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Posted: 5/3/2002 12:02:38 AM EDT
Posted on Thu, May. 02, 2002 [size=4]Soldiers removed after M-16 test failure[/size=4] [b]Eight Guardsmen are no longer on local bridge detail; some soldiers had complained they lacked the necessary training By Jessica Guynn and Thomas Peele CONTRA COSTA TIMES[/b] The California National Guard removed as many as eight out of approximately 50 troops from their posts guarding Bay Area bridges in the past week after the soldiers failed a basic weapons test, a National Guard officer and several soldiers told the Times. Two more soldiers who failed the test are still working in the command headquarters of the bridge mission, soldiers said. Soldiers who had not been qualified to handle an M-16 in the past year were dispatched to a firing range after some of them complained to the Times last month that they lacked the necessary training on their weapons to guard civilian areas. A National Guard spokeswoman said she could not respond to questions Wednesday about the dismissal of troops from the bridges or changes made to improve the Guard's readiness. "I will not have the details of those questions until (this) morning," Maj. Kim Oliver said. Maj. Gen. Paul Monroe, the California National Guard's commanding officer, had pledged to correct "deficiencies" after soldiers complained they lacked the necessary weapons and training. At the time, Monroe said the soldiers' allegations that they lacked the proper training were "unfounded." But, speaking on the condition of anonymity, a National Guard officer said the complaints prompted a review of weapons qualifications, among other things. Two soldiers involved in the command of the bridge mission were relieved of their duties, and commissioned officers have been called in to review operations, including soldiers' proficiency with the M-16, soldiers said. Those who didn't qualify at the firing range "came from units that are not out in the field much," one soldier said. "They were not familiar with their weapons." National Guard soldiers are required to qualify on an M-16 once a year. But one soldier no longer on the mission told the Times he hadn't qualified in several years. A National Guard officer speaking on the condition of anonymity said qualifying on the M-16 isn't required before being assigned to such a mission. But, he said, having soldiers guarding crowded civilian areas who are not well versed with their weapons "shows an incredible lack of judgment and places the public at risk."
Link Posted: 5/3/2002 12:03:21 AM EDT
A firearms expert agreed. "I can't imagine anybody would send someone out there who can't hit a target with a rifle, that's just common sense," said Clark Hodges, a firearms instructor and an expert in the M-16. Guard troops usually protect the disaster-prone state in the event of natural disasters or public disturbances such as the Los Angeles riots a decade ago this week. Typically, before deployment, soldiers undergo a readiness program that covers everything from physical fitness to weapons qualification, said a National Guard officer familiar with training exercises. But this time, soldiers skipped the program in Gov. Gray Davis' rush to activate the Guard in November following unsubstantiated threats to four California suspension bridges. Soldiers assigned to patrol the bridges were called up from a mishmash of military specialties, not from military police or infantry units rigorously trained in the use of their firearms and in guarding civilian areas. Monroe said those units were not available because they had been called up to federal duty. Citing "operational security," the National Guard has refused to disclose how many soldiers are assigned to guard the Bay and Golden Gate bridges. Some of these soldiers had raised concerns last month that they lacked basic equipment to maintain rifles that experts say require "scrupulous" cleaning, for months had vehicles that sporadically did not run, and were not adequately trained to patrol civilian areas with M-16s. The National Guard responded by supplying soldiers with kits to clean their M-16s, replacing aging trucks with newer Humvees and dispatching soldiers to the firing range to measure their proficiency with their rifles. The Guard also called in a commissioned officer to investigate the soldiers' complaints and make changes. Sgt. Maj. Harry Courtney, the highest-ranking noncommissioned officer, visited troops and apologized for "letting things get this bad," one soldier said. "Everything is taking a turn for the better," the soldier concluded. "We got first-aid kits out there (Wednesday). They make sure our vehicles have fuel so we can run them if we need them. They change our cell phone batteries for us." [url]www.bayarea.com/mld/cctimes/news/local/3180337.htm[/url] That's all we need. Guardsmen looking after our bridges (what a waste) who don't even qualify. Great.
Link Posted: 5/3/2002 2:45:49 AM EDT
At least with a rifle, it's harder for them to shoot themselves in the ass.
Link Posted: 5/3/2002 5:18:44 AM EDT
well, what did you expect. many people with any firearms sense and arguably any sense at all are leaving the state. and with a less than intelligent population, the state services are bound to suffer.
Link Posted: 5/3/2002 5:37:29 AM EDT
Why don't these guys get an AR-15 and practice if they know they might be deployed and aren't up to date on their qualifications? Oh, I know, because the benevolent free people's democratic republic of california heil davis doesn't trust it's subjects with these rifles. Perhaps in CA the national guard should be issued weapons the civilians can get and practice with. Some of the super squirters on the market today could really annoy someone if a platoon opened up all at once. [:)]
Link Posted: 5/3/2002 5:45:59 AM EDT
F'n pouges. BTW, this is CA so nobody should be surprised that those retards would call up any unit they could find, rather than call up one that was trained for the mission.
Link Posted: 5/3/2002 7:18:45 AM EDT
They don't have any rifle training? Well, I guess it's really a good thing that they don't get issued ammunition.
Link Posted: 5/3/2002 7:27:36 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/3/2002 7:29:02 AM EDT by FMJunkie]
You know, not to excuse the Guard command of their shortcomings but, I can't help but think that some responsibility falls on the soldiers themselves. I mean, you know that you are a part of this organization. You know that firearms proficiency is a requirement. You also know that you are not being properly trained. So take some personal responsibility for the job you volunteered and swore to do. Ok, your command structure is failing you. So, go to the range once in a while and practice on your own! Even practicing with a different type of rifle will at least give you the opportunity to get the 'basics of shooting' practice that is most important. When I was in the Guard, I fired my issue M16 and 1911 exactly one day each year. I knew that was crap and got my ass to the range on a regular basis with my own weapons.
Link Posted: 5/3/2002 7:34:36 AM EDT
Link Posted: 5/3/2002 7:46:58 AM EDT
Fascinating. Last week when I was traveling through different airports, I noticed something about the guardsmen at the metal detectors. Many of them carried M-16s, but the rifles had the 3-round burst deactivated. You could see that little metal shim that fits between the grip and the receiver that slides up inside and blocks the safety from flipping into full or 3-rnd mode (depending). I guess they don't trust those guys to have burst capability or know how to use it. Funny thing is, they put them there at all. I think they should be called home because A) They aren't up to the job and B) It's completely out of place in America to have ongoing martial law in the airports or anywhere else. What is this, France? Turkey? Colombia? The guys I saw looked bored and embarrassed to be there at all. Even they know it is all wrong.
Link Posted: 5/3/2002 8:15:09 AM EDT
California? [b]Again?[/b] Once again, I'm shocked. [shock]
Link Posted: 5/3/2002 8:41:46 AM EDT
These are probably the same types of guys who blame the .223 for being wimpy when they actually just can't hit anything.
Link Posted: 5/3/2002 9:17:22 AM EDT
This to me would see like a perfect opportunity to prove that the restrictive gun laws have prevented large numbers of people from becoming proficient with Militia type weapons and therefore are endangering the security of the state!
Link Posted: 5/3/2002 12:28:42 PM EDT
Could it be the these wimps 'failed' purposely to get out of doing their duty?
Link Posted: 5/3/2002 12:35:25 PM EDT
I draw your attention to... "But this time, soldiers skipped the program in [b]Gov. Gray Davis'[/b] rush to activate the Guard in November following unsubstantiated threats to four California suspension bridges." In defense of the guardsmen, at least they KNEW their skills were not up to par and said so. Less reputable people would just "go with the flow."
Link Posted: 5/3/2002 2:28:48 PM EDT
Up to a point, I’ll disagree with some of you guys. When the threat was first received, immediate action needed to be taken – period! Can you imagine a successful attack on these unguarded bridges because the National Guard was tied up trying to get their rifle qualifications current before protecting them? It would be like the Air Force refusing to scramble fighters on 9-11 because for some reason they weren’t quite ready. Sometimes you just do what you’ve got to do, even if you aren’t properly prepared. And sure, the National Guard should have been ready to begin with. Just like all of us should exercise daily, eat balanced meals, and get 8 hours of sleep. Sometimes it just doesn’t happen. You can’t yell out to someone attacking you that “hey, I wasn’t ready”. Rather, as the military says, you “adapt and overcome”. That being said, it is certainly inexcusable that the National Guard still hasn’t corrected this problem.
Link Posted: 5/3/2002 2:50:21 PM EDT
They probably aren't issued any bullets, so why do they need to qualify? [>:/]
Link Posted: 5/3/2002 4:16:09 PM EDT
Link Posted: 5/3/2002 4:21:26 PM EDT
Sounds like modern day hippy stuff to me IMHO,They had to go throught the Army's basic traning and using an M16 is BASIC. When I first read this post it sounds like the guardsmen are just making excuses for not wanting to guard the bridge.My .02!
Link Posted: 5/3/2002 11:18:36 PM EDT
Yup, they can be treated pretty bad. Not nearly as bad as the California Conservation Corps, who are really treated like slaves, but bad nonetheless. The worst part about the whole deal, as far as for the taxpayers, is the city of SF was putting them all up in $500 a night 5-star hotels downtown. If I were in the guard, my attitude would be what the hell; I'm the one away from home, right? But on the other hand, it's a little expensive!
Link Posted: 5/4/2002 7:15:04 AM EDT
NRA- created to help military personnel become proficient in the use of firearms. DCM- created to help citizens become proficient in the use of firearms. Today's government leaders- "Who needs to be proficient anyway?"
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