This morning’s Springfield post triggered a way overdue follow-up. Way back in January 2012, we wrote, apropos of Springfield rifles:
But one volunteer cemetery firing party, at Ft. Snelling, Minn., is holding out, grimly hanging on to their WWI-era bolt-actions, spurning an offer of WWII vintage M1 Garand rifles. The Army Times has the story.
It’s weird to see one of our posts with a two-digit number… but we’re not sick of the blog yet, just a bit buried in research. Anyway, we came across this old post and wondered what ever happened to the Fort Snelling vets, who wanted to keep their 50 loaner Springfields. (The Army, cleaning up inventories of obsolete weapons, wanted to pull them back and issue them 15 Garands instead. Why 15? Because a law from Congress restricts them to that number, now).
The fate of the Springfields was uncertain, had the Army repo’d them. The current Administration is on record that surplus rifles are a driver of urban crime, which is why they have banned reimportation of M1 rifles and carbines. (Yes, these relics are seldom if ever used in crime. You argue the point with Eric Holder, we give up). So they might have gone through CMP to auction, but they might have met the “Mexican speedwrench” so beloved of gun controllers.
The fate of the honor guard was clearer. With 50 Springfields, they can field 5 to 7 simultaneous firing parties and a few operational floats, a necessity in a cemetery that does 20 funerals a day. With 15 Garands, they’d have 2 parties, leaving 60% of the vets to go into the ground unsaluted.
The Army suggested using a tape recording or .mp3 file.
Fortunately for the vets of Fort Snelling, a local Congressman got involved and, with him leaning on the Army, they discovered that their “good enough for government work” welders didn’t need to practice on the 1903s after all.
We missed the Army’s decision, which was taken ‘way back in February, 2012, but in the face of determined Congressional resistance, they sounded retreat — at least for now.
This is one it feels good to see the Army lose.
One hopes it will not be 2+ years late, next time we update a story we ran. But better then than never, n’est-ce pas?
Kevin was a former Special Forces weapons man (MOS 18B, before the 18 series, 11B with Skill Qualification Indicator of S). His focus was on weapons: their history, effects and employment. He started WeaponsMan.com in 2011 and operated it until he passed away in 2017. His work is being preserved here at the request of his family.