My favorite part of working in the firearms industry is getting to work with veterans. Unfortunately, these heroes are oftentimes overlooked and never seem to get the recognition they deserve. Every single veteran I have met has a unique story that is always incredibly intriguing and compelling. I wanted to provide a platform that allows these brave men and women to tell those stories to the world. That is how “Home on the Range” was born. A series where we take a different U.S. hero to the range and really get to know them and their unique story. On this episode we do some shooting with an Army Sniper, Staff Sgt. Marcus Mencotti, that has one of the craziest stories I have heard.
Home on the Range With Marcus Mencotti
I first met Mencotti during a photo shoot with Freedom Fatigues, a veteran-owned company he was modeling apparel for. As we began talking a bit, I quickly learned he had one hell of a story that needed to be told.
Marcus was serving as an Army sniper in the 3rd Ranger Battalion on a rooftop over-watching a raid with his team during his fifth tour overseas (fourth in Iraq). The team breached the door with explosives, which woke the guys up in the house he was posted on top of. From inside the house, he and his team heard the enemy loading weapons, so Marcus positioned guys in locations atop the roof to be ready for them to come out of the structure that leads out to the rooftop.
Immediately, his team found themselves in a firefight with the enemy. During the exchange, a 9mm bullet struck him in the head just above his left eye. The round ran across the top of his night vision goggles, positioned up on his helmet at the time. This sent fragments of the night vision goggle into his face as the bullet grazed the edge of his helmet and fragmented into his forehead, knocking him down and blowing the NODS off his helmet.
At first, Marcus had no idea what the heck had just happened, and then he instantly realized he couldn’t see out of his left eye, with blood pouring down his face. Knocked to the ground, Marcus also lost his rifle. Incredibly, he got up and drew his sidearm, continuing to return fire as he ordered a teammate to throw a frag in the door. He then got on the radio and called it in to other guys in the other building next to them.
A med-vac HLC chopper extracted Marcus, taking him to a field hospital in Baghdad. There he contacted his wife, letting her know he sustained injury but remained OK. He later transferred to Landstuhl, German, where doctors reconstructed his skull and patched him up. Marcus received the Bronze Star with Valor and Purple Heart for his actions.
Freedom Seeds Sewn
I headed to the range with Marcus to talk about his military career and his life after the Army. As always, I had Marcus bring his two favorite guns to shoot, and I brought my two favorites as well. Marcus surprised me with a few different calibers when he pulled out his Glock 20 10mm and his FN Five-seveN. I had brought my Century Arms AP5 that I had just picked up, my Primary Weapons MK107 Mod2 SBR, and my hand built Glockish 19 pistol that I just like showing off because I built it myself. During the range time I had a little surprise in store for Marcus as well. Something he hadn’t done since he was in the military. Check out the full interview and range video to hear some of the craziest stories I have heard and learn more about Marcus.
Getting the opportunity to sit down and talk to Marcus Mencotti was an absolute honor and an extremely humbling conversation overall. Getting to know his story really made me realize that our country is full of great men and women who have sacrificed a lot–sometimes everything–for people like myself to be able to live as a free person. Marcus is the perfect example of what a patriot really is, and I truly hope by sharing his story it may help someone else. Men like Marcus are a rare breed who deserve to have their stories told, and although he won’t call himself a hero, I will.