“The Old Guns Are ….”

Someone sent me this record of the musings of an Army veteran on the time he had a little while ago with his son, A US Marine veteran of Iraq.  It is straight soldier talk.  No BS, no "prettying up" the language, none of that.

The young man’s comments on equipment really struck me as "just right."  He says that the old weapons, the ones we fought with in Vietnam, Korea and WW2 are better than the new ones.  I never did understand the decision to get rid of the M1911A1 .45 pistol, but then, I qualified "Expert" with it,

The M2 .50 caliber machine gun is something like the DC-3 (C-47).  It will live forever as the greatest machine gun ever made.  He thinks so too, and why did we get rid of the M-60 machine gun?

I think he underestimaes the size of the Iraqi elements in the insurgencies ongoing.  In fact, they are the guys who have learned not to make "banzai charges," and to prefer IEDs.  I would enjoy talking to him about it.

In any event, his father is proud of him.  I can see why.

Pat Lang

"A couple of weekends ago I got to spend time with my son Jordan,

who was on his first leave since returning from Iraq. He is well (a
little thin), and already bored. He will be returning to Iraq for a
second tour in early ’06 and has already re-enlisted early for 4 more
years. He loves the Marine Corps and is actually looking forward to returning to Iraq.
Jordan spent 7 months at "Camp Blue Diamond" in Ramada. Aka: Fort
Apache. He saw and did a lot and the following is what he told me about
weapons, equipment, tactics and other miscellaneous info which may be of
interest to you. Nothing is by any means classified. No politics here,
just a Marine with a bird’s eye view’s opinions:
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29 Responses to “The Old Guns Are ….”

  1. avedis says:

    I’m not sure I’d call Jordan’s perspective “birds eye” as really he is seeing things from the ground; up close and personal.
    He sees that our military is winning fire fights. What he doesn’t see is the bigger picture; politics, alliances, etc.
    Not that that should detract from what he has to say; just that he has one perspective, albeit an important one.
    Sounds like the Hassassins are alive and well (high on opiates, etc).
    I always liked the M16A1, though it will jam. Often the jams are due to deformed magazine lips and are not due to something inherent in the design.
    The M14, there’s a real rifle, if you don’t mind humping the extra weight!
    Best of luck to Jordan and his mates. God bless.

  2. wtofd says:

    Fascinating. How does their AK-47 rate compared to our machine guns? I’ve read reports that its simplicity is its strength.

  3. wtofd says:

    Thanks. Your quick response begs the question how does the AK-47 stack up against the M-series? Also, do they have anything in the crew-served weapons line?
    Could you recommend a site that talks about troop and platoon details/size. I’m interested in the “org charts.”
    Hope you’re well, Trent

  4. monty says:

    I find it interesting that Hizbillah is one of the active groups in the Sunni triangle and that the Iranians are blowing up Shiites around Baghdad.
    It is also interesting that the old Saddamite army is pretty much defeated and no longer active. Once again the MSM seems to be lying when they say the majority of insurgents are Iraqi.
    Also rumors that it is unsafe for unarmed Americans to go many places must be false because we are kicking ass. The idea that the insurgents might come at night and kill cokllaborators or that they control neighborhoods after our patrols drive through is obviously nonsense.
    Or perhaps the fact that the Us military is nearly involnerable when faced with an enemy they can engage is not the only factor in measuring success.

  5. kevin says:

    It is a M-249 not a M-243. He doesn’t know what he is talking about. Our SAWs have worked flawlessly in combat.

  6. curious george says:

    What are your comment on the 5.56 round being too weak, compared to the old 7.62?

  7. Pat Lang says:

    I have never had any trouble with an M-16 jamming, but I am a fanatic for cleaning weapons and never tried to use it the dust conditions cited.
    5.56 works for me, always did. I don’t particularly like the M-14, never did.
    My attitude is that Jordan tells his story from the point of view of a very young, very junior soldier whose understanding of things is, of necessity imperfect, as it always is for similar soldiers.
    Does he understand the war? Make your own judgment, but that does not detract from his dedication to duty and nobility of purpose. pl

  8. Ckrisz says:

    I am interested in where Jordan is getting info about Hamas, Hizbullah, etc. and also the number of foreign fighters and Iranian involvement. How much as he seen, i.e. dead bad guys and prisoners with Syrian passports, etc. as opposed to what is scuttlebutt and info given to the troops by the higher ups?
    As a future 0331, however, it is reassuring to hear that he likes the M240 Golf and the .50-cal.

  9. Hannah K. O'Luthon says:

    Thanks for the interesting report and comments in this thread. I was struck by the “presence of opiates” line in the report, and can’t help wondering if there’s more to that than meets the eye: what would the source of the opiates be, and who are the purveyors? One would think that opium and heroin use would demoralize an army, and indeed an entire population.

  10. Eric Helen Keller says:

    I am glad to see that some others like the M16-A1.
    I was relatively blind when I first used it, but was pretty good with it out to about 225 yds.
    Loved it for its weight, feel, rate of fire, and potential lethality at 50-100 yds in RNR Mode. Also liked M60.
    Never had to use either in a combat situation. Feel very lucky.
    As I am going really blind now in my agedness, it would be nice if you could crank up the font a bit Pat, so I could read the posts and comments, with out cutting and pasting to Word and UpFonting.

  11. Dan says:

    Just read this. Some very interesting stuff. Some comments:
    Haven’t heard that many complaints about the m-16 (though i haven’t asked much). Lots of dislike for the 9mm.
    Has the following anecdote about a near car-bombing:
    Sgt. Jim Beere then went over with another marine to check out the car.
    …a man lunged out of the muck in the canal on the driver’s side and went for a rocket-propelled grenade launcher in the back of the car. Beere quickly pulled his buddy back and to the side, swiped his pistol from his holster, and shot the man five times. The man fell back into the canal.
    Beere took a few steps away to catch his breath and, turning back, saw the man coming out of the canal again, this time hitting a “clacker” in his hand – a detonating unit for mines and improvised bombs. Beere shot the man four more times, and he fell dead.
    …”The best I can figure is that he had a mine down there with him and was trying to blow up all the explosives in the car. I think the wet ruined the detonator,” he says.
    We hear these claims of drug use by insurgents all the time — i bet they take a lot of amphetamines to stay awake. Never quite understand why it’s seen as important. The soldiers and Marines who talk about it seem to think drug use makes their enemy more “evil” or something.
    More sniper rifles for the enemy doesn’t neccasarily mean Iran. Ditto for improved ied making ability. Anyone with a mechanical mind and internet access can learn how to make a shaped charge, a very old design (ww1?). The military has not provided any real evidence yet that ieds are being imported from Iran. And ied’s made to look like cinderblocks have been around since at least mid-2004.
    He is flat out wrong that most of the fighters in the baghdad area are Iranian inspired and led by Iraqi shiites. Sunni Jihaddis, a lot of them got bushed into Baghdad’s western suburbs (Dura, Horea, al-Shoula) after Fallujah II. Can’t speak to the south — haven’t been in a while.
    This is the first i’ve heard of 45-50,000 enemy dead. Not a fun fact. It could be true — but no one really knows and that’s a staggering number that i doubt.
    No doubt US forces will win any firefight where the enemy doesn’t have an overwhelming advantage in numbers. US infantry are amazing to watch.
    It just doesn’t matter much, unfortunately. Maybe I’m just one of those despised reporters. But it is interesting to see the old kill ratio mindset at work. It is a fact in the field, boys do think they’re winning, but it’s defining victory that’s the hard thing.

  12. Dan says:

    Btw — I just read all the other posts. I work for the hated “MSM” (well, sort of). Iraqis are the bulk of fighters in Iraq. No doubt. There is no hezbollah that i’ve ever heard of being caught in the Sunni triangle or anywhere in the center north of the country. There is an Iraqi Hezbollah in the south — they carry Nasrallah posters at their demos — and I don’t know much about them, but they don’t operate north of Kut.
    Monty writes: “Also rumors that it is unsafe for unarmed Americans to go many places must be false because we are kicking ass. The idea that the insurgents might come at night and kill cokllaborators or that they control neighborhoods after our patrols drive through is obviously nonsense.”
    Monty — please don’t come to Iraq with these assumptions. You’ll make the news.

  13. Nick says:

    Pat, Just wanted to say that this was a very interesting article and a great site. I’d also like to know where Jordan is getting his info about foreign intervention.
    Also, a technical question, what is the reason for having the posts be .pdf files? This makes it more difficult for some people to view rather than just plain HTML.

  14. ECF says:

    if I may, I think you can augment the fonts in the browser you use. On a Mac, you just have to click and hold “command” while clicking on the “+” sign. On my Explorer for Mac that’s how it works. Hope it ‘ll work for you.
    eric (that’s my name too)

  15. W. Patrick Lang says:

    I presume that Jordan gets his informations from his buddies, what he sees and what his superiors tell him.

  16. W. Patrick Lang says:

    I assumed that Monty’s comments were irony, but..

  17. W. Patrick Lang says:

    “US infantry are amazing to watch.” reminds me of the Brit, Fremantle’s, comment after watching Lee’s infantry in the Summer of 1863. He sai they were “simply beyond praise.”
    Beere’s pistol was a 9mm. Beretta? Can’t imagine anyone carrying on like that with 9 .45 ACP in him.

  18. ECF says:

    As a Vietnam era ex-marine, I always knew we had the best military in the world. I still think so today. So why are we wasting and destroying it for a few barrels of oil, that we could buy without having to steal it.
    I also think our men are doing all their best, and may think they are doing well, and winning. But until when?
    Let me ask one question:
    If the US were ever under occupation, with the enemy determined to pillage our resources, how many years, and decades even, would we fight like cornered rats until we got rid of the enemy? My own answer, and I think, the one most people here would give : I don’t know when it will be, but I won’t stop fighting until they are booted out or I am dead. Do not expect the Iraqi to feel otherwise.
    This war is a huge mistake and does not bring honor on our country. Shame on a government who destroys our Military for material gain. This administration has lied to us and has committed what I consider Acts of Treason.
    We must impeach them now.

  19. RJJ says:

    on a PC the following browsers allow you to adjust font size:
    * Mozilla/Firefox — control + or –
    * Opera — num lock + or –
    * MS Explorer — does not respond.

  20. J Thomas says:

    “This is the first i’ve heard of 45-50,000 enemy dead. Not a fun fact. It could be true — but no one really knows and that’s a staggering number that i doubt.”
    I have no inside info but it seems utterly plausible to me.
    Our own dead/wounded ratio is far lower than usual because of our armor and our superb medevac etc. If we had old-style casualty rates we’d have a lot more dead and correspondingly fewer wounded. Call it 10,000 dead. Then 50,000 dead for the enemy who have essentially no medical services, would be only 5:1.
    If they have less than 50,000 dead combatants there’s something seriously wrong.

  21. J Thomas says:

    One of the things I found particularly disturbing was the claim that the insurgents are careless with their computers and we get lots of great intel from them.
    That shouts out the obvious tactic — given people who cause them trouble, people who try to stay neutral or who oppose them, make up data that implicates them or their relatives, fix up a few $1000-or-less laptops with the data, and leave them around where you’re going to stage ambushes for the americans to find.
    People they’d have trouble punishing, they could get *us* to punish for them.
    Of course we’re too sophisticated for that. We wouldn’t fall for fakes, would we? Probably what’s going on is insurgents who carry their computers full of important info into battle areas and then lose them. I’m just left with that doubt, that maybe they are that clever and sometimes we’re that dense….

  22. Dan says:

    Pat — yes the beretta.
    RE Irony — On a second look at Monty’s post, you’re probably right.

  23. Dan says:

    Oh and on the beretta — isn’t that a cop weapon? Beere is a reservist, a cop in real life, so maybe he was carrying it as a matter of choice?

  24. Dan says:

    For ECF – Your comments put me in mind of another anecdote. Some time ago i was talking to a former Seal working in security. We were drinking beer, at a small party (lots of affable ex-seals playing guitars and singing eagles tunes. There’s sort of a surfer-killer style to these guys that surprises me, but i digress) was talking to one in his mid-40s, who also happened to be an evangelical christian. US politics came up — he’s a big believer in the right to bear arms. Why? “So that citizen militias can fight if we’re ever occupied. If we were occupied, i’d fight until i was killed, then my wife would take up my gun and then, once she was killed, i hope my son would take up my gun. We would never surrender.” This was shortly after a number of his comrades were killed and mutilated in fallujah. I ventured: “Well, isn’t that sort of what’s going on with some of the insurgents here in Iraq.” He looked at me blankly, and a little annoyed: “No. These guys are just terrorists. They’re not fighting for anything honorable.” I’m not making this up.
    I don’t remember who said it — but demonizing ones enemies is always a big mistake.

  25. Dan says:

    J Thomas — I guess you could be right. Tony Cordesman who i have a lot respect for also recently estimated 10,000 american dead by now if we had Vietnam-era armor. And I do buy into the notion that insurgents die at a rate about 5-1 against us. Hadn’t thought in these terms, and if true it’s amazing.

  26. W. Patrick Lang says:

    “demonizing ones enemies is always a big mistake.” I claim credit for this one.

  27. W. Patrick Lang says:

    The present serevice pistol in the military is a 9mm. beretta made in the States.

  28. Eric says:

    @ECF and RJJ:
    Thanks for that font tip. I can see forever now!

  29. Beere, James says:

    Hello, I am the Marine that shot the insurgent that was attempting to blow the vehicle. I was equipped with the 9mm, not my personal choice for a sidearm. As a police officer I carry a .40 cal and I feel the military should switch back to the .45

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