Monday, July 6, 2015


I served on the staff of JTF A in Cairo West and one day I flew up to Mubarek Military City in a Huey. We flew up the river for a while before heading out over the desert and landed without incident. While I was there I met a young Army captain ( I was a young LCDR at the time) and I asked what the hell happened to him because he was covered in scalp wounds and scrapes. He told me that he had gone to the head at 0330 and a platoon sergeant punched him down the stair well for daring to appear without every single aspect of a soldier's uniform, kit, weapon, including MOPP gear.

I was curious. The guys from the 24th ID up at MMC had weapons so I asked him, "did you shoot the son of a bitch?"

He explained as how that was not the Army way.

It was mo debinately not the Navy way.

For a long time, nobody, and I mean nobody, ever gave hand weapons to sailors because we were/are so dangerous. I can still remember the building commander telling the Admiral after 9/11 that while the Marines are free to park an M60 tank at the entrance he had no plans to arm any sailors under his command. I spent the next 18 years working with the armed sailors of our mobile expeditionary forces. They did pretty much what the admirals suspected but the minor thing to keep in mind is that so too did the Army and the Marines.

We practiced defense and that was a mission area we inherited from some fairly elite close combat sailors who refused to do it anymore for the Navy. I think the first time I heard that was in 1988 when a Special Boat Unit gunner's mate volunteered to help us out with our Mk19s and told us that SPECWAR guys were never ever going to do defense again. They held true to his statement. Over the years I found that the only way to attract the attention of SPECWAR was too classified for this forum.

They're predictable.


OldAFSarge said...

"Mo debinately..."

Love it.

Airmen with firearms...

Nah, I won't go there. Some of us were trained, some of us, not so much.

Captain Steve said...

I insisted that in all my ships, everyone was qualified in small arms carried aboard. Setting sea detail included bringing a rack of rifles (with ammo) to the bridge, and we had frequent ship defense and repel boarders drills. GQ included M-60s and M-79s stationed in the superstructure.

But then I'm a "Gun nut".


HMS Defiant said...

Yep. The thing about the training that many commands entirely failed to notice or consider was the simplest and most basic question. Even if that guy had gone through all the training does he have the sense and good judgement to actually be allowed to carry a weapon? I made the call several times that no, that guy wasn't ever going to carry a weapon.

HMS Defiant said...

Most first ship was homeported in Bahrain back in 1984. As with you, shortly after securing Sea and Anchor detail a gunner's mate would show up on the bridge with an M14 and half a dozen loaded magazines. The CO used them to act as solitary predator of sea snakes which was a perk he shared with the OOD.
I could tell dozens of horror stories about gunners and machine guns and the incredible negligent discharges or the M60s that had been reassembled after maintenance without the gas cylinder which rendered it a very slow single shot weapon.