Sheep for the slaughter

You’ve all heard the news about the 2 soldiers that were killed in Germany.  I’m not going to go into all that… save for one small little detail.   Our soldiers were unarmed.

Once again, “Policy” has killed our troops.  Our Policy is that all US Forces are unarmed almost all the time.  This Policy allowed for more deaths at Ft. Hood as well.

Once again, I suggest a new Policy.   As part of the Oath of service upon enlistment, all US Servicemen are to be armed with a fixed blade knife, such as the M9 Bayonet, and a Sidearm, such as the M9 (Beretta 92FS) or M11 (SIG P228) or if the Soldier has qualified expert, an M1911.

These weapons should be a part of the Uniform, to be worn at all times while in Uniform… and when the soliders are out of uniform, they are to still be armed at all times.    Regardless of the soldier’s location… such as going to the Post Office, or to Traffic Court, or even to fly on a Commercial Airliner.   The soldier, will be trained to the fullest extent on the use of handguns for defensive use, and proficiency will be tested regularly as part of the PT Test…. along with hand to hand combat.

US Forces should be respected and feared around the world.

30 thoughts on “Sheep for the slaughter”

  1. Lets make a sword an option. If we’re gonna go all Freehold, let’s get some real blades into play.

  2. I disagree on a couple points.
    First, requiring military members to be armed in their off time is not a great idea. For one, I believe being armed off duty should be a personal choice. Second, a big part of military culture is drinking. You either give up the tradition of alcohol with camaraderie (you may not agree with it, and not all partake, but you cannot deny that drinking alcohol is part of military tradition) or force a non-traditional practice of carrying a gun at all times.

    Second, training every member of the military to be an expert with small arms would be a detriment to their other duties. For instance, the US Air Force is the most professional and feared air power on the planet. That’s because we train in our primary weapons system (airplanes) far more than we do with small arms. I shoot for a hobby, so my proficiency with the M9 is pretty good. I practice in my off time. Others don’t, and merely qualify as proficient. If we spent enough time on shooting to all be “expert marksmen,” then shooting proficiency would come at the detriment of flying proficiency. Shooting a firearm is not my primary duty, therefore I should not train as if it was.

    I do agree that members of the military, especially the Air Force, should have more training with firearms. I only qualify biannually. We should be proficient enough to be trusted, and allowed legally, to carry on or off duty, in any location including federal buildings, post offices, and airplanes. I’ve carried an M9 for hundreds of hours, almost 100 missions, on a gray airplane, but for some reason I cannot be trusted to do the same on a shiny aircraft. I can be trusted to carry in public, but for some reason, not on base.

    At the end of the day, I think military members should be allowed, but not required to carry a firearm, anywhere, anytime, and that more training than biannual qualification is required.

    1. I respect your opinion, brother. And I could bend on the off duty requirement… and make that optional. With the requirement on everyone else to respect the soldier’s wish to be armed in places like Post Offices, etc.
      But Training… It would be part of Boot Camp for everyone. Part of the PT Test.
      I’m really talking about a change of the Military Culture here.

  3. Hi George,

    First of all, I was very sorry to hear that two US servicemen have been killed in Germany – sorry, but not surprised, as similar attacks on “soft targets” were a favourite tactic of the IRA during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

    However, your suggestion that US personnel should be armed when on and off duy in friendly countries – which, presumably, would include the UK – is not going to fly.

    Armed foreign troops walking the streets become, in effect, an army of occupation. This, of course, is politically unacceptable – especially in countries like the UK and Germany where civilians armament is not allowed.

    The solution to protecting vulnerable personel overseas is either (a) armed Police escort provided by host nation or (b) pressure on host nation to allow civilian armament in public places.

    As far as the latter is concerned, I am pleased to see that US pressure groups are working hard to stymie curent UN moves to further regulate private gun ownership. Shame the US government is less engaged.


    St Albans, UK

  4. I love the idea in principle. It won’t work out well with our current crop of Goe’s and Jarheads. Too many young boys with immature and careless attitudes.

    Just today, I heard news that one of our armors shot himself through the hand with his security weapon. WTF Marine?

    Last month I had occasion to consult with the Anti-Terrorism Force Protection (ATFP) Officer on one of our bases in Korea. One of my several recommendations was that the building in question be equipped with a weapons safe and a number of basic small arms. The idea was pretty much out of the question. The ATFP brought up the valid point that security measures, especially in foreign countries, must be carefully weighed against the known existing threat.

    I personally understand but do not agree with this line of reasoning. The point is that “higher command” will never sign off on the idea of arming all troops, especially overseas, when they believe, for good reason, that the practice is sure to cause all manor of mayhem and damaged relations long before it saves someone from a terrorist.

    Frankfurt ain’t Tel Aviv.

    1. Again, that’s a Cultural thing that would have to be trained in vigorously. Lots of immature folks that would have to mature really fast. I think it’s doable.

  5. Don’t forget the Agent who got gunned down at the border during Operation Gun Runner/Fast and Furious, because they armed him with beany babies instead of bullets.

    Derilect Holder/Jackass Napolian are arming our enemies in an effort to prove the drug lord’s guns are coming from the U.S.

    Self fulfilling prophecy.

    How many lives did this little project cause on both sides of the border. No wonder the planet is in utter chaos with these clowns running the show and enabling infiltration accross our border.

    It’s like the country is being run by Charlie Sheen and headed for the same destination.

    Beans, band-aids, bullets & bullion.

    Won’t be long now…

  6. I’m sure it would be difficult to implement this common sense policy, but although I haven’t been in the military in a long time, I doubt that this is due to “the current crop” who by all measures seem far better than the crop I had to deal with. Rather, you can thank extremely poor weapons training and the “we’re afraid of guns” attitude prevailing among the leadership in today’s military. This fear of guns was a lot worse when I was in the Army 30 years ago than it was when my dad was in WWII, but from all I hear it is even worse today. It doesn’t seem surprising that you have negligent discharges when most soldiers are so unused to handling loaded weapons outside highly controlled range conditions. Even in combat zones, have I been misinformed that there are “clearing barrels” everywhere to make sure that combat soldiers are defenseless? Somehow we can trust barely trained citizens to carry concealed every day all around us (without causing any mayhem whatsoever), but we can’t trust (supposedly) well-trained, uniformed soldiers with loaded weapons even on post? Something is wrong with this picture. The Ogre’s proposal reflects a warrior attitude, but I fear that the warriors are outnumbered by the bureaucrats.

    1. I’ll bet dollars to pesos that the average CHL holder is better with pistol shooting and firearm safety than your average soldier.

  7. From my experience training new officers for my agency, a lot of the people that we get coming out of the military cannot shoot a pistol for crap. If the military started arming everyone with a pistol at all times, they would really have to step up training.

    1. Absolutely. When I was in – they never – NEVER – trained me on a handgun. They just gave it to me, holster, mags etc… and told me to go practice. Luckily I had shot 1911’s before I joined. But not much. The US Army just doesn’t have much use for handguns – and that’s wrong.
      Sgt. York didn’t use an M-4.

  8. I love the symbolism of this idea, that an American soldier is always prepared and able to defend his country. As a practical matter though, this idea will never fly. And that’s probably a good idea.

    Consider the history of violent crimes by Marines in Okinawa and soldiers in Germany. No way are these host countries going to allow drunken American teenagers to roam their streets carrying a sidearm and a knife. They don’t even allow their citizens to do that.

    When I was an infantry officer in Germany in the 80s, we used to do terrorist patrols around post. The threat was real, these patrols weren’t training exercises. All patrols were led by at least an E-6, often by an officer, but we went out with empty magazines inserted in the mag wells. Nobody was authorized live ammo, we had a radio. I got one of the best ass chewings of my career for allowing my troops to fix bayonets.

    That story is 25 years old, so the statute of limitations has run and I can confess that all of my patrols went out with at least one mag of .45 rounds. I doubt that the attitude of the brass has changed much in that time.

    I like the idea George, but it’s not gonna fly. This ain’t the Freehold.

  9. One of my favorite cheap restaurants is a few blocks from a NG base. It’s an all-you-can-eat buffet ($10 for lunch, including tax and tip), so it’s rather popular with folks who are physically active and burn a lot of calories – you can get a lot of protein and other nutrients for $10, if you can burn them…

    Anyway, there are always a lot of Guardsmen in uniforms. It’s always seemed a bit odd, to me, that I’m dramatically better-armed than they are, and so are many of the other folks I know who go there regularly. I can understand that there might be political repercussions in certain places, but when there’s a base in someplace like NH, where someone can walk into a sandwich shop in the second-biggest city, with a slung FN-FAL and not get more than a couple raised eyebrows, what’s the point? No one is going to be all offended, here.

  10. Having guns off duty is a terrible idea and the practice would be stopped by the first weekend after its inception. Single Marines, by and large, are drunks. ANGRY drunks, at that. It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to know that ARMING angry drunks might be a bad idea; hell, it’s bad enough that the barracks are three stories–at least once a week someone is going to think they’re superman and try to get from the second or third deck to the smoke pit using a blanket as a parachute instead of the stairs.

    Marines tend to have in equal measures asshole and invincibility complexes. Go give a second-award PFC a loaded Beretta and send him out to a bar in Jacksonville or Oceanside and it won’t take long until you regret that decision 100%.

    Even on duty, Marines are still stupid and like to play silly, dangerous games. The “trust” game, where you point a gun at someone and say “do you trust me?” was featured in the Marine Corps Times–that kind of stupid shit has ended badly more than once. There’s also the “quick draw” game, same unhappy endings. And the dipshits weren’t even drinking. Even in Iraq we weren’t allowed to go Condition 3 on base, and given the maturity level of a lot of people I had to work with, that’s probably a good idea.

    1. However, I’ve never worked with zoomies, so maybe they’re all a couple steps above us in the maturity/sobriety department, hell if I know.

  11. Good idea, just needs a little tweaking.

    Pistol and knife issued individually and part of the uniform. Required wear off duty while not on leave or pass. FORBIDDEN during or after consumption of alcohol. Consumption of alcohol off post, in public, REQUIRES the presence of a 100% sober and focused designated driver/guard who is REQUIRED to be armed with not only the pistol and knife, but also at least one less lethal weapon, and trained in its use. The DD/G must also be able to physically subdue the largest/strongest of his charges without damaging the goods.

    The pistols and knives should be proprietary in design, and immediately recognizable for what they are. There should be a mechanism in place to alter their appearance in an equally obvious manner. When a warrior leaves the service in good standing, the pistol and knife go with him. If ownership of the weapons is to be transferred, they must first be altered in appearance in the prescribed manner, so that such “memorabilia” cannot be confused with the BADGE OF OFFICE that the originals are/were. It should be a federal felony for any unauthorized person to possess an originally issued pistol or knife. Unauthorized persons include not only civilians, but AWOLs and deserters as well.

  12. You never know if what you read on the intarwebs is factual, but I saw somewhere they WERE armed, carrying their duty weapons but with no ammo.

    I think there should be at least one armed guard, MP or whatever, in situations like this.

    God bless the ones who were slain, and the injured. I can’t help feel at least on armed guard might have made a difference. RIP flyboys.

      1. Of course you are. If you have shoes on, you are armed. Just not well-armed, in either case…

        Which is part of why it’s silly for the gun-banners to worry about guns. There are plenty of weapons that most average folks are armed with, every day. I’ve always liked Niven’s short story, “The Deadlier Weapon” (in the collection “Convergent Series”). The protagonist picks up a hitchhiker, who tries to rob him at knife-point. The protagonist then swerves all over the road for a few minutes, while telling the hitchhiker about how he’s suicidal, and planning to crash the car. Eventually, the hitchhiker throws the knife out the window and begs to be let out. At the end, the protagonist goes home to his happy life, and muses that he was never in any real danger, because he had the deadlier weapon.

  13. George, it’s definately an admirable gesture to want all servicemembers armed, but the reality of that will NEVER happen, and in many cases for good reason. The start up cost for this program would be astronomical as there isn’t enough pistols in the inventory to fill the requirement and the ammunition to do semi-annual qualification just isn’t there…never mind the ammo needed to fight the big wars overseas (not to mention the very small ones that get zero press.) The gov’t is already broke and this program, if passed, would be so low on the pole that funding would never actually appear. Not every base has a firing range and even the current training/qualification requirements are under funded, under manned and are even behind in time for some requirements to be overdue. The yearly cost in ammo would be way up there. Who is going to pay for all of this? Raise taxes? Cut some overseas lending? There are so many programs already in the military system that have no funds that would take the money anyway if it were to magically come available.
    Ok, supposedly the money, arms & ammo were there along with the required training & reoccuring qualification…there is still a big problem with the people. Yes, they are servicemembers, but that doesn’t make them super humans or people who are morally superior to the “lowly” civilian. Servicemembers are still very much humans and are no different from you or your neighbors, in fact many of them are. Not everyone who takes the oath are the most upstanding citizens, again they are every day people. There are a lot of trouble makers and idiots (you wouldn’t believe how hard it can be and how long it can take to kick someone out), just like in regular society, who are in the service. To mandate that these people carry a sidearm or even a knife would be a disaster. Even the best troops commit domestic violence and get into altercations and a Gov’t issued weapon could be considered the nail in the coffin to a battered spouse or to someone being a jerk to an armed servicemember who had a bad day and just doesn’t want to hear it. Another thing is that someone who is under 21 is allowed to carry a handgun while on official duty, but as soon as the shift is over that person CANNOT posses a handgun as per federal law. What happens when a Gov’t issue weapon is stolen or lost? Too many things can and will go wrong, but again a patriotic thought.

    1. You can’t /buy/ a handgun from an FFL, if you are under 21. There’s no Federal law prohibiting those who are under 21 from possessing a handgun. It’s a common misunderstanding.

      Certain states have laws prohibiting possession by those under certain ages, except in certain circumstances, but that is by no means universal. Here in NH, the only age restriction is that those under 18 need parental permission. They don’t even need to be directly supervised, and are allowed to carry openly (loaded) or concealed (unloaded, but they can have a magazine on them, as long as it’s not inserted) with nothing more than parental permission. If you want your kid to be able to carry concealed&loaded, just co-sign a CCW application. Heck, I know of a 12-year-old with a CCW, and I’m sure there are younger examples. We don’t even have a training requirement, so the Ogre’s proposal would be more restrictive than what civilians face.

      Personally, I think they should just get rid of the restriction, and leave it at that. If they want to carry, let them do so, the same as any civilian.

  14. I think some valid points have been made on both sides. I’ve stood watch over an ASP that had a couple thousand 25MM Bushmaster rounds with three other Marines and all we had was one M16 with one security round. A lot of good that would have done.

    But on the same token there are a lot of dumb ass Marines that would do something stupid and dangerous with an MRE spoon…

  15. The military has experienced culture shifts before. Consider the Army in Vietnam verses the Army in Desert Storm. Major shifts in culture, toward more professionalism. If the guys in charge wanted to, they could change the way things were run, place an emphasis responsibility and fighting spirit. As for cost, M9’s are cheaper than M4s and 9mm is cheaper than 5.56. You could even require that soldiers purchase their own weapons. Soldiers have to purchase items that they are required to have now. Marine officers have to purchase the saber that is part of their uniform. (Maybe that has changed, if so then correct me.)

    If we can’t trust SOLDIERS with WEAPONS, then why have a military at all? And if boots count as weapons, why are we sending people to Afghanistan with rifles? Seems like boots would be much cheaper.

  16. Part of the cultural change required is going to be a shakeup in leadership. Too many bureaucrats, not enough people concerned with shooting bad guys (or in the case of my Air Force, not enough people concerned with putting warheads on foreheads).

    Even at major bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, you have troops running around unarmed, or forbidden to put a magazine in their weapons. In deployed locations, subject to attack, troops are disarmed. Clearing barrels are everywhere. GARRISON has broken out, even in the war zone.

    First of all, troops need better weapons training in Basic, even in the Air Force. When I went through basic training (US Army type, Ft. Leonard Wood, MO) in 1999, no proper weapons handling skills were taught.

    I’ve TAUGHT people to shoot. It’s not that hard. Anyone that can pass an ASVAB can be taught to competently handle a loaded weapon.

    All four services go from a few days of familiarization, like they do in the Air Force, or three weeks of outdated rifle marksmanship training, like we did in the Army, to three or four weeks (minimum) of intense weapons training. Extend basic training! The first week covers handling, loading/unloading, muzzle discipline, The Four Rules, etc.

    From that moment on, the troops carry their weapons as much and as often as is practical in Basic. Safety violations are dealt with severely by the drill sergeants. Finger on the trigger? Flagging someone with your muzzle? Be ready to push, kid.

    If you instill proper weapons handling from basic training, a lot of the issues will go away. It’s not practical for every service member to be armed all the time. Air Force maintenance crews running around the flightline are more concerned with FOD than self-defense. If you make people lug weapons around when they see no need for it, they’re going to get complacent and there will be problems. They’ll resent it and will try to get around it. Most of the military aren’t shooters.

    Starting in basic will make more of them shooters, though. And you build from there. Even in the USAF, you go from “bi-annual weapons qual” to quarterly weapons training on rifle and handgun, for everybody. It’s REAL training, too, not the current joke that is CATM. Big boy rules. None of this crap where you lay down on an indoor range and raise your hand if you have a malfunction. Instead of one day fam-fire/qual, it’s two or three days of training. Expensive, yes. Hassle, yes. But every single member of the United States Armed Forces, regardless of job, rank, service, or position, should be able to competently handle the basic individual weapons of the military.

    So that’s part one. Part two is getting the garrison out of the warzone. This horseshit where people are running around Iraq or Afghanistan stops immediately. I don’t care if they’re sitting at the AAFES Burger King well inside the wire. If they’re issued a weapon they’ll carry it, period, unless doing so is detrimental to their duties. Weapons safety violations will be dealt with swiftly and harshly.

    Here’s part three: the Vigilant Eagle Program. (See, I even gave it a catchy name that looks good on a PowerPoint slide!) It’s 100% voluntary and extends to all five services on all US bases worldwide. Vigilant Eagle members get a few days, to a week, of more intensive firearms training, focusing on things like shoot/no shoot scenarios, fighting with a handgun (as opposed to a rifle), use of force laws, etc. They must be NCOs or Officers. Corporals (and other E-4 equivalents) can participate with a waiver from their commander.

    After completing the program, Vigilant Eagle members are authorized to carry an issue sidearm (openly, in an approved holster and gunbelt) everywhere they go, on or off base, while on duty. Approved arms safes will be placed in suitable locations. Accountability for the weapon and ammunition would be taken seriously.

    It’s imperfect, obviously. Even if you were somehow able to ram this through the military, there’s no way they’d let these guys take issue weapons home. But it’d be a damned sight better than what we’ve got going on now.

    As for Europe, off base…this is a little bit off topic, but there is no real reason for the United States of have bases in Western Europe anymore. Frankly, every one of them should’ve been closed fifteen years ago. NATO is an obsolete Cold War dinosaur. Those Russian tanks ain’t coming. The United States has spent too many years and too much money defending ungrateful Europeans from all threats, while these same countries slash their own militaries down to token levels. If Europe isn’t willing to finance its own defense, we sure as hell shouldn’t be.

    So I say piss on them. US bases in England, Spain, Italy, and Turkey are closed as rapidly in possible. Bases in Germany are kept as logistical hubs supporting operations in Southwest Asia, but all of the ground troops are brought home.

    The United States is broke. The average age of an Air Force plane is like 23 years, and it’s only that low because the few F-22s and MQ-9s in service are only a couple years old. The Navy hasn’t had this few ships since before World War 1. Our economy is in some kind of slow-motion collapse. We can’t afford to defend the entire world anymore. Europe is quite capable of taking care of itself.

    Of course, I’d start looking at our basing situation the Pacific, too. But Europe is the low hanging fruit in this case, so it’d go first.

  17. Ogre,

    I like where your head is at, but really, as a former Marine and a cop, I was taught early and often that [I] was the weapon, and rifles, grenades, shotguns, pistols, knives, batons, Chevy Caprices, etc, are simply tools. Be respectful, be polite, and have a plan to kill everyone you meet. If all of our troops were required to have a warrior mindset, this thing in Germany would have ended quite a bit differently. This type of shit doesn’t happen to Ghurkas…

  18. Campo Pond, Hanau, Germany ammunition storage area circa 1960’s was isolated, dark, and had engineer company explosives stored. A time when the Red Army Faction, among others were forming. We walked guard with empty rifles. One dinky field telephone that seldom worked. Thanks to membership in the Rod and Gun club, I had a box of .308 stashed. Isolated? If you have Google Earth look at East 8 degrees, 57 minutes, 50 seconds by North 50 degrees, six minutes, 43.2 seconds.

    This happens everywhere our troops are stationed. The cause is gutless leadership, what the late Col. David Hackworth called “The Perfumed Princes”. Pissants never have a problem seeing what is best for their careers is best for the service.

    Off duty, off post is one problem (young,drunk, dumb). Out and about, on duty, in uniform hell yes. How many unarmed police patrol our streets?

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