First, thank for your service. Fixing radios is essential and yes, mine worked fine for my medevac.
As for what I did about the M-16 while I was in, I wrote letters to my Congressman about our losses thanks to the M-16 in Vietnam, with of course, no useful response. I was commissioned a couple years afterward and led a platoon, a Headquarters Battery, and much later a battalion. We trained with those rifles, qualified with them, inspected them, and repaired or surveyed them when they broke. The M16A2 is decent enough at least in garrison and the heavier bullet works well but it didn’t do long distance as well in Iraq and Afghanistan. After retiring, I was picked to work for a Battle Lab to develop new technologies in infantry and artillery systems - I am a mechanical engineer. Every attempt we made to experiment with new systems was stonewalled by Benning, Picatinny and Aberdeen. Almost always government civilians with no time in uniform and very few weapons enthusiasts. All they want to do was add rail systems to hang more battery-powered weight to the front of those things. (One funny was a TV camera so troops could transmit video of the scenes to higher headquarters. As I am sure you can guess, most often, they sent videos of each other’s butts).
We tried to get them interested in 6.8 and 6.5 but they always found great reasons for not changing anything. The troops in the field asked for help, but still nothing. We tested the SCAR, we tested suppressors, we tested optics, we tested calibers but nothing changed. All the imbecilic Joint Service Small Arms Program could come up with was that ridiculous 25mm pig with its $25,000 sight, 17 pound weight, and grains of sand frags from its explosive round.
Hence my negative attitude when I discuss the M16 derivatives and the army development hierarchy.
I don't have any dog in the fight when it comes to the weapon itself. I own more than a few weapons of various types and calibers. I have my favorites for different reasons.
During my time, everyone seemed to think we'd be using caseless platforms by 2000. So much for that. Is the M4 suited to the more open environment in Afghanistan? The answer appears to be a resounding no.
However, the many changes over the years have made the AR platform extremely versatile, adaptable, and effective in the proper environment. Chris Kyle even preferred it in certain situations. I have no doubts the M14 would have undergone more than a couple changes had it remained in service as the standard. In fact, one of its decendants, the SOCOM16, is on my wishlist when the budget allows.
Anyhow, while it may not necessarily reflect in my posts, I always enjoy discussion and usually have something related to it spark an interest. For instance, based upon some of the discourse, I researched the M14. I was not previously aware it was competing for the government contract in the 1950s with what would eventually become the FN FAL. So at least I learned something new.
I feel it is remarkably reliable, and extremely powerful... but atmospheric conditions can completely degrade its accuracy.