The Deadly Sgt. 1st Class Johnson
With 2,746 confirmed kills, Sgt. 1st Class Dillard Johnson is the deadliest American soldier on record — and maybe the most humble.Kentucky has a history of producing sharp shooters. The US is fortunate to have such troops. I was not aware that a Bradley Fighting Vehicle could be so deadly. I thought it was mainly a mechanized troop carrier with a small gun for protection.
As a commander of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle nicknamed “Carnivore,” Johnson, 48, helped lead the ground assault during Operation Iraqi Freedom, overwhelming the enemy with a relentless show of military might that left a trail of dead in his wake.
Johnson was obliged to report confirmed kills to his superiors, cataloging the dead in a green journal that revealed the astonishing tally — which only began to come light as he and co-writer James Tarr were researching his exploits for his memoir, also titled “Carnivore.”
There may have been a deadlier soldier in an earlier war, but since detailed records have been kept, Johnson tops the list.
It’s a mantle he is reluctant to embrace.
“It’s sort of sad to say, but they’re just another pencil mark,” Johnson told The Post, referring to his journal notations. “I didn’t think of the numbers . . . That’s not a boast I would make.”
Johnson, 48, grew up in Island, Ky., hanging out in strip mines and hunting deer with his daddy’s gun. His first kill came at the tender age of 13, when he nailed a six-point buck with a .22-caliber rifle.
In high school, he joined the ROTC, and in 1986, he joined the Army, fulfilling a childhood dream spawned from the pages of comic books.
“When I was growing up, everyone wanted to be an astronaut, a cowboy, or a firefighter. I wanted to be Sgt. Rock,” he said, referring to DC Comics’ gritty WWII hero.
In Iraq, he joined Charlie Troop, 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry, going on to hunt bigger game — wiping out a truckload of Iraqis with six high-explosive rounds in March 2003 at the battle of As Samawah, his first KIAs.
EXCERPT: DILLARD JOHNSON'S MEMOIR 'CARNIVORE'
He counted the dead by tallying rifles — and human heads — among the mangled or charred wreckage left behind by the Carnivore.
In his second tour, in 2005, he took up sniping, logging 121 kills, his longest from 821 yards, a skill that was honed hunting in Kentucky. His total is second only to the late Chris Kyle, the Navy SEAL who had 160 kills.
“I had already had the talent of being able to shoot due to the fact that I grew up with a rifle that wasn’t zeroed to me,” he said, recalling his early use of a gun calibrated for his father.
After two tours in the second Iraqi war, he took home 37 medals, including a Silver Star and four Purple Hearts....