Skip to comments.Fort Snelling squad sticking to its guns
Posted on 12/23/2011 9:52:25 PM PST by ButThreeLeftsDo
After some 60,000 burials over the past three decades, the veterans on the Fort Snelling Memorial Rifle Squad have gotten used to their World War I vintage Springfield 03 bolt action rifles. Now the Army wants to replace them with a newer model. But it won't be without a fight.
"What the heck is the problem?" said Tom Mullon, a 74-year-old Vietnam War-era veteran and 12-year volunteer for the squad, which fires off three rifle volleys followed by taps at veterans' burials. "The whole squad is irked about it. We're doing a job for the Army, and we don't cost them a nickel."
On Wednesday, working through U.S. Rep. John Kline, a retired Marine colonel, the 128-member rifle squad won a reprieve of sorts. The Army is going to look into their complaints and reconsider its decision to switch to a smaller number of World War II vintage M1 Garands.
The Garand may represent newer technology, but it's a heavier rifle with a more complicated reload mechanism that could spell potential trouble for the memorial rifle members, many of whom are in their 70s, 80s and even 90s.
"A lot of people get their fingers caught in them," said Bob Nelson, a Vietnam vet who commands the all-volunteer squad.
(Excerpt) Read more at startribune.com ...
What in the HECK is the current government doing, going after this hallowed tradition?
‘Tis a fine thing that these men do. Give them what they need, they don’t have to change a thing.
Can you say “MICRO-MANAGE?”
I was in the USAF Honor Guard, we used 1903A3 for ceremonies, funerals, parades and drill team.
I’m no gun expert, but an M1 is a tricky proposition, and heavy to boot. The Springfield is perfect for drill and ceremonial purposes. If they have to have something newer why not an M-14? They seemed fairly simple compared to an M1.
I remember Navy boot camp in the eighties. We used ‘03 actions bedded in nylon stocks (non-functional to say the least) for drill work. Always thought I would get myself a real one, one of these days.
“I have cases from from my Father’s funeral fired by these volunteers”
As have I. They came out (there’s nothing requiring them to do so, other than their own respect for their brothers and sisters) on a cold and brutally windy early March day, and gave Dad a send-off of which he would have been proud.
May they get whatever they want to continue to provide this service above and beyond.
Let the boys keep their '03's.
(I'll take one or two of the Garands if they don't want them.)
God bless all on this thread, as well as all FReepers.
A Merry CHRISTmas to you all.
God Bless us...everyone.
In America it ASSUMED that top-down management is the best. This is an excellent example of why it is important to obtain “ground truth” BEFORE a military “suit” makes the typical “One Size Fits All” decision.
The function of the gun used is to give the final salute to our deceased warriors. “Going Modern” is about as disrespectful as one can get to these deceased men and women.
From an historical point of view, I would prefer that the Squad use the same weapons, including repairs, for as long as the squad is needed.
To the bone-headed officer or civilian who made this micro manager, one-size-fits-all decision, on behalf of myself, and any another other, VERY intelligent, ( you must be intelligent if you agree with ME ), Vet., I hereby award, with all rights and privileges, the Distinguished Susan B. Anthony Silver Dollar Award for 2011, in the Year of Our Lord.
Squad! Tin-Hut! Ready, - - - !!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Not AT the micromanager!
Give them M-16s, maybe with new semi-auto only receivers. That will fix the problem with the difficult reloads. They can even be modified for blanks only by replacing the flashhider, it’s what Hollywierd does. But I wouldn’t do that. I’d just let them cycle the action manually between volleys. That’s less complicated than working the bolt of a Springfield.
Most of the Vets that will be needing the services in the next few years will be Vietnam era troops who “grew up” on the AR platform anyway.
M-14s would be an option, if Billy Jeff hadn’t sent so many to Captain Crunch, and the rest weren’t needed in places like Afghanistan, where ranges may often be longer than optimum for the 5.56 rounds. Same ease as the AR platform, only with and even more convenient way to recycle the bolt for blank rounds. The M-1 would have the same issues with blank fire as the M-14 and ARs.
Holder wants to send the ‘03s to Mexico.
Let these men have their rifle of choice. They’ve earned it.
Plus, it leaves more Garands for sale to us at the CMP!
I had an M-1 issued to me in the 60’s, and I would rather have the Springfield for ceremonial work.
The Springfield is much easier to clean, and operate for their purposes.
Just remove the bolt and run a patch through it, as opposed to dissasembling the M-1.
I used to work with one of the squad members - it’s probably the only thing he takes seriously and close to his heart. Watch out Army!
I've met with these Gentlemen while doing arrangements for my fathers funeral 15 years ago. Never have I met a group singularly dedicated to ensuring that the Last Honors are given a full measure of respect. The 'youngster' was 62 years old, yet when marching they would make a crusty drill sergeant proud. They carefully picked up the shell casings and made sure my mother had them.
We Remember; sound up!
We Remember; sound up!
there are a couple of guys that still to this day won't let me pay for a drink at the VFW because i played for their father or brother or uncle etc
The ones we had were fully working ones but all we ever fired in them were blanks, at funerals. I’d love to own one today but it would probably cost an arm and a leg.
We had hundreds of them still “new” packed in cosmoline in our armory. When we broke a stock, which sometimes happened, it was the individuals job to get an unfinished stock from the armory and finish it.
My guess is that the M1903 is now “unsupported”...if something breaks (1903s are notorious for breaking firing pins) they don’t have the parts left in stock. With the sheer volume of M1 Garands made, and being used and supported into the 1970s, the Army should still have at least some ability to support the Garands.
That said, were it up to me, I’d say “let ‘em keep the ‘03s”.
Most of the stock of M1903s and A3s was sold off in the 1950s. Of what remained for drill and ceremony, I believe most were either crunched in the 90s (yes, tragically, it did happen) or sold through the CMP program in the late 90s/early 2000s. A large number of ex-MAP M1903s and A3s was repatriated from Greece around 1999/2000 and sold through the CMP (though most were well worn and need a lot of work).
Depending on condition, quality, model etc. M1903s and M1903A3s are still fairly plentiful, and not always expensive. Just do a lot of looking.
Too late, Woodrow Wilson already sent them to Villa, Carranza and Obregon already. The good news, they won against Huerta’s Mausers.
But I wouldn't put it past him.