The .45 ACP M1911A1 pistol has served the U.S. armed forces for more than a century in every war zone and hotspot on the planet — and thanks to this year’s federal defense budget, it will serve civilians for the foreseeable future.
The $700 billion 2018 National Defense Authorization Act that Congress sent to President Donald Trump’s desk on Nov. 16 included an amendment that required the Secretary of the Army to transfer a cache of small arms and ammo “no longer actively issued for military service” to the government-sponsored Civilian Marksmanship Program, including the M1911 and M1911A1 pistols, the M–1 Garand, and .22 rimfire rifles.
The 1911 semiautomatic pistol, invented by legendary firearms inventor John Moses Browning, proved extremely reliable in the hands of American Expeditionary Forces during the opening years of World War I. According to the National Interest, Army Sergeant Alvin C. York neutralized six German soldiers who charged him with fixed bayonets using nothing but his 1911, earning the Congressional Medal of Honor for his valor and heroism.
Although the 1911A1 variant that emerged in the U.S. after WWI was phased out of regular military service in favor of the Beretta 92 pistol (aka the M9) starting in 1985, its power persists. The Marine Corps ordered 12,000 M45A1 Close Quarter Battle Pistols, a 1911-modeled firearm from Colt Defense in 2014; the pistols went to MARSOC Raiders, with a handful going to special operations-capable Marine Expeditionary Units.
Photo via DoD
Army Sgt. Joshua Gerving (front), along with his team, Army Staff Sgt. Kelly Mathisen, Army Staff Sgt. Joel Oneil and Army Staff Sgt. Randy Carlson, fires an M1911, single-action, semi-automatic .45 handgun, during the Commander's Cup shooting competition held at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, May 30, 2011.
The last transfer of 1911s to the CMP was in 2015, when President Barack Obama signed a defense bill that included a measure to transfer 10,000 pistols for sale to the program; lawmakers har stated that May that the DoD spends $2 a year to store each of its 100,000 surplus 1911s. With 10,000 already transferred and 8,300 additional pistols “sold or disposed of,” per Guns.com, that means there are at least 80,000 1911s ready and waiting for a nasty civilian to give them a good home.
The San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Arlington. (U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Chris Roys)
The Navy is investigating reports that a female Marine discovered a hidden camera in one of the women's restrooms aboard the USS Arlington, an amphibious transport dock that's currently on at port in Greece, NBC News originally reported.
It's been 30 years since an explosion inside the number two gun turret on the USS Iowa killed 47 American sailors, but for Mike Carr, it still feels like yesterday.
"I knew all 47 guys inside that turret because as part of the ship's policy we had rotated between all three turrets," Carr, who served as a gunner's mate in the Iowa's aft 16-inch turret, told Task & Purpose. "We all knew each other rather intimately."
On April 19, 1989, the day of the blast, the ship was preparing for live-fire training at Vieques, Puerto Rico Naval Training Range.
Carr was wearing headphones that allowed him to hear what the crews in the other turrets were saying.
"At 10 minutes to 10 a.m., somebody came over the phones and said, 'We're having a problem, Turret 2, center gun,'" Carr recalled. "Then approximately two minutes later, I recognized Senior Chief [Reginald] Ziegler, who was the chief in charge of Turret 2, yell into the phones: 'Fire, fire, fire! Fire in center gun, turret 2. Trying to contain it.'"
Then came the blast, which was so strong that it ripped the headphones right off Carr's head.
As a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and a newly minted second lieutenant, I felt well-prepared to tackle the challenges facing a junior field artillery officer in the U.S. Army. When the time came to leave the Army, however, I was much less prepared to make the transition into the yet-unknown civilian sector.
One of the primary issues facing veterans after we transition is that we lack the same sense of purpose and mission that we had with our military careers. Today, more than ever, our service members volunteer to put themselves in harm's way. They are defending our freedom across the globe and should be recognized as our country's true heroes. It's critical that employers educate veterans and provide viable options so we can make informed decisions about the rest of our lives.
The two-star general in charge of the roughly 15,000-strong 2nd Marine Division has turned micromanagement into an art form with a new policy letter ordering his Marines and sailors to cut their hair, shave their faces, and adhere to a daily schedule that he has prescribed.
In his "Policy Letter 5-19," Maj. Gen. David Furness lamented that he has noticed "a significant decline in the basic discipline" of troops he's come in contact with in the division area, which has led him to "FIX IT immediately," instead of relying on the thousands of commissioned and non-commissioned officers below him to carry out his orders.