Army fort in Arizona to issue 'ax handles' to guards as part of new security measure


May 23, 2003, 12:01 PM
Axes against evil: 1 base's
plan to bludgeon terrorists
Army fort in Arizona to issue 'ax handles'
to guards as part of new security measures

Posted: May 23, 2003
1:00 a.m. Eastern

By Paul Sperry
© 2003

WASHINGTON -- As the Pentagon deploys more Stinger missiles around its perimeter to guard against new al-Qaida threats, an Army fort out West plans to issue axes to beef up security.

Actually, axes isn't quite accurate. Some sentries at Fort Huachuca in Arizona will only get the wooden part of the ax -- sans blade.

"No firearms for sentry duty. They get ax handles!" said a U.S. official, who finds the plan ridiculous.

Indeed, a post-wide memo, "Operations Order for Force Protection Delta Procedures," advises: "Soldiers ... will be issued a flashlight, batteries and an ax handle to be used in case of an emergency."

The March 6 memo obtained by WorldNetDaily adds: "Any detained personnel will be controlled by the mere threat of being struck by a wooden ax handle."

Another memo, distributed March 17 under the subject line, "FP Con Delta Reactive Procedures," details equipment for guards at the fort.

"Guards: Battle Dress Uniform (BDU), sleeves down, Kevlar, LBE [load-bearing equipment], weather appropriate over garment, and axe handle club," it states.

A spokesman at Fort Belvoir here, where all guards are issued firearms, chuckled at the ax-handle contingency at Fort Huachuca. "I've never heard of such a thing," Don Carr said.

A spokeswoman at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, also was amused, saying guards there always carry loaded weapons.

A spokesman at the Department of Army here was equally incredulous.

"I'm not aware of any policy regarding ax handles, and I have no idea why any post would have such a policy," said Army Maj. Chris Conway.

He notes that fort security is the responsibility of each fort commander. "It's not a cookie-cutter thing," Conway said.

Fort Huachuca, home to a U.S. Army Intelligence Center unit, will not issue the ax handles unless there is a major event of stateside terrorism, which would trigger the security upgrade to Delta, the highest warning level.

The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency here, however, has raised its warning recommendation for all military facilities to Delta, after al-Qaida leaders this week issued threats against U.S. military installations.

"We have not changed our plans," said Fort Huachuca spokeswoman Tanja Linton. "We're at Bravo-plus."

In response to terror warnings, commanders can raise force-protection levels at their bases at Alpha, Bravo, Charlie or Delta.

The Pentagon is at Charlie.

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May 23, 2003, 12:06 PM
Cool. It should open up a new field: tactical axe handle instructor.

May 23, 2003, 12:07 PM
Axe handle for up-close-&-personal...OK

Axe handle vs a handgun at 30 feet...NO GOOD


May 23, 2003, 12:26 PM
Are these the old school wooden axe handles or the tactical fiberglass handle ?
Did they even consider the straight, sledge hammer handle ?
I wonder if the officers are issued hammer handles to carry on their belts ? This would also allow the concealment option for under cover operatives.

May 23, 2003, 01:16 PM
wouldn't using an ax handle be sort of like hitting someone with the skinny end of a baseball bat. I think the way most ax handles are made they would fight against you as you swung, and if you hit, it would be without any weight. Wouldn't they be better off with a stick that is the same thickness the whole way through. When you whack something the heavy end of the stick does 90% of the damage, by removing it, you have to accelerate the heavy handle, without any weight on the other end, there is no way it would work.

You want to hit either fast and weak, or slow and strong. They are going to end up hitting slow, and weak.

Its like shooting someone with a 9mm sized bullet that has the speed of a .45 caliber bullet.

El Tejon
May 23, 2003, 01:28 PM
Nothing like a fine piece of hickory!

Monte Harrison
May 23, 2003, 01:31 PM
While in basic at Ft. Benning, we would occasionally get detailed to guard the base payroll office at night - with aluminum baseball bats.

May 23, 2003, 01:45 PM
Same thing here at Basic at Ft. Ord circa 1973. Around the company area it was an axe handle, flashlight, and a whistle. One time we were sent to watch over some helicopters and we were given M-16s..... WITHOUT ANY MAGS OR AMMO!!!!!

May 23, 2003, 03:03 PM
You might be surprised at just how much damage a good, solid, hardwood axe handle can do.

But if I'm on patrol, I want a loaded firearm, thank you very much.

May 23, 2003, 03:24 PM
Ft. Huachuca is intel-weenie heaven. Maybe they don't think that their soldiers there can actually handle a loaded firearm.:D

May 23, 2003, 03:27 PM
The handle for a double headed ax tends to be straight from what I recall of my dad's ax.

May 23, 2003, 03:32 PM
It is very instructive to watch what a trained Indian (from the sub-continent India, not the American West) Policeman can do with a four foot Lathi.

However...even they would not fair well against one armed invader.

El Tejon - Clint certainly proved what a proper god-fearing clergy man can do with an axe handle...I still winch when I think about that scene.


May 23, 2003, 04:03 PM
This has got to be a joke. I cannot believe that we would try to protect such an installation with men carrying a flashlight and an axe handle. Some trust our government has in our men in uniform.


May 23, 2003, 04:31 PM
Some used to carry axe handles on patrol instead of nightsticks. They were banned in the early `70s. Nightstick is not P.C. either, they`re ahem batons:rolleyes:

May 23, 2003, 05:23 PM
I really hope this is a joke. If not, we should deluge the base commander with correspondance demanding our soldiers be armed.

May 23, 2003, 08:34 PM
Pilotless drones, satellite guided munitions, stealth aircraft, computer controlled tank firing systems, night vision equipment, nuclear powered naval vessels and....... wooden axe handles.....

May 23, 2003, 09:14 PM
Instead of worrying about rust,you would have to worry
about termites!:D


May 23, 2003, 09:26 PM
Should be useful for all those Al Qaeda vampires.

Standing Wolf
May 23, 2003, 09:43 PM
It's satire, right? Right? Isn't it?

May 23, 2003, 11:49 PM
welcome to reality guys. Most of our military leadership does not want anything to happen "on their watch". They would rather have a Joe get shot/blown up/killed by bad guys than have same Joe have an AD and hurt himself/neighbor/civilian. They do not understand that it is a "training" issue. Most "soldiers"/military people are a menace with a loaded weapon due to our ineffective training regimen: dress right dress on the rifle range, rodded on and off; told when to load, when to unload; weapon checked by seniors. Very few units actually train realistically. "leadership" chooses to deal with it by not issueing ammo. Same old story - been around for decades.

May 24, 2003, 12:40 AM
Please oh please tell me... this HAS to be a joke right? Please pelase?

I mean, it would not even make for a good cartoon....

GI Joe attempting to stop a moving vehicle with his axe handle bravely getting ready for the 'big swing' while Ahamed drives Abdul and pickup truck of explosives right at our brave Joe... oh but at 25 yards off the AK spits out a burst and the axehandle drops heavily to the ground along with a spray of US GI Blood.

Oh but wait:

Fort Huachuca, home to a U.S. Army Intelligence Center unit, will not issue the ax handles unless there is a major event of stateside terrorism, which would trigger the security upgrade to Delta, the highest warning level.

Maybe it is NOT a joke!



May 24, 2003, 04:18 AM
This is like a short story Bill Cosby had in a book he wrote, about his Navy times.

"They took me out to the clothes-line. There were no clothes on it, just the wire. They gave me a green vest and a rifle with no bullets. I guess if someone came to steal the clothes line I was just supposed to say "Don't hurt me!" "

May 24, 2003, 12:00 PM
While in basic at Ft. McClellan I pulled guard duty a couple of times. M-16, loaded mag w/ 3 rounds and a strip of tape across feed lips in mag pouch.

Now, one wonders if there will be a push from our govt. to ban axe handles with military style features from the rest of us peons.:rolleyes:

Byron Quick
May 24, 2003, 12:45 PM
I was in the Army Reserves from 1974 to 1980.

Basic at Ft. guards at the barracks carried short baseball bats but the MP's at the gates were armed with 1911's. I don't know if they were trusted with ammo.

During AIT at Ft.Leonard Wood I occasionally pulled guard duty at an ammo dump...M16 and empty magazines. Once again the MP's at the gates had 1911's but I don't know if they were trusted with ammo.

The town of Ft. Valley was hit by a tornado and my unit was used to guard against looters...M16 with empty magazines once again. But I had learned by then and had my own supply. The sergeant came around and checked our empty mags to be sure they hadn't been loaded by civilian ammo. Mine checked empty cause I had brought my own mags, too.

May 24, 2003, 01:46 PM

Please tell me this is a joke.

Are they issuing hatchet handles to the officers?

It reminds me of a lengthy joke I heard as a kid, about the army being short of rifles and boyonetts, and trainees running around with sticks shouting "Bang! Bang! Stab! Stab!" until they encounter a group of four guys bellowing "TANK...TANK..."

May 24, 2003, 02:42 PM
...I had learned by then and had my own supply... Wise move, and not unique.

No firearm issued to guards, or no ammo if a firearm was issued = in case of trouble, run away, run away.

May 24, 2003, 05:04 PM
"Old man, old story:"

'71-74 active army, stationed Bamberg, Germany: motor pool guard, of course, since something ALWAYS has to be guarded.

Started with M16A1's, 3 rounds in a mag, NOT in the rifle.

Some (stupid) LT shot one of our neigboring unit's guards with a .45. This created a problem, since his buddy should have shot back, and so we were now sent on guard duty with an M16, but NO ammo.

Locals then started jumping the guards and stealing the rifles.

OK, so now we get sent out with, and I forget it in detail, but a billy club of some sort.

The locals then steal the wallets of the guards.

We were told to leave our wallets in the barracks when we went on duty.

Don't know what the powers that were thought, but I went to survival mode: leave me alive and you can take any vehicle you want, including the 8" howitzers!

I did my time, and all, and I'm very sure that the "modern" Army is different: NOT

May 24, 2003, 11:15 PM
...repeating: "joke, joke, it is a joke, it isn't a joke..."

What's the matter with you guys?

This is no joke; it's a friggen TRAGEDY??!!


May 25, 2003, 01:51 AM
A brilliant idea for those chuckling about the ax handle story!

First, call the PAO Officer at Fort Huachuca and see if the WorldNetDaily story is true. I know...... the reports from WorldNetDaily should not be questioned. Their accuracy is up there with FOX!

But if you don't believe the PAO's answer about "ax handles" .....Why don't you guys test their security? Sneak through "red team style" and tag one of those guys with the "ax handles?

Do it! If you're successfull, you'll be famous! :D


May 25, 2003, 12:45 PM
Do it! If you're successfull, you'll be famous!

No, you'll in an undisclosed stockade somewhere, and denied access to your lawyer for a really long time.

May 25, 2003, 08:06 PM
I guess we had better get in line now for when the handles are demobbed and the DCM puts them out for NRA members. What caliber (size) are they? If they are unsure of the size, would you say that they are X-caliber, and if so, could you pull one from a rock?

Are the anti-handle people going to be up in arms over this?

Will there be a five day waiting period for an ax handle?

If it is split for a wedge, will it be considered as an assault handle?

When ax handles are banned, only bands will have ax handles.

How about scope and sling mounts?

May 25, 2003, 08:13 PM
The various MP units provide security for the base. And none of them carry ax handles!

That Worldnetdaily story is horse puckey! (Like most Worldnetdaily stories).

"Certain sentries carry ax handles?" Which "sentries" might these be?


Old Fuff
May 25, 2003, 09:52 PM

I live about four minutes away from the Post's main gate.

I can assure you that the M.P.'s are not carrying axehandles.

If some else (not me) wants to go "tag" them go right ahead.

May 25, 2003, 10:16 PM
I was being just a LITTLE sarcastic when I suggested that those who believed the Worldnetdaily "BS" article "tag" an ax carrying sentry. Don't try it!


May 26, 2003, 08:23 AM
Someone mentioned calling the axhandles "Batons" rather than "axhandles"

In the present political climate of it being eminently acceptable to throw Gaul Stones, I would suggest that the "baton" be referred to by its proper American name of "stick".

If LaPierre wants to change his name to "OfPeter", that's his business.

Old Fuff
May 26, 2003, 02:06 PM
Don Q.

I know what you were saying, but there are some folks around here that might be just foolish enough to try it. The Post Commander doesn't share your sarcasism.

But I do .......

May 26, 2003, 02:54 PM
The Post Commander doesn't share your sarcasm.
And neither does NSA. They've already traced the origin of your treacherous plot. They know where you live. They know what you did last summer. They know... wait, they can't conduct domestic surveillance. ;) ;)

Old Fuff
May 26, 2003, 03:49 PM
>> They know... wait, they can't conduct domestic surveillance. <<

Oh thank you. I feel so much better knowing this. Now I'm going to go find something warm and fuzzy ......

Safety First
May 26, 2003, 06:13 PM
Hickory is good but .45 or 9mm would be better,at least if I were the guard that would be my though:what:

May 26, 2003, 08:57 PM
The NSA has been illegally conducting surveillance for decades, violating the constitution, and federal law. They were caught and admitted to it on the news after it was proven. They said they would stop, they never did for a second. The only thing that has changed from then, and now, is now it is legal under the patriot act. :banghead: :fire:

May 26, 2003, 10:23 PM
I highly doubt this is a joke.

During Gulf War 1 I was stationed in Mainz, Germany. My unit was responsible for guarding our kaserne (post in German), the housing area, and the PX shopping complex across the river. Our SOP for defending ourselves: stand t Port Arms (with an empty M-16), yell halt twice, if they failed to stop we were to get out of the way and call the Staff Duty. They would then wake up the QRF (Quick Reaction Force), who would then grab their weapons, load up on deuce-and-a-halfs, get issued loaded mags, and drive to our guard post to dig our bodies out of the rubble caused by the car bomb.

Of course, after 9/11, at Fort Campbell, we carried M-4's with 210 rounds of ammo. Also, there were Hum-vees at most major intersections with SAW's, M240's, or MK-19's. We also had armed Apaches and Kiowa Warriors flying overhead 24/7. To this day, they still carry loaded weapons, though the chamber is empty, but with a loaded mag.

I have pulled guard duty before with an axe handle, but in the post 9/11 world it seems a bit like being unprepared.

May 26, 2003, 11:01 PM
High Priority Targets at Ft. Huachuca are protected by guards with guns.

If the motor pool guards of some low priority units aren't allowed to carry REAL weapons, it's because there is NO THREAT OF THEM BEING ATTACKED.


May 27, 2003, 06:52 AM
To those service personnel who furnished their own mags/ammo, what would have happened to you (other than your continuing to live) had you used the ammo ?

Sleeping Dog
May 27, 2003, 08:14 AM
Since Lester Maddox handed out axe handles to Georgia legislators, I figured that axe handles would be on a list of "politically incorrect" weapons. In addition to being ineffective, of course.


Byron Quick
May 27, 2003, 09:20 AM
To those service personnel who furnished their own mags/ammo, what would have happened to you (other than your continuing to live) had you used the ammo ?

I have no doubt that I would have been court martialed. One requirement for being court martialed is breathing.

The old saw about it being better to be judged by twelve than carried by six has long been one of my guiding principles. It still is.

Your point is?

May 27, 2003, 12:50 PM
they must have got the idea for the axe hafts from us. I can remeber doing nighttime guard with an axe haft, a whistle and a flashlight, and instructiuons not to hit anyone.

Carlos Cabeza
May 27, 2003, 05:50 PM
IF they are good enough for Buford T. Pusser, Well they're good enough for the United States Army ! I get a good chuckle thinking of an MP yelling halt, standing ready with his AXE HANDLE.......................:D

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