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This Retro Video Is The Perfect Tribute To Navy SEALs’ Vietnam-Era Weapon of Choice
The Stoner 63 machine gun is one of the most powerful U.S. military weapons platforms you may never have heard of. Developed by AR-15/M16 designer and small arms legend Eugene Stoner and Cadillac Gage in 1963, the Stoner 63 mainly saw combat in the hands of Navy SEALs during the Vietnam War. Only 4,000 of the 5.56mm modular weapons system were ever produced.
But at the height of its limited use, the muscular machine gun “added to our firepower like no other weapon could have,” according to retired SEAL Lt. Cmdr Michael J. Walsh, who appears in a newly surfaced mini-documentary The Stoner Machinegun: A Navy Seal Remembers. “Once you got used to it and you fell in love with the weapon, you never really carried anything else.”
The Stoner Machinegun, produced in the 1990s and posted by Arms of The 80s on Jan. 1 is a delightful 30-minute meditation on a powerful weapons system, as seen through the eyes of Walsh, a 26-year SEAL veteran described by Military.com as an "outspoken renegade and consummate survivalist" who was among the first U.S. troops to work their way up Vietnam’s Mekong Delta as part of the Mobile Riverine Force in 1967.
As one of the earliest modular weapons systems, the Stoner was designed to maximize firepower in a lightweight, compact platform. The multi-use receiver offered up six distinct weapons configurations, from a folding-stock carbine to a solenoid-operated fixed machine gun for mounting on a ground vehicle or aircraft. And although Stoner embraced 5.56mm NATO ammo over 7.62mm rounds due to weight considerations (a trade-off that the Department of Defense is grappling with today), the average 5.56 bullet fired from a 63A light machine gun variant could penetrate standard U.S. body armor (and 4.5 inches of pine boards) at 600 yards, according to its systems pamphlet published in Death in the Delta: Diary of a Navy SEAL.
Navy SEALs pose for a photo on a dock near Ben Tre in southwest Vietnam, 1970. The SEAL in the center of the group, Lt. Michael Collins, is carrying a Stoner 63A1 Mk 23 Mod 0 Commando with a short 15.7 in (398.8 mm) barrel. Lt. Collins was killed in action on March 4th, 1971.U.S. Navy/National Archives/Wikimedia Commons
The Stoner 63’s versatility made the platform an ideal pick for Naval Special Warfare missions, like Walsh’s trip up the Mekong Delta, during the opening years of the Vietnam War. According to Death in the Delta, SEAL Teams One and Two both evaluated the reliability and capabilities of the 63A during 1,345 combat missions between 1963 and 1974, concluding that the system was “significantly superior” to the M60 machine gun and recommending at least six Stoners per SEAL platoon. A SEAL Team One C.O. even stated that SEAL detachments equipped with the 63A actively developed firefight tactics around the weapon.
Although a handful of U.S. Marines used the platform during the 1983 invasion of Grenada, the Stoner 63 never saw broader adoption despite its popularity. After the Army issued the 63A LMG variant to several Green Beret units for evaluation in the 1970s, the branch determined that the unique platform was simply too complicated for battlefield maintenance — ironic, considering it’s was the Stoner 63’s unique recoil buffering system that, in conjunction with the multi-use receiver, made the platform so versatile in the first place.
While the Stoner 63 was eventually replaced by the sassy but fabulous M249 Squad Automatic Weapon and most of the machine guns destroyed, Stoner fever persists today. In August 2017, Knight Armament unveiled a Stoner X-LMG 5.56mm machine gun that, according to We Are The Mighty, completely bypasses the need for such a complicated buffering system, without extra recoil. Based on his testimony in The Stoner Machinegun, the longevity of the Stoner 63’s reputation would probably make Walsh smile today.
“If you had six Stoners and four M60s in a 14-man SEAL platoon, you’ve got company-sized firepower just with machine guns alone,” he explains in the doc. “That got you home.”
The U.S. Space Force has a name tape for uniforms now. Get excited people.
In a tweet from its official account, the Space Force said its uniform name tapes have "touched down in the Pentagon," sharing a photo of it on the chest of Gen. John W. Raymond, the newly-minted Chief of Space Operations for the new service branch nested in the Department of the Air Force.
PALM BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump gave a minute-to-minute account of the U.S. drone strikes that killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in remarks to a Republican fund-raising dinner on Friday night, according to audio obtained by CNN.
With his typical dramatic flourish, Trump recounted the scene as he monitored the strikes from the White House Situation Room when Soleimani was killed.
The U.S. Navy will name its fourth Ford-class aircraft carrier after Doris Miller, an iconic World War II sailor recognized for his heroism during the Pearl Harbor attack, according to reports in The Honolulu Star-Advertiser and U.S. Naval Institute News.
Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly is expected to announce the naming of CVN-81 during a ceremony on Monday in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, according to USNI. Two of Miller's nieces are expected to be there, according to the Star-Advertiser.
Two immigrants, a pastor and an Army sergeant have been convicted of conspiracy to commit marriage fraud as part of an illegal immigration scheme, according to federal prosecutors.
Rajesh Ramcharan, 45; Diann Ramcharan, 37; Sgt. Galima Murry, 31; and the Rev. Ken Harvell, 60, were found guilty Thursday after a nine-day jury trial, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney's office in Colorado.
The conspiracy involved obtaining immigration benefits for Rajesh Ramcharan, Diann Ramcharan, and one of their minor children, the release said. A married couple in 2007 came to the U.S. from Trinidad and Tobago on visitor visas. They overstayed the visas and settled in Colorado.
DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran said on Saturday it was sending to Ukraine the black boxes from a Ukrainian passenger plane that the Iranian military shot down this month, an accident that sparked unrest at home and added to pressure on Tehran from abroad.
Iran's Tasnim news agency also reported the authorities were prepared for experts from France, Canada and the United States to examine information from the data and voice recorders of the Ukraine International Airlines plane that came down on Jan. 8.
The plane disaster, in which all 176 aboard were killed, has added to international pressure on Iran as it grapples with a long running row with the United States over its nuclear program that briefly erupted into open conflict this month.