My responses have also reflected some of my memories of the introduction of the M-16 for us - it was horrible. We had many of those things fail during the most critical moments anyone can have. Scores of our young men were killed while trying to fix their broken down rifles, helpless. It's a memory I will always carry with me. I avoided it by getting my old M-14 back from our battery armory and keeping it all tuned, clean and ready. I was able to keep it fed by breaking down M-60 belts and I carried 7 loaded magazines plus two full bandoliers. I kept one magazine filled with the tracers from the machinegun belts with the intention of using that stream of tracers (my M-14 was a selective fire version) to mark targets for air strikes. That turned out to be a bad idea: I grabbed that magazine during an intense firefight and my well-concealed position suddenly became too obvious instantly and I was lucky to survive the attention it brought. I had the very last M-14 in my battalion, possibly the whole division. My company commander insisted that I get an M-16 but I told him "I'm artillery and we haven't gotten M-16s yet". He would gruffly tell me to get one as soon as we had them. When I went to my parent battery to get my mail, they would tell me that my M-16 was in the armory but I'd tell them "don't need it - the grunts want me to keep my M-14". I worked that scam until I was hit and my lieutenant said "Rick, I'm sorry you're hurt, but can I have your M-14?".
I didn't keep it because I liked antiques - I kept it because it always worked!
posted on 02/21/2014 7:32:42 PM PST
(A simple rule of life: if you can be blamed, you're responsible.)
I qualified expert with the M-14 in basic at Ft Leonard Wood. It was great as to the ease that you could knock down a man size pop up target at 400 yards. The semi auto recoil was not bad at all. An absolutely great battle rifle, but it was an antiaircraft gun after a 3 round burst. Too much power for the rifle’s weight.
Notwithstanding that I still preferred the M16A1 for Nam. I too kept 2 mags of 5.56 tracer to mark targets for my squad (I too deedeed the hell out of the position whenever I used them to avoid the inevitable return fire) but thats why they were paying me $125.00 plus $55.00 jump pay + combat pay extra a month as a Sgt E-5 I guess.
I gotta respect your opinions, but the M-16 worked pretty well in my company. Most of the NVA it hit were either wounded badly or dead right there.
posted on 02/21/2014 7:58:06 PM PST
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