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The early years. Written by a Marine Major I believe:

http://jdumong.net/delta/m-16Part1.htm

Rick
If you get a chance read the book "The Hill Fights", it is in print form along with a CD version that you can listen to while traveling in your car. I was at Khe Sanh during that that time and you will not believe how bad those rifles were. I was fortunate to be able to keep my 14 until my tour was up.
 

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Marine Boots carried......

the M14 well into the 1970's in Boot Camp. Then transitioned into the M16A1 during their stint at the Infantry Training Regiment before going onto their Primary Courses.

The NCO's that put us through ITR were highly professional and demanding on weapons maintenance. Any malfunction with rarely seen blanks was largely ignored, but when one happened with live ammo, you could bet there was an NCO looking over the Marines shoulder double checking the problem and observing the clearance of the malfunction.

My memory of those days is thinned through the years, but as a Fire Team leader, I can only remember 3 malfunctions in my team during those days. And I have never had a malfunction with live ammo in an M16. None at least with live ammo.

For those who never experienced it, ITR was the basic Infantry Training School for all Marines, regardless what field they would eventually go too. At the time it was 5 weeks long and was not unusual for the days to go 20 hours long. Rain or shine. Mud or dust. We were learing to move, shoot and communicate.

Dick Culver's name was whispered amongst the NCO's. He was known without being offically known to many in those days.

It was because of him and several others courage to fight the system, that things were able to improve within our weapons systems. Careers were often made or lost on whom you pissed off politically. How I ever survived 23 years service really amazes me at times.

Rumor has it, and I want to insure that everyone knows it is a RUMOR, that an Army Ordiance Colonel and Senior NCO were Court Marshalled for dummying up reports on the rifle in favor of fielding it the M16, when they were aware it had flaws. Once again, the system played in favor of political concerns, over the concerns of the people in the field. I've never confirmed this rumor nor in honesty researched it. Doubt any real information exists on it. But like I said, it is or was a rumor that was moving about back in the early 70's.

And just for grins here, having talked to several SEALs that either carried or had first hand experience with the Stoner 63 system in VietNam, they loved it for it's firepower and reliability. But they all agreed the safety sucked on it. They learned not to be in front of the individual carrying a 63, cause if that individual had to hit the deck in a hurry and banged the weapon on the ground, it was prone to firing with the safety engaged. Not a real treat for anyone forward of the muzzle.:eek:

OK.....enough of this nonsense.

Hope whomever read through this diatribe has a warm and safe New year.
 

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Mortis,

Thanks for an interesting and informative post. I cannot claim the distinction of being a military veteran, but I've been around the block a few times, and have been privileged to rub shoulders with many who have seen and done far more. I spent a couple of days earlier this week shooting and deer hunting with a 20-year old Marine Recon Lance Corporal home on leave for Christmas. He is just finishing up all his specialized training in preparation to deploy to Iraq with his unit in March.

I have never been as impressed or awed by anyone as much as this young, quiet Lance Corporal. If he is any indication, your Marine Corps (and our nation) is in fine hands.

A safe and happy new year to you as well. My thanks for you service, sir.
 
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