Now they're saying we can't even trust the military with ammo?


March 14, 2003, 10:51 AM
Mask, gun: check. Bullets: not so fast.

St. Petersburg Times; St. Petersburg, Fla.; Mar 13, 2003;

This may surprise the folks back home, but the U.S. Army forces massing across the Iraqi border are largely unarmed.

Even though all U.S. soldiers deployed to the six main Army camps in northern Kuwait must carry their rifles at all times - even to the latrine in the middle of the night - few are carrying any bullets.

This is not an oversight, or a lame-brained cost-saving measure ordered by the Pentagon, or an indication that American military leaders believe they can take Iraq without firing a shot.

Rather, it's an effort to stave off the sad inevitable: Once the Army starts issuing ammo en masse, soldiers will accidentally shoot themselves and each other.

Those who served in Afghanistan, Desert Storm and other conflicts can attest to it.

At Wednesday's morning briefing at Camp Udairi, American leaders were told that four soldiers in the British sector were injured when one of their rifles accidentally discharged.

Last week, a U.S. Marine was shot in the neck by an officer who was cleaning his pistol in another tent. He survived but required major surgery, doctors said.

Officers say the safety risk far outweighs the security risk.

"We may be rolling the dice, but I can guarantee that you're not going to have any large forces rolling across the border and over- running our camp," said Maj. Spencer Smith, a logistics coordinator for the 101st Airborne Division.

In the meantime, the soldiers patrolling the perimeter and the sentinels have all the rounds they could ever need. The Apache and Black Hawk helicopters patrolling the skies above the camps can quickly bring a hellstorm of cannon and missile fire on any approaching enemy, and Patriot missile batteries stand ready to shoot down any Iraqi Scud missiles.

Smith and others couldn't recall a combat deployment where the bulk of troops remained without bullets for so long. Some got here in December, although most of the 101st Airborne arrived about 10 days ago.

Many soldiers say they feel silly carrying empty guns.

"If something kicks up, we're s--- out of luck," said Pfc. Jessica Ruth, 19, of Florence, S.C., supply clerk in the Division Supply Command of the 101st Airborne.

At the same time, she said, "I don't feel comfortable with (ammo) because we got some careless people around here."

On base, it's easy to tell which soldiers are ready for ammunition. Infantrymen - who have been given some bullets - and former infantrymen wield their weapons as deftly as a chef handles a knife and saute pan. The M-4 rifle is the tool of their trade, and they practice with it for hours a day. It is an extension of themselves.

But even in the Airborne, the famously aggressive combat unit from Fort Campbell, Ky., and in the 3rd Infantry Division of Fort Stewart, Ga., many support personnel lack fluidity and comfort with guns.

For some, the rifle is like a third arm, awkward and heavy and forever in the way. They drop it, or leave it behind, or use it as a tool.

They lean it against a cot or a tent post, then knock it over, sending it clattering to the plywood tent floor. They forget about it when they turn around in the tent, bonking friendswith the barrel or butt.

Early this week, a private was reprimanded for using her gun barrel as a pry bar while she was assembling the frame of a cot.

"No, no, no," her sergeant barked. "What are you thinking?"

In Afghanistan, medics with the 101st Airborne treated three soldiers who were inadvertently shot by their friends, including an engineer who lost the lower half of one leg, said Sgt. 1st Class Jesse Carabajal, 39, a senior medic who deployed to Afghanistan, and is now serving in Kuwait.

One night as Carabajal and other medics lounged in their tent, a bullet whizzed through the canvas and struck a center support poll, then ricocheted through the roof. A soldier in the tent next door had fired his gun accidentally while cleaning it.

The M-4 rifle, the standard weapon of the U.S. Army soldier these days, is a shorter, lighter, more maneuverable version of the M-16. It carries a magazine with 30 5.56-millimeter rounds.

Officers also carry 9mm pistols, and each squad has an M-249 machine gun. Many infantry platoons carry a heavier M-60 machine gun as well.

Accidental discharges, as the Army calls them, typically occur in a war zone while a soldier is cleaning an M-4 or a pistol, or while "clearing" it - removing the magazine, emptying the chamber and pulling the trigger.

Each day, every soldier must disassemble the firing mechanism - including the bolt, the firing pin and a large spring - and wipe out the grime inside.

This keeps the gun firing smoothly, and is especially important in the desert, where sand and dust infiltrate every moving part. After cleaning and reassembling the gun, the soldier then must pull the trigger, listening for the comforting "click" of the firing pin.

Only then should the soldier re-insert the magazine. Unfortunately, soldiers sometimes confuse the steps, and insert the magazine before they check the trigger, Carabajal said.

"I'm scared, like everybody else, of getting shot accidentally by another soldier," Carabajal said. "It happens. Hopefully it won't, but it's happened everywhere we've gone."

Meanwhile, U.S. troops at Udairi on Wednesday received an unwelcome order: They must now wear "full battle rattle," minus the Kevlar flak vests, whenever they leave the tents.

That means carrying gas mask, biochemical protective suit and weapons, and wearing helmet and the heavy load-bearing vest, where most soldiers carry essential battle items such as canteens, a compass, and pressure dressing.

And ammunition, if they had any.

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March 14, 2003, 10:59 AM
It seems that the training budget has been reduced more than we can imagine. I am aghast.

March 14, 2003, 11:04 AM
Pvts can do some dumb stuff when left to their own devices. Of course, they also buy lots of stupid crap, and pawn it later. Gun prices can be pretty good if you're looking for an inexpensive pistol in the pawn shops around a military base.


March 14, 2003, 11:12 AM
They have to carry all of their OTHER war-gear, but without rounds? SO we're worried that they'll need to mask-up to against an NBC attack, or use their field dressing to assist a wounded comrade, but give them nothing to repel the SOB coming over the wire that caused the injury?

Forget not giving me rounds for safety. Not having any ammo while within a few miles of the enemy is what makes me feel un-safe. If someone gets a ND for being stupid while cleaing their weapon and injures someone else, remove them from the combat zone and court-martial them. Rattle the cage and remind these idiots that they are responsible for every round that comes out of their muzzle.

Besides, what happened to keeping your weapon pointed in a safe direction? I know MCRD Parris Island taught that rule--I guess other boot camps and TBS gloss over those...:fire:


March 14, 2003, 11:15 AM
Not to be sexist or anything... but did anyone else notice that all of the soldiers mentioned seemed to be women?

March 14, 2003, 11:19 AM
that is so stupid. How can we have soldiers that DONT KNOW how to properly treat their firearms.

March 14, 2003, 11:30 AM
Blame the demonization of firearms in the American culture. If young men grew up around guns they would have better understanding of firearm safety. I'm sure that many soldiers never fired a shot before boot camp, and many have not since.

March 14, 2003, 11:36 AM
The Marine sentries guarding the barracks apartment building in Beirut in 1983, at a time when Marine positions around the airport were being routinely mortared and sniped out, were manning their posts with empty weapons, as ordered by a ****ed up State Dept 'policy' not to provoke the locals (who are running around with AK-47s and RPGs). And this was 6 months after a suicide bombing of the US Embassy where 60+ were killed, 100+ wounded.

This has been going on for a while - I got the quote from a former marine who posted in another forum (if anyone cares). You'd think after some of these situations they would decide to give them live ammo. But think about this like an old congressprick...A friendly fire incident looks bad, real bad, the american public doesn't like it one bit. A situation where troops are killed in some sort of bombing or similar incident causes the american people to support the war more due to anger at the enemy... I may be wrong, but it seems logical to me

March 14, 2003, 11:36 AM
Since when did the M4 become standard issue? And how hard is it to teach the 4 basic safety rules? I've seen 5 year old children that learned it in about 5 minutes. They should be walkling around with mag pouches, at least.

Steve Smith
March 14, 2003, 11:51 AM
ehenz read my mind. This has more to do with unfamiliarity of firearms than it does with military training.

March 14, 2003, 11:54 AM
"We may be rolling the dice, but I can guarantee that you're not going to have any large forces rolling across the border and over- running our camp,"

Yeah, right - statements like that go down in history.

I agree with enhenz - I doubt they had these problems back in WW2 when nearly every boy grew up with guns.

Scares the daylights out of me. If they can't control their weapons while safely in camp, how the heck can they control them under the stress of battle?

Steve Smith
March 14, 2003, 12:26 PM
The same kinds that watch the crap on MTV are the ones handling rifles in the Middle East. Is anyone really surprised that they don't know what they're doing?

March 14, 2003, 12:35 PM
Blame the demonization of firearms in the American culture.

I hate to burst some bubbles, but I saw the same unsafe practices tolerated when I was in, and that was '74-'78. The Four Rules? What are those?

Safe gun handling was NOT taught. What was substituted was ridiculous restrictison when we were at the range, to make sure that no ammo got off the range. But general safety? Nope. No training.

I kicked a guy down the barracks front steps when he pointed his '16 at me, and didn't get in trouble, but that's about the only training that guy got, and the only evidence that the drills cared about weapons safety.

And they were all Vietnam combat veterens.


March 14, 2003, 12:46 PM
Some things never change.

During the Korean War hostilities, front-line troops were "trusted" to carry live ammo (my goodness!). But when we moved into regimental reserve--about three to four miles behind the MLR-- we were ordered to turn in all our ammo.

I traveled with the regimental CO and refused to turn mine in because we were at the MLR and beyond virtually every day. I never caught any flak from the first sergeant because he knew I had to be combat-ready.

March 14, 2003, 12:53 PM
Not to be sexist or anything... but did anyone else notice that all of the soldiers mentioned seemed to be women?

Maybe you want to re-read it. I only saw one woman mentioned.

March 14, 2003, 12:57 PM
Early this week, a private was reprimanded for using her gun barrel as a pry bar while she was assembling the frame of a cot.

Also earlier this week, this same private had her second labotomy. <sp?>

I was watching the history channel or TLC about boot camp, and many of the kids had never shot a gun. WOW!

As to these poor saps, why not teach the four rules, wouldn't it be better, and cheaper???

March 14, 2003, 01:13 PM
Ain't raisin many Davy Crocketts 'n Alvin Yorks round the burbs these days...

Baba Louie
March 14, 2003, 01:21 PM
Interesting... sad, but while not actively engaged in combat, understandable; given the current training and mindset of civilians. I'd like to think that once the balloon goes up they'd probably be given at least 25 rds. Isn't that what the Brits used to do?

On a sidenote, I was watching FoxNews yesterday and noticed several of the Special Forces (assumption on my part... but they were not Iraqi) type carrying AK's.

Did anyone else catch that?

Not all were holding onto M4's, but honest to god, good looking (if ya like that type of thing...I do) AK variant rifles.

I wonder if Lake City is still making that headstamp-free 7.62 x 39?

Hmmmm... Leave us pause to wonder.


March 14, 2003, 01:26 PM
Blame the demonization of firearms in the American culture.

I hate to burst some bubbles, but I saw the same unsafe practices tolerated when I was in, and that was '74-'78. The Four Rules? What are those?

The "demonization" started long before 1978 oldtimer ;)

March 14, 2003, 01:51 PM
Even in Vietnam, which effectively had no "front line", the troops were routinely disarmed when on base or in towns. Especially in the latter part when race and fragging became more popular than fighting against the enemy.

Joe Demko
March 14, 2003, 01:54 PM
I doubt they had these problems back in WW2 when nearly every boy grew up with guns.

That time never existed. Read some military history from the Revolution on up and you will see a recurring theme: Officers and NCO's complaining about the lack of marksmanship and general familiarity with firearms among the enlisted personnel. Not just at enlistment either, but even among units that had seen combat.

March 14, 2003, 02:08 PM
The "demonization" started long before 1978 oldtimer

[/Walter Brennan voice]


Also earlier this week, this same private had her second labotomy.

<sigh> 'Freeman, the sad thing is that she didn't have the first one. This is about as good as it gets in today's Army.


March 14, 2003, 02:30 PM
The Old Timer Himself attmpts to impart some of his ancient wisdom to a new Army recruit, but kids these days just don't listen.

(Yes, that IS Walter Brennan. )


Average Guy
March 14, 2003, 03:14 PM
IIRC, before we (USMC) got on the planes to Saudi in 1990, we were each issued 20(!) rounds. It was quite a trip to see M60s and mortar tubes inside a commercial airliner. In any case, we were ammo'd up from that day forward. (They even gave us--gasp!--two live grenades before we crossed into Kuwait.)

One day in the rear, a guy in the room across the hall put an ND into the concrete floor with his M16. He spent the next few weeks giving weapons safety lectures to the widely dispersed unit.

Last week, a U.S. Marine was shot in the neck by an officer who was cleaning his pistol in another tent.

Sad, inexcusable--but every grunt knows you can't trust a zero with anything more dangerous than a ballpoint pen. :D I once watched our platoon leader struggle to pop the plastic strap on an MRE case with a SHOVEL.

Mark D
March 14, 2003, 04:24 PM

Yes, I know it's been done before, and that it will happen again. But can't we do something important with folks who get caught do things like that? Like issuing them a shovel and telling them to dig latrines for the rest of their stint?

I have plenty of scars from substituting my body for my rifle when it was going to suffer dmage. Bang into this, whacked by that. Why? Because your rifle won't heal-up, you will. What ever happened to "This is not your weapon. This is your life. Make sure nothing happens to it."???

March 14, 2003, 05:28 PM
I gotcha, Mark. THIS 'old timer' :fire: remembers doing 50 pushups for dropping his rifle.

With said rifle lying on the back of his hands.

And kissing said rifle on the downstroke of each pushup.

And hollering, "I LOVE my rifle! I will not drop it anymore!" at the top of his lungs at upright postion of each pushup.

With amused drill sergeants looking on.

And I wasn't the first nor the last to do that. And I don't remember anyone using their rifle for a prybar in my 4 years.

Pointing them at people, yes, but NOT using them for a prybar! :rolleyes:

March 14, 2003, 05:35 PM
Do russkie women soldiers have these problems?


March 15, 2003, 12:04 AM
Welcome to the real-world gentlemen. We are now reaping the effects of the feminization of the military. We don't actually train our soldiers to be able to use the weapons until they are in-zone and have time on their hands to do that sort of thing. Too many safety classes on heaters, CO-2 poisioning; Consideration of others; Equal Opportunity; Sexual Harrassment; Fraternization; Multiculturalism, etc. Can't actually have the troops out there handling real bullets now can we??

Look at the way a typical range is run....Very little opportunities for the troops to show proper handling of the weapons; they are told everything by the tower, rodded on and off the line, told when to lock-and load, told when to observe their lanes for targets, told to unload, told to lock the bolt to the rear, visually inspected by range safety, etc.

The problem I have is that few troops ever get realistic training. Then, we put them on guard in response to a real threat and refuse to issue them ammunition because they are more likely to injure someone else than responding to a threat. So.....the issue for spineless commanders is - why have them out there with their weapons in the first place???

Been fighting this battle for a long time....will continue until I retire. It's simply a lack of training.

:cuss: :banghead:

March 15, 2003, 12:16 AM
but from what I've seen privately in email the only *armed* troops are the Marines. apparently the AF isn't even issuing firearms to many of their folks. As a marine expressed it to me "soft minds equal soft targets".

March 15, 2003, 12:37 AM
Political Correctness is killing the military :(

March 15, 2003, 12:59 AM
"St. Petersburg Times"...I think that says it all. Who else would write such a liberal anti-gun story and foist it on the huddled masses?

March 15, 2003, 01:06 AM
Political Correctness is killing the military

That, and the One Mistake and you are out military too!

Fact is an Officer is MORE! Likely to be involved with a career ending mishap from giving soldiers ammo than from a major disaster occurring on his watch.

Result is Disarmed troops make it more likely for the Captains to Make Major.

Actually fighting a war? PLEASE! The Military is ALL about ticket punching! Getting in an "WAR!" might! Interfere with getting to the Pentagon!

Bruce H
March 15, 2003, 01:52 AM
A quick brutal suprise attack would really get everyones nickers in a twist. Saddam is missing a golden opportunity here if the facts are correct. Oh we would gear up and go completely midevil on him but the rest of the world would really giggle about the act.

Phil Ca
March 15, 2003, 02:26 AM
I have been following this type of thread over the years and I can say from my personal experience that the military has had it wrong at least since 1956 when I joined the army at the tender age of 17. I fired more rounds through a M1 rifle in basic training than I did through any other issued weapon during my first 3 years in service.

During the first weeks of processing and basic I never had any ammo during guard duty. The first guard duty I was on I carried a clipboard, GI flashlight and a billy club. After that it was the M1 with or w/o fixed bayonet.

During the second phase of training including processing we were
only allowed to walk guard duty with either an empty carbine or one with a 15 round mag with 10 rounds in it. on prison chaser we used a 12 gauge shotgun after firing one qualifying round. We were never qualified with the carbine until shipping overseas.

In Germany
I was initially issued a M1 rifle and walked guard with it unloaded. The 8 rounds in the en bloc clip were kept in the first pouch of the web gear. Later I finagled a way around to get assigned a M2 carbine. Guard duty was 10 rounds in a 15 round mag again. Since I was in an Ordnance unit we were not issued any 30 round mags. We had to finagle a way to get those as well. Being in an ordnance unit made it easier of course.

Range training in Germany was a sometime thing so I found out. We were supposed to go twice a year and sometimes we actually did. More often than not we were given one half day at the range and the minimal amount of ammo to qualify with. I was a bit disgusted by this so I bought a .22 rifle and a .45 M1911 pistol and a Browning P35 in 9mm. I took to the range when ever I could work it out, usually on Sundays when I did not have duty.

All in all during those first three years I probably trained more with my personal firearms than I did with my issued ones. The Infantry got more training with their firearms for sure but service troops were basically ignored.

During a subsequent hitch in the USAF I got even less training and never fired a weapon untill I had been overseas in the PI for several months. The only reason I got to do that was because someone read in my service record that I had taken US Army basic training. I was assigned to a static defense force with the Supply Squadron I was assigen to. I found out that I had more knowledge about firearms than evne some of the APs assigen to protect the base. When we qualified on the range we were given about 20 rounds practice and then straight to the quals. When I was reassigned to Montana and Strategic Air Command I found myself assigned additional duty as a reserve cop for the AP Squadron. Again I found out that I had more knowledge of firearms than even the average AP at the time. On the range some guys would stand there and then turn around with the carbine in their hands to ask a question. Again I resorted to my own rifle and pistols to keep up with firearms training for myself.

After scouting around and finding no viable work in my home state I talked it over with my wife and since we had a 6 months old daughter at the time I decided to go back into service for another hitch in the army. I was ent to Fort ord in California again and ended up in the same processing barracks i had been in prior to basic some 7 years prior. Since there were a number of retreads from all branches of service we had to take the basic training test and qualify with the M14 rifle. I qualified expert and after a couple of weeks of "hurry up and wait" was sent to South Korea where I soon found myself being assigned as the only Ordnance parts clerk in a Hawk Missile unit.

I had taken a rifle/shotgun combo with me as well as a .22 ruger standard pistol. Considering that our secondary job after firing our missiles would be 11B we did not get much training with our rifles either. We were taken out to the range once or twice during my year there. Again I used my personal firearms to keep trained in shooting as well as hunting pheasant with a sgt. and WO3 I worked for.

After Korea I was sent to Fort Riley and the Big Red One. I was assigned as the lone Ordnance trained clerk in a HQ Company of a tank unit. We did manage to get to the range one with the .45 pistol and once with the M14 rifle while I was there before I was transferred to an Ordnance unit heading to RVN with the first brigade in the Fall of 65.

While on the pistol range I tried firing the army way and was missing too many targets. I decided that if I wanted to qualify and possible save my own life someday I needed some proactive action. I started using both hands on the pistol and all my targets were falling while other soldiers were hitting some and missing some. There was a grizzled old sargeant working the range and he stopped the action and came over and chewed me out for not using the old army way of shooting a pistol. I told him I was at least hitting my targets on the walking assault course and preferred to qualify anyway I could.

The Range Officer in the tower was a young 2nd Lt. who climbed down and came over and asked what was the matter and why the hold up?? The grizzled old sarge told him how this young kid was not using the proper army technique to shoot the .45 pistol. The lieutenant said did he knock down the targets? The sgt said yes and the lieutenant said thats why we are here so get on with it. I qualified that day and nothing more was said.

On the day we went to fire at the KD range with our M14s it started to rain and the wind came up. We were in trenches firing at pop-up targets and I got all but one or two of mine and one of those was a faulty target mechanism. Some of the troops wanted to head back and get out of the rain and wind but I figured that if we were in a combat situation it might rain also.

upon arrival by ship off Cape St. Jaques in Vietnam we went ashore by landing craft w/o a bullet issued to anyone. About 10 % of our unit had decided to carry a personal handgun with them and we at least had some ammo going ashore. For two weeks we were not issued any ammo and went through at least two shake downs. No guns or ammo were ever found.

When we drew our vehicles that had arrived before us and we were issued 100 rounds at 20 rounds per magazine for the M14. We were told to carry the rifle empty and not have any mags in the rifle unless ordered to do so. On the day our convoy headed out we were "allowed" to load our rifles and put the safety on before taking to the road.

During my tour of about one year we went out to fire our rifles one time and on New Years at midnight a whole lot of guys fired all the tracers they could at the jungle across the river. Eventually there was a registration and confiscation of personal firearms but we got them back before returing home.

During our stay, our CO came up with a bright idea that he would bury a CONEX container in the middle of our old French fort and then store all of our issued ammo in it. A few of us found out about it and it did not happen. Can you imagine trying to unlock a stell box and issue out ammo to the troops while under fire?? As it was I was the only soldier that refused the CO's order to unload my rifle one time when we came under sniper attack. That is another story for another time though.

:cool: :D

March 15, 2003, 03:02 AM
Besides the fact of not receiving training, someone brought to my attention the fact that some in the armed forces have no interest in firearms or learning to use one. If this is true, why would any one volunteer to be a soldier if they had little or no interest in learning to use the "tools" of a soldier? It is beyond my comprehension to understand this!!

March 15, 2003, 04:34 AM
The armed forces DONT teach it. Muzzle awareness, forget it. It's the same the world over, "Clear it and clean it".
Also, the majority of military recruits have never handled any sort of firearm before joining.

March 15, 2003, 04:51 AM
......well if SOME of you actually got away from your keyboard-mouth extensions and signed up for a short bit of Military time, you would:

a-understand the points of the article
b- actually know what in the hell you were talking about

be well

March 15, 2003, 05:55 AM
I was the armorer for an artillery battery at Ft. Bragg. The arms rooms were back-to-back, with concrete block walls between them. I was in-processing weapons following a training day when a chunk of concrete jumped off the wall and fell beside my desk, with a simutaneous, muffled "BOOM":what:

One of the 2nd. Lt.'s had found a loose 7.62mm round and walked into the opposite arms room, picked up an M-60, opened the bolt, dropped the round onto the feed tray and let the bolt forward!:uhoh:

He wanted to see if it really was a 'machinegun' round!

Firearms training in the Army has been an 'iffy' thing for quite a while, I suspect:rolleyes: :

March 15, 2003, 07:08 AM
I am NOT going to sing to you but as I read the original post the point is that the army/marines wont issue ammo to frontline troops untill the probability of using it is eminent. This is obviously an attempt to reduce wounds and deaths due to UDs and confine such incidents to actual battle where instances of friendly fire are less demoralising.
Further to my other post, not only are most recruits firearm illiterate but in service the majority will not have to use one.

March 15, 2003, 09:15 AM
Early this week, a private was reprimanded for using her gun barrel as a pry bar while she was assembling the frame of a cot.

They came out with the HBAR barrel profile, to keep the barrel from bending when used for such purposes. It's thicker in profile, but only from the handguards forward. Problem solved, no? :D

March 15, 2003, 11:34 AM
Problem solved, NO! ;)

So, dude, tell us about YOUR time in service. When, where, what branch?

March 15, 2003, 12:18 PM
They need to send the officers who came up with this policy to a showing of the movie "Zulu". They can watch the troops trying to hold off the attacking hoards bare-handed while the sargents try unload ammo crates from the wagons and open them. (PS: the Red-coats lost this one, too. Until Roark's Drift.)

March 15, 2003, 12:58 PM
I think that "dude" is trying to say that those of us that served in the military know that the problem of soldiers being unarmed extends back to a time before "political correctness", and "feminizing the military" were an issue.

I know for a fact that epic disasters that occured during my hitch (U.S.N. 80-84) would have been mitigated/never occured, had the troops been sufficiently armed/trained.

March 15, 2003, 01:35 PM
Forget not giving me rounds for safety. Not having any ammo while within a few miles of the enemy is what makes me feel un-safe. If someone gets a ND for being stupid while cleaing their weapon and injures someone else, remove them from the combat zone and court-martial them. Rattle the cage and remind these idiots that they are responsible for every round that comes out of their muzzle

Whoa up there, how can you expect someone to know something that they've never been taught? Court martial them? LOL.

This smells of cause and effect. The Govt.'s political anti-gun agenda is breeding more inefficient soldiers to backfire on them. 17 yr olds used to show up for duty with their own rifle and already know how to shoot. Now the Govt. demonizes guns, creates 5000 hoops to jump through to be able to own and/or shoot them and you think they should be court martialed for having an ND in the service? Tsk tsk tsk.

Court martial the Govt., reinstate the constitution, and the next generation of soldiers will be having less ND's. The Govt dont care about the citizens or the soldiers and to save face for bad form of soldiers, do they train them better? NO! they take away their ammo instead. :barf:

March 15, 2003, 04:08 PM
I will put it this way. I can count the number of times I have shot on the government's dime on one hand. And this is over the space of 9 years. And, I'm lucky to even have had that many, the average squid wouldn't even have been able to do that. I have been assigned to some advantagous duty stations.

I work in a NAS Weapons Dept, in CONUS, and some of the folks the local squadrons send to pistol qualification, would scare the bejesus out of ya. 25' 30 round pistol course, with B-21 targets, and some people only get 3 rounds on paper, let alone on target.

Tommy Gunn
March 15, 2003, 05:42 PM
Anyone here remember what happend to the Marine barracks in Beirut about 20yrs ago?

The guards did not have ammunition for their M16's and the suicide bomber drove his truck bomb right past them. You think the brass might have learned something from that tragedy.

March 15, 2003, 06:01 PM
"brass" & "learn"

Incompatible concepts.

Folks, as much as I'd love to blame this on the feminization of the military, and the long campaign against gun ownership, the fact is, this is nothing new. Read some of the posts from those of us who did our time a while ago. It's not new.

March 15, 2003, 09:51 PM
The guards did not have ammunition for their M16's and the suicide bomber drove his truck bomb right past them. You think the brass might have learned something from that tragedy.

I doubt any of the brass had their children serving in that Marine barracks.

March 16, 2003, 11:39 AM
Whoa up there, how can you expect someone to know something that they've never been taught? Court martial them? LOL.

Edward, in reply to your quote above, let me quote myself:

Besides, what happened to keeping your weapon pointed in a safe direction? I know MCRD Parris Island taught that rule--I guess other boot camps and TBS gloss over those...

Since I've attended no boot camps other than the Marine Corps', I will readily admit that perhaps other services' boot camps are falling short in teaching basic rifle safety skills. The recuits of H Company, 2nd Recruit Training Bn., Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, however, learned in boot camp that we were not to point our weapons at anything we did not want to destroy.

Aside from nerfing the military, a general movement in my generation is one of moving away from personal responsability. "It's not my fault, 'factor X' is why I am (pick one) inept, not trained, suicidal, homicidal etc". YOUR rounds and YOUR rifle are YOUR responsability. As a child, I learned at the stern hand of my parents that there were repercussions for my actions, be they good or bad, and those repercussions were mine to bear. It's time the 'Not my fault' excuse ends.

I'm sorry, but even lacking training, I don't think it requires much brain-housing-group activity to realize that pointing something designed to kill the enemy at someone else might kill them too.

I know I come off as unsympathetic, but I'm of age with these idiots, so I KNOW it's not just youth and inexperience.


March 16, 2003, 12:25 PM
Teuf, It sounded alot better the way you put it that time. Good points. I wasnt trying to get away from the personal responsibility issue as much as I was trying to make the point that the gubmints working against itself.

Friendly fire and ND's are a bad thing. People should have personal responsibility. But I'm not so sure that that can be taught in 6 weeks to 'newbies'.

If the anti gun political climate was not there, we'd have more (fence sitters) delving into weaponcraft and learning to be safe at younger ages. My kids were taught the four rules during the first 6 years of life. I didnt wait until they were 17 then give em a crash course in ' you better be safe' then slip an AW into their hands. That is unrealistic and foolhardy at the least, IMO.

Which'd you rather have walking behind you cocked & locked into combat, a 17 yr old newbie with 6 weeks training, or a 17 yr old who had been shooting & handling weapons since pre-skul?

I'm all for personal accountability, lets just be realistic about it. The gubmint plays heavily in creating the social atmosphere of what is acceptable to expose kids to. Soon it'll be illegal to even let your kids handle a locked weapon. Them kids should be accountable, but lets not discount the mitigating factors which contribute to the kids efficacy or lack thereof.

Does that make sense to you all or am I missing something?

March 16, 2003, 02:43 PM
When I was in in '99, there was no safe gun handling taught at all. It really scared the crap out of me to see guys running around playing with their M-16's as though they were toys.
A rifle isn't a toy.
I tried to set them straight, but what did I know?
I was just some dumb hick redneck. The fact that I had been shooting since I was 4 had no bearing.

But, they should at least have a couple of loaded mags in their pouches so they could respond if needed.
Running around with an empty rifle is nuts.
Why don't they just give them brooms?

March 16, 2003, 11:35 PM
The recuits of H Company, 2nd Recruit Training Bn., Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, however, learned in boot camp that we were not to point our weapons at anything we did not want to destroy.

I'm VERY glad to hear that! It sure isn't that way everywhere.

There can be a lot of difference between one training company and the next, too. At least in the Army. My CO was a 1st Lt. and it was his first command. (He got his railroad tracks somewhere toward the end of my training cycle.) He wisely let his NCOs call most of the shots. So the training we had (as compared to infantry companies around us) was a throwback to earlier, tougher days. For example, my first taste of Basic Training (after all the rigamarole of the REception Center) was a bunch of screaming maniacs yelling at us like we were their worst enemies, and hustling us to the top of a small hill for 45 minutes of fast paced duffel bag drill. Then 20 minutes of paperwork, then another 30 of duffle bag drill.

Near the end of our cycle, a new company came in to start their training next door. We could see them get the initiation treatment.

About 5 minutes of front leaning rest postion. :rolleyes:

I hope your experience was representative of the whole Corp.

And I like your attitude!

March 17, 2003, 02:20 AM
Sooooooooo let me get this straight.

They're going to let all the soldiers get used to the idea of carrying around an unloaded "Safe" weapon which will most likely cause laziness when it comes to safety awareness.

Then when fighting begins they'll all be provided ammo and be expected to switch back to safe handling? :rolleyes:

March 17, 2003, 02:45 AM
As I recall, the soldiers standing watch on the USS Cole spotted the raft, but as they had no ammunition... well..


March 17, 2003, 03:45 PM
And we were surprised when they had National Guard troops walking around in the airports after Sept 11, without magazines in their M-16s. :scrutiny:

March 17, 2003, 05:18 PM
I went through basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, in 1999. The weapons training we got was only rudimentary at best. I didn't learn "Rule Three" until I got home, and found out about the four rules on my own.

It's not the soldiers' fault, and everyone makes mistakes from time to time (I embarrassed myself badly during a veterans day 21 gun salute w/ blanks once).

The blame here lies on the Brass, as usual. They don't want to give the troops proper weapons training and range time, they don't want to take a hint from Col. Cooper and teach the four rules, and they don't want to bother with making sure their troops are proficient with their weapons. Sometimes if individual soldiers try to speak up, they get hit with the "if the Army does it it must be right" mentality that the guys in the pentagon love.

So, they send them into hostile territory without ammunition. It's disgraceful.

The solution, of course, is to revamp the Army basic rifle marksmanship program, starting it off with the four rules of gun handling, then moving on to other things.

March 17, 2003, 06:26 PM
Nightcrawler- what unit?

March 17, 2003, 09:59 PM
My basic training unit? Bravo Company, 35th Engineer BN. We did lots and lots of dry firing practice, balancing a dime on the front sight post (to ensure that we weren't jerking the trigger), but I never heard the four rules recited when I was there. Maybe they've changed it now.

March 17, 2003, 11:30 PM
I've seen so many troops on TV stick guns in each others faces that I would partially agree with this. Next time you watch the news look at how many times our guys point guns at each other.

Phil Ca
March 22, 2003, 01:10 AM
During my tour of duty in RVN, Class of 65/66 I was stationed in a maintence and supply unit in the First Infantry Division in the little town of Phouc Vinh. We had a commander that was a bit different from others I had served under and one of his decisions was almost to much to deal with.

One evening we were getting ready to have our chow and had brought our mess kits to the chow line in the old French fort we were staying in. It had started a light rain and we were somewhat miserable and hungry when a sniper across the river fired a few rounds over our heads. This got the desired effect and we would not see chow for some time.

We all went to our positions at the wall or in the bunkers,both finished and unfinished. We all charged our M14s and placed the safety on and kept the muzzle up and away from each other. We waited for instructions and during that time the sniper cracked off a couple more rounds to let us know he was still around.

The first sargeant came around with a M2 carbine with no magazine inserted and went to each man and asked them if their rifle was loaded. Upon hearing the affirmative,"Yes sargeant!" he informed them that the CO was ordering that the rifles be unloaded and made safe. Each person immediately unloaded and cleared the rifle they were holding.

He finally got to my position and gave me the CO's message. I answered in the affirmative and also asked if his carbine was loaded,which I could plainly see was not. He replied no it was not and that it was the CO's order to unload all weapons. I informed him that we were in a combat zone and were taking fire from someone on the other side of our wall,and NO, I would not unload in the face of the enemy. He just looked at me and continued his mission. A mission to disarm all members of our unit.

In about 6 or 8 minutes my platoon leader a 2nd Lt. fresh from OCS came over all crouched down and trying to look as small a target as possible. He squatted in front of me where i was sitting on a log and waiting for something to happen. He addressed me and asked me if my rifle was loaded and when I gave my affirmative reply and asked about his he replied no and the usual drivel about everyone being ordered to disarm. I told him that was a foolish order and one that I could not obey with an armed enemy out there shooting at us. I also explained that if we waited until the enemy was coming over the wall we might just be too late to load and fire.

He thought about what I said and then asked me this question. "What will it take for you to comply with the captains order?.......a derect order??" I looked at him for a few seconds and then replied,"Yes"!! He thought about it for a few seconds and said that he had never had to give a direct order before and I said that was a new one to me since I had never been given one either. He drew himself up about an inch to look more officious I guess, and said, "I hereby order you to unload your weapon and make it safe!" I looked at him and replied,"Yes Sir!" I then removed the magazine and placed it in my pouch, pulled back the operating rod handle and ejected the live round from the chamber, released the safety, pointed the rifle in a safe direction and pulled the trigger. I dropped the rifle to the ground and stated that, "I quit!.........if the VC come over the wire I will have to use my mess kit on them."

The LT gave me a baleful look and still crouched down, scurried away back to officer country.

All the other guys were somewhat shocked at what I had done but a few told me later that it took guts to do what they felt like doing. I merely wanted to point out that it was not a good plan to disarm troops while under fire. I knew how to load and carry a rifle safely and to use it if I had to.

Nothing further was said but the CO was never a person that I would rely on after that. He is the same CO that I mentioned in a previous reply on this thread that wanted to take all of our ammo and lock it in a buried Conex container in the middle of the fort. That plan never happened either since several of us found out about it and started a letter writing campaign to the POTUS, Sec. of Defense, Congress critters,wives,mothers and girlfriends etc. The letters were never mailed and the ammo was never removed from us either.


March 22, 2003, 01:53 AM
This is truely sad. IMO everyone should have a loaded mag in gun but chamber empty if they can't handle firearms. If you are clerk/support you can either handle your rifle 24/7 or have it secured for you.
I have heard of too many family members who have stood guard duty with empty guns who had to steal ammo that they KNEW they would get into trouble with in order to have any.
I didn't mine if NG at airports had empty chambers. The mags should have been loaded.

rock jock
March 22, 2003, 01:57 AM
Just when I am so upbeat on our military, I hear this and am reminded that bureaucracy reigns supreme.

March 22, 2003, 02:26 AM
Unfortunately, soldiers sometimes confuse the steps, and insert the magazine before they check the trigger, Carabajal said.

Is that a joke or something?

March 22, 2003, 02:50 AM
The soldiers may be getting decent weapons training, but the safety part needs to be beaten into their heads more often. Not issueing ammo to soldiers is inexcusable and a complete cop-out.

March 22, 2003, 12:16 PM
even though only the blokes at the pointy end will have loaded weapons.

Phil Ca
March 23, 2003, 01:08 PM
We are just hearing this AM about the possibility that several soldiers from the 507th Maintenance Co from Ft. Bliss were captured and summarily executed by Iraquis. When I wrote the reply in this thread on page two, that is the reason I refused to disarm in Vietnam when our CO ordered us to unload our rifles while we under sniper fire in Vietnam during the Fall of 1965.

Traditionaly it seems that our support troops are shorted in their combat training and I for one spent a lot of time and my own money to keep up my own training since none of the units i was assigned to seemed to care enough to keep us proficient in small arms training.

I cannot stress enough that if you have a son or daughter in a support unit, that you see that they keep proficient in firearms use. If you have to take them to the range when they are on military leave or send them money so that they may go to a local firing range and practice during their off-duty time. My youngest son is 24 and he has gone regularly to a range to practice with a Beretta 92 such as he might use if he were to be drafted.

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