Soldiers need 'precision-guided' pistols?


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Drizzt
July 31, 2005, 01:55 AM
Ill-equipped soldiers use excess force

By Rowan Scarborough
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
July 28, 2005

U.S. Army soldiers have used "excessive" and "unauthorized deadly force" in Iraq to defend supply convoys because they did not have the proper weapons, according to a commander's secret internal memorandum.

The memo says soldiers need precision-guided pistols, in addition to heavy-fire machine guns, to ensure that innocent people are not killed.

The memo was written by Brig. Gen. Joseph J. Chaves, who commands an Army National Guard brigade that performs the perilous job of guarding convoys that move in and out of Camp Anaconda, a sprawling logistics base near Balad, north of Baghdad. Such convoys have been the targets of numerous attacks by terrorists using suicide car bombs and other types of ambushes.

In the March 15 memo, Gen. Chaves tells top commanders in Baghdad that he does not have the right mix of weapons to fire from the turrets of armored Humvees and other vehicles that guard supply trucks.

"Previously, reports indicated that excessive use of force, to include unauthorized deadly force, was employed by some convoy escorts," Gen. Chaves writes to the commander of all multinational forces in Iraq in a memo stamped "secret." A copy of the memo was obtained by The Washington Times.

"While defending combat logistics convoys, soldiers manning heavy crew-served weapons in turrets of gun trucks are challenged to use the appropriate elevation of force toward hostile acts of demonstrated hostile intents," he wrote.

The memo does not provide details of excessive-force incidents.

The Times this week supplied copies of the memo to the Pentagon, the command headquarters in Baghdad and Camp Anaconda. A Pentagon spokesman said its policy is not to comment on classified documents. Spokesmen in Baghdad and at the camp had no comment.

Gen. Chaves blames the deaths on escorts being forced to use M-2 machine guns and MK-19 grenade launchers, which apparently killed unintended targets.

He said soldiers, when attacked, have no time to reach down inside their armored vehicles to retrieve more accurate weapons.

"The speed of our convoys and oncoming threats allow no time for soldiers to alternately reach down to grab an M-16 or M-4 [rifles] in order to ensure that proportionate force is utilized to ensure innocent civilians are not engaged," he said.

Gen. Chaves, who commands the Hawaii Army National Guard 29th Separate Infantry Brigade, said the answer was to equip soldiers with laser-guided 9 mm Beretta pistols.

That way, a soldier could lase the person he wants to target before pulling the trigger.

"The M-9 9 mm Beretta pistol will allow the gunner to elect to use the smaller caliber weapon vice the crew-served weapon to ensure proper elevation of force," Gen. Chaves said. "The hip holster will allow the gunner quick and easy access to the lighter weapon."

Gen. Chaves also wrote of a second benefit.

"A soldier wielding a pistol is viewed by local nationals as a token of authority," he said. "Historically, Iraqi soldiers in positions of authority carried pistols and were known to not hesitate to shoot alleged criminals."

Camp Anaconda, with a large airstrip, is a major supply hub for 138,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. Truck convoys regularly leave and enter the base and are spied on by insurgents for any opening to launch an attack. Commanders use a variety of tactics to foil their plans.

"We use speed, evasive driving, our best intelligence to change routes and then rely on air cover and armor plating," said Robert Maginnis, a retired Army combat officer and a military analyst.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/national/20050727-115941-2568r.htm

:confused:

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Hawkmoon
July 31, 2005, 02:06 AM
Gen. Chaves, who commands the Hawaii Army National Guard 29th Separate Infantry Brigade, said the answer was to equip soldiers with laser-guided 9 mm Beretta pistols.

That way, a soldier could lase the person he wants to target before pulling the trigger.

"The M-9 9 mm Beretta pistol will allow the gunner to elect to use the smaller caliber weapon vice the crew-served weapon to ensure proper elevation of force," Gen. Chaves said. "The hip holster will allow the gunner quick and easy access to the lighter weapon."
:banghead: :banghead: :banghead:

Absolutely. A 9mm Beretta with Crimson Trace grips is certainly the appropriate weapon to stop a suicide bomber or a suicide vehicle.

Never mind that the sun over there is so bright you couldn't see the red spot from 4 feet away.

I had hoped military leadership might have improved since Vietnam, but apparently I was hoping in vain.

Sigh ...

MechAg94
July 31, 2005, 02:28 AM
I would have thought excessive use of force would be good discouragement.

Does this guy honestly think that if a guys steps out to fire a rocket propelled grenade that the soldiers are going to reach for a pistol instead of the M2 sitting right in front of him? I guess he would also set up some screwed up beaurocratic rules preventing the use of the machine gun right in front of that soldier. After all, using the M2 would defeat the purpose of his decision to get the pistols. Simple.

SIGarmed
July 31, 2005, 02:34 AM
Gen. Chaves, who commands the Hawaii Army National Guard 29th Separate Infantry Brigade, said the answer was to equip soldiers with laser-guided 9 mm Beretta pistols.

That way, a soldier could lase the person he wants to target before pulling the trigger.

"The M-9 9 mm Beretta pistol will allow the gunner to elect to use the smaller caliber weapon vice the crew-served weapon to ensure proper elevation of force," Gen. Chaves said. "The hip holster will allow the gunner quick and easy access to the lighter weapon."

Good luck arming troops with a defensive pistol. I don't like this Gen. already.

c_yeager
July 31, 2005, 05:33 AM
This guy actually wants heavy weapons crews to daw a PISTOL in preference to using the heavy weapons that they are crewing?!?

Eightball
July 31, 2005, 09:07 AM
The memo says soldiers need precision-guided pistolsSo, they want to start getting troops to be half-decent at this newfangled thing called Aiming :rolleyes: ? Give them a 1911, they'l be more preciese-only 8 shots, they'll make them count :D .

mussi
July 31, 2005, 09:55 AM
I can understand them a tad.

Equip the half of the Hummers with 3-barrel miniguns in .30, and the other half with 20mm.

A car getting hit with 50 .30 bullets a second is bound to stop quite soon, and with 20mm, things blow up. The .30 avoids shooting through a whole building, though, which in an urban setting where killing everybody is to be avoided can't be such a bad thing.

ctdonath
July 31, 2005, 11:07 AM
to ensure that proportionate force is utilizedUm, Sir, war is about using overwhelming, disproportionate force to destroy and demotivate your enemies into submission. Worries about "porportionate force" are about police actions. If you want "proprotionate force", send police. Soldiers were sent instead, so you're going to get DISproportionate force - that's what they're for.

El Tejon
July 31, 2005, 11:09 AM
:what:

Is this a war or what?

Souris
July 31, 2005, 11:21 AM
What bothers me the most about this story is that this came from a document that was "supposedly" marked SECRET. There is a traitor in the midst and I think that the paper should be held accountable for releasing classified documents.

The short sightedness of the general doesn't supprise me in the least. he has probably been in a combat zone just long enough to get his CIB and get promoted and has never been on a humvee turret and trying to get a pistol out of a flapped holster when he needed it.

MY 2 Cents

J Miller
July 31, 2005, 11:32 AM
Talk about blissninny b.s.. This guy needs to be DEmoted to an convoy escort gun crewman. I'll bet he'd fight for the 50 gal gun.


Joe

White Horseradish
July 31, 2005, 11:36 AM
"A soldier wielding a pistol is viewed by local nationals as a token of authority," he said. "Historically, Iraqi soldiers in positions of authority carried pistols and were known to not hesitate to shoot alleged criminals."
This is interesting. You mean it's ok to shoot criminals? Does the President know?

Citadel99
July 31, 2005, 12:59 PM
I'll chime in as somebody who was stationed at LSA Anaconda for 9 months and still in theater (at least for two more weeks!!!!!).

It's a fact that the people of Iraq respect a pistol more than any other weapon. It sounds crazy to you back home but you have to remember that people were assassinated in the streets by pistols under Iraq's regime. The M9 gets people's attention in a way that an M4 can't. It's seen as a "personal" weapon. I've been saying for awhile now that all convoy personnel should get sidearms. Also, the way the humvees are uparmored, the small, square windows inside them make it very hard for the personnel inside to quickly get a M4 or M16 out the window.

Will a gunner ever engage an oncoming vehicle with a M9 when he's sitting behind a M2, M249, M240B, or Mark 19? Probably never. But should they have pistols? Yes.

Mark

Hawkmoon
July 31, 2005, 01:12 PM
What bothers me the most about this story is that this came from a document that was "supposedly" marked SECRET. There is a traitor in the midst and I think that the paper should be held accountable for releasing classified documents.
A "traitor"?

How about a "patriot"? This general's idea is about the dumbest notion I think I have ever heard, and in my 61-1/2 years on this planet I have heard a fair ration of rather dumb ideas. What is traitorious about leaking this idiocy? Consider that perhaps the person who leaked it recognized it for the lunacy it represents, and leaked it so it could see the light of day and be subjected to an appropriate level of ridicule before some other nincompoop read it and decided to act on it.

pcf
July 31, 2005, 02:03 PM
This wouldn't be the first time that a news source has claimed to have "classified documents." The pentagon won't comment. Even if they or the General did they would either be liars.

Crosshair
July 31, 2005, 04:37 PM
Easy solution, have one guy throw the pistols at the enemy and have the other guy open up with the M2.

CentralTexas
July 31, 2005, 04:44 PM
National Guard anf from Hawaii (California on an Island). Why are you suprised? :neener:
CT

Waitone
July 31, 2005, 04:45 PM
This is a joke, right? Please tell me it is a joke. I'm waiting . . . . . . :what:

I'm flaberghasted a>the report was written, b>the author actually wrote in print what was written, c>the joker has not been demoted, d>he is not permanently on convoy escort duty.

:eek:

One of Many
July 31, 2005, 05:59 PM
The General is trying to avoid "Collateral Damage" to non-combattants. His idea is to put bullets into only the people that are shooting at US troops, or attempting to blow them up. There is nothing wrong with accurate application of force.

What he doesn't seem to understand, is that the pistol is an inaccurate weapon (even with laser sights), compared to a rifle, and that it is also under-powered for stopping a determined (and possibly drugged) attacker.

He needs to research the subject more thoroughly, and come up with a better solution than laser equipped pistols for HumVee patrols. By all means give the troops personal sidearms, but have them shoot rifles or MG from the turret.

RevDisk
July 31, 2005, 06:15 PM
Geesh. A lot of folks are jumping on the General for merely bringing up an idea. His idea is equipping soldiers with pistols in addition to their main weapon, be it M2 or M16. He's NOT advocating taking away crew served weapons and replacing them with M9's. I think he vastly overestimates the possible improvements by merely adding a laser to the M9, but with proper training I believe it really couldn't hurt matters.

What's wrong with issuing soldiers a sidearm in addition to their primary weapon? Geesh. I never thought I'd see folks on THR arguing AGAINST the govt handing out more weapons to US soldiers.

My personal belief (again, this is my personal opinion), is that anyone that just carries a pistol now should rather have an SMG. Anyone with a crew served should also have a pistol.

jefnvk
July 31, 2005, 06:24 PM
Funny. The thing my great Uncle, who was a truck driver or at least in the truck convoys said, is what they wanted was M4's or SMG's. Pistols wern't powerful enough, and you couldn't move the M16's around.

What's wrong with issuing soldiers a sidearm in addition to their primary weapon? Geesh. I never thought I'd see folks on THR arguing AGAINST the govt handing out more weapons to US soldiers.

I still think all soldiers should have a pistol and a rifle. Or at least a SMG in place of both.

slabsides
July 31, 2005, 06:28 PM
MY personal opinion is that this whole report is a fabrication.
Pending more authoritative verification, I rate it:
BS.

bakert
July 31, 2005, 06:40 PM
If this is really the truth would have to agree with Joe Miller but actually I think slabsides is right on the money. Sounds like BS cooked up by a reporter!! A Laser sight does nothing for a p--- poor marksman especially in that glare and brightness mentioned.

Balog
July 31, 2005, 06:46 PM
Last time my unit was in Iraq the ROEs prohibited the MK-19 gunners from going directly to the MK if they could use a -16. The hesitation this asinine rule caused one of our gunners led to 1 KIA and 2 serious WIA. IF this story is true this is just another example of an over promoted fool with too much bling on the collar being out of touch with reality.

MechAg94
July 31, 2005, 07:45 PM
What's wrong with issuing soldiers a sidearm in addition to their primary weapon? Geesh. I never thought I'd see folks on THR arguing AGAINST the govt handing out more weapons to US soldiers.

I don't have a problem with issuing pistols. I do have a problem with his idea that soldiers should use the pistols for defense in preference to the crew served weapons right in front of them. That is idiotic.

I am also sure that every soldier issued a pistol would be given all the training and range time they require and all the laser's would be sighted in exactly so they can shoot that guy aiming at them 50 yards away with one shot. :rolleyes:

ID_shooting
July 31, 2005, 08:13 PM
expirience tells me that if this "letter" is true, the good General's pistol qualification has been. um, how shall we say, Skilcrafted. Other GIs know what I speak of.

He iether really believes that he qualified an amazing 100% every year for the last 20 or he grossly misunderstands how lasersights and sidearm weapons work.

"Laser-GUIDED" :what: Who wouldn't want one of these, have a buddy paint the target with a designator and bang away. I would love to play with one.

"Laser-SIGHTED" Naw, you can keep it. They only work if your target is at the exact range you sighted in for.

JimP
August 1, 2005, 06:26 PM
BALOG - if that is what you are being told, they are telling you inaccurate information. The ROE does NOT mandate nor contemplate that. Contact me back channel if this is what they are telling you. I've been there five times so far - I am intimately involved with the ROE. Too many idiots like this General do NOT understand the use of force dynamics and create crap like what you just said. Criminally negligent BS. Shoot me what unit you are/were in. If it was 1st Armor - don't bother; seriously jacked up unit hindering the soldier's right to defend themselves.

Farnham
August 1, 2005, 11:09 PM
Having wandered around in one war zone, my eminently qualified opinion (that's sarcasm) is that all convoy escorts have a B-52 with JDAM's, one Tomahawk equipped destroyer/cruiser, and one Iowa class battleship on speed dial.

A laser equipped pistol will be about as useful as a submarine with a screen door. (which should also be on speed dial ;) )

S/F

Farnham

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