Sgt. Jesse Phillips and his two friends were in a 16-foot aluminum boat on the Mississippi River on the night of Sept. 2 when the 70-minute battle ensued, according to the Military Times.
The mortarman with Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 23rd Marines, an Alabama-based Reserve unit, made history on Sept. 2 when he and his friends caught a 792-pound alligator in Mississippi. The gator measured in at nearly 13 ½ feet from nose to tail, had a belly that was 69 ¼ inches in girth, and a tail that spanned 51 inches around.
It was the first time the sergeant went alligator hunting, and it paid off. According to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, their alligator was the largest male ever caught in the state.
“During my swamp training I’m going to think about it a lot different now that I’ve snagged a 13-foot, five-inch gator,” Phillips told Marine Corps Times. “I don’t like snakes and I don’t like gators. But it ended up good — I faced my fears.”