Category Archives: Rangers and Rangerettes

Some Rangerette Myths

There is a barrage of propaganda coming out of the Ranger School. There could be nothing but, with every one of the surviving female students — eight at the end of the first week — shadowed by a Corps of Commissars who broadly (no pun intended) outnumber the female Ranger candidates1, and a media scrum that nearly outnumbers all the Ranger candidates.

Rangerette 5

There have been some myths spread about this class. In the interests of further factual information, here’s some debunkistry.

Myth: women are doing better than men, percentage-wise, in this class.

Fact: They’re not, even when you don’t account for the fact that some of the 8 survivors are being propped up. Remember that these women are the distillation of a pipeline of over 130 candidates, who got extra training no active-duty men can even apply for.

Myth: the Army has made no concessions to the women.

Fact: the concessions are many, ranging from the trivial (women’s hair is cut short, but not shaved like the men) to the serious (women are given extra chances and talked out of quitting; minor negative spot reports aren’t allowed to build up against them).

Rangerette 4

Myth: the women are a cross-section of Army women.

Fact: the women are a small, self-selected cadre of ambitious careerists. It is our understanding that all are officers.

Rangerette 1

Myth: As women increase their presence in combat units, they’ll be more likely to be raped. Because men in combat arms are “predators.” This is what Defense Secretary Ash Carter told an audience of ROTC cadets recently:

Obviously, as we get women into more unaccustomed positions, maybe dangerous isolated positions, maybe positions where they are fewer in relation to the number of men, it opens up opportunities for predators

Fact: You’re joking, right? Ash Carter makes Joe Biden look like the Great Gravitas Himself. He has no military experience whatsoever, and if he ever came out of the ivory tower, when he saw his own shadow we’d have six more weeks of winter. It’s not surprising he says stupid [stuff]. He didn’t stop there, either. He also hinted to the cadets that he intends to open all positions to women when the review is complete in 2016.

Meanwhile, Carter has quietly withdrawn 1,900 soldiers, 38 Black Hawk slicks, 12 medevac Black Hawks, as 12 heavy-lift Chinooks and 28 Apache attack helicopters from Europe to the United States as part of his unilateral drawdown of US forces worldwide. Instead, smaller elements will deploy for a few months at a time. A DOD spokesman insisted that less was more:

The net result of this restructuring is that Army aviation assets in Europe will be more ready, present, and operationally flexible. This is particularly important in the current strategic environment.

Our forces in Europe will be more ready, present, and flexible, hooah! They just won’t be in Europe!

In other news from the DOD, War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, and We Have Always Been at War with Eastasia.

If Ash Carter diminishes American air capability in Europe any further, he can expect Hermann Göring’s ghostly shade to manifest itself, and bestow on him the German Cross in Gold, the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds, or some other high decoration.

These guys seem like harmless, amusing buffoons, until you realize that some one has plucked them out of their cozy libraries and put them in charge of complex systems they don’t understand.

Notes

  1. There are 31 female Commissars, or as they are officially called, Observer/Advisors. The course began with 19 women. Currently, there are roughly 4 OAs watching out for each woman. The number will rise as the women attrit further.

Would-be Rangerettes Factual Update

Ranger Training Brigade scrollWe’ll try to at-ease our cisgendered heteronormative patriarchal opinionating for this post and just address the facts as they exist so far.

The Ranger pipeline for men includes preparation at their own troop unit (or training station in the case of men who are in initial entry training), a briefing by a Ranger-qualified officer or NCO, a PT test to Ranger standards, and a volunteer statement. Contrary to common belief, not all Ranger students are parachute qualified, but the vast majority of them are, and the qualified soldiers will conduct up to three combat equipment jumps during the course. (The schedule is tight so the jumps can weather out). Parachute-qualified Rangers are allowed five hours sleep the night before a jump for safety reasons. That’s the longest stretch of sleep anyone gets in the two-month course, which is recognizably the same as it was at the time of its establishment circa 1950.

Having women in the pipeline has required some changes to the physical plant and schedule, but they are minor, for example, providing women’s toilet facilities and increasing the time for personal hygiene — slightly.

The military officers and NCOs assigned to this include both people who are known yes-men, and people who are not and who are sworn to uphold Ranger standards. (One example of the latter: CSM Jeff Mellinger).

The Ranger Pipeline for women takes advantage of the pre-Ranger course, the Army National Guard’s Ranger Training Assessment Course (RTAC), which was established to give reserve component soldiers some conditioning and psychological preparation for the Ranger School environment (it was established because RC soldiers were failing at a higher rate). Several RTAC iterations were opened to women with the hopes of getting 100 female volunteers ready for the first co-ed Ranger course this month. That number was not achieved for several reasons, including but not limited to:

  1. Fewer women volunteered for Ranger training that Army leaders anticipated;
  2. Fewer women passed RTAC than anticipated.

Most men who attend RTAC pass. Of 138 women who started RTAC, 19 passed, but it’s interesting how those numbers came to pass. The first several iterations of co-ed RTAC involved 77 women volunteers, but only 12 passed (16%) despite encouragement, the Corps of Commissars, etc. Moreover, one of the five women who passed the very first RTAC iteration then voluntarily withdrew. Her reasons are unknown to us.

ranger_school_signThe command made two attempts to increase the numbers, with only one more RTAC class available before the first coed Ranger class. First, a record 61 female volunteers were crammed into the last-chance RTAC. Secondly, the VW, or quitter, was persuaded to un-quit, an opportunity that’s never been offered to a Ranger candidate before. Again, we do not know the circumstances of this decision, or why that unique accommodation was made, or even who did the persuading. That’s all a black box, despite the presence of media shadowing the female candidates. We only know that it was done.

The idea of trebling the female input to RTAC, to increase the output, certainly seems logical, but doesn’t seem to have worked. Of the 61 candidates, only seven did not fail, medically drop, or quit. This was a pass rate of only 11% of this group, with an overall pass rate of 14% for all female RTAC candidates (19/138).

Aside: a word on fail/drop/quit. On one level those mean the same thing: the candidate is out of the course. On another level, they don’t, usually. A student who voluntarily withdraws (i.e., quits) an Army course is generally discouraged from returning, if not banned outright. (SF does this in its courses with the dreaded “NTR Letter,” telling the student he’s Never To Return. Tim McVeigh is probably the most famous recipient of an NTR Letter; most if not all VWs, all honor-violation drops, and some truly hopeless failures get the NTR). A student who fails, though, usually faces no such discrimination and can opt to attend the course again in the future. For officer students, this can sometimes be done on an Army quota while doing a change of station, but units are loath to use their limited number of Ranger School slots on a soldier who’s already failed once, when there are always more good troops wanting a slot than there are slots to hand out.  Medical drops can always come back if they can recover from their illness or injury, and can get a slot and time in their schedule. There are other rare administrative drops (for example, death in the immediate family) that are also not held against the candidate in the way that quitting or even failure is.

That left 19 plucky female Ranger candidates in the first formation of Ranger Class 06-15 that began on 20 April 2015. Most (all?) of them were officers. By the end of that first day, three women had failed. The three failed the PT test, as did a large number of men, mostly men that had not had RTAC preparation.

PT Test Attrition

This failure of PT tests, which have a widely publicized standard, generally results from the fact that at Ranger School the test is graded with scrupulous adherence to the standards in Army field manuals; at troop units, a soldier (of either sex) may get away with merely bobbing his or her head and wiggling arms a little, and getting that thing counted as a push-up. At Ranger school, a cadre member will be counting these repetitions: “Zero… zero… zero…” and by the time the candidate figures out that what passed for a push-up at the fo-fo’ty-fo’th mo-po doesn’t fly at Harmony Church, he or she may be too weak to do the requisite number of real push-ups.

The students (male and female) have had to meet the following standards:

  • 49 push-ups to Army standard
  • 59 sit-ups, ditto
  • 6 pull-ups
  • 5 mile run in 40 minutes even

3 of 19 women (16%) and 78 of 381 men (20%) failed this test on the first day. (Something doesn’t add up in these numbers from the Army, as only 399 roster numbers were initially assigned to class members, and 381+19=400. But they’re the figures we got, and the ones that were on the Chief of Staff’s briefing slide — you bet he’s watching this).

Other RAP Week Attrition

The first week of Ranger School (the first four days, really) is called RAP Week (Ranger Assessment Phase). It’s a combination of check-the-box tests and gut checks that makes sure that the students here really want to be here, and are really ready to tackle the course. Hisorically, many aren’t, as the normal 15-20% attrition on PT tests shows.

This young soldier is a ROTC Candidate at Maryland, but she's showing the combat water survival swim in ACUs with rifle.

This young soldier is a ROTC Candidate at Maryland, but she’s showing the combat water survival swim in ACUs with rifle.

Other attrition generators in this phase of Ranger school include a short swim (15 feet or so) in uniform with a rubber rifle, Ranger Runs and rucksack marches. The principal ruck attrition comes from a 12-mile ruck march with a nerf ruck (35 pounds), that must be completed as an individual in under three hours. Some short-legged people need to jog to do that, but it’s certainly not a physical challenge for anyone in infantry shape, and the fall-outs are generally the injured and/or people who were not remotely prepared for the course in the first place (for comparison’s sake, junior enlisted coming from the Ranger Regiment’s operational battalions, NCOs coming from Special Forces and other SOF elements, and junior officers in the initial infantry training pipeline never fail this event). There is a written test that also causes some failures, but it is unlikely to trip up these women, who as officers are already selected for above-average intelligence.

Three of the female candidates failed the initial land-nav exercise (so did a number of men, but we do not have the number). Normally there is an end-of-week retest (without retraining) available; we do not know if the commissars are providing retraining to the female failures.

With the ruck march a significant contributor to attrition, five more females failed other RAP Week events, leaving 8 to continue in the school. They must complete all events, not get injured, and take at least four graded patrol leadership positions, and pass half of the ones that they take. (Squared-away students may graduate with four patrols, but ones that struggle to lead will get more and more leadership positions up until the class ends in hopes of dragging them above 50%, or at least teaching them something. Word is that any female candidate that gets above 50% will be exempted from further graded positions, but this is not very different from what happens with the men).

Overall pass rate for men in the pipeline is 40-50%. Our pass rate for the ladies so far can be no higher than 8/138 or 6%, about 1/7 of the overall male pass rate, despite command emphasis on getting them through.

Of this class’s women, 11 of 19 have already failed, dropped or VWd, or 58%, and 8 of 19, or 42%, continued in training after four days. There are 59 days left in the course.

GIs in Red Heels: Cadet Command Responds

Nope, not to us. To Military.com, where they knew a friendly reporter (one Bryant Jordan) would spin it as best as could be done. And he complied. Still, there’s more than a whiff of Combs’s CYA in this statement.

While ROTC command acknowledged that units were told to take part in the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, it “did not direct how the units would participate,” command spokesman Lt. Col. Paul Haverstick said in a statement.

“We are currently gathering facts in order to review how local ROTC units implemented their participation in these events designed to raise awareness on the issue of sexual assault,” he said.

1347531Cadets with Arizona State University’s ROTC unit also took part in the walk/run there, many donning heels but not their uniforms.

Photos from the ASU ROTC Facebook page show that that last sentence/paragraph above is a falsehood, as two minutes on the net would have told Bryant Jordan. So he had the story pre-written and/or didn’t spend those two minutes fact-checking it, and neither did his “layers and layers of editors,” or the high-heels-in-uniform pictured of Sun Devil battalion cadre and cadets would, one hopes, have caught his eye.

This statement from the mouthpiece Haverstick tells you where the Command is going with this: they’re going to deny, deny, deny and throw the commanders of the individual cadet battalions under the bus.

(Aside: thanks for sending us the names and numbers of the Cadet Command SHARP commissars. You know who you are. Although the temptation to turn those numbers and email addresses loose on the Internet is strong, we don’t think our side wins by flooding the inboxes of low-level flunkies. They already know we don’t like them: that’s why they’re trying to destroy us).

Women in Combat Update: USMC/Ranger School

rangerette-benjaminThe Army and Marines took different approaches to the orders to integrate women into ground combat units. The Marines resolved to test it, and see if it was feasible.

The Army declared it feasible, and resolved to remove any obstacles in the way of it happening.

In the end, of course, both of them are going to do what their civilian masters tell them to do, and their civilian masters have formed their opinion of what is possible on the battlefield from watching “lady ninja” movies.

The Marine Women-in-IOC Experiment is Over… for now

USMC EGA eagle globe and anchorThe Marines ran a test for 2½ years on women in their most prestigious combat positions. The results are all in: they couldn’t get all the 100 volunteers they wanted, and of the nearly 30 volunteers they got, all failed. 26 or 27 of them failed the first day on the first event, the fitness test.

The way the USMC tested the waters, you see, was by allowing volunteer women into the Infantry Officer Course, but requiring them to meet the existing standards. The Marines see their existing officer standards as perfectly satisfactory: the proof is in the combat success of the Corps’ infantry units, and the generally high regard that enlisted Marines, They now consider the experiment over, but for reduction of the data, but these data send no subtle message. Here are the results as seen by a media booster of women in combat, Gannett’s Marine Corps Times:

The testing period ends with just 27 female volunteers having attempted the course. Two other female officers also attempted the course as part of required ground intelligence officer training. The 0203 ground intelligence officer military occupational specialty was opened to female officers in late 2013, with IOC as a qualification requirement for applicants. None of the 29 female officers made it to the end of the course.

While IOC is closing to volunteers, female applicants for ground intelligence officer positions will continue to attend the course in the future, Krebs said.

Officials have said that ongoing research will consider many aspects of temporarily integrating IOC, including the number of volunteers, their pass rate, and performance in the course. That data will be taken alongside other research points, including the much higher success rate for enlisted female Marines in passing the Infantry Training Battalion course at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. As of February, 358 women had attempted the course, with 122 graduates, for a pass rate of 34 percent.

Tentative conclusion: the Marines probably could tighten things up at the ITB course. Either that, or the Marines are deliberately maintaining a large delta in difficulty, between their enlisted and leadership courses. It’s almost like they wanted their leaders to be good, or something un-American like that.

 

It’s unlikely that the DACOWITS commissioners, the media pundits, and various other ex-officio members of the lesbo-feminist Sisterhood will be happy with the Marines’ likely conclusions. The question then becomes, will the Administration, and zero-time-under-rucksack SecDef Ashton Carter, a plush Beltway insider, order the Marines to change their conclusions?

The Army Women in Ranger School Experiment Begins in Days

RangerTabUnlike the Marines, the Army started not with an inviolate standard but with smoke and mirrors designed to obscure a double standard. Rather than just asking for volunteers, the Army has offered many inducements to volunteers and has done everything but scatter roses in their paths. Officers have been assigned to supervise the experiment, and they know their careers hinge on its “success,” as the Beltway Egalitocracy might define “success.” Numerous measures have been taken to prepare the women candidates to succeed. These include but are not limited to:

  • A special “pre-Ranger” course that was set up to address Guard and Reserve attrition levels at Ranger has become the “Women’s Prep” course;
  • A cadre of commissars has been assigned to shadow female candidates, ensure their success, and prevent any “unfairness,” undefined;
  • Women who quit were bucked up and reinserted into training, if at all possible, in the interests of data gathering;
  • Women who failed a requirement, likewise. They did not pass, but unlike the males who failed they were not removed from training.
  • In addition to the commissars, women are being shadowed and encouraged by Army brass and media crews.

The Army has planned to run ran four iterations of the commissar-shadowed, Ranger Assessment Course:

RTAC 1
26 women began training.
20 of 26 failed the PT test (push-ups) (5 men did). The women alone remained in training.
1 quit (9 men quit) — removed from training
8 dropped for medical reasons (4 men) — removed from training
1 Women dropped for SOR (1 Male Dropped) — removed from training
16 still present at end of course: 11 failures/ 5 graduates

Total pool of potential RS attendees: 5

RTAC 2
17 women began training. 15 failed the PT test (pushups) but remained in training.
5 dropped for failing to meet course standards (36 Males dropped)
3 quit (8 men quit) — removed from training
2 dropped for medical reasons (3 men)
7 still present at end of course: 6 failures/ 1 graduate

Total pool of potential RS attendees: 6
One quit (technically, Voluntarily Withdrew) from Ranger School for unknown reasons.
Total pool of potential RS attendees: 5

RTAC 3 (just concluded)
~28 women began training. 21 failed the PT test but remained in training.
Detailed stats not available yet, but ~15 still present at end of course with 6-7 graduates.

Total pool of potential RS attendees: 11-12?

RTAC 4 (started 10 April)
“Most” of the women failed the first day. They remained in training.

Total pool of potential RS attendees: 13-18?

One thing that the instructors of the course have noted is that the womens’ performance really collapses when they have to conduct training under the rucksack. Ranger School rucksacks and RS loads in general are not heavy by Ranger, SOF or infantry standards, comprising some 65 pounds of combat and survival gear. But they’re very hard on debilitated, malnourished, and sleep-deprived Ranger students.

The first sex-integrated Ranger School class begins, rather appropriately, on April 20. We’ve heard that the Commissars will monitor the peer reporting system to make sure that it is not used to single out females for criticism. Whether that criticism is mere sex-based prejudice or performance-related does not seem to be a factor.

Rangerettes are Official: Coming This Spring

rangerette-benjaminIt was not announced in a press conference. It was not put on the Army’s home page, and was kept off the Army’s news page, and there’s certainly nothing on the Army media page. But an official Army statement was selectively, furtively emailed by shifty and underhanded Honor Code failure PR functionary LTC Courtney Massengale Ben Garrett to “friendly” media, announcing that the first women will be attending, and graduating, Ranger School in April.

One of those friendly reporters, Gannett/Army Time’s Michelle Tan, quoted Garrett as follows (note obligatory sucking up to the political boss):

Secretary of the Army John McHugh approved the participation of both men and women in … Ranger Course 06-15, which is scheduled to begin on April 20, 2015. The course has approximately 60 women scheduled to participate. Those who meet the standards and graduate from the course will receive a certificate and be awarded the Ranger tab.

The standards have been evaluated and will be lowered where necessary, but ALCON will deny that any standards were lowered. They are calling this an “assessment” and when the “assessment” is complete and its success is announced, they will move forward into the bright sunlit uplands of making room for the next group of “victims,” those confused or mistaken about what sex they are. Such is progress in the Year of Our Lord 2015.

Coddling of the women attendees includes a pre-ranger prep course, and a shadowy sisterhood made of dozens of appointed female commissars called “observer/advisors” who are to mentor, encourage, (and not incidentally, prevent male instructors from giving failing grades to), the Unique and Special Snowflakes. The commissars do not have to attend Ranger School themselves. Good intentions suffice, and good intentions are defined by their conformity with what the suits in the E-ring, and the generals purring in their laps, desire.

Soon available in ladies' sizes....

Soon available in ladies’ sizes….

In related news, the Army has a codeword for the current drawdown and layoffs: Operation Bold Shift. No word on whether PR princeling Ben Garrett was involved in that other pathetic naming decision, too, but Orwell would have made note of it.

In accordance with Operation Bold Shift, First Army’s Department of the Army directed plan to reduce force structure will reduce First Army’s training brigades from 16 to nine by 2016.

Bold shift, indeed. These are training units, but the “Bold Shift” — Gad, it gags us to say it — axe does not spare combat formations.

How about telling the truth, and calling it Operation Thank God There Are Still Marines? Because the Army seems to have made the institutional decision to just quit.

We told you when we first wrote of the Rangerette decision that the fix was in (we also told you that it was happening in Fiscal Year 2013. What delayed it was the Army’s laggardly personnel bureaucracy more than anything. Some excerpts from that first message that are still valid:

Current Ranger graduates, Ranger veterans, and the Ranger units and Ranger training establishment were never consulted about the decision. Officers who argued against it in Pentagon meetings have already been dismissed or shunted into career-ending punishment assignments.

The RTB has not been directed that all female candidates must pass regardless of performance, and Ranger Instructors will retain a limited ability to dismiss an individual underperforming woman from the course, as long as “enough” women remain to please the higher-ups. But they will have to justify every dismissal to the highest levels of command, who have made their intention clear. Regardless of performance, the majority of women attendees must pass — at least as high a graduating percentage as the men in the same class. For the first time in Ranger history, graduation will be guaranteed — for some.

And that was before the creation of the Corps of Commissars.

Currently, the RTB closely monitors candidate performance at the school…

That post had detailed statistics about timing and causes of attrition in the Ranger Course. You may rest assured that the statistics from this course will not be made public. In fact, the attrition numbers are to be treated as classified, with only select excerpts of the numbers — whatever looks most like success — to be trickled out by the Army’s cabal of oxygen thieves hordes of PR officers. As far as those actually conducting the course, this statement is still valid.

The instructors and cadre have been advised that any public statement is a career ender, and those that have spoken to WeaponsMan.com have done so at considerable personal career risk. Their input wasn’t sought beforehand, and it sure as hell isn’t wanted now.

Note that none of our 2012 sources are still at RTB, which is not the same thing as saying that we have no sources at RTB.

If physical fitness standards are sex-normed for the women, as Army standards overall are, and women are carefully preselected (trained up in land nav, only strong swimmers) then they can get past that initial 60% drop and have a decent chance of passing. Right now, the plan is for women officers only, and for them to have as much as a two month train-up prior to the course. If the women beat the 50% attrition rate of men, expect a publicity blitz. Some attrition means the initial 5 to 8 in the first class will be winnowed down to a publicity-friendly 3 or 4 junior-officer graduates, a number of whom are likely to be “legacies” of military families and already fast-tracked for promotion.

It looks like instead of that plan they’ll have a single large cadre, officer-heavy if not exclusively officers, of women preselected for success. They will graduate in whatever percentage is preordained. And they will feel like they’ve worked hard and accomplished something huge, but the fix is in.

Marine Women Continue to Excel… Just Not Enough

rangerette-benjaminTwo more women Marines failed to meet the standard at the Infantry Officer Course and were binned on the first day — along with fifteen of their male counterparts. They will be reassigned to other specialties based on their preferences and the needs of the Corps. 101 other officers, all men, continued in the course. If the past is a guide, not all of them will be in the graduation formation.

For those keeping score, twenty-something women have attempted the course, some of them more than once, and four have made it past the first day. One has lasted more than a week. Zero have passed. In the intelligence business, we used to call this “an indicator;” you can write that down.

This persistent failure of the available women to meet the criterion-referenced standards has engendered, no pun intended, Congressional and media pressure for the Marines to lower the standards to meet the available women. We can’t see that as anything but an implicit statement that the careers of individual careerist women officers are more important than the extant standards, and the reason for the standards, which is: competent combat forces.

Two female Marine officers who volunteered to attempt the Corps’ challenging Infantry Officer Course did not proceed beyond the first day of the course, a Marine Corps spokesperson confirms to the Free Beacon. The two were the only female officers attempting the course in the current cycle, which began Thursday in Quantico, Virginia.

With the two most recent drops, there have been 29 attempts by female officers to pass the course since women have been allowed to volunteer, with none making it to graduation. (At least one woman has attempted the course more than once.) Only four female officers have made it beyond the initial day of training, a grueling evaluation known as the Combat Endurance Test, or CET. Male officers also regularly fail to pass the CET, and the overall course has a substantial attrition rate for males.

The Marine Corps spokesperson, Captain Maureen Krebs, told the Free Beacon that the two officers, “did not meet the standards required of them on day one in order to continue on with the course.” Fifteen male officers also did not meet the standards. Of the 118 officers who began the course, 101 proceeded to the second day.

via EXCLUSIVE: Two More Female Marines Dropped from Infantry Course | Washington Free Beacon.

Aside: Ever notice that, while infantrymen are always men, spokes-persons for the military are always women? Young, attractive women? That’s because a PR dolly is a PR dolly, uniformed or not.

In any event, the Free Beacon’s Aaron MacLean nails the problem: if the Marines are ordered to do something stupid, they will salute and carry out the order to the best of their ability. So will the other services.

The Marine Corps is in a tough spot. Marines follow orders, and the order is to integrate the genders. But the effort to integrate has revealed something that is uncomfortable for proponents of reform: Keeping the traditionally high standards of the Marine infantry will result in a situation where there are a handful of enlisted female Marines in every infantry battalion, and effectively no female infantry officers.

Actually, as we understand it, the young women who have passed the infantry course are getting a notation in their files, but are not being assigned to infantry units, yet.

Pressure will become tremendous to reduce those standards–something that the overwhelming majority of Marines, including those women who currently wish to serve in the infantry, believe would be damaging to the service.

But those same politicians and media mavens who are so intent on diminishing the combat power of the Marines in pursuit of equality of outcomes, breathe free air every day because they have a competent Marine Corps standing between them and the various limits placed on subjects and defeated peoples everywhere.

Meanwhile, the Army continues its program of female integration by stealth, in the shadows and away from the public eye. Unlike the Marines, the Army has little institutional capital invested in high standards and has no qualms about lowering them, and in its senior officers, it has men who will not wait for the order, but will compete to see who can ingratiate himself the most with his masters.

The SIG Brace / Not a Stock / ATF Letter Trip

donovan leitch 1967Remember the old Donovan song? Eh, unless you’re like us, old enough to remember the introduction of that new “dirt” stuff, maybe you don’t. The trippy 60s songwriter sang the very zen line:

First, there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is.
First, there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is.

To which we’ve always mumbled, “Don’t take the brown acid….” (Sorry, another cultural flashback). Anyway, Donovan’s flickering mountain is a bit like the various ATF letters explaining their attitude to arm braces on AR pistols over the last couple of years, since they first provided a Firearms Technology Branch blessing to the Sig Brace.

sigbrace1

First, it was a stock that made the gun an SBR, then it wasn’t a stock, then it was.
Then, it wasn’t a stock that made the gun an SBR, then it was a stock, then it wasn’t.

We’re not sure what to make of the ATF apparently taking up the recreational herbs and spices of the Sunshine Superman his ownself, but we’ve been whipsawed by the letters and haven’t written about them. Regulatory stuff is kind of boring, at least until ATF shows up looking for someone to feed their stats machine and settles on you. (And trust us on this: every Federal law enforcement agency has a stats machine, and it looks just like the one in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.)

Fortunately, the Prince Law Firm’s blog has been on it, and these guys are, like, real lawyers with bar cards, and ostentatious diplomas, and continuing education credits, and everything. Adam Kraut, Esq:

Well, it appears very clear that FTISB and ATF as a whole are paying very close attention to what people are doing and how they are utilizing products, including reviewing internet postings, pictures and videos. All of the stabilization/cheek enhancement products on the market have a legitimate purpose and have assumedly been approved by FTISB at some point. But, it appears that some individuals are not looking to purchase these products for their legitimate purpose and use and instead intentionally intend to misuse them from the moment they are purchased.

As was noticeably absent in the letter discussed in my blog post Cinderella and ATF’s Determination: The Fairy Tale of an AR Pistol to SBR through Magic, this letter does mention intent, in fact several times.

ATF didn’t appreciate people purchasing various stabilization products/cheek weld enhancements for the purpose of avoiding the payment of the NFA tax (which could constitute tax evasion). This is why the intent aspect, as stated in the definition, is important. If an individual purchases one of these products intending to use it in the manner for which it was made and then misuses it, as ATF previously held in the Bradley letter, he/she has done nothing illegal. There is no law dictating the end use of a product. However, if an individual purchases one of these products to install on their pistol and intends to use it as a faux stock, he/she has very clearly created an illegal SBR.

We think the consigliere has done a good a job as anyone can hope to of reading the ATF tea leaves, so we’ll leave it at that (do go Read The Whole Thing™).

Now, we’d like to make some comments about the ATF technology evaluation process in general. Kraut notices that they did something they usually don’t do, explicitly warn that this paper really isn’t worth more than the paper it’s printed on. He quotes commentary on the latest “brace” letter, this one to Thorsden Customs. What the letter itself (hosted at Prince Law) says, is:

In closing, we should remind you that the information found in correspondence from FTISB is intended only for use by the addressed individual or company with regard to a specific scenario described within that correspondence.

This is apparently new boilerplate. But the fact is, that is the nature of all ATF determinations. They are ephemeral, have no precedential value, and are only binding on citizens, not on the ATF. The ATF can, and does, overturn them at any time on nothing more than a whim, and the courts have rules that these will-o-the-wisp whims require near-absolute deference.

ATF-Molan Labe

Finally, a couple of exit thoughts: If the ATF didn’t take an elephant’s gestation to process SBR paperwork, maybe so many people wouldn’t be looking for an end-around. Want to increase compliance with the law? Make it easy and convenient. If somebody’s not making it easy and convenient, maybe they’re not really interested in increasing compliance with the law.

Ray’s Recruiting Rangerettes; Lower Standards, Commissars, to Guarantee Graduation

This rope traverse in Ranger School is a one-time deal, not part of the PT test. One example of the physical demands on the Ranger candidate. The ladies won't be doing this.

This rope traverse in Ranger School is a one-time deal, not part of the PT test. One example of the physical demands on the Ranger candidate. The ladies won’t be doing this.

Army Chief of Staff Raymond Odierno has been having his minions actively recruiting Ranger rats for the first coed Ranger class. The Army has learned from the Marines’ experience with their officer and enlisted infantry schools, and he’s not even going to attempt to have the Rangerettes meet the existing standards.

He’s also emplaced a Corps of Commissars — female officer and NCO “observers and advisers” whose mission will be to ensure that the sisters make it through. Some 31 women were selected out of “more than three dozen” who applied. The Corps of Commissars selectees were given a one-week micro-Ranger-school, according to Military.com (hat tip, The Captain’s Journal):

…so they can work alongside male instructors and help observe the female students selected for the first-ever co-ed class, known as the Ranger Course Assessment, tentatively scheduled for this spring.

The Military.com article has a few more prize quotes. We couldn’t make this crap up:

“Their performance and professionalism over the course of the week was extraordinary,” Maj. Gen. Scott Miller, commanding general of the Maneuver Center of Excellence, said of the women, according to a release posted on Fort Benning’s Facebook page. “This group did very well for what was a very physically challenging week for any soldier.”

Hey, that’s the toughest week in the Army, troop. A MG (who, dear God, should not ever be approved by the Senate for three or four stars) says so, and when was a general ever wrong?

Service officials hinted that the number of women actually interested in applying for combat assignments will be relatively small.

The reason they’re “hinting” is because, in the Army now, you can’t say anything about bull dykes, even if they’re hitting on subordinates in their own unit, and you’re the commander. Strike that: were the commander, until you asked them to stop swapping spit in uniform at a unit function.

NATO countries that have opened infantry jobs and similar positions to women report that only about 1 percent of potential female recruits apply for the jobs…

Er, what’s the percentage of….? NTTAWWT. Unless they’re in your unit, disrupting unit discipline (and creeping out otherwise-oriented subordinates), and you know now that you can’t say anything lest you and a platter be making like John the Baptist most ricky-tick.

What’s more, if the U.S. military fully integrates women into all jobs, the services’ various recruiting offices will vie to recruit that small subset of the population, she said.

“Unfortunately, all of us will be competing for those same women,” Sheimo said.

Well, m’dear, you’ll just have to get creative.

Army Secretary John McHugh and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno, among others, are expected to make a decision sometime after Jan. 1 on whether to approve the plan to allow female soldiers to enroll in Ranger School.

Well, the decision those two payroll patriots are going to make is a real stone cold mystery. Really.

“Holmes, what do you make of this?”

“I don’t know, my dear Watson; for the first time in my career of detection it beats me with a stick.”

This is the picture Military.com used to illustrate their story. Presumably it shows the Corps of Commissars learning how to carry female Ranger candidates through the course.

This is the picture Military.com used to illustrate their story. Presumably it shows the Corps of Commissars learning how to carry female Ranger candidates through the course.

On second thought, we have less doubt than that, after all. Indeed, we’ll give you 10-1 that those two crapweasels make a go decision, except that none of you will take us up on it because we all already know they’ve already made the go decision.

Or to be more precise, they’ve already received the go decision and are letting a suitably decent interval elapse, as if they were thinking, before passing it on.

On Wednesday, Odierno said the service plans to finish by spring or summer assessments to determine the feasibility of opening engineering, artillery, armor and infantry jobs to women.

“It’s going very well,” he said. “We still have some final assessments to do.”

See what he did there? He very nearly spilled that the fix was in (“It’s going very well!”), and then he reeled himself in. It takes talent, and the kind of lips-on experience in sucking up that you can only learn in the best schools, to catch a bobble like that. See, that’s why this weasel is Chief of Staff, and you’re not, you slacker.

“For me, it’s about talent management. We need to take the best, no matter who you are, if you’re qualified. We’re not going to lower the standards. If you can meet the standard, we should give them the capability to service.”

Is it just us, or does that last sentence offend against the good order and discipline of the English language? And does anybody think that what has been described here is a process for finding “the best”? No, it’s a process created because certain women officers are whining about unfairness in their careers. 

Focus on your career long enough, and you turn into Ray Odierno. He was probably a great guy as a company grade officer.

[U]nits have until Dec. 1 to provide names of the volunteers to the Army’s Infantry School. Women selected for the highly competitive slots will be identified in January, Sheimo said.

The Ranger Course Assessment was open to all women in the grades E-4 through O-4 who had the support of their chain of command and whose end term of service, or ETS, was no earlier than Oct. 1, 2016, according to All-Army Activities, or Alaract, notices about the proposal.

Odierno is hardly alone in this, but he is a Chief of Staff who inherited an outstanding Army and will leave behind a weaker, less capable one.

Let’s Go to the Primary Documents!

Here’s the cable to All Army Activities (ALARACT) seeking females for the Corps of Commissars.

ALARACT 221_2014 – FEMALE OBSERVERS_ADVISORS FOR THE UNITED.pdf

It’s a lot of Army bureaucratese, in hard-to-read all caps, but here are some of the most interesting details:

  • it’s optional for the female volunteers to pass the Ranger PT test.
  • Optional to pass the Combat Water Survival Test (which tests your ability to swim about ten feet in uniform without dropping your rubber-duck imitation rifle).
  • Optional to pass land nav (a skill anyone can learn to the relatively low Ranger standard).
  • Optional to complete the 12-mile foot march (again, something anyone can learn to do, men, women and children. The women will be required to carry a 35-pound pack).
  • They can’t fail. Literally can’t fail, although they can quit: “Candidates will not be dropped from the assessment except for injury or by self removal.”
  • It’s not even a week long. It’s 8 days, but Day 1 and Day 8 are travel days with no requirements.

Yeah, Ray Odierno is trying real hard to, what was it he said? “Take the best.” Nothing says you’re taking the best like a standard that tells everybody that nobody can fail.

Here’s the cable to All Army Activities (ALARACT) seeking females for the first Rangerette course.

ALARACT 222_2014 – FEMALE STUDENTS FOR THE UNITED STATES ARMY.pdf

Same complaints about cable formatting apply, but by now you can deal with it, right, Ranger? Hooah. So onward we go to the shorter list of squawks with this document.

  • All the active-duty volunteers will initially be sent to a prep school that the National Guard maintains for pre-Ranger training. (The Guard has, in the past, been embarrassed by some first-day failures and quitters, hence the US Army National Guard, Ranger Training And Assessment Course, which is not available to male active-duty Ranger candidates.
  • Commanders will have to certify that the Rangerette candidates are proficient in all those things that the Rangerette Corps of Commissars was exempted from.
  • For the first time in the sixty-plus-year history of the school, a pregnancy test will be part of inprocessing.

The bigger issue with the special class — they’re calling it an “Assessment,” but that name exists to support the fiction that the conclusions have not been already assumed a priori — is that nobody who’s seen the way the Army handles personnel has any faith that it will be conducted in anything like a fair, objective manner. We could write the Benning press release on this one already and they haven’t even picked a date for the course yet.

The 1968 LRRP Conference on Weapons: Vol. II.

Since we knew you were going to ask, here’s the weapons stuff out of Vol. II., which was the Recondo School presentation. But it’s notable that before they discussed weapons, they discussed two more crucial elements — helicopter support (both logistics, in terms of slicks, and fires, in the shape of a Light Fire Team of attack and scout helicopters). But they did get to weapons in due course.

Weapons – The type of enemy positions, type of operation planned and the AO requires a supply of varied weapons. Most of the time a major commander will make weapons available regardless of the MTOE. However. to solve the problem. a weapons pool at the company or detachment headquarters with some of each type of weapon should be created. This would include such items as the M-79 grenade launchers, M-l6 machineguns, silenced pistols and rifles and other special purpose weapons.

OSS_M3A1_grease_silenced

Straightforward enough. We have always struggled agains the Big Green bureaucracy, in our efforts to maintain a pool of foreign and obsolete weapons, as well as other low-density US weapons, for training and operational purposes. Conventional officers, especially logistical types, tend to come from way out on the left tail of the bell curve, and have a really hard time understanding this. They really hate it when sensible preparations for combat interfere with their systems of orderly and regular inventories.

Next, the report addresses the patrol member’s dream date, the CAR-15 (which is very, very rarely called “XM177E2,” its real Army name, in period reports. Of course, some were XM177s and XM177E1s, and others were combat tested with just a Colt model number, or a Colt GX — “Government Experimental” — model number).

The CAR-15 appears to be a popular and desirable weapon and should be available. However, it is questionable as whether every man should have one. Much of its popularity is due to its newness and novelty. The point man and radio operator should have them to reduce the welight they must carry and because of the convenience offered by their shorter length. Sometimes the accuracy at long ranges of the M-16 is needed and the M.16 rarely malfunctions; therefore, it must also be available.

Of course, Colt’s whole production run of CAR-15s was, according to Colt records, 10,000 weapons. Not counting odd lots and rarities like this “GX” model (“Government Experimental,” usually indicating a toolroom prototype).

Colt GX-5857

 

When the Son Tay Raid was standing up, there were none in the Army’s inventory in new condition, so Task Force Ivory Coast acquired a stock of either Air Force or Export guns. The handful of existing Son Tay photographs show that the carbines resemble Colt Model 639/XM177E2 “submachine guns,” but lack the characteristic forward assist.

 

Even though airborne insertions were never used in RVN by Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol or Long Range Patrol teams, the conference concluded it was valuable:

The group was unanimous in desiring airborne qualification. First of all they felt LRP’s had to be considered on an army wide basis and not just on operations Vietnam. They felt units in Europe would be hindered if this capability was taken away. As a bonus the group contended the airborne qualification increases a man’s ability and confidence. It is not that being a jumper is so important: it is the mere fact that a man has proven to himself that he can go through the training and overcome a natural fear, the fear of leaving an aircraft. He has accomplished something that he had probably felt was beyond his capability. He also has learned to pay attention to detail. You have to see a new jumper or a halo jumper check his equipment to see attention to detail.

An LRP team requires this meticulousness in preparing their weapons and equipment, in planning for the patrol, and in intelligence collecting and reporting. In the CIDG program all of the MIKE forces, Mobile Strike Forces and recon units are sent through jump training. The man who is cocky enough to jump out of an airplane will probably be more willing to move into that hole in enemy territory. Some felt the graduation from Recondo School should be a prerequisite for airborne pay but the majority were opposed to this since there are only a limited number of spaces at the Recondo School.

Interesting thoughts. Even today, 46 years later, most of the world’s elite forces undergo parachute training even if they will never, ever make an airborne insertion. And recent events have proven that an airborne insertion is still a useful capability.

The documents are worth the study, if you’re interested in these things. Part I is the conference, 50 pp: LRRP Conference 1968 Part 1.pdf; Part II is a presentation on Recondo School, 10 pp:LRRP Conference 1968 part II Recondo School.pdf.

The 1968 LRRP Conference on Weapons: Vol. I.

usarv_conference_coverA great deal of mythology about the M16, CAR-15 and other weapons in Vietnam continues to circulate. Here are real lessons-learned as discussed in a period document, the 2-part USARV Long Range Patrol Conference Summary, which discussed a conference held from 9-12 August 1968, in other words, at the height of the US Army’s combat involvement in the Vietnam War. While those attending were primarily officers in grades of 2LT through MG, they clearly brought the experience of the units most involved in running long-range patrols, including the “letter” Ranger companies then of the 51st Infantry Regiment, the greek-letter projects, Mike Forces, MACVSOG, the SAS from OZ, and the Special Forces-run RECONDO school, where LLRP leaders from many US and Allied units trained.

So what did they say about weapons (with, maybe, some operational and equipment digressions)?

f_51 LRP ScrollII Field Force Vietnam (Co. F., 51st Infantry (LRP)), p. 22-23:

Equipment carried by the patrol includes as little food and water as possible, M-16s, a Light Antitank Weapon (LAW), an M-79, and an M-60 MG with 700 rounds. The patrols remain in the area for five days and are extracted only if they have wounded personnel. If the wounds are slight, they will be treated and then reinserted.

Note that this is a 5-6 man patrol. F Company Rangers practiced what they called “saturation patrolling,” where 10 to 14 of these teams would be on the ground seeking the enemy. The heavy firepower assisted in breaking contact by “impersonating” a larger unit. Unlike some other long range patrol elements, they would not be extracted unless a member was wounded; their instruction, and ethos, was “break contact, continue mission.”

Harassing and interdictory (H&I) fire continues in the AO even while teams are being inserted or on the ground. To stop the fire signals the enemy something is happening. The teams move between the fires. The fires are plotted 800 meters from the team, except at night when defensive concentrations are as close as 300 meters or closer if desired.

Details like this, which would have been extremely useful to the enemy, are why the report was classified. It would not be declassified until 31 December 1974, long after the withdrawal of American forces.

In the III CTZ operation areas where shots are heard in the jungle all day, the teams snipe at close ranges. A noise suppressor would be beneficial to assist the sniping.

Another tactic especially effective at night is to set up a trip flare behind a team that is being pursued. If gunships are on the scene, they can fire at the trip flare when the enemy trips it.

Some of these TTPs would work just as well today as they did 50 years ago. Case in point.

The teams use the starlight scope and have found it effective. The LAW is used mainly as a psychological weapon to make the enemy think twice before assaulting a team. The weapon deceives the enemy as to the size of the team. Time pencils and fragmentation grenades are used, especially at night to mislead him on the location of the team. Claymores are used extensively. Wrist compasses are used also. .It saves the man from fiddling with the lensatic and getting it caught in the brush.

Many of these small defensive possibilities have been eliminated since then, by unilateral anti-mining decisions taken by American political leaders. No more grenades with a time fuze, or tripwire Claymores on your back trail. Note that these less-well-resourced patrollers didn’t get toe-poppers and minigrenades like SOG elements did. They didn’t even have CAR-15s:

Survival knives are on the MTOE but extremely hard to obtain. The M-l6, while a good weapon, is not as suitable to LRP operations as the CAR 15 because it is too long and catches in the brush. The present camouflage uniform tears easily and mosquitoes bite through the material. The CIDG tiger suit is better.

It was complaints like these about the ripstop ERDL camouflage uniform that led to the sweat-bag first edition of the abominable BDU — 12-15 years or so later. The survival knives were, of course, pilfered in the supply chain. That still happens; team guys would stop in at Camp Vance and see every clerk in the S4 wearing the high-speed gear intended for the teams but mysteriously never issued.

SAS CrestSpecial Air Service Regiment (Australian Army), pp. 24-25.

The XM 148 is used extensively by the Australians. The trigger arrangement is dangerous as issued–it catches on vines and fires unexpectedly–so it is cut off and the sear is used to fire the weapon. The sights are removed also. Since contact range is normally five to ten meters, the sights are not needed. One XM 148 is carried per patrol.

Another piece of equipment is an anchor device for the McGuire rig or for rappelling ropes. It can be fitted to the UH-l series helicopter in about five minutes and deploys six ropes, three on each side. A pull of a lever releases the rope in an emergency. The UH-IH can extract a six-man patrol with full equipment using this rig. The present McGuire rig lifts only three people and cannot be cut· away in an emergency.

The XM-148 was a Colt-designed grenade launcher (Colt nomenclature was CGL-1 through -4) that preceded the M203. AAI’s M203 would, a few years later, provide the same capability, but without any of the 148’s problems.

Yes, SASR really did roll with XM148s. Three troopers on right have them (left hand guy has an M203) on M16s and L1 FAL. Image source.

Yes, SASR really did roll with XM148s. Three troopers on right have them (left hand guy has an M203) on M16s and L1 FAL. Image source.

The SF STABO rig ultimately adopted that Australian innovation which was, as SAS Major Wade noted, quite superior to the improvised (but working) McGuire rig.

25th Infantry Division, Company F, 50th Infantry (LRP), p. 35:

75th ranger 25th ID scrollThe old AR belt is a very useful item of equipment. It has numerous pouches for ammunition or grenades, which distributes the weight and does not have to be taped. The wrist compass could replace the lensatic if it had a sighting device on it. It is accurate and handy, and is immediately available not in a pocket. Light weight web gear made from CS cannisters [sic] is being experimented with at the present time and also the M-16 noise suppressors. The new face camouflage made by Elizabnth Arden that is used by the SEAl.s seems better than our issue camoufhLge. The time pencils are very useful but hard to get.

The “old AR belt” that Captain Dawson of the 25th mentioned is the BAR belt. The then-standard Army issue equipment, the M-56 field gear, had metal buckles and snaps and, without a liberal application of green tape or duct tape, would make a patrol jingle like Santa’s reindeer. (Garrison-oriented commanders and especially sergeants major and first sergeants tended to oppose addition of tape to issue web gear, and it was a constant source of friction between combat troops and chairborne REMFs, until the M-56 and its equally shoddy successor, ALICE, passed out of service).

101st Airborne Division (Airmobile), Company F, 58th Infantry (LRP), pp. 37-38:

This is actually the later L/75th Ranger scroll. All these scrolls come from this site, airborne-ranger.com.

This is actually the later L/75th Ranger scroll; we didn’t find one for F/58. All these scrolls come from this site: airborne-ranger.com.

The 101st’s program seemed particularly mature and well-thought-out to exploit the Division’s copious helicopter mobility. While their notes on operations and ARVN integration were most personally interesting, they had some interesting observations on weapons and equipment, too:

The use of CS dropped by helicopters has proven successful but required the team to take a gas mask along. This is deemed worth the extra effort. …

Air support is preferred to artillery in the AO due to triple canopy vegetation. It is difficult to observe and adjust ar tillery and a LFT can respond in 10 to 15 minutes.

The first light insertion is utilized most frequently. It allows reaction in case of contact on or near the LZ and an air relay, a U-1A Otter from Phu Bai. can standby during insertion or until the team establishes communication with the base camp or ground relay station. The teams do not move during the noon period or when another team is in contact because a team is less likely to be discovered when it is stationary.

The standard 65-foot Chinook suspension ladder cut in half and strung through a UH-1 model helicopter so that about 12 feet hangs down on each side is effective for insertion and extraction in stumpy areas, thickly vegetated areas, over uneven ground or where rotary clearance is needed. Rappelling is used also but its use makes McGuire rig extraction required, and this is avoided when possible. However, one McGuire rig wHh handcuffs on the riser is used to extract prisoners.

The company has three British Sten guns with silencers which are extremely quiet. They have not been fired in the course of an operation although they were taken along.

36th Mobile Strike Force Command, Vol. 1, p. 42:

(probably fake) mike force patchThe patrols carry one AN/PRC-25 radio with two headsets per patrol (the headset has proven to be the most likely part of system to fail). Their base station has an RTT capability and single side band in addition to the AN/GRC-46 radios. The Americans a.re armed with the CAR-I5 and the Cambodians carry the M-16. There are Sten guns and two pistols, all with silencers, available in the unit. Three of the American members carry the Swedish K submachinegun.

“Swedish K” was the Special Forces nickname for the Swedish Carl Gustav M45B submachine gun, which was commonly carried with 36-round box magazines but could also use 50-round Suomi magazines by removing a retaining pin and magazine housing. We think they could also use the Suomi drum but never tried it ourselves!

The Swedish M45B was copied in Egypt as the "Port Said." It is a typical 2nd-Genrration SMG.

The Swedish M45B was copied in Egypt as the “Port Said,” which is the version seen here (file photo). It is a typical 2nd-Genrration SMG.

The MACV Recondo School, p. 49:

recondopatchPersonal appearance is deemed important by the school. While a student is at school, the individual is required to maintain a high standard of personal hygiene and appearance. Mustaches must be nearly trimmed, haircuts must be short, and the normal appearance ·of an elite l.RP trooper does not include rings in ears Qr bracelets. The school is a MACV school and these standards must be maintained.

The school had previously mentioned some problems they were having with unmotivated students (definitely a problem as Recondo school used the enemy as a training aid). It attributed these woes to poor selection and neglect of published selection standards by sending unit. The school listed the goodies each student got, as well as some problems with what he was expected to bring along:

… provide each graduate with six Recondo patches and a diploma. Honor graduate receives a
special knife purchased from the fund.

USARV Regulation 350-2 contains a list of equipment that the individual should bring to the school with him. Many students do not realize this and the school does not have enough facilities to provide this equipment for every student. Critical items are camouflage fatigues and M-16 magazines.

So as early as 1968, the training base and the troop units were already scamming M16 mags (in those days, 20-rounders) from one another.

One little detail: everywhere in this report M16 (which is the weapon’s actual designation, although the Army model was always the XM16E1/M16A1) is rendered as M-16. This instantiates the well-known idea that, even though an item’s official nomenclature is one thing, the troops may call it something different — even in official reports.

IIIrd Marine Amphibious Force (1st & 3rd Recon Battalions), p. 45.

Once again, the Marine contribution was most interesting for their tactics and operation art, very different from any of the Army approaches. But they did have this to say about weapons, and interesting take on CS gas (non-lethal tear gas):

One way of using CS is to employ it by fixed wing. A ton of it can be placed in the napalm tanks with sand to get it through the jungle canopy. It can saturate 4,000 square meters :in five minutes. It is a good technique for taking prisoners but an extra gas mask must be taken along for the prisoner or he will die.

So, even with normally non-lethal gas, the dose makes the poison. One suspects that was learned at the expense of some fellow named Nguyen.

Note well: these comments are all from Volume I of the Conference proceedings. There’s more cool stuff in the shorter Volume II but we’re already knocking on the door of 2,000 words, awfully long for a web article.

UPDATE

The documents, if you please: Part I is the conference, 50 pp: LRRP Conference 1968 Part 1.pdf; Part II is a presentation on Recondo School, 10 pp:LRRP Conference 1968 part II Recondo School.pdf.