USMC IAR Reliability Testing Results

A friend of a friend of the blog FOIAd this information, which took him two requests. The first produced the Round One reliability testing, which downchecked 6 of the 10 submissions. During the first-round test and data analysis, the submissions were blinded by using a code letter ID from A through J. In the results below, the producers of the four proposals which advanced to Round Two are shown, while the downchecked candidates are still indicated only by code letter.

Ultimate winner — the HK M27 IAR, a version of the company’s HK 416 AR knock-off.

Results from Round One, in 2008:

e. All participants submitted three samples for testing.

f. Results for all Class I and II failures are listed below across all 3 UUTs from 9 of the 10 IAR Bid Samples.

  1. Colt proposal A: 60 Failures
  2. Colt proposal B: 28 Failures
  3. Competitor C: 23 Failures
  4. Competitor D: 78 Failures
  5. Competitor E: 39 Failures
  6. Competitor F: 12 Failures
  7. Heckler & Koch Defence Inc. proposal G: 27 Failures
  8. Competitor H: 124 Failures
  9. FN Herstal proposal J: 26 Failures

g. The 10th IAR Bid Sample, Competitor I, was determined unsafe for live fire due to a lack of proof marking. Live fire testing was not conducted.

Kind of a raw break for that unfortunate competitor, Code Letter I.

Note that some of the rejected proposals (C, E, F) had fewer failures than the ones that proceeded. This is presumably due to the distribution of the failures. (If you have only a few failures, but they’re take-the-gun-to-the-bench failures, that’s a whole other thing than a higher quantity of simple failures that are rectified in seconds by operator immediate action (a la SPORTS drill on the M16/M4 series).

This is the Round One definition of failures by class:

Reliability Testing

The Unit Under Test (UUT) shall have a Mean Rounds Between Failure (MRBF) of 900 for Class I and II failures combined (Threshold), 5,000 MRBF (Objective).

  1. Class I failure: A failure that may be immediately corrected by the operator within 10 seconds or less while following prescribed immediate action procedures.
  2. Class II failure: A failure that may be corrected by the operator, and that requires more than 10 seconds but not more than 10 minutes to correct (less the TM/OM defined cool down period if a hot barrel condition exists).  Only the equipment and tools issued with the weapon may be used to correct the failure.

A very similar definition of failures, with a third, more serious, class, was used for Round Two in 2009.

Reliability/Endurance Testing Mean Rounds Between Failure (MRBF)

a. Three Units Under Test (UUTs) were provided for each model under evaluation.

b. The UUT shall have a Mean Rounds Between Failure (MRBF) of 900 for Class I and II failure combined (Threshold), 5,000 (Objective). The MRBF for Class III failures shall be 15,000 (Threshold), 20,000 (Objective).

  1. Class I failure: A failure that may be immediately corrected by the operator within 10 seconds or less while following prescribed immediate action procedures.
  2. Class II failure: A failure that may be corrected by the operator, and that requires more than 10 seconds but not more than 10 minutes to correct (less the TM/OM defined cool down period if a hot barrel condition exists). Only the equipment and tools issued with the weapon may be used to correct the failure.
  3. Class III failure: A failure of a severe nature. The failure (1) can be corrected by an operator but requires more than 10 minutes; (2) cannot be corrected by an operator and requires assistance (no time limit); or (3) requires higher level of maintenance or correction by an authorized operator cannot be accomplished because of unavailability of necessary tools, equipment, or parts.

This table is taken from the FOIA release, but we have added a column identifying the firearms, which in this test were coded 09 (presuably for the fiscal year) and a letter, thus 09A, 09B, etc.

UUT

Manufacturer MRBF
Class I and II
MRBF
Class III
Estimated
Barrel Life
         

09A

Colt

952

60,000 1800
09B Colt 1,277 15,000

1400

09C

FNH USA 5,000 N/A*

5,200

09D HK USA 1,622 20,000

16,200

Some interesting results here. The FN entrant had the highest rate of relatively minor Class I and II failures, but the lowest rate — zero — of Class III failures. (That’s why it’s “N/A”. You can’t calculate an MRBF with zero failures). And the HK example was distinctly mediocre compared to these competitors, on this one measurement. Conversely, it had far and away the highest barrel life — an important statistic for the always-broke Marines.

Update

Apologies to all for leaving off the document. This was actually two separate FOIA releases, of three and two pages, but I’ve combined them into one document and OCR’d them for your convenience (well, I also OCR’d them so I could pull those quotes above).

The initial page with the ID of the requestor has been deleted as he has requested privacy.

IAR Reliability Testing FOIA Release.pdf

“The Only One who Can be Trusted…”

Like many gunshows, Wanenmacher’s Tulsa Arms Show requires all firearms to be unloaded and cleared for safety. Because only trained professionals can handle firearms without shooting each other!

As we began to watch this, we were expecting the guy in the shorts to ND, because, after all, he was the show attendee, and the security guys are trained professionals. Right.

Watch as trained professional Brian Pounds (left in the POLICE sweatshirt) plays with a .22 and surprises himself with a shot, which banks nicely off the cinderblock wall and strikes fellow trained professional Rick Treadwell (seated far right, in POLICE sweatshirt) in the hand.

 

Apart from everything else wrong with this negligent discharge, where did Pounds get the idea that it’s okay to dry-fire a .22? It’s not okay, and risks damaging the firing pin and especially the breech face.

Don’t Dry Fire Rimfires, people. And when you’re a dumb-ass and disobey that, Don’t Point Them at People. “But how do I check a trigger?” Simplicity itself: snap caps. Too cheap for snap caps (Pachmayr sells a package of .22 dummys for a few bucks)? Try yellow #4-6 sheetrock anchors, aka drywall anchors, aka wall dowels.

Extra bonus: if there’s a snap cap or wall anchor in your chamber, you can’t shoot your fellow human being, dog, family heirloom, or anything else with the gun.

Forrest’s mama always told him. “Stupid is as stupid does.” This is a bushel basket full of stupid.

About the only positive thing we can take away from this is that dumb luck prevented loss of life, so it could have been worse.

We bet that whatever department these two sad sacks are on is really glad their POLICE sweatshirts don’t have the department name in big letters, too.

Hat tip, Miguel at Gun Free Zone.

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Dogs

Dogs are wonderful, but their skill at risk management leaves much to be desired. If you don’t handle that responsibility for the animal, it can go pear-shaped for both of you.

Patricia Connors, 66, was pronounced dead at the scene after being struck on the M4 near Cardiff by a Ford Transit at around 6.15pm on Friday, officers said.

The great-grandmother, from Cardiff, was trying to rescue her dog on the busy road when both were hit and killed by a Ford Transit Van.

Her family released a statement saying they were “heartbroken” over her death.

We’re major league critter lovers around here — this is being typed with a lapful of warm Small Dog MkII — but ’tis a far, far, better thing to grieve for your dog than be grieved by the beast. (Even if the dog usually has the superior character, and even though in this case Mrs. Connors’s sacrifice did not succeed in saving the life of her presumed Best Friend).

The statement said: “The family of Patricia Joyce Connors are heartbroken trying to come to terms with a tragic accident that has taken a loving Mum, Grandmother and great-grandmother.”

South Wales Police believe she followed her dog after it ran into the road. The force appealed for witnesses to come forward.

via Dog walker killed after chasing her pet on to motorway.

In Wales, of course, where guns (handguns, at least) are outlawed.

Cling-On SJWs Still Naming Ships for Obscure Politicians

Having forgotten many Naval heroes and distinguished ships of the past, the Navy named a Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, DDG 117, after an obscure political horse-holder for various Democrats, including LBJ, Saturday. The ceremony took place at one of the yards that builds these ships, Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi.

The future USS Paul Ignatius is named in honor of the Honorable Paul Ignatius, who served as assistant secretary of defense for installations and logistics and later as secretary of the navy between 1967 and 1969, both under President Lyndon B. Johnson. Ignatius had previously served as a commissioned lieutenant in the Navy during World War II. The future USS Paul Ignatius will be the first ship to bear his name.

So we’ll have a ship named after this obscure bureaucrat from LBJ’s micromanagement of Vietnam, one of Macnamara’s Harvard Business School beancounters, but we haven’t had one named after Esek Hopkins since 1945, or John Glover since 1990, or Abe Whipple since 1992, and that’s just distinguished Revolutionary War Naval heroes.

Who was behind this? As it turns out, the outgoing social justice warriors who have gutted the Navy rushed to lock in names for the Navy’s ships through 2024. While some ships were named after Medal of Honor heroes — mostly Marines — a number were named with a social message in mind. One Burke-class is named for a pioneering Navy… nurse. Others for service members whose distinction was to be a member of a particular race. Others… bedamned if they didn’t name one for Arleigh Burke (who deserves it if only for fighting the Kennedy brothers within an inch of court-martial to try to save Brigada 2506).

But Ignatius is puzzling. At least the nurse was the first Navy head nurse (stop snickering, you in the back rows). Why Ignatius, who wasn’t first at anything?

Well, when you read the following, bear in mind that his son is Washington Post columnist and Washington society kingpin David Ignatius.

“When the future USS Paul Ignatius joins the fleet, it will serve for decades as a reminder of Secretary Ignatius’s service to our nation as both a naval officer and as the civilian leader of our Navy and Marine Corps,” said the Honorable Sean Stackley, acting secretary of the navy. “This ceremony will honor not only the service of this ship’s distinguished namesake but also the service of our nation’s shipbuilders, who, for centuries, have helped make ours the greatest Navy in the world.”

It will serve for decades as a reminder that a guy named Sean Stackley wanted to give a slobbering tonguebath to a fellow Washington glitterato. Who knows, maybe if there’s a United States when the Ignatiuses and Stackleys are done profiting from underselling it, there will be a ship named USS Sean Stackley some day.

If there’s going to be a United States to do something that stupid, the US and particularly the US Navy has to pull its head out of its bilge drain with utmost dispatch.

Here is the Navy’s boilerplate on what DDG-117 is and what it can do.

Paul Ignatius will be the 67th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, the fifth of 14 ships currently under contract for the DDG 51 program. The DDG 51 class provides advanced combat capability and survivability characteristics while minimizing procurement and lifetime support costs due to the program’s maturity. DDG 51 destroyers are warships that provide multi-mission offensive and defensive capabilities. Destroyers can operate independently or as part of carrier strike groups, surface action groups, amphibious ready groups and underway replenishment groups. DDG 113 and follow-on DDGs are being built with integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) capability.

 

via Navy to Christen Guided-Missile Destroyer Paul Ignatius > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > News Release View.

Of course, you probably wonder who the hell Esek Hopkins, John Glover, Abraham Whipple were. Hopkins was the first commander of the Continental Navy, who was ultimately sacked because he couldn’t outbid privateers for seamen. Glover was the first commander of a commissioned US ship, also the hero of the evacuation of Long Island and the crossing of the Delaware, therefore the First of the Gators, although he was technically an Army officer. Whipple, originally a privateer for the British against the French in the Seven Years’ War, was arguably the Colonies’ first naval victor — in 1772, he led the burning of His Majesty’s Ship Gaspee, which had run hard aground. Later he served both as a naval officer and (more lucratively) as a privateer, capturing dozens of British ships (once, 11 at once). The British captured him in 1780, and then his war was over.

Of Revolutionary War naval officers of distinction, only John Paul Jones and John Barry have active units named for them. And the motto of Barry was at some recent time changed to, we are not making this up, Strength and Diversity. Diversity is Our Vibrancy!

And the ship after DDG-117, DDG-118, will be named for… another politician, but at least a distinguished one, and a decorated veteran: Daniel Inouye.

Brownell’s Buys: Ghost Glocks, Threaded Barrels, Aimpoint PRO

We missed a one-day-only on these Polymer80 Glock frame kits for $39.99, but at $69.99 they’re still more than half off. Frame, metal guide rails insert, jig, and cutting tools all in one handy kit. Available in black, OD, or FDE.

The only reason we didn’t buy any this time is that we still have two untouched ones (including the one in the picture) — bought for list price.  We’ll get to ’em when we get to ’em. Supposedly, there’s a new version of the G17/17L/34 size frame coming out. These frames will work in 9mm or in .357 SIG/.40 S&W so you can actually clone the Glock 17, 17L, 22, 24, 31, 34, and 35; the compact frame for the G19 size guns is not being blown out, but will still set you back $150.

The G17 etc. frames are considerably blockier than the original Glock (which is saying something), so our guess is that the new version will be closer to the Glock original, like their G19 frame is. But that’s only our guess, we have no crystal ball. These are so popular that inexpensive Glock parts kits have become nonexistent.

What goes with a ghost Glock better than a suppressor? So you’re going to need a threaded barrel (also useful for making politicians’ heads spontaneously ess-plode like Mr Creosote). Most Silencerco Glock barrels are $40 off which brings them to $150, but there’s an even better deal on the higher-priced G43 barrel, for all you wannabe silent single-stackers out there. But Silencerco threadeds are for sale for several pistols: SIG 226, S&W M&P, HKVP9, and Beretta 92/M9.

Beretta 92! We bet this breathes life into a lot of dusty M9s/ 92s out there. Don’t have an M9? We interrupt this Brownells pitch to bring you a deal on an M9 (NB, that vendor has a “mixed” reputation, and its owner has been convicted of felonies under some bizarre California laws. We’ll pass, but maybe you feel lucky… punk). OK, back to Brownells.

Our two favorite AR optics are the ACOG and the Aimpoint, and for up-close-and-personal like shooting masked teenagers in the kitchen, we’d go with Aimpoint 10 out of 10 times. Brownells has a little bit of a deal on the Aimpoint PRO (Patrol Rifle Optic); they’re throwing in a $25 Brownells gift card with each one at $437. Your net, $412, plus shipping. We paid more than that for a well-worn Comp M2 used. The PRO is half the price, roughly, of the Comp M2’s successor, the Comp M4.

The PRO includes the features we like, like crazy long battery life, a near-Ranger-proof forged case, and 6 visible and 4 IR reticle brightness settings. (That said, if you don’t have NODS or plan imminent purchase of them, don’t be a tactard: don’t pay extra for NVG compatibility). Likewise, don’t bother with Killflash unless you’re planning on going out and hunting with it (bipeds or quadrupeds, the game is the same); for plinking and home defense you’re good to go out of the box. The one accessory you might consider is a quality QD mount, if you’re in the habit of trading optics a lot.

Sunday SPRINGTIME!!!1!!

Holy latitudes, Batman, it’s sunshiny and sixty-something out there. T-shirt weather, and Small Dog has just met his local dog friends on the dog walk.

One wonders if they see us shaking hands and think, “Shaking paws is how humans sniff ass, I guess. Gross.

The Philadelphia Story, 2017

Neighbor’s daughter is student teaching in Philadelphia, out to Save The World. It’s springtime there, too, and she’s walking down the street, replying to a text — her world and perceptual field narrowed to a glowing rectangle — and comes a probable truant from her school, scooting by on a bike, and deftly plucks the iPhone 7 out of her hand.

She waited to see it get turned on with Find My iPhone, but that doesn’t work, any more; the Asset Redistribution Technicians of the inner city are on to it, and her phone has already been wiped and fenced and, probably, resold.

Or given to a family member. Your baby sister deserves someone else’s iPhone for her Obamaphone service, not the crappy phones they give you for “free.” Hell, she thought he was about 14, so his baby mamma deserves someone else’s iPhone.

The police don’t care; a stolen phone, are you kidding? Do you know what their backlog looks like? Homicides are up 22% year-to-date. There have been 2,500 violent crimes reported this year, of which few have been closed. Who’s the thief? That general description also fits a bunch of agg assault and murder suspects who are at large, so they’re not sweating a phone thief. Hang up, lady; call us back when he kills you. (She knows this; she probably didn’t bother reporting the theft).

Apple doesn’t care; even though they could brick the phone, they won’t — she’s already bought a new iPhone, so theft is a plus for them. Besides, they’re all SJWs there, and Black Lives Matter, and the only reason a white person has something is because they looted it from slaves, which is why inner-city blacks who are too truculent to stay in school and too lazy to show up at jobs (unlike their competition for illiterate-laborer gigs, criminaliens) are Entitled to Whitey’s $#!+ — something they seem to believe with a fervor a preacher reserves for his Bible.

Her wireless carrier doesn’t care; even though they could brick the phone, they won’t. They may get a new subscriber out of this! So they, too, are in cahoots with burglars and strongarm thieves. That’s their contribution to Social Justice.

In four or five years, when today’s telephone thief has a record that takes multiple pages on a cop-car criminal (and three times as many crimes, at least, for which he was never arrested or charged), he’ll get his gizzard perforated by a cop, and The Community and The Reverends will turn out with pictures from when he was nine years old and demand the cop be punished.

And by then, he probably will be, even though logically it’s like punishing a doctor for curing an infection. Bacterial Lives Matter!

But here in the ‘Shire, we’re spared most of the pathologies of inner cities, except when our residents import their Massachusetts ganged-up drug dealers when our residents are importing their stupidmaking substance du jour.

Hell, you don’t need drugs, to turn on, tune in, and drop out. Look at all the undead around you, shuffling along with their glowing rectangles.

Saturday Matinee 2017 14: Breach (2007)

Weapons content of this film is minimal, but it’s a mostly true recounting of the last months of one of the most significant espionage cases in American histoOry. Robert Hanssen was an FBI Special Agent who, while working counterintelligence against the Soviet target, spied for the Soviets. For 22 years, before being caught (he’s now one of the guests of honor in Florence, Colorado’s Supermax, where he lives out his days in solitary confinement).

Hanssen’s motivations were a complex stew of greed and ego; his feelings were hurt that other agents were promoted ahead of him, and he got a sick thrill out of leading an inquiry into the possibility of a mole — an inquiry that would never find the mole, because it was him. 

Breach hit the screens without much impact at all.  Which is a pity, as it’s a tense, psychological drama with deep and, sometimes, puzzling characters. There’s a good bit of tension there, as the FBI closes in on its rogue agent, while at any time the rogue may learn the jig is up. He has two ways he can beat the FBI: by dropping out of espionage before they have enough admissible evidence to convict him, a concept he naturally understands perfectly, or by running a ratline he has asked his handlers to prepare for him.

Acting and Production

The actors here go the extra mile to sell their characters. One small example is the way that Chris Cooper as Hanssen is so intense that, walking down the corridor with a junior officer, Hanssen tends to walk him into the wall, quite unconsciously. In the excellent add-ons on the DVD (of which more below), Cooper’s immersion in this deep, strange, and mysterious character is discussed at some length, but on the screen it’s just a rocking performance, the best in the film, maybe a career best by the underrated actor.

Laura Linney is especially good in a key supporting role as an FBI supervisor so dedicated that she has sacrificed any hope of personal happiness in pursuit of her vital mission. But the way this is exposed is brilliant: when an agent working for her is having problems with his wife, she snaps: “I’d offer you some advice, but it wouldn’t be worth much. I don’t even have a cat.” She delivers the line with just the right blend of anger (she has a good reason to be angry at the agent, who has just screwed up) and bitterness, and the director and writer use it as a transitional moment. This is one example of the way the writer and director often choose to show the audience rather then tell them; to deliver important facts and enriching details in a sparse, telegraphic manner.

An even smaller FBI agent role goes to Dennis Haysbert (now the Allstate Insurance pitchman with the deep voice).

There are no surprises from Haysbert’s character, but the actor brings his trademark gravitas to the part and was a great addition to the film.

Unfortunately, two parts of the production of Breach are far below average. The first is the cinematography, which is extremely dark in 21st Century fashion. Every single one of the screenshots here had to be lightened, or you might not even see the actors or the objects. Some of them had to be lightened a second time (the shot of Linney, above) and some couldn’r really be saved with our image enhancement skills (Haysbert).

The second failure is a surprising one, because it’s one that in most films tends to be so good it’s invisible: make-up. Chris Cooper’s make-up as Hanssen is positively dreadful, and makes one wonder if the producer hired a bibulous mortician by accident. Ryan Phillippe as Eric O’Neill also suffers from obtrusive face paint.

In addition to these, there is one gratuitous, political jab that makes a jarring and incongruous entrance in unrelated dialogue, perhaps thrown in as a Hollywood virtue signal by the writers.

One thing the producers deserve thanks for is the excellent array of special features on the DVD. These include a number of scenes that were cut, primarily, we think, for pacing. By and large the scene cuts were appropriate but having them on the DVD was enriching.

The menu is visible to the left, and we watched each and every one of them and enjoyed them. The Dateline NBC news story, The Mole, is first class, as is Anatomy of a Character, describing how Chris Cooper brought a frankly repulsive, contradictory, and fatally flawed character to life.

Accuracy and Weapons

As you might expect for a true spy story, there is no gunplay, but that’s not the same thing as saying there are no guns. Hanssen has a seeming love-hate relationship with guns and with the FBI’s gun culture. Being able to hit a target is a skill that he’s contemptuous of, even as he warns a young agent that the FBI is a shooting culture and you will be judged by your shooting skill. Indeed, even senior executives are prone to impromptu shooting matches in the Hoover Building’s basement ranges, competing for small wagers or bragging rights.

A plot point turns on this.

Later, the scene is reprised, darkly, with Hanssen and another character.

Of course, Hanssen’s treachery has fatal consequences for Soviet traitors whose identity he learned, and sold back to the USSR. They are walked down a corridor to a meeting… with destiny.

And Hanssen was very prepared for things to go non-linear in his life. As a glimpse in his trunk indicates (AK, 2 G36s, MP5K, AR-15 (A1 style) w/203, and CAR-15 (under the AR):

As it happened, he did not reach for the guns when Bureau agents moved in with overwhelming force, catching him red-handed at a dead drop. Apart from the arsenal in his trunk, he was unarmed.

The accuracy of the tradecraft Hanssen uses to pass intelligence information, and that the Bureau uses to surveil him and build their case against him, is quite good, even though it is generally a background to the human story.

The bottom line

Breach is a powerful character study of a character who remains a disturbing enigma, almost 20 years after his exposure. It was a tough movie to make, especially to make while staying true to the source material — the History v Hollywood link below shows the departures made for the sake of drama, which were many but, mostly, small. But it also does something few movies so, shows the price that many people in the intel and CI world pay for their service.

At one point, Eric O’Neill asks his supervisor, played by Laura Linney, “Is it worth it? Being an agent?” and Linney makes a long, introspective, pause before answering, “Ask me when it’s over.”

There’s nothing in the film that says he asked her, or if so, what she said. But it’s a matter of record that the real Eric O’Neill ceased his pursuit of his dream of a Special Agent job, and resigned from the FBI… in his own way, he was a casualty of Hanssen’s treachery, also.

For more information

These sites relate to this particular film.

  • Amazon.com DVD page (version we reviewed):

https://www.amazon.com/Breach-Widescreen-Chris-Cooper/dp/B000OYAT3U/

Alternative, streaming version (seems overpriced):

https://www.amazon.com/Breach-Chris-Cooper/dp/B000RVP7YQ/

Alternative, 4-spy-movies-for-$5 (w/o the DVD extras, and maybe with worse compression):

https://www.amazon.com/Movie-Marathon-Conspiracy-Collection-Circuit/dp/B01CQOVHCW/

  • IMDB page:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0401997/

  • IMFDB page:

http://www.imfdb.org/wiki/Breach

  • Rotten Tomatoes review page:

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/breach/

  • Infogalactic  page:

https://infogalactic.com/info/Breach_(film)

  • History v. Hollywood page:

(It’s not on HvH but the same thing at a partner site):

http://www.chasingthefrog.com/reelfaces/breach.php

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Tides

You could say she went out with a splash. But this is one more incident of a painful and tragic accidental death in a jurisdiction that has promised its voting votaries Life Everlasting if only they cast out the demon within, to wit, the firearm. In other words, in Oregon, where heavy expenditure of Bloomberg Bucks has taught the public to restrict firearms, to banish crime and eliminate accidents.

There are still a few crimes and accidents getting through, despite all that.

Aurora Genai Sheffel, 14, was taking photos with friends on a log at a beach in Bandon, Oregon, when the tide receded and pulled the heavy timber out from underneath them. The log rolled on top of the teen, pinning her underwater, according to Oregon Live.

Given the typical mediot joy with which they report fatal accidents and homicides, they should probably turn in the name Oregon Live and go with something that suits their content better.

Paramedics responded to the scene around 4 p.m. and rushed Sheffel to the hospital, where she died from her injuries.

Her two friends jumped from the log and were able to escape unharmed.

Sheffel’s stepfather, David Wederquist, said that girls had been enjoying their spring break before the fatal accident.

via Teen cheerleader dies taking selfies in freak beach accident | New York Post.

No force of Man is equal to the forces of nature, and oblivious phone-gazing is not a wise way to engage with the Great Outdoors. Mother Nature has a wicked way of amusing Herself.

Special Forces Losses in Southeast Asia Three Weeks: 13 Mar-2 Apr, 1957-75

Here’s another installment of our list of SF casualties, on the way to assisting the USA to the Silver Medal in the Southeast Asian War Games. We haven’t done this in a while so there are three weeks at once to start catching up.

The next couple of paragraphs, before the tables, are the boilerplate that goes with this series of posts.

The list was a life’s work for retired Special Forces Command Sergeant Major Reginald Manning. Reg was beloved for his sharp mind and sense of humor; among other tours he survived one at what was probably the most-bombarded SF A-Camp in the Republic of Vietnam, Katum. (“Ka-BOOM” to its inmates).

There is a key to some of the mysterious abbreviations and codes, after the list.

May God have mercy on their souls, and long may America honor their sacrifices and hold their names high in memory.

After the lists you will find a key to the status codes for the Causes of Death or Missing in Action, and also a decoder for some of the common abbreviations.

In addition, we have some individual comments, that are inserted before the weeks to which they apply.

For the week of 12-19 Mar, no SF soldier was lost on 15 or 19 Mar. Note particularly the loss of Captain William Craig due to a dropped Swedish K. (SF term for the Carl Gustav M45B submachine gun, a favorite for “stylin’ and profilin'” for the crowd, but, like all open-bolt submachine guns, hazardous).

Year

Mo.

Day

Rank

First

Last

Unit

Code

Nation, Location, Circumstances

1966

03

13

E-6 SSG

James E.

Hughes

05B4S

KIA

SVN; A-302, Mike Force, Phuoc Long Prov., YT132368, 8km north of A-312, Xom Cat, Opn Silver City

1966

03

13

O-3 CPT

Edward D.

Pierce

9301

KIA, fixed wing shotdown

SVN; B-31, 519MI, near Xuan Loc; shot down in an L-19

1968

03

13

E-5 SGT

J. Athan

Theodore

11F4S

KIA

SVN; A-238, Buon Blech, Pleiku Prov.

1969

03

13

E-8 MSG

Willis F.

House

11F5S

KIA

SVN; B-55, An Giang Prov., on Hill 92 at Nui Coto, NCOIC of the flamethrower platoon

1969

03

14

O-2 1LT

James L.

Ripanti

31542

KIA

Laos; CCC, RT New Hampshire, in Juliet 9, SSW of Leghorn Radio Relay Site

1966

03

16

E-7 SFC

William H.

Hubbard

71B4S

DNH, accidental homicide

SVN; B-31, Xuan Loc, shot by friendlies while reentering the perimeter

1967

03

16

E-8 MSG

Kenneth R.

Chadwick

11F5S

KIA, DOW

SVN; Advisors, MACV Team 77 at Trung Hoa Ranger Tng Ctr, was w/ SF in Laos at Thakhet in ’61-’62

1969

03

16

O-2 1LT

Francis E.

Sievers, Jr.

31542

KIA

SVN; 2 MSFC, A-201, at A-244, Ben Het, Kontum Prov.

1969

03

16

E-8 MSG

Robert G.

Daniel

11F5S

KIA, DOW, WIA 03/03/1969, DSC

SVN; 2 MSFC, B-20, Kontum Prov., at A-244, Ben Het, YB871242 1 km S of Ben Het

1969

03

16

O-4 MAJ

Marvin L.

Foster

unk

DNH, BNR, recovered ’00; ID’d ’05

SVN; Command Liaison Det, YC936965, aboard U-21A 66-18007, crashed during approach to Hue-Phu Bai

1966

03

17

O-3 CPT

William H.

Craig, Jr.

9007

DNH, accidental self destruction

SVN; CCN, FOB1, Kham Duc, Swedish K fired when dropped

1969

03

17

E-6 SSG

Benedict M.

Davan

11F4C

KIA, DSC

SVN; 5 MSFC, A-504, 521 MSF Co, at Nui Coto, Chau Doc Prov.

1970

03

17

O-3 CPT

James M.

Gribbin

31542

KIA, DOW

SVN; 2 MSFC, A-204, near A-244, Ben Het, Kontum Prov.

1971

03

17

O-5 LTC

Bryan J.

Sutton

31542

DNH, helicopter crash

SVN; w/ 101st, Quang Tri Prov., w/ SF in Laos in ’61 & w/ A1/232 in ’63; on OH-58 #68-16884

1971

03

17

O-4 MAJ

Ronald O.

Scharnberg

31542

DNH, helicopter crash

SVN; w/ 101st, Quang Tri Prov., was first Cdr of B-40 in 1967 as a CPT, on OH-58 #68-16884

1969

03

18

E-7 SFC

Margarito

Fernandez, Jr.

11F4S

KIA, DOW

Cam; CCS, w/ RT??, XT441912, during BDA 11km due East of A-322, Katum; w/ B. Murphy

1969

03

18

E-5 SP5

Barry D.

Murphy

12B4S

KIA, BNR

Cam; CCS, w/ RT??, XT441912, during BDA 11km due East of A-322, Katum; w/ M. Fernandez

In the week of 20-26 Mar, somebody died on every date… and along with the usual combat losses, there’s two aircraft shootdowns, one taking the lives of a whole recon team (RT Pennsylvania). Destroyed RTs were usually reconstituted with new personnel.

Year

Mo.

Day

Rank

First

Last

Unit

Code

Nation, Location, Circumstances

1968

03

20

O-1 2LT

Franklin E.

Speight

31542

KIA

SVN; w/ C Co, 503rd/173rd, Kontum Prov.; mult frag wounds

1969

03

20

E-7 SFC

Ricardo G.

Davis

91B4S

MIA-PFD

Laos; CCN, RT Copperhead, YC409110, 59k west of A-105, Kham Duc

1966

03

21

E-4 SP4

John F.

Scull, Jr.

unk

KIA

SVN; 5 SFG, Signal Co., at A-233, Buon Ea Yang, Darlac Prov.

1967

03

21

E-7 SFC

Charles E.

Hosking, Jr.

11B4S

KIA MOH

SVN; A-302, Mike Force, Phuoc Long Prov., on BLACKJACK 32

1967

03

22

E-7 SFC

Allen H.

Archer

11F4S

KIA

SVN; B-52, “RT 2”, BS779188, Binh Dinh Prov.

1968

03

22

E-7 SFC

Estevan

Torres

11F4S

KIA, DOW

SVN; B-50, FOB2, Binh Dinh Prov.

1968

03

22

E-7 SFC

Linwood D.

Martin

05B4S

KIA, DSC

SVN; B-50, ST Delaware, FOB2, Binh Dinh Prov.

1968

03

22

E-4 SP4

John C.

Wells

11B4S

DNH

SVN; HHC, FOB3, Binh Dinh Prov., got run over

1969

03

22

E-7 SFC

Richard F.

Salazar

05B4S

KIA

SVN; A-333, Chi Linh, Binh Long Prov.

1963

03

23

O-3 CPT

Lavester L.

Williams

31542

DNH, DWM, drowned

SVN; A5/5, An Long, Kien Phong Prov., WS409854; hit on head by passing VN boat while SCUBAing

1964

03

23

E-7 SFC

Thomas L.

Lewis

11F4S

DNH, accidental self destruction

SVN; A1/334B, Bu Prang (old), Quang Duc Prov., YU520545

1967

03

23

E-8 MSG

Paul A.

Conroy, Jr.

11F5S

DNH, accidental self destruction

SVN; CCN, FOB1, RT Maine, at Kham Duc, WP grenade accident during training

1965

03

24

O-3 CPT

David J. W.

Widder

32162

KIA

SVN; B1/410, at A-106, Ba To, shot on board Caribou during approach to A-106, Ba To

1967

03

24

E-7 SFC

Roger C.

Hallberg

11B4S

KIA, DWM

SVN; A-302, Mike Force, Phuoc Long Prov., YU100305, 3km NE of A-341, Bu Dop

1967

03

24

O-4 MAJ

Jack Thomas

Stewart

31542

MIA-PFD, DSC

SVN; A-302, Mike Force, Phuoc Long Prov., YU100305, 3km NE of A-341, Bu Dop

1968

03

24

O-2 1LT

Michael A.

Merkel

17860

KIA, DOW

SVN; 7th PsyOps Gp, attached to MACV Tm 21, Pleiku Prov.

1969

03

24

E-7 SFC

William M.

Bryant

11F4S

KIA MOH

SVN; 3 MSFC, B-36, A-362, Long Khanh Prov., Opn Centurian V at Rang Rang

1969

03

24

E-5 SGT

John M.

Greene

05B4S

KIA, DOW

SVN; 5 MSFC, A-503, 512 MSF Co, at Nui Coto, Chau Doc Prov.

1970

03

24

O-2 1LT

Jerry L.

Pool

31542

MIA-PFD (remains ID’ed 06/2001)

Cam; CCC, RT Pennslyvania, YB484003 38k SSW of Leghorn, Ratanakiri Prov., on UH-1H #68-15262

1970

03

24

E-7 SFC

John A.

Boronski

unk

KIA, BNR (remains ID’ed 06/2001)

Cam; CCC, RT Pennsylvania, YB484003 38k SSW of Leghorn, Ratanakiri Prov., on UH-1H #68-15262

1970

03

24

E-6 SSG

Gary A.

Harned

05B4S

MIA-PFD (remains ID’ed 06/2001)

Cam; CCC, RT Pennsylvania, YB484003 38k SSW of Leghorn, Ratanakiri Prov., on UH-1H #68-15262

1967

03

25

O-3 CPT

Richard E.

Legate

31542

KIA

Laos; CCC, FOB2, Nung Company Commander

1967

03

25

E-5 SGT

Albert C.

Files, Jr.

91B4S

KIA, fixed wing shotdown

SVN; A-243, Plateau Gi, Kontum Prov., aboard O-1E #56-2509, shot down during takeoff from A-243

1968

03

25

E-6 SSG

Balfour O.

Lytton, Jr.

05B4S

KIA, DOW, DSC

SVN; 2 MSFC, B-20, Darlac Prov., near Ban Me Thout, vic BR248245 on Opn BATH

1969

03

25

E-7 SFC

Joseph C.

Haga

12B4C

KIA

SVN; 3 MSFC, B-36, A-361, Long Khanh Prov., at Rang Rang on Opn CENTURIAN V

1967

03

26

E-5 SP5

Raymond B.

Guarino

12B2S

KIA, DWM

SVN; A-235, Nhon Co, Quang Duc Prov., w/ SFC G.D. Hoskins

1967

03

26

E-7 SFC

Gomer D.

Hoskins, Jr.

11B4S

KIA, DWM

SVN; A-235, Nhon Co, Quang Duc Prov., w/ SP5 Guarino

1969

03

26

O-2 1LT

Robert E.

Sheridan

31542

KIA

Laos; CCC, Hatchet Force, Co B; small arms fire

For the week of 3/27-4/2, no SF soldier was lost on 29 or 31 March, or 1 April. In addition, a SOG veteran has informed the community that “the remains of Alan Boyer, line 6, were returned to CONUS and were formally buried at Arlington 6/12/16, with his sister Judi and several SOA/SFA brethren, LTG John Mulholland and many SF men from 5th SFG in attendance.” While Boyer’s teammate George Brown was recovered in 2002, the remains of their other teammate on RT Asp, Charles Huston, have not yet been recovered and/or identified.

Year

Mo.

Day

Rank

First

Last

Unit

Code

Nation, Location, Circumstances

1966

03

27

E-7 SFC

Alden B.

Willey

11C4S

KIA

SVN; A-222, Dong Tre, Phu Yen Prov.

1968

03

27

E-7 SFC

Johnny C.

Calhoun

05B4S

KIA, DWM, DSC

Laos; CCN, FOB3, YC422918, 5k South of Ta Bat

1968

03

27

O-3 CPT

Mac W.

Speaks

31542

KIA

SVN; A-102, Tien Phuoc, Quang Tin Prov.

1968

03

28

E-8 MSG

George R.

Brown

11F5S

MIA-PFD (Recovered 02/2000)

Laos; CCN, FOB4, RT Asp, XD434574 40k WNW of Khe Sanh, w/ Boyer & Huston

1968

03

28

E-6 SSG

Charles G.

Huston

05B4S

MIA-PFD

Laos; CCN, FOB4, RT Asp, XD434574 40k WNW of Khe Sanh, w/ G. R. Brown & Boyer

1968

03

28

E-6 SSG

Alan L.

Boyer

05B4S

MIA-PFD

(Recovered 03/2016)

Laos; CCN, FOB4, RT Asp, XD434574 40k WNW of Khe Sanh, w/ G. R. Brown & Huston

1968

03

30

E-5 SGT

John F.

Link

12B4S

KIA, DOW, WIA 29 March, DSC

SVN; B-52, 91st Ranger Bn Advisor, vic YD554037 18k NE of A Luoi on Opn Samurai IV

1967

04

2

E-5 SGT

William P.

Martin

91B4S

KIA

SVN; A-241, Polei Kleng, Kontum Prov.

1968

04

2

E-5 SP5

Ingo J. R.

Wiskow

12B4S

KIA

SVN; B-36, A-362, Rapid Fire VIII, Phuoc Long Prov., YU322138, 14km ENE of Song Be

1970

04

2

E-7 SFC

Donald G.

Armstrong

11F4S

KIA

Laos; CCC, FORD DRUM during a low-level photo mission; aircraft managed to return to base


SVN SF KIA Status Codes:

BNR – Body Not Recovered. (Known to be dead, but his body was left behind).
DOW – Died of Wounds. (At some time subsequent to the wounding, days/weeks/months).
DNH – Died Non-Hostile. (Accident, disease. There’s a couple suicides among them).
DWM – Died While Missing. (Usually implies body recovered at a different time during the war).
KIA – Killed In Action.
MIA – Missing In Action.
PFD – Presumptive Finding of Death. (This was an administrative close-out of all remaining MIAs during the Carter Administration).

Common Abbreviations

A-XXX (digits). SF A-team and its associated A-camp and area.
AATTV – Australian Army Training Team Vietnam. Their soldiers integrated with SF in VN.
BSM, SS, DSC, MOH: Awards (Bronze Star, Silver Star, Distinguished Service Cross, Medal of Honor).
CCC, CCN, CCS. Command and Control (Center, North and South). Covernames for the three command and support elements of the Special Operations Group cross-border war.
MGF – Mobile Guerrilla Force, indigenous personnel led directly by US.
MSFC – Mobile Strike Force Command, indigenous personnel led directly by US. Aka Mike Force.

We’ll cheerfully answer most other questions to the best of our ability in the comments. Note that (1) it’s Reg’s list, and we can’t ask him any more, and (2) it was Reg’s war, not ours, and all our information about SF in the Vietnam war is second hand from old leaders and teammates, or completely out of secondary sources.

Parker Otto Ackley Hated his Christian Name

That’s why he went by P.O. all his life. Anybody claiming to be his friend and talking about, “Parker and I…” immediately made an ass of himself to Ackley’s real friends, who were many, and influential in the small world of American firearms.

This is just one of the fascinating details we’ve learned from P.O. Ackley: America’s Gunsmith by Fred Zeglin.

In a time when college graduates and even high school graduates were rare, Ackley was a magna cum laude graduate of Syracuse University (in New York, his native state). His degree was in Agriculture, and he was a member of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.

Why did he become a gunsmith? “During the Depression, there was nothing else to do anyway.” His college studies had made him a remarkably good potato farmer, but his potatoes found no buyers.

In 1936, he bought the Roseburg, Oregon shop of Ross King, who had in turn bought the business from the widow of his former employer in Los Angeles, Ludwig Wundhammer, arguably the first great American sporterizer of military rifles. King moved back to LA and kept gunsmithing for some years.

Ackley bought the shop sight unseen, sold the family farm, and drove to Roseburg to meet King — whose work he respected greatly — and see his new shop. He paid King $1,000 down and $1,000 over time, on a handshake. But he didn’t know barrel making, so he accepted the offer of a friend to teach him. Leaving the family in Roseburg, he spent most of 1936-37 in Cincinnati learning the trade from Fritz, last name unknown, an employee of the friend, Ben Hawkins.

Ackley built much of his own tooling. He could afford only one gun-drill, so his early barrels were all bored .22 and reamed to final size with reamers he made himself. His own rifling machine was one of the earliest button-rifling mechanisms — he claimed to have co-invented the process, although he never filed a patent on it — and an entire chapter of the book is Ackley’s own detailed technical description of this tool. Ackley wrote it for a book that was never published, and the rifling-tool chapter may be the only surviving fragment.

In that chapter, as in many other places in the book, Ackley’s wit shines through.

“P.O. said that Elmer Keith was the biggest bullshit artist in the United States, but if he said he hit something with a .44 Magnum at 1000 yards, you better believe it, ’cause he could shoot.”

“The best way to get an answer to the problem is to ask someone who has never made a barrel. They can always tell you.”

Ackley’s foundation of the school of gunsmithing at the Trinidad State Junior College in Colorado was a surprising story. Ackley left the Ogden, Utah arsenal during the war — some say, after a falling out with co-worker Elmer Keith, the story of which Zeglin was not able to establish, and unconfirmed stories about which Zeglin was unwilling to publish. He ultimately wound up in Trinidad, and, after the war, was buried in a mountain of correspondence from GIs seeking gunsmithing training under their GI Bill benefits. The college, meanwhile, was getting similar letters — thousands of them.

The gunsmithing school was a success from the start, and early students remember an unusual instructional technique: Ackley would disassemble a gun and reassemble it where students could not see it, talking them through the process. Then, in the lab, they’d have to do it themselves, forcing them to learn by doing, not monkey-see-monkey-do.

Lee Womack, one of his former students, wrote:

In spite of his 16-hour days, he was always available…. He gave freely of any information he might have. He used to say that anybody in the gun business who thought he had a trade secret was just kidding himself.

This year will be the 70th anniversary of the program, a living memorial to an interesting American craftsman.

We’ll close with a few more Ackley quotes. On bullpup actions:

My opinion of the Bull-pup idea in general would not be very complimentary, and like the man once said, “If you can’t say anything good about it, then don’t say anything at all.” Therefore, I am silent as HELL on this subject.

On relative and absolute strengths of rifle actions, something which he experimented on extensively:

[A]ny action can be blown up if you try hard enough.

On the strength of the Italian Carcano, proven in his blow-up tests:

In spite of the fact that the locking lugs looked as though you could knock them off with a tack hammer, we were unable to damage any one of the four bolts appreciably. When the actions finally let go the receiver ring flew off, but this didn’t come until we had reached loads whitch had previously blown up P-17 Enfields. I wish to point out. however, that none of this should be used to conclude that the rifle could ever be made into a desirable hunting arm because that is a fairly good definition of the word impossibility.

As you might imagine, we’re loving the book.