The Upgraded 'Ma Deuce' Is Making Its Way To The Marine Corps, Finally

Gear

There’s good news for Marines who are fans of the iconic M2 .50-caliber machine gun, aka “Ma Deuce.” The Corps is getting an upgraded version of the beast, called the M2A1. Finally! It’s only been six years since the Army started getting the M2A1 back in 2011 — a fact that will surprise no one in the Marine Corps.


The updated M2A1 boasts “a quick-change barrel, fixed headspace and timing, and a flash hider that reduces the weapon’s signature by 95 percent at night,” according to the Department of Defense.

Headspace is the distance between a chambered cartridge’s base and the machine-gun bolt, and timing is — well, pretty much what it sounds like in a belt-fed burp-gun. Previous incarnations of the M2 required the operator to manually adjust headspace and timing to avoid jams.

Related: Army May Unveil A New And Improved Lightweight .50-Cal By Summer »

But now, “Marines will have better mobility because of the fixed headspace and timing—it’s much quicker to move the gun from position to position and put it back into action,” Maj. Harry Thompson of Marine Corps Systems Command said in the DoD news release. “Because they’re less exposed, Marines will have better survivability too.”

Fixed headspace and timing make a quick change of barrels possible, too, which is great, because loosening an ungodly hellstorm of .50 BMG upon your enemies tends to melt barrels with a quickness.

The third major change, the flash hider, will help conceal a Marine’s position — and it means he no longer has to worry about blinding himself or his NVG-wearing buddies every time he opens up with the “Ma Deuce” at night.

Marine infantry units have already been equipped with the M2A1 in the service’s first phase, which concluded last month. The second phase, which distributes the new machine guns to other units, is underway now. In total, 3,600 M2A1s will make their way into Marines’ hands by the end of fiscal year 2018... which is probably around when the Army will get its even better set of new .50-cal upgrades.

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Joseph A. Prado
Paul Szoldra/Task & Purpose

NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO — The trial of Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher officially kicked off on Tuesday with the completion of jury selection, opening statements, and witness testimony indicating that drinking alcohol on the front lines of Mosul, Iraq in 2017 seemed to be a common occurrence for members of SEAL Team 7 Alpha Platoon.

Government prosecutors characterized Gallagher as a knife-wielding murderer who not only killed a wounded ISIS fighter but shot indiscriminately at innocent civilians, while the defense argued that those allegations were falsehoods spread by Gallagher's angry subordinates, with attorney Tim Parlatore telling the jury that "this trial is not about murder. It's about mutiny."

Read More Show Less

President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan will "not to go forward with his confirmation process."

Trump said that Army Secretary Mark Esper will now serve as acting defense secretary.

Read More Show Less

The day of the Army is upon us.

Secretary of the Army Mark Esper will be taking over as Acting Secretary of Defense, President Trump announced on Tuesday, as Patrick Shanahan withdrew his nomination.

The comes just a couple of months after Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley was officially nominated to take over as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

An defense official familiar with the matter confirmed to Task & Purpose that Army Undersecretary Ryan McCarthy will "more than likely" become Acting Army Secretary — his second time in that position.

Read More Show Less

As a Medal of Honor recipient, former Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia will also be eligible for retroactive monthly pension payments stretching back to 2004.

All Medal of Honor recipients receive a pension starting on the date they formally receive the Medal of Honor, which is currently $1,329.58 per month, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

But Medal of Honor recipients are also eligible for a retroactive payment for monthly stipends that technically took effect on the "date of heroism," said Gina Jackson, a spokeswoman for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Read More Show Less
(Reuters/Nick Oxford)

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A unit of UK infrastructure giant Balfour Beatty plc falsified housing maintenance records at a major U.S. military base to help it maximize fees earned from the Department of Defense, a Reuters investigation found.

At Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma, the company's U.S.-based unit used a second set of books and altered records to make it appear responsive to maintenance requests, Reuters found in a review of company and Air Force emails, internal memos and other documents, as well as interviews with former workers.

Read More Show Less