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John L. Plaster Books In Order

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Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Ultimate Sniper: An Advanced Training Manual for Military and Police Snipers (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
SOG: Secret Wars of America's Commandos in Vietnam (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
SOG: A Photo History of the Secret Wars (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
Secret Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines with the Elite Warriors of SOG (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
The History of Sniping and Sharpshooting (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sharpshooting in the Civil War (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sniping in the Trenches: World War I and the Birth of Modern Sniping (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Sniper Anthology: Snipers of the Second World War(2011)Description / Buy at Amazon

John L. Plaster
John L. Plaster was born in 1949 and graduated from high school in 1967 and holds a BA in Journalism from the University of Minnesota.

John was trained as a communications sergeant in the US Army Special Forces. He is a former Army Special Forces officer that has been regarded as one of the leading sniper experts in the world. As a decorated Vietnam War veteran that served in the covert Studies and Observations Group (SOG), he co-founded a renowned sniper school which trains military and law enforcement personnel in highly specialized sniper tactics.

John was initially assigned to 5th Special Forces Group and he served three tours during the Vietnam War as a member of SOG starting in October 1968, leading recon and intelligence gathering teams in North Vietnamese Army controlled areas of Cambodia and Laos as well as along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. He was decorated four times and wounded once, eventually getting a field commission in recognition of his combat experience. His final tour with SOG ended in November of 1971. He retired from the military as a Major.

Plaster has been awarded a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star medal, a Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, an Air Medal, a Good Conduct Medal, a Meritorious Service Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, and an Army Commendation Medal. He’s also received a Presidential Unit Citation, National Defense Service Medal, and a Vietnam Service Medal.

He parlayed his military experience to become a sniping instructor to members of many US governmental agencies like the United States Customs Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Marine Corps, the United States Marshals, and Navy SEALs. Plaster has even taught foreign units such as the Spanish Foreign Legion and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

In 1993, he became a precision rifle instructor at the Gunsite Training Center in Paulden, Arizona. He was Chief of Competition for Autauga Arms’ US and European sniping championships.

Plaster’s own experiences serve as a basis for the “Call of Duty: Black Ops” video game, and he assisted the developers of the game in making the game by providing his wartime experiences to them.

“SOG: Secret Wars of America’s Commando in Vietnam” is a non-fiction book that was released in 1997. Code named the Studies and Observations Group, SOG was the most secret elite US military unit to serve in the Vietnam War, which was so secret its very existence got denied by the government. Fully composed of volunteers from such ace fighting units as Air Force Air Commandos, the Army Green Berets, and Navy SEALs, SOG took on the most dangerous covert assignments, in the most forbidding and deadliest of theaters of operation.

In “SOG”, John (a three tour SOG veteran) shares some gripping exploits of these real American warriors in this heartbeat-by-heartbeat, minute-by-minute account of the group’s stunning operations behind enemy lines. Whether they were holding off mass enemy attacks, penetrating heavily defended North Vietnamese military facilities, launching daring missions to rescue down US pilots.

Some of the most extraordinary true stories of heroism and honor in the history of the US military, from espionage to sabotage, to hand-to-hand combat, John’s account is a detailed history of such a little known aspect of the Vietnam War, and is a worthy act of historical rescue from a willed and unjustified oblivion.

Plaster’s riveting account of his covert activities as a member of a special operations team during the Vietnam War is a real insider’s account. This eye-opening report is going to leave the reader feeling as though they have been handed a hot-scoop on a highly classified project.

“Secret Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines with the Elite Warriors of SOG” is a non-fiction book that was released in 2004. SOG was a secret operations force in Vietnam, which was the forerunner of today’s Navy SEALs and Delta Force. Exceptionally skilled Green Berets, they were the most highly decorated unit in the whole war. Always outnumbered, often by as much as 100 to 1, SOG commandos matched wits in the most dangerous of environments with an unrelenting foe which hunted them with dogs and trackers. Ten whole teams vanished and another fourteen got annihilated.

In “Secret Commandos”, John tells about his own remarkable covert activities in SOG from 1969 until 1971, along with those of dozens of his comrades, and vividly describes these unique warriors that gave everything fighting it out for their country, and for one another.

“The History of Sharpshooting” is a non-fiction book that was released in 2008. Twenty-four years as a sniping instructor and thirty-six months in combat. Twenty whole years of exhaustive research, which includes decades of seeking out hundreds of historic volumes long out of print, test-firing some historic firearms, walking around Civil War and Revolutionary War battlefields with a laser rangefinder, and visiting some military museums in Europe and the United States.

Just Major John Plaster has got the knowledge and the background to bring readers this authoritative history about sharpshooting and sniping. It is the first book from a combat rifleman’s own unique perspective.

In the book, John has put together the most comprehensive combat history ever published on the topic. It starts during the 15th century, with the very first use of “precision” musket fire in Europe and it continues on into the 21st century with the significant role that sniping is playing during the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars and the global War on Terror.

Detailing some major engagements and minor skirmishes over five whole centuries of warfare, Plaster has been able to unearth hundreds of incidents where calculated precision rifle fire changed the course of battles, and, even history sometimes.

He fittingly addresses some well known snipers and sharpshooters (Hiram Berdan, Carlos Hathcock, and Vasili Zaitsev), while also paying tribute to forgotten riflemen like Benjamin Forsyth, John Burns, and Arthur Wermuth, just to name a few. Plaster also explains how the evolution of firearms and optical technology has been intertwined with sniping on the battlefield and how it’s influenced organizations, tactics, and capabilities. It’s a subject that has never been addressed adequately before now.

Book Series In Order » Authors » John L. Plaster

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