Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
You can now score the golden M16 once owned by a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs
Nothing says "I'm the boss here" like a gold-plated firearm. Deposed Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein knew it; Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi knew it; even legendary fictional assassin and one-time ruler of Khao Phing Kan island Francisco Scaramanga knew it.
Apparently that tradition extends to the U.S. armed forces as well — sort of.
A golden AR-15/XM16E1 assault rifle that belonged to the late Army Gen. Earle "Bus" Wheeler, who served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the height of the Vietnam War from 1964 to 1970, is currently up for grabs at Rock Island Auction Company through May 3rd.
(Rock Island Auction Company)
The was was presented in to Wheeler, who died in 1975, by Colt President Paul Benke when the former was serving Chief of Staff of the Army in 1964.
"Wheeler, who served as in infantry officer early in his career to include service in WWII, reportedly took a keen interest in the Colt, which was eventually selected to replace the Army's M14 — the latter a gun which had been developed by the Army's own Ordnance Department," Guns.com notes. "One sticking point for the service was the absence of a way to manually close the M16's bolt, a feature which became standard on the Colt 603 models after 1963."
(Rock Island Auction Company)
The rifle itself is actually the first prototype gun with a forward assist, dressed up with a gold finish and emblazoned with the unique serial number "COSUSA1." Unfortunately, it's nowhere near as flashy as other golden guns of foreign military leaders past, per Rock Island:
It exhibits all the very early Colt M16 characteristics along with a unique, high polish deep blue/black metal finish on all the metal components except for the complete bolt and bolt carrier assembly which are chrome plated and the upper and lower receiver and barrel that have been given a matte type Gold washed/plated finish. Even the plastic components exhibit a high luster, high polish type buffing/finish.
A similar golden presentation XM16E1 currently resides in the Springfield Armory Museum in Massachusetts. It bears the serial number 50,000 and is rumored to have been intended as a presentation to President Kennedy.
Even without the extra bling, the one-of-a-kind rifle is still extremely rare, rare enough to cost potential bidders somewhere between $150,000 and $275,000, according to the auction house. Better start saving now.
WATCH NEXT: The M4 Carbine In Slow Motion
SEOUL/HANOI (Reuters) - The United States on Thursday denied a South Korean news report that it was considering withdrawing up to 4,000 troops from South Korea if it does not pay more for maintaining a 28,500-strong U.S. contingent deterring North Korean aggression.
South Korea's Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported that the withdrawal of a U.S. brigade, typically 3,000 to 4,000 soldiers, had been discussed with the top brass of the U.S. military in South Korea, citing an unidentified diplomatic source in Washington.
The report came two days after the United States broke off defense cost talks after demanding that South Korea raise its annual contribution for maintaining the U.S. contingent to $5 billion, a South Korean official said, more than five times what it pays now, in rare discord in the alliance.
"There is absolutely no truth to the Chosun Ilbo report that the U.S. Department of Defense is currently considering removing any troops from the Korean Peninsula," Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement.
The Army has identified the two soldiers killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan on Wednesday as 33-year-old Chief Warrant Officer 2 David C. Knadle, and 25-year-old Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kirk T. Fuchigami Jr.
WASHINGTON — The number of known military installations with water sources contaminated by cancer-linked firefighting foam is likely to rise, Pentagon officials said Wednesday.
A 76- year-old former U.S. Coast Guard ship that was one of the first vessels to pass through the indomitable Northwest Passage and circumnavigate the entire North American continent, will be auctioned off on the steps of the U.S. District Courthouse in Mobile at Noon on Dec. 4.
It can see through smoke and in near total darkness, translate written foreign languages and pull up detailed maps, and can rapidly acquire and identify targets. It's the Army's new heads-up display of the future, and it's coming to an armory near you sooner than you think.