Category Archives: Feats of Arms

What’s Cooler than a Suppressed FN SAW M249S? Well, how the same gun plus Jerry Miculek? Yep, we’re talking about Louisiana’s fastest-shootin’ son, king-hell competition and exhibition shooter Jerry Miculek, yielding a suppressed semi SAW, popping silhouettes at a few meters.

As God is our witness, if we had to face three bad guys that close with only a SAW, when we got finished distributing the 216 virgins, we’d then weld a bayonet lug on the gun.

For next time, you know?

If you can’t see it here you can probably pick up the movie on YouTube.

We’ve wanted one of these SAWs since FN announced it, and this video does not make us want it any less. It looks like they’re shipping now — at least, to reviewers.x

This entry was posted in Consumer Alert!, Crew-Served, Feats of Arms, Rifles and Carbines on by Hognose.

Ed Byers, SEAL, MOH: “I’m not a hero.”

He'll be cleaned up pretty good when the President meets him.

He’ll be cleaned up pretty good when the President meets him, but this is what he looked like — except for some classified details that have been blurred out — over there.

This is a man you should know, but he says someone else is someone you should know.

[Senior Chief Ed] Byers, 36, learned in December that he would receive the nation’s highest honor for military valor. Yet, he insists he’s not a hero.

The heroes are his fellow SEALs, especially the ones killed in the line of duty, Byers said. That includes his good friend Petty Officer 1st Class Nicolas Checque, who was mortally wounded serving as the point man on that rescue mission in December 2012. The 28-year-old Checque was the first man through the door during the rescue of Joseph and was shot just after sprinting into the building where the doctor was being held.

“Nic embodied exactly what it is to be an American hero,” Byers said in the video. “He will forever be remembered in the pages of history for the sacrifices that he made.”

via Navy SEAL, to receive Medal of Honor Monday, tells his story – Navy – Stripes.

This is the kind of quiet professionalism that most Navy SEALs and other special operators uphold every day. You’ll probably never hear a peep from Ed after today’s ceremony, until he retires, and maybe not even then.

Ah, yeah. Today’s ceremony? The President is going to gong him, with the big one.

He has a reason to be lookin' tacticool. CQB rig: Mk12, suppressor (Knight's?) EOTech, magnifier, IR/visible laser/illuminator, PMag.

He has a reason to be lookin’ tacticool. CQB rig: Mk12, suppressor (Knight’s?) EOTech, magnifier, IR/visible laser/illuminator, PMag.

In a world where it seems that every SEAL has his own publicist and literary agent, and where there have been nasty fallings-out among members of the SEAL world, the momentary uncloaking of Edward C. Byers Jr, Special Operations Senior Chief, is a timely reminder that for every SEAL you have heard of, there are thousands you have not, all of whom are men you would respect, if circumstances permitted you to know them.

In Ed’s commitment to return to just “being a SEAL,” we’re reminded of the late Jon Cavaiani, who insisted he could serve as command sergeant major of a clandestine element, even though his Medal of Honor rendered him higher-profile than the unit liked. (Jon won his argument with the then-CO and served and no one heard a peep out of him or the unit the whole time. Mission first, always).

Do Read The Whole Thing™ and also, read the sidebar on Byers’s opinions of the recent SEAL stylin’-n-profilin’ phenomenon (an opinion we have heard expressed, forcefully, by his fellow professional frogmen). He’s not a fan of tell-all frog books:

I’ve been in the military almost 18 years. I’ve lived a very quiet life. I’m not exactly sure what their motives are and what they’re trying to accomplish by writing those. I’ve never read their books. I have no plans in the future to write a book or do a movie or anything like that. It’s not what I believe in.

We are currently facing one of the greatest threats to our nation that we’ve ever seen. Anything that you could write about or talk about that could help our enemies when we do combat operations — that could potentially get any of our service members injured or killed — I just don’t think is the right call.

Preach it, cousin.

Also, even if you are not the sort of person who watches embedded videos, do watch the interview of Byers at that first link. It’s perfectly edited, with the interviewer taken out of the frame and off the tape, and just comes across as a stream of commentary from the monumentally modest SEAL.

tridentInteresting fact: of the three Naval personnel to receive the Medal of Honor since 9/11, all have been SEALS… and the other two were slain earning their medal. The Navy has a page for each of the recipients at the link (including one for Byers). And every SEAL you never heard of, like Nic Cheque, puts his life on the line the same way — and sometimes, like Cheque, loses it.

RIP, Nic, warrior and great American. And all hail Ed, who fought at his side and tried to treat his wounds.

As a nation, we are blessed with these men, are we not? Now, let’s leave the man alone to get back to his job.

This entry was posted in Feats of Arms, Unconventional Warfare on by Hognose.

What Good is One Pistol Against Terrorists?

We often hear questions like these: “What could one man do against an organized small arms attack like the ones in Paris or Bombay? What good is a pistol against an assailant armed with the superior firepower of a modern rifle?”

These are reasonable questions, and are often put reasonably. (Others use similar questions, with a different tone, to sneer at armed self-defense as ineffective).

To which we say: yes, one armed person can stop an organized small arms attack — given a little luck. Most active shooter incidents end, in fact, when an armed person or person confronts the shooter(s), either shooting him or inducing suicide. That person is often, but not always, a cop.

Teacher Syed Husein went toe-to-toe with terrorists -- and died. But he saved lives.

Teacher Syed Husein went toe-to-toe with terrorists — and died. But he saved lives.

And even if they kill you, your last great act of defiance can give others the chance to escape and live. Think about that as you meet the late chemistry instructor Syed Hamid Husain, of Bacha Khan University in a suburb of Peshawar.

A chemistry lecturer known as ‘The Protector’ died saving his students by firing back at Taliban militants during a deadly attack on their university that left 30 dead and dozens injured today.

Gunmen stormed the Bacha Khan University in Pakistan in an assault that echoed a horrifying Taliban massacre on a nearby army-run school and previous attacks against girls’ education….

As militants stalked the campus, executing targets one by one, assistant chemistry professor Syed Hamid Husain, 32, ordered his pupils to stay inside as he confronted the attackers.

The father-of-two opened fire, giving them time to flee before he was cut down by gunfire as male and female students ran for their lives.

via Taliban gunmen storm Pakistan’s Bacha Khan University and open fire on students | Daily Mail Online.

Would you sell your life as hard as Husain did? In his last act of nobility, he allowed many to escape certain death, at the cost of his own life.

He seems to have been a fun-loving guy, who enjoyed joking around with his students.

Mohammad Shazeb, a 24-year-old computer science student, said Husain was fond of gardening and used to joke with the students that they should learn gardening for when they are unemployed.

‘He had a 9mm pistol and used to tell us stories about his hunting trips,’ Shazeb said.

Husain also never missed a game of cricket with the students, he said, adding: ‘When someone would go to bowl to him, he would joke: ‘Remember kiddo, I have a pistol”.

Husain certainly knew that the odds were against him when he and his 9mm took on an entire team with many weapons. But he moved to the sound of the gunfire, taking that risk, buying priceless time for his defenseless students.

He died… but they lived.

By the heathen gods that made ye, ye’re a better man than I am, Syed Husain.

So, there’s a little reality check on  self defense by handgun against multiple long-gun-equipped assailants. You’re going to have a bad day… but the lives you save could be your own loved ones.

When you think about whether pistol-armed self-defense can work against a terrorist attack, remember that the alternative isn’t some imaginary perfectly-effective weapon. The alternative is no self-defense at all — sheep to the slaughter.

This entry was posted in Feats of Arms, Foreign and Enemy Weapons, Pistols and Revolvers, Weapons Education, Weapons Usage and Employment on by Hognose.

Look Ma, No Hands!

Thanks to Jerry Miculek and commenter John Distai, we’ve just been introduced — netwise — to Hunter Cayll.

When I was a kid learning to shoot, a much better shooter than I was a kid named John. He had a flipper, instead of a hand, on one side but it didn’t hold him back at all. In fact, he was the best shooter of all of us. (I wonder what happened to him? He was a great guy, but we were from different towns and lost touch). But Hunter, here, has a stump — he calls it a “nub” — on his right arm, and a sort of vestigial hand with a thumb — another “nub” — on his left.

He fires pistol with his left nub, and rifle with the left one, and he shoots better than most of us.

Think your physical limitations hold you back? You might not want to whine to Hunter about that.

This entry was posted in Feats of Arms, Weapons Education, Weapons Website of the Week on by Hognose.

Jerry Shot First

Every once in a while we use a Jerry Miculek video here because they’re so damn entertaining. This one, in which Jerry too piles on to the Star Wars movie publicity blitz bandwagon, is no exception:

George Lucas famously wimped out on Han Solo blasting Greedo, but do you think Jerry would?

If there was an award for best product packaging in the firearms industry, Jerry Miculek would win, and we say that not just in humble respect, but in awe. The only showmanship we’ve ever seen that was a fraction as good was former SOT chief pistol instructor, the late Paul Poole. We don’t believe anyone ever recorded Paul’s ever-changing “routine” — there are not even many stills, as cameras and recorders were officially verboten at Mott Lake Compound — but he’d have given Jerry a run for the money, and been one hell of a YouTube personality.

He had the most imitated inimitable voice and laugh in SF. “Don’t dry fire in a fireright! Bwa-haw-haw!”

“Hognose, you’ve improved on the .45 but you still suck like a jeep-washee girl! Here, this is what you need.” (Pulls out M79 from behind his back). “An area fire weapon for you approximate region of the target mofos!  Bwaw-haw-haw!”

RIP, Paul Poole, Son Tay Raider, Chief Pistol Instructor, and all around Good Mo Fo. Valhalla’s probably out of beer by now, but they’re all laughing their asses off.

This entry was posted in Feats of Arms, SF History and Lore, Weapons Education on by Hognose.

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: The Selous Scouts Home Page

Selous Scouts cap badgeWhile this website does not appear to have been updated since 2007, in other words, in eight years, it still contains a great deal of useful information.

Its owner, Troy A. Lettieri, is an Army Special Forces soldier who not only shares the usual SF fascination with Rhodesian COIN, but also has made an avocation of man-tracking, bringing him closer, perhaps, to the long-disbanded unit than he would be otherwise.

Welcome to the SELOUS SCOUTS, once the most feared counter-insurgency force on the African continent.

During the course of the war the Selous Scouts were officially credited with either directly or indirectly being responsible for 68% of all terrorist killed, while losing less than 40 scouts in the process.

With this site I tried to obtain as much information on the Scouts to give the reader hopefully clear idea of who and what the Scouts were and what they were fighting for in and around the former country of Rhodesia.

In putting this site together there is a lot of general information on many facets of this counter-insurgency conflict, so it truly becomes a site of not just the Selous Scouts but also a Rhodesian interest site.

This site should be helpful for some, due to the fact in some African countries information on the Selous Scouts and the Rhodesian/Zimbabwe War of Independence (Chimurenga War, 1966-1980) was or is BANNED!

This site is still in the working and as I find and obtain more information on the scouts, I will continually update the site as needed.


It’s a pretty good source of general information on the Scouts as well as photographs and stories, most of it pulled from period media but some of it sent in by veterans of the Scouts or other units.

This entry was posted in Feats of Arms, The Past is Another Country, Unconventional Warfare on by Hognose.

There’s Accurate, and there’s the One Mile Club

Steel silhouette used for the 1 mile club shoots. Barrel of the rifle visible right. The holes are from short range (300-800 yard -- that's short?) hits with the .300 UM and the one-mile load.

Steel silhouette used for the 1 Mile Club shoots. Barrel of the rifle visible right. The holes are from short range (300-800 yard — that’s short?) hits with the .300 UM and the one-mile load.

Like many an obsession, it had a casual start.

It all started with an off hand comment.

We saw what you did there.

A friend and I had been shooting to 1,000 yards and a little beyond for years and while talking to a 3rd friend one day and telling him about the D&L sports ITRC and a recent article in The Accurate Rifle magazine about it, I mentioned a section at the end about participants of the match having a choice to “join the One Mile Club”.

The best I can recall, the idea was the shooter got as many rounds as he wanted at the target 1 mile away but, after having made the hit, had to zero back down and make a 100 yard  shot.  The person got only one chance at the 100 yard target after scoring the 1 mile hit or else they would not be counted as one of the OMC according to whatever rules  they had decided on locally.   This had stirred up some talk among the us local long range shooters and got the gears turning.

And that’s how Shawn Thompson and his friends got started on making a one mile shot with a mass-produced  commercial rifle and optics. (They’s not complete fools. They handloaded the ammo).

With the gears turning, as he put it, Shawn and his friends planned to build and/or modify rifles for a one-mile man-sized target. In the end, the mod that was most necessary was a scope base with mils enough to correct for bullet drop. The guy that planned to build a custom rifle just for the one-mile friendly competition, and went so far as to buy a new Model 70 long action, in the end, didn’t bother.

To make the one-mile hit, everything has to go right, but Shawn and the gang proved that it can be done. (As others have done before them, like the guys at the match he was reading about). Shawn didn’t like the idea of building a chassis-hosted, ultra-heavy-barrel, near-crew-served “race gun” for this one task.

My friend continued to cling to the idea of building a gun just for the shot, but this had very little appeal to me. Then as now, I only wanted to make the hit with something a man could carry by himself and [that] was portable and practical. …

The idea was to use something standard. No wildcats and no full custom rifles. That was to be our starting attempt. To work with something factory made and if it was not adequate to the task we would move on from there.

As the friends were booting around the idea, “a windfall came into the gun store” in the form of a Remington 700 in .300 Ultra Mag with a 28″ heavy fluted stainless barrel. It came with an H-S Precision stock. (We’re not H-S P fans. Yes, it’s a good basic stock, well proven on production sniper rifles, but the company takes pride in endorsement by indicted-but-beat-the-rap FBI button man Lon Horiuchi. Mauser, conversely, has the good decency not to mention the morally equivalent Einsatzgruppen when listing its famous users).

Steel silhouette used for the

It’s all COTS stuff. Quality stuff, but still COTS.

A Nightforce rail (40 MOA) and Badger Ordnance rings, a Leupold VX-III 8-32 scope, a little trigger work, and the mile master was coming together. For convenience’s sake, a bipod; for accuracy’s sake, a level. (The displacement caused by a little bit of cant isn’t little any more after flying for a mile).

By the summer of 2005, they were ready to try for the mile marker. With careful load development, they did indeed produce a load (using a Berger VLD bullet and a powder load they’re keeping confidential) that got them on target on their first day of shooting at the 1 mile target (they had tested the load at shorter ranges). They hadn’t expected success so soon, but the rifle, load, and optic all performed just right, and the environment was perfect — no wind, no mirage, they could spot the shots from the firing line.  The shooters began to realize that they could do it on this day, with this set of tools, if they did their parts.

As soon as the ballistic software data from the chart was dialed in and the shots started to fall around the target, and we overcame our surprise, we knew we were going to do it.

We … started to make the attempt in earnest. My friend who I originally discussed the project with was first to make the hit after I coached him onto it. Next was the owner of the rifle and the gun store. I went next and will never forget making the hit on my third shot.

The target was placed in the middle of a huge powdery dirt area and a shooter could easily see the misses. The time of flight allowed recovery from recoil and muzzle blast enough to watch through the optic. I will never forget firing, my friend excitedly saying “hit” and as I was about to ask “you sure” I heard the distant, very faint “ding”.

The particular steel gong I chose for the target was used for a variety of reason, one being it range very loudly though we doubted we would actually hear it. On that day of perfect conditions, we indeed could. We all got one hit on the target before running out of ammo. Between 3 of us we used up 50 rounds of the hand loaded ammo but got only 1 hit each.

That’s pretty remarkable, hits on a man-sized target at one mile’s distance. We’ve never done that. The funny thing is, this remarkable achievement deserves everyone’s respect, and yet Shawn is just now writing it up, ten years later. It was the shot that started him on the long-range shooting that first brought to wide attention.

Before you criticize the few hits from 50 shots, bear in mind that at that range this load required a holdover of between 260-292 clicks (closer to 292, as a mile is 1760 yards).

The 1 mile project propelled into other projects like a 1,233 yard hit on the same target with a stock surplus K31 with GP11 ammo using a special scope base …. And a few other special shots were made over the years. One was the original iron sighted 1,000 yard shot you may have read about here.

In my opinion it stands as an excellent example of my pet subject, that a rifleman with standard equipment can do amazing things with skill and practice. The shots were taken from prone, using a variety of sand bags and bipods. Nothing extraordinary, really. An entire market and training industry has arisen since, …dead set to convince you that a standard factory made rifle can not do this type of thing.

I always recommend new shooters start at the quality factory rifle level since it will be a while before you will be able to shoot better than the rifle anyway.

Do go Read The Whole Thing™. You might think that we’ve excerpted the guts out of it, but there’s plenty more there, including Shawn’s recommendations on where not to save money if you choose to take up extreme long-range shooting, many more pictures of the gun including its laminated-on dope sheet, and the names of the four members of the Pike County One Mile Club.

This entry was posted in Feats of Arms, Rifles and Carbines, Weapons Education, Weapons Usage and Employment on by Hognose.

Correction /Update on the French Train Attack

As is usually the case, the initial media reports were incomplete and incorrect. Today, we have more details on the incident. Rather than a counterattack by US Marines, it was a self-organized “pack, not a herd” of young men that disarmed and disabled the attacker, a known Islamic fundamentalist named Ayoub el-Qahzzani, 26.  (Sounds close enough to Ala-kazam! to us).

three train heroes

L-R: Anthony Sadler, Aleck Skarlatos, and Chris Norman show off medals they received from Mayor of Arras, France, Frederic Leturque. Note bruise on Sadler’s nose and blood on Norman’s shirt. Spencer Stone was in hospital.

  • The four men were three young friends: Spencer Stone, an Air Force airman on leave; Alek Skarlatos, a National Guard soldier on vacation; and non-vet Tony Sadler; plus a middle-aged British man Chris Norman, who lives in France and is identified as an “IT Consultant.”
  • They disarmed ala-Kazam! and beat the snot out of him; that part of previous reports is correct.
  • He was yelling at them, “Give me back my gun! Give me back my gun!” But as Sadler put it, “We just carried on beating him up.” Good call, kid.
  • Ala-Kazam! was a member of a former terrorist cell that was rolled up before it could attack in Brussels. He was on the radar of Belgian, French and Spanish counterterrorist police.
  • Ala-Kazam! was prepared with a cover story. His cover story is that:
    1. No, he’s not an Islamist or terrorist…
    2. He was just planning a robbery!
    3. Gun? What gun? Oh, that gun. He found it under a bush in a park in Brusells.
Spencer Stone, 22, was injured in the fight, as were two passengers. This is his USAF basic picture.

Spencer Stone, 22, was injured in the fight, as were two passengers. This is his USAF basic picture. He recognized the sound of an AK being loaded, and charged the gunman when he came out of the restroom.

The cover story is amateurish, but it will be believed by those who want to believe. Already French officialdom is trying to minimize any terrorist or Islamist motive,  and certain elements of the press are going with the “how do you know it’s Islamic,” or the good old “root causes” search. In 5-4-3-2-1 expect editorials about the importance of avoiding “anti-islamic backlash,” and expect these heroes’ faces to be crowded off TV by the terrorist apologists of CAIR.

As more details emerge, they get more remarkable. Anthony Sadler’s dad, also named Tony Sadler, a soft-spoken guy who seems to just radiate good will and decency, remarked that he expected his son to learn something on his trip and then he goes…

… and seems to become France’s national hero — I’m told he might even meet the President of France. Still wrapping my head around that.

French President Hollande would probably be honored to meet these guys, actually. Any leader can always make time for good news and praiseworthy countrymen, or in this case, tourists.

Skarlatos's pre-deployment picture. He, Stone and Sadler were friends sightseeing Europe after his Afghan tour.

Skarlatos’s pre-deployment picture. He, Stone and Sadler were friends sightseeing Europe after his Afghan tour. He shouted, “Spencer, GO!” and followed his friend against the Arab terrorist.

Skarlatos, whose first name is variously spelled Alec, Alek, and Aleck in news reports, is confirmed to be a member of the Oregon Army National Guard’s 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team and an Afghanistan veteran. Oregon Guard spokesman Major Stephen Bomar said:

It’s fantastic that no matter who it was, someone stepped up to stop such a horrific event. We’re absolutely proud that it happened to be someone from the Oregon Army National Guard

Frankly, this is the best possible outcome. None of the victims will die; the terrorist has failed. Moreover, despite being armed with an AK and a basic load of ammunition, and having possibly received training in Syria, he was beaten up by an international group of civilians and off-duty troops including a part-time soldier, an Air Force junior enlisted guy, and two pure civilians, one of them old enough to be his father, from a profession (IT) noted as a refuge of nerds and the non-physical.

It was, in fact, fully in the spirit of the heroes of United 93, but with a much better outcome, and it illustrates one of the weaknesses of ISIL’s and al-Qaeda’s current epidemic-of-lone-wolves strategy: as Kipling wrote, “the strength of the wolf is the pack,” and they’re finding out that when they show up without the pack, they misclassified their targets. Not sheep at all, but able to spontaneously organize a counter-wolfpack.

Finally, Ala-Kazam! is lucky he’s just in jail, not in Hell. On a video shot by another passenger, the Americans are heard fully in charge of the situation:

US voice 1: Dude, I tried to shoot him.

US voice 2 (amused): He did!

Apparently, Ala-Kazam!’s gun had an ala-ka-jam. He may have had a handgun, also.

US voice 1: You’re also missing the handgun.

Euro voice (maybe Chris Norman?): The handgun is missing.

US Voice 2: Can we just look under chairs, and shit?

At that point, the audio on the video becomes a multilingual discussion of the search for the missing pistol.


  • El País (Spain; Spanish language): El autor del atentado contra el tren Ámsterdam- París vivió en Algeciras. (The perpetrator of the attack on the Amsterdam-Paris train lived in Algeciras). It also identifies his weapons as an AK with nine magazines and a 9mm “Lugger” with one magazine. Oh, here’s an English translation where they spell Luger right. Pity, a Luger wasted on a bum like this. The stories contain some details on ala-Kazam!’s pre-beatdown life; for all his extreme Islam, he’d done time for dope dealing.

That’s it for now or we’ll never go live with the post!

PS: it would have been nice if the gal in the platform shoes had been one of the beaters, but apparently she’s one of the French cops. In the French media, the police spokesman telling this story of failed jihad with evident relish was by appearance and name a Frenchman of Arab heritage (as was one of the victims in the small arms attack).

This entry was posted in Feats of Arms, Unconventional Warfare, Weapons Usage and Employment on by Hognose.

Medal For Sale… Unfortunately

Harkess RackThe headline and subheds of this Daily Mail story pretty much say it all. A Brit career soldier is in the awkward financial position where his only real asset is the medal rack he earned in his years of service.

He’s not even guaranteed the money; he’s putting the medals up for auction, and that’s what the auctioneer estimates. (I hope the auctioneer lowballed the estimate, as is common at gun auctions. Which reminds us we need to write about a couple of those coming up, but we digress). Anyway, back to the story of the temporarily down-and-out Color Sergeant, Retired, James Harkess, of the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment:

Hero of Iraq war who helped wipe out 50 enemy in one of the conflict’s bloodiest battles to sell bravery medal for £120,000

Colour Sgt James Harkess was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross

Sgt Harkess was awarded the medal for three acts of inspiring bravery

But he is to sell cross after his declining health stopped him from working

The 46-year-old helped wipe out 50 enemy soldiers during battle in Iraq

He put himself at risk on three separate occasions to save his soldiers

via Hero of Iraq war James Harkess who helped wipe out 50 enemy to sell bravery medal | Daily Mail Online.

The mech infantry regiment — their Warrior vehicle is analogous to our Bradley IFV — is called “The Tigers,” and was formed by the amalgamation of the Queen’s Regiment and the Royal Hampshires in 1992. It is the most senior infantry regiment in the British Army, with battle honors that date to the 17th Century. (That’s older than any active US Army regiment, but the 181st, 182nd and 104th Infantry Regiments of the Massachusetts Army National Guard date to 1632, 1636, and 1639, vice the PWRR’s Johnny-come-lately 1661 — although the 104th recently fell to budget cuts. We blame Cromwell for costing the cousins their precedence, here. Or maybe George III, because these were British units before Lexington).

James HarkessIn one [battle], he and his Warrior armoured vehicle crew were lucky to survive a six-hour battle on June 11, 2006, fighting off 200 Mahdi Army soldiers in Al Amarah. The four-man team was attacked with rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns, sniper fire and blast bombs.

Sergeant Harkess, who spent much of the battle exposed from the turret, said: ‘It was constant. There was no let-up, and I was firing all through. My crew took down 50 enemy in total easily. They were coming at us in waves – you could see bodies stacked up where we’d been killing them.

Anybody who performed retroactive selective termination on 50 Mahdi Army geeks is a true pillar of civilization in our book.

The Conspicuous Gallantry Cross is a relatively new medal, created in 1993 as a more egalitarian valor award to replace three valor awards that were junior to the Victoria Cross, the Distunguished Service Order (for Gallantry), the Distinguished Conduct Medal and the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal. Each award entitles a British hero to postnominal letters, so formal address for Harkess is Color Sergeant Harkesss, CGC, Retired.

The DSO was strictly for officers; a non-gallantry version for exceptional service still exists.  The DCM and CGM were strictly for enlisted men; in historic British precedence, all medals earned as enlisted men were subordinate to those awarded as officers, which created some imbalanced racks as historic class stratification in the military yielded to rank mobility, as early as World War II (in the RAF; the Army and the Senior Service were not as quick to bestow commissions on exceptional “enlisted swine”).

As with any change to military tradition, there are service members who are against it. It will be interesting to see if, over time, the old British system of de jure class stratification in awards is replaced by the classless system its designers intended, or something more like the American system where the same act earns a lieutenant colonel a Bronze Star, a lieutenant an Army Commendation Medal, and a corporal a, “Not bad, Jack!”

It would be nice if someone who had an extra couple hundred grand lying around could buy the medals and give them back, or donate them to the regimental museum (a 400-year-old regiment ought to have one, oughtn’t it?) Maybe some clever English kid can start a Kickstarter for that purpose. We’d throw in.

This entry was posted in Feats of Arms, Unconventional Warfare on by Hognose.

The Dangerous Lives of Postal Inspectors

Postal Inspector

Current postal inspector’s badge.

The other day, a commenter to a thread that mentioned a US Postal Service .357 for sale, asked:

Why on Earth would a Postal Inspector be issued a firearm? Am I missing something obvious?

Postal Inspectors are sworn law officers, who make a lot of arrests, we replied, but we couldn’t remember when we’d heard of one having a shootout. Well, Google found us one.

Postal Man In Hot Gun Fight

Chicago Inspector Shoots One Money Order Bandit and Is Wounded Himself

Chicago, April 23. (AP) Evan Jackson, an ace among Chicago postal inspectors, and four men he sought for an $18,000 post office robbery fought with guns in a room at the Hawthorne Arms Hotel early today.

Jackson was shot three times, and may die. Clyde Markin, one of the robbery suspects, was slightly wounded and was captured. A woman companion of the four men, Marion Courtney, leaped from a first floor window and was found, painfully hurt, on the alley pavement below. The other three escaped.

Jackson would have carried a similar badge, and credentials like these (from 1937)

Jackson would have carried a similar badge, and credentials like these (another inspector’s, from 1937)

Jackson had lured the suspects to the hotel with the help of what we’d now call a CI, and lurked in an adjacent room with a stenographer taking notes on the suspects’ conversation, when the suspects began to suspect something and started to walk out on the CI, Morris Stein. Jackson burst into the room and ordered the crooks to give themselves up. They didn’t.

Instead, they drew guns and opened fire.

Jackson, with a reputation in the Postal Service for daring, tossed a pistol to Stein and told him to defend himself. He then opened fire, dropping Mackin before three bullets brought him down.

Later, at the hospital, Jackson dictated a statement to his secretary, to be used in the event of his death. The names of the men who escaped were given by Mackin as Harris Travis, Eddie Courtney, and William Doody.

Stein told police that $1100 worth of money orders stolen in the robbery of a postal sub-station April 4 had been cashed in the account of his wife at a department store. Jackson… enlisted Stein’s aid in trapping the robbers.

Yes, there were Postal Inspector hero movies -- this one with Alan Ladd, and a 1936 "Postal Inspector" with... Bela Lugosi!

Yes, there were Postal Inspector hero movies — this one with Alan Ladd from circa 1957, and a 1936 “Postal Inspector” with… Bela Lugosi!

And some things never change. For one, the best guide to future behavior…

Federal authorities said the three who got away are all former convicts.

You don’t say.

We wonder what became of Johnson — and if he appreciated what a keeper he had in that secretary, who’d follow him through a stakeout, a gunfight, and even to the hospital to take a deathbed statement. We do know he recovered from his wounds, or he’d be listed on the Postal Inspectors’ Memorial Page. There’s quite a long list for an organization focused on non-violent, mostly white-collar crime. (Among their more famous busts are televangelist Jim Bakker and class-action lawyers William Lerach and Melvyn Weiss).

You should go to the original source, not only for the bits we left out, but because the same page also has a story that begins, “A mysterious electrical device, capable of developing a “death ray” of 3,000,000 volts of dynamic energy, its whereabouts clothed in deepest secrecy, is housed somewhere in San Francisco, it was revealed today.”

But that’s WeaponsMan for you. Come for the Postal Inspector derring-do, and we’ll throw in a steampunk death ray!

This entry was posted in Feats of Arms, Lord Love a Duck, The Past is Another Country on by Hognose.