The other day a friend's Marine son came into work to be shown around after getting back from Iraq/Kuwait.
He was pretty clear on some things and in the short time I talked to him he said:
The troops are tired of hearing about their: supposed suicide rate and supposed morale problems; he says Marines are overall doing pretty well morale wise.
I asked him about the small arms they have and he said:
The 16s work well if you "don't drop them in the sand and if you keep the chamber clean."
He is a SAW gunner. The SAWs are "worn out" and the kids need new parts badly. He said the SAWs spare part situation is very poor as the old receivers and various parts wear out from use. The high rate of fire of the SAW in the sand complicates this problem. He said there isn't a big change from the poor pre-war spare parts situation on these critical weapons despite everything the politicians say.
His mom is pretty scared and just that short discussion got her upset a bit...he took it as a matter of course...
Another son of a friend at work got back a month ago and his sister told me that he said (she works directly for me and is a "gun girl":)
He carries a shotgun and the shotguns are a real confidence builder.
The vehicles are in many cases getting pretty cranky.
The 9mm Beretta pistols are not highly regarded and are often unreliable even if babied...
Overall it made me want to call Congress and tell them to get the troops the equipment and supplies they need. I now am also sending out stuff to the media whenever I see negative BS about the troops.
Thank God for the U.S. Marines!
isn't it amazing that the gov can spend billions of dollars on some ships but cant get the grunts some extra parts for their weapons?
and the whole thing about the tank crews not having M-16's??
Small arms aren't "sexy" enough to get politicians off their fat asses to do anything about.
Now, a tank, ship or fighter they'll fall all over themselves to promote with tons of pork even if it's worthless POS.
R&D is good and we always need to improve weapon systems but I think too many people in power lose sight of the fact that when TSHTF it’s the grunt on the ground with the rifle that holds the hard won ground.
When I talked to the young man he was your typical well groomed, very calm and mature off-duty Marine and he instinctively called me "Sir," his manner was very relaxed and competent.
I remember a few years ago when he was a teenager and his cousin (she worked for me)mentioned he was a "problem" to his mom...he's now well trained and obviously motivated and the politicians (both partys) aren't backing up him or the other kids.
The thought of someone's kid (maybe mine next year) being out there without a proper weapon while Ted Kennedy (Dem), and Harry Reid (Dem)and others spend hours blabbing about whether of not we should be in Iraq pisses me off extremely...The Reps aren't any better as they talk a lot but do little for the troops. I think they should all get down to work and get the troops the needed equipment.
I wish they'd get off their butts and get every single unit better ammunition, new optical sights, new M4s and new SAWs from the factory NOW and while they are at it get the troops some handgun magazines that don't dump their bullets out of the floorplates when fully loaded!
(or better yet, give the damn Berettas with new magazines to the Iraqi police and issue Combat Commanders and full size 1911s OR SIG P245s and SIG 220s to the US troops)
I carried an M9, in Iraq it worked. The Marines have what they need for most parts. The ammunition and weapons performed pretty against the "hajis." Yes the M249s are worn, but they still work.
I guess I overstated my point...and I honor your service.
Overall my point was that the troops are making do and their morale is great despite the challenges thrown at them by the politicians.
Yes, you are right every Marine or Army troop (my cousin is a captain in the Army and I get 2nd hand stuff about him too) I've talked to or heard about or from said the weapons worked...and they make the weapons do what they have to do.
But there are still stories about some Berettas that have worn magazines that dump rounds on the ground if you fully load them.
The troops do keep SAWs going when those same tired weapons should be at a depot instead of the back of a track.
Some of the older vehicles keep running when they should have had depot maintenance instead of field maintenance.
The contrast between the troops attitude and the relative inaction and seeming indifference of the Congress is what pissed me off not that the equipment isn't working but that the troops need more support and that more spares are always nice especially with older weapons being kept in service with parts swapping instead of being fully rebuilt or replaced.