Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
The Marine Corps's M27 rifle is officially here to make your day — if you're lucky
A Marine Corps Systems Command spokesman told Marine Corps Times that the last of the service's 14,000 M27s have officially arrived in the Corps's inventory. But while the Corps's procurement contract with gunmaker Heckler & Koch provides for a maximum of 50,184 weapons, MARCORSYSCOM said that the service doesn't plan on purchasing more than its current arsenal.
Indeed, the platform is noticeably absent Corps's 2020 budget request, which details a $17 million need for procurement and fielding of the Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System (CSASS), M320A1 grenade launchers, the Modular Handgun System (MHS), M4 carbines, and various small-arms suppressor systems.
With a relatively scarce number of M27s in its arsenal, it's 0311s and platoon leaders who will get first crack at the new rifle, followed by drone and counter-drone specialists that Marine Commandant Gen. Robert Neller envisioned as critical additions to the Corps' newly-reformulated rifle squads.
U.S. Marine Pfc. Clayton Hill, an automatic rifleman with 5th Platoon, Charlie Company, Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team, Central Command (FASTCENT), fires the M27 infantry automatic rifle during a fire team assault course as a part of live-fire range operations. (U.S. Marine Corps/Sgt. Aaron S. Patterson)
First wielded by Marines in Afghanistan in 2011, the M27 quickly became a favorite among many infantrymen. With an effective firing range between 600 and 700 meters, the 5.56mm rifle significantly outranges the M4 carbine in precision fires and offers comparable suppressive fire capabilities to the M249 Squad Automatic Rifle with less ammo.
So what's the deal with the limited arsenal? Congress, probably: As Task & Purpose previously reported in April 2018, the Congress's fiscal 2019 defense budget withheld 20% of the $29.4 million that Neller previously requested for M27s until it could square how investing in the 5.56mm rifle fits in with the Army's pursuit of a 6.8mm rifle as its M4 carbine replacement in lieu of the M27.
"The Army and Marine Corps work closely together to achieve common solutions for the majority of small arms capabilities, to include ammunition and fire control," Marine Corps spokesman Richard Long told Task & Purpose at the time.
Lawmakers, however, are missing the fact that Army and Marine Corps "are divergent on their small arms programs because they are divergent on their doctrinal employment of the squad," as retired Chief Warrant Officer 5 Christian Wade, former gunner for the 2nd Infantry Division, told Task & Purpose at the time. "That's not a judgment on the U.S. Army. The Marine Corps has a different squad size with a different composition and different weapons."
It's worth noting that these difference matter within the Corps as well. Marine Corps Times notes that Marine Special Operations Command Raiders opted to keep their M4 carbines in lieu of an M27 upgrade, citing the flexibility provided by former's lower receiver and SOCOM-specific upper receiver for special operators who frequently swap out different components for different missions.
Still, Marines are likely amped to get their hands on the new rifle. About half have been fielded already, according to Marine Corps Times; the Corps plans to finally field them to every rifleman at the platoon level in the next two years.
WATCH NEXT: Gunner Fact Or Fiction: Semi Or Full Auto?
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs put on leave an Atlanta-based administrator and reassigned the region's chief medical officer and seven other staff members while it investigates the treatment of a veteran under its care.
Joel Marrable's daughter discovered more than 100 ant bites on her father when she visited him in early September.
The daughter, Laquna Ross, told Channel 2 Action News: "His room had ants, the ceiling, the walls, the beds. They were everywhere. The staff member says to me, 'When we walked in here, we thought Mr. Marrable was dead. We thought he wasn't even alive, because the ants were all over him.'"
SAN DIEGO, Calif. — A former U.S. Navy sailor was sentenced to 20 years in prison Monday for having sexual contact with a 14-year-old Oceanside girl in 2017, federal prosecutors in San Diego said in a statement.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Known for acting on impulse, President Donald Trump has adopted an uncharacteristically go-slow approach to whether to hold Iran responsible for attacks on Saudi oil facilities, showing little enthusiasm for confrontation as he seeks re-election next year.
After state-owned Saudi Aramco's plants were struck on Saturday, Trump didn't wait long to fire off a tweet that the United States was "locked and loaded" to respond, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran.
But four days later, Trump has no timetable for action. Instead, he wants to wait and see the results of investigations into what happened and is sending Pompeo to consult counterparts in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates this week.
That sound you're hearing is Army senior leaders exhaling a sigh of relief, because the Army has surpassed its recruiting goal for the year.
After failing to meet recruiting goals in 2018, the Army put the pedal to the metal and "did some soul searching," said Acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, to ensure that they'd meet their 2019 goal. It must have paid off — the service announced on Tuesday that more than 68,000 recruits have signed on as active-duty soldiers, and more soldiers have stuck around than they expected.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein transformed into the Cigarette Smoking Man from "The X-Files" on Tuesday when explaining why UFO enthusiasts should avoid storming the mythical Area 51 installation in Nevada.
"All joking aside, we're taking it very seriously," Goldfein told reporters during the Air Force Association's annual Air, Space, and Cyber Conference. "Our nation has secrets, and those secrets deserve to be protected. The people deserve to have our nation's secrets protected."