Originally Posted by jaydub
Way back before the wheel was invented, I was part of a Marine detachment on board the USS America (CV-66). We guarded 4 nuclear weapon posts on the ship. Standard weapon was a 1911 that we HAD to carry unloaded. We had 5 rounds in the mag and none in the pipe. Didn't make sense then doesn't make sense now
let me explain why it makes sense with two examples. Most of our young seamen and most young marines had very little instruction time and/or range time with the 45 pistol.
Example one the youngster whose name, rate and ranking is lost in my old memory banks now. His sanity cart slipped off the track and he literally went nutso up forward starboard side. He grabbed the roving patrol's 45 and held him, the outboard sentry and a pair of mess cooks up against the bulkhead with the gun. We were moored outboard of another ship and the roving patrol saw what was happening so he informed out quarterdeck watch officer. Doubting the seriousness of the report the OOD sent the petty officer of the watch to check it out and report back to him. The young man was as unfamiliar with the gun as the rest of the people involved and he nervously chambered a round in his 45 as he went forward and again and again. End result is a trail of 5 live rounds on the deck behind him like a trail of bread crumbs. By the time he got there the party of captives grew to include the Messenger of the watch and the chaplain. Our hero with an empty gun joined the rest up against the bulkhead.
The chaplain suddenly pointed to the other ship which was gathering a small crowd of observers and said loudly "Look there", the guy looked then turned saw the chaplain stepping towards him tried to shoot but he hadn't chambered a round. He got cold cocked by the chaplain for his trouble, Corpsman got him in a straight jacket and sedated and he left the ship strapped to a gurney. The chaplain wasn't even a member of the ships crew, he was there meeting an old friend for breakfast.
Example two A young friend of mine, intelligent but a little shy on common sense assumed the ASROC watch. His post was below the flying bridge and since we were out to sea the Captain was on the bridge. Procedure is to take the magazine and count the 5 rounds, check the chamber of the 45 to insure it was empty, let the slide go forward, pull the trigger to lower the hammer, insert the magazine and holster the gun. If you insert the magazine before you release the slide and lower the hammer things get exciting. A hole in the flying bridge between our commanding officers very large feet is exciting. My little buddy was still there froze in position with the gun pointed in the air when they got to him and pried the gun out of his hand.
More training would have been desirable but it never happened unless you were assigned to a combat role or marksmanship team. Empty chamber while not full proof worked out once and did no good once. I don't want to think how many more accidents there would have been if all those young cowboys carried one in the chamber.
"When once a republic is corrupted, there is no possibility of remedying any of the growing evils but by removing the corruption and restoring its lost principles; every other correction is either useless or a new evil."~~- Thomas Jefferson
Roman Catholic, Life Member of American Legion, VFW, Wisconsin Libertarian party, Wi-FORCE, WGO, NRA, JPFO, GOA, SAFand CCRKBA