan (1st in rapid-fire pistol competition) and GySgt Hill (2d in the small-bore rifle prone position)

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