I guess it has to be said again – there is NO SUCH THING AS A CONFIRMED KILL!

Kill count

A friend of mine posted this article on Facebook, about retired SFC Johnson – “the deadliest US soldier on record with 2,746 kills.” I’ve seen posts at other milblogs about this guy and the outrageous claims being made. I’ve also seen news items, like this one from Yahoo News which discusses the potential case for stolen valor here.

What blows my mind though, is how the whole notion of the “confirmed kill” is glossed over again and again. Authors even put the term in quotation marks without taking a moment to ask what it even means or if it is an actual real thing.

I’ve written about it before. There is no such thing as a “confirmed kill.” The term is something popularized by Hollywood and video games. There is no recording of kills and crediting it to individuals. It’s nonsense. All of it.

If someone wants to “claim” kills, fine. It’s disgusting and abhorrent but more accurate than “confirmed,” which makes it sound clinical and official – which it isn’t.

So, again, in conclusion, there is no such thing as a confirmed kill.

There is no such thing as a confirmed kill.

There is no such thing as a confirmed kill.

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Army Myths: Confirmed kills

Confirmed Kill

I’ve checked and double-checked my ERB and ORB. There is no category to record my “confirmed kills.” The term “confirmed kill” gets thrown around a lot, especially in sniper circles. The whole idea of a “confirmed” kill suggests there is some process or that there is a forensics team that descends on a body after a shot was fired to confirm unequivocally who gets the credit.

That doesn’t happen.

Most Confirmed Kills
People really want to know.

As far as I understand, there is no way of keeping track of individual kills. Individual soldiers may ‘confirm’ to themselves that they are responsible for a kill – but there is no official way of tracking that, no process. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are some award citations out there where you might find the term ‘confirmed kill,’ but that is a reflection on how pervasive the term has become, not an indication of an official policy or process.

Hollywood and the media have latched onto the idea of the “confirmed kill” and use it as a way of displaying the individual skill and prowess of a soldier – usually a sniper. Journalists have no problem throwing the term around without checking to see what the term means or how a confirmed kill is actually confirmed, often taking military folk at their word.

So if someone tells you they racked up X amount of “confirmed kills” you can blow them off. Or better, ask them how those kills were confirmed and who confirmed them. If he (or she) says that they did it themselves, you can nod and smile at them. Then walk away.

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