Deadly Mistake?


April 25, 2005, 07:28 PM
Thankfully no one got hurt but I had a scary situation happen Friday night. It was drill weekend and the unit was preparing to go down and do some Short Range Marksmenship drills. One of the scouts was in the supply room getting some magazines for the platoon. As the supply clerk was placing them up on the counter I noticed that one of the mags had brass in them. Upon further inspection we found 5-7 live rounds loaded into the mag. Thankfully they were caught before they left the room and placed into a weapon.

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April 25, 2005, 07:41 PM
man.... someone is not doing their job.... time to do lots of double checks...and dump all assumptions.

April 25, 2005, 07:42 PM
Did they do a "no brass, no ammo" drill after the last range??

April 26, 2005, 12:52 PM
Supposed to do that. Like to know what happened. The last range we had before this past weekend was last month and it was for record. Hate to see if someone tried to qualify and failed to use all his available ammo.
I guess the not assuming anything came out okay because there were three of us standing there. The supply clerk, the one getting the mags and myself and two of us caught it. But knowing some of the guys in this batallion it does not surprise me that this happened. Just suprised it doe not happen more often. :banghead: :cuss:

April 26, 2005, 06:05 PM
The Armorer who checked them in should get an Article 15- I personally checked all magazines turned in to my Arms Room, as well as the chambers, (and cylinders, for the M10 .38's) of all weapons turned in. (As well as when I issued them each time.)! to you, wmenorr67, for catching that! One would hope that any soldier issued that mag. would have seen it before inserting it in, particularly with a BFA installed, :what: but as you yourself noted, that might not happen. I'm sure you had fun with all the paperwork involved with turning in live rounds. :evil:

April 26, 2005, 09:53 PM
Ran this story by a friend of mine who is ex-Army and who did time as an armorer and he said it was the team leader's fault.

Who ever didn't do a real good mag check before sending his guys off the range is the one who should get the 15.

April 26, 2005, 10:13 PM
Ran this story by a friend of mine who is ex-Army and who did time as an armorer and he said it was the team leader's fault.

I agree with that. ;) However, the concept of 'doing time' as an armorer is all too prevalent in the Army; indeed it is all too often as a punishment that one is assigned as an armorer. (Not so in my case; I volunteered, and well that I did. The female corporal who occupied the slot before me was placed there as a punishment, and as a result, the unit's weapons were at 50% strength. Only half were operable, and in a unit that only every other soldier is issued a weapon (we were a Med. Bn.) that is unacceptable. I corrected this ASAP, and kept all the weapons in my Arms Room functioning .(Well, until they were drawn from the Arms Room. The REMF's in my unit routinely SNAFU'ed their weapons. :rolleyes: )

Back to the real Army: Who you think they're gonna zap with a 15, the E-6 or 7 that ran the range day, or the poor sap E-4 that got stuck in the Arms Room? :scrutiny: (Just remember; in the Army, IT runs downhill.) :p

April 26, 2005, 10:15 PM
Are you a 19 Detail ?

April 26, 2005, 10:21 PM
I was a 76Y, Unit Supply Specialist. The cpl. was a 76J, Medical Supply Specialist.

April 26, 2005, 10:36 PM
Ok: you mentioned that one guy was a scout. THought you might have been also.

April 26, 2005, 11:07 PM
Actually, wmenorr67 mentioned that. Maybe he is. ;)

April 27, 2005, 09:43 AM
If an accident had occurred as a result of the pre-loaded mag, then it would have been another instance of a long chain of mistakes leading to disaster. Namely, evidently not a single person who handled this mag looked into it to see if it was empty. This sort of thing happens all the time in aviation accidents.

That said, it *still* would have taken two more mistakes for something bad to happen here: the next rifleman to be issued the loaded mag would have to fail to check it, and then he finally would need to violate at least one of the four rules.


April 27, 2005, 10:00 AM
As a Marine, I was never an armorer. I was a range coach, and once had an armory under my supervision. If this had happened in the Marine Corps there would have been more than one person "swinging from the yard arm." The supply clerk would have been free and clear because we store magazines in the armory with the rest of the weapons parts. My armorers would have incurred my wrath for not catching this on the way in. They also would have been held accountable for putting them on the counter to re-issue like that. I would have been held accountable to the Warrent Officer I worked for and we both would have been standing tall at the Company level. Somewhere along the line the Company Commander would have had to explain why he didn't have control of his armory ops.

After that, Range control would start demanding answers from it's RSO's as to how ammo is coming off the range in magazines. This would also raise general concern and an audit of ordnance accountability.

That would all happen if I didn't just give the armorer a "wake up and do your job" counselling and notify the range via SNCO channels to do the same. Tha ammo would go into the supply of "discretionary ammo."

April 27, 2005, 01:18 PM
I agree with just about everything that was said by everyone here. However, being that this is the National Guard some rules are bent more than others. It would take way too much time and effort to determine off of which range the rounds came from. It would have been either the zero range or the qual range. All we did was have the supply sgt take the rounds out of the mag and let him deal with it. I know that we probably broke a least a half dozen different regs. The "scout" getting the mags in more than likely a 11B in the recon plt.
I myself am a 96B, Intell Anaylyst. Therefore I only get to shoot once a year if I am lucky.
In our unit I believe we actually have an armorer who is school trained and then three or four clerks that do the weekend thing. They all work under a full time supply sgt. The mags maybe stored in the arms room which is a large safe room in the supply room. It just happened to be a supply clerk who was issuing the mags on a hand receipt at the time.

April 27, 2005, 07:52 PM
We were sitting in the bleachers (behind the firing line) at the range. Waiting for the order to board the buses. One soldier with a habit of poor muzzle discipline made me nervous. The bolt on the H&R M-16 was forward with the dust cover closed. This soldier was ordered to lock the bolt to the rear. After the obligatory, "Humph, why it's not loaded?" the soldier followed orders. Out flew a shiny new live round.

Jaws dropped and all the joking around stopped.

The soldier had been "rodded off the range." Rodding for those that don't know means that a cleaning rod is inserted into the muzzle and down the bore. When it hits the face of the bolt, which should be locked to the rear, the bolt slams forward driving the rod back up the barrel. The weapon is pronounced safe. The solider is then cleared to leave the range.

There are a few ways that this may happen, but the point is it did. We all have to shoulder the responsibility for safety. Especially around troops that view weapons training as a nuisance.


April 27, 2005, 08:07 PM
In my 13 years in the Army (5 Active, 8 Reserve) as an MP officer (31A), No live ammo ever came back from one of my ranges. Takes way too much time and paperwork, better to get in as much practice as possible.

Entropy: Sounds like the Range Safety, NCOIC and OIC screwed the pooch that day. The CO needs to know that live rounds were improperly stored and accounted for. Those are the guys that need to get hammered, not the armorer (he just needs to have a few pounds chewed off his 4th point of contact, for letting those magazines get back into the arms room with any ammo in them).

April 27, 2005, 08:31 PM
Another story I have goes back to my active duty days. I was stationed in Korea and our battalion was tasked to do a qual range for the whole brigade. That meant we had two battalions coming down from Seoul and the two we had at Camp Humphreys, where I was stationed. We ran the whole brigade through in a little over 24 hours.
The scary incident happened during zeroing. We had just had shooters put their three rounds down range and were down range checking targets. Well somehow one female soldier walked back up range before being told to. She proceeded to jump down in the foxhole and adjust her sights. Just a reminder we had troops down range. Myself and another range safety spotted said female messing with sights. She had a mag in the well and the bolt was forward. The other safety, big SSG, grabbed said female up by her web gear as I grabbed the rifle, shoved the muzzle into the foxhole, dropped mag and locked bolt to the rear all in one motion. Out flew a round from the chamber and in the mag was a couple more rounds.
The female was yanked from the firing order and got a rather lengthy :cuss: :cuss: from a couple of officers and NCO's. All firing stopped for several minutes as another safety briefing was given to all the firers and safeties.
The best reward after more than 24 hrs on the range was several cases of beer for the range crew and two days of no duty. :neener:

April 27, 2005, 09:00 PM
Back to the real Army: Who you think they're gonna zap with a 15, the E-6 or 7 that ran the range day, or the poor sap E-4 that got stuck in the Arms Room? (Just remember; in the Army, IT runs downhill.) Same way in the Corps, at least the one I spent the last 8 years in. It is all about passing the buck.

If this had happened in the Marine Corps there would have been more than one person "swinging from the yard arm." Yeah, that's probably true, but I bet no one that had more than one rocker or anything shiny on their collar would take the fall. That was my experience anyway. I watched Sgt after Sgt, (Myself included,) get "Cpl-2nd award" for the mistake of some Gunny or Zero.

Maybe that's just an Airwing thing.

Jim K
April 27, 2005, 09:34 PM
I can't talk about rifle mags, as we had the M1 when I was armorer, but every carbine and pistol magazine turned in was checked BY ME. And every weapon was checked when it went out and when it came back, BY ME. I never took anyone's word that his weapon was OK (except the company and battalion commanders - after all, RHIP). No one left after turning in his weapon until I had checked the weapons card and checked the weapon for rack number, serial number, condition, and whether loaded or not.

And the troops in the units where I was armorer did NOT get together, tear down all the weapons and reassemble them willy-nilly. I have been told that was done in the Marine Corps - maybe they didn't care if their rifles worked, but if that ever happened in my unit, I didn't hear about it or several someones would have been in trouble.

In my service period, being an armorer was not only not "punishment", it was a much desired position. Not only was the armorer exempt from duty (no KP, guard, or motor pool), but had to be trained at the armorer's school. Most of the armorers I knew were "gun nuts" like myself, who really wanted the job and took pride in doing it right.


Double Naught Spy
April 28, 2005, 01:18 AM
Help me out here. What is the danger in the magazine being loaded? I realize they are not supposed to be loaded, but that is the danger? Are the troops not qualified to handle loaded magazines?

April 28, 2005, 01:05 PM
The danger isn't in the mag being loaded but some young, dumb, private slamming it in is weapon, slamming the bolt forward and then pulling the trigger to drop the hammer and not even look at the mag. Really gets interesting if there is a blank adapter attached to said weapon.

April 28, 2005, 05:20 PM
if there was any more than 1 round in it, you'd have to be a real idiot to pick it up and not feel the extra weight. If you collected an armful somewhere, sure, but pulling it out of a pouch to load...

April 29, 2005, 05:41 PM
Amen, Jim Keenan, amen. I handled my Arms Room the same way, except I still checked the BN & CO Co's weapons, even though I cleaned them myself. :D (My only act of 'cheesing'.) Often our 1SG, a female, would attempt to browbeat me into accepting unclean weapons, which I absolutely would not do. Ticked her off to no end, but nothing she could do about it, I had the LTC's backing on that. Most everyone thought I was crazy for volunteering for Armorer, but the S-4 CPT I worked for. He was a Green Beanie, and was impressed by that. Consequently, I got whatever I needed for the Arms Room, and a lot of extra 'high speed training' i.e., going to the Advanced Armorer's Course as an E-4, normally reserved for E-6's and 7's.
wmenorr67, I had several instances of people doing dumb stunts like that female soldier in Korea. Had a 19 year-old crewchief 'playing coyboy' on the line 'quick draw' his M10 S&W and pop one off before the command to commence fire. :what: I pulled him off the line, and he had to wait two months longer to qualify, plus visit his CO, a West Pointer MAJ who did not look kindly on such things. :p He was the model of range safety after that! Had a butterbar ventilate the roof over the pistol course after she had an 'alabi' because she forgot to release the slide on her M1911A1. :rolleyes: Had an armorer from one of the companys in our BN put about 5 gas pistons in backwards in some M60's, making them very heavy straight-pull bolts. Lucky I tagged along on their range, hoping to get some 60 trigger time that day, earned a Letter of Commendation for that one, and still got some shooting in. (I had to test 'em, ya know! :evil: )
The funniest one was when we were in the field; an infantry unit near us set up an impromptu M60 range on a hillside, with some sillhouette targets, then they walked back about 500-600 yds and set up. In the meantime, some steers grazing the range had settled in behind the targets. When the 11B's opened up, about a half dozen steers dropped before they noticed. (I was about a half-mile away, and they didn't hear my warning shouts.) Some rancher made out on that one, I'm sure. I checked the beef stew from the marmites for bullet fragments that night, just to be safe. ;)

April 29, 2005, 06:20 PM
When we were doing urban combat exercises at Fort Lewis' recently-contrusted "Lechi Town", we had Iraqi nationals with AK-47s shooting blanks at us.

Several of the Iraqis found live 7.62x39mm rounds in the ammo they were issued and fortunately cleared them out. Although we had Interceptor vests, they were going for headshots that day. :eek:

Happened the same day some bonehead private (I was a PFC at the time, but wasn't ever this stupid) put a live 5.56mm round through a BFA. :eek: The rod-and-ring thingie was never found, and the steel U-shaped bit that fits over the muzzle made a rather dramatic "PING!" and was all bent out of shape. This was at the end-of-the-day "shoot all ammo so we don't have to account for leftover rounds" shoot.

It's a shame he was just an E-2, as he didn't have far to fall.

Both incidents on the same day caused all training on base to stop for two days. Ah, sweet blissful sleep.

I don't know how he acquired the live round either, as all the ammo that day were issued in the smaller blank boxes. We even got belted blank ammo for our SAW gunners.

...of course, this is the same brigade that now has some ~20-something kid serving life in prison for treason. He evidently was giving out M1A1 Abrams tank weaknesses to al Qaida agents (not sure if he really gave it to bona fide bad guys, or FBI types posing as bad guys). :what:

I'm glad I'm out of the Guard and back home now.

April 29, 2005, 06:37 PM
A couple of years ago at AT a couple of live rounds were found during a POW search. ALL TRAINING stopped for several hours while everyone in the entire play area was searched and re-searched for live rounds.

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