The Navy And Marines Need Adult Supervision

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 6 months ago

Jean sends this along to show why the Navy needs Marine supervision.

Meanwhile, the officials also said that a Russian electronic intelligence-gathering vessel was granted safe harbor in the commercial port of Jacksonville, Fla., within listening range of Kings Bay.

But the Marines have their own problems.

FORWARD OPERATING BASE SABIT QADAM, Afghanistan – As full integration of the Infantry Automatic Rifle into the Marine Corps’ arsenal becomes complete, the M249 Light Machine Gun, formerly the Squad Automatic Weapon, slowly fades into the history of the Corps.

The SAW has seen action since 1984 and has protected Marines since. Replaced by an automatic rifle of similar size and weight of the M16A4 service rifle already issued to rank and file Marines, the familiarity with the new weapon is almost instant.

“The IAR has fewer moving parts than the SAW does making it a lot more ‘grunt friendly,’” said Lance Cpl. Tyler Shaulis, an IAR gunner with 4th Platoon, Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 7. “It has a direct piston system, so there are fewer jams. It stays cleaner, longer with less carbon build up after it’s been fired. The muscle memory stays the same with it as it would an M16. If an IAR gunner goes down, any Marine could grab the weapon and lay down accurate suppressive fire without thinking twice.”

[ … ]

“We’re going back to what we had in WWII with the Browning Automatic Rifle,” Henderson said. “Since the 1980s, we gave the infantry squad the light machine gun, and now we’re having another shift in the Marine Corps to get back to what we were doing right the first time.”

I asked Daniel, my former Marine, what he thought about this.

This is sad. The reason we went with the SAW was because the BAR and its associated concept were inadequate.  At times in combat in Iraq, we had all nine SAW gunners firing during engagements, and I’m glad that we did.  We needed the fire power.  In the thousands of rounds I put down range stateside and Iraq, I never had a single problem … never … had … a … single … problem, with my SAW.  I kept it clean.  This change to the IAR is a testimony to laziness.  What do Marines want to do – take someone out on a date?  What else do they have to do when they’re deployed?  What’s the problem with cleaning weapons?  Mine worked because I maintained it right.  All this has done is make the Marines weaker.  It may be that this IAR could be used for select circumstances like room clearing, but the death of the SAW will bring nothing good.

Additionally, in spite of this, the Marines are still hell bent on bringing women into the infantry officer training at Quantico.

The Marine Corps’ effort to evaluate whether more combat jobs should open to women marked another milestone last week when the second of two female volunteers washed out of infantry officer training.

A second lieutenant, she was dropped from the program Friday after failing to complete required training due to unspecified medical reasons, a Marine official told Marine Corps Times. It’s unclear whether she was injured or if she became ill.

[ … ]

At Quantico, those overseeing the IOC experiment have said that it will involve up to 100 female officers and take at least a year to complete. The Marine official, speaking on condition of anonymity, reaffirmed the Corps’ intent to recruit female volunteers for subsequent iterations of the course.

“This was just the first shot,” the official said.

The Navy is out to lunch, but the Marines have joined them at that lunch.  If they aren’t attempting to force women through training at Quantico, they are worrying over large scale, heavily armored amphibious assault landings on near peer states, something that will never occur again.  Meanwhile, SOCOM continues to use up the money and be the nation’s first responders.  There are no adults left in the room, and the Marines are left without mission, leadership or vision.

  • DirtyMick


    More nonsense from the army…

    I just wanted to point out that an STB is a special troops battalion and they’re the support POGs for the Brigade. Of course the article quotes some turd PFC who states, “Down range, in combat situations, you are not going to want to just ‘squeeze trigger, squeeze trigger, squeeze trigger’ in order to return fire on an enemy that will have an automatic weapon firing back at you. There is no point in an enemy being more capable of firing at us when we have the number one power in the world and the capability to fire back.”
    I won’t even address that. According to the article the army has purchased 121,000 of these full auto M4s. This is becoming a joke. We have open bolt and crew serve weapons for a reason. We don’t need Joe running around with full auto weapons. That’s just more headache for Team Leaders and Squad Leaders. Especially when contact is initiated. What makes us the best is our superior marksmanship, discipline, training, and NCO Corps. For every step forward the military takes with fielding good pieces of gear like the plate carrier (which took 9 years to approve in Afghanistan), the M-14 EBR, and the XM-25 rifle we take ten steps back by going with stuff like the IAR or the M4A1.

  • Rupert Fiennes

    I find it hard to understand why the USMC wants to remove the SAW and replace it with a modified rifle. The British Army was originally issued with the L85/L86 combo in the late 80’s, replacing the SLR/GPMG (FN FAL/M240 to you guys) on the basis of commonality and because we “didn’t need to be spraying rounds everywhere”. Even when the L85/L86 were fixed, most units retained at least 1 GMPG per section on the basis that the L86 couldn’t suppress anything: 9/11 at last forced the procurement of the Minimi.

    Fire teams need a suppressive weapon. Something with a 30 round magazine ain’t it. When people grandly declare the BAR to be the solution, just as the British Army said the Bren was, they might want to ask the odd WW2 veteran what it was like going up against the Germans with 1-2 MG34/42 per section. Accounts of the time were not complementary….

  • Jean

    Sorry I am coming to this late, what are they replacing the SAW with?? An Auto M-4.

  • Davod

    1. What is you problem. The Cold War is over and reset has taken place (well, on the US side at least). The Russians probably wanted the trawler to sit above its submarine as cover.

    2. I don’t have time for this. Forget about what Lance Cpl. Tyler Shaulis said. Marines make do with what they are given. As far as “Henderson” is concerned, I thought the M16 and its 30 round magazine obviated the need for the BAR. Didn’t the SAW, with its 5.56 round, replace the M60 with its heavier 7.62 round, with one of the main selling points (offsetting the benefits of a more powerful round) being being the common and lighter 5.56 round meant more ammunition was carried.

    I am more interested in how the process reached this stage without it being stopped?

  • Herschel Smith


    Yes. Slight differences. Piston operated rather than DI (direct impingment) Eugene Stoner design.

  • Jean

    Some infantry history for the younger set out there… (No offense) We fielded the SAW in my first INF battalion in 1986; it replaced the designated automatic rifleman two per squad. The old designated automatic rifleman was a M16A1 with a bipod and extra magazines. There were some initial issues with the weapon, but it rapidly became a staple in the squad. The old MTOE of an infantry platoon had the machine guns and AT weapons consolidated into one weapons squad. You had to detach a gun crew; gunner, AG, and ammo bearer in order to support a squad. The SAW gave the PL/PSG tremendous flexibility. It also became a pacing item. The ISG/CSM could steal/detail a rifleman for some BS tasking, but we were able to hold the line on SAW gunners.
    I was disappointed in the M-4 performance in Afghanistan, its tough to hit target at 500-600 meters shooting uphill, but the SAW was a true combat multiplier. We often mounted the SAW in conjunction with the fickle MK 19.
    Also, a SAW would be very effective against a trawler….just saying

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  • Herschel Smith


    Based on my understanding (and I make no claim to be an expert), the necessity to correct for cos(theta) where theta is the angle of the slope would hold true for projectiles regardless of whether it was a 5.56 mm or 7.62 mm (although the BDC would be different and dependant on projectile velocity, whether it is stable in flight, etc., and the 5.56 tends to yaw in flight even with boat tail ammunition).

    So I guess I’m saying that the correction for uphill shooting would be there regardless of weapon or ammunition type. Use of BDC in a reflex sight (reticle or red dot) as if it’s on flat terrain wouldn’t work – there has to be some other compensation.

    When is the last time you heard of a Battalion doing a workup for Afghanistan by shooting on ranges up a steep hill? I think we’re deploying both Marines and Soldiers without being adequately trained.


    Yes, the whole point of the SAW is that it’s an area suppression, stand-off weapon. And replacement of the SAW removes that function, regardless of the fact that both the IAR and the SAW are 5.56 mm. The IAR is a fully automatic M-4. The SAW is a light machine gun.

  • Jean

    Your Ballistic IQ exceeds mine! Also, great point about work up. I can only speak from experience at certain ranges. I have seen live fire maneuver ranges that have relief but nothing requires uphill engagement. I can not remember if there is a live fire range in the Mountain Phase of Ranger School, it may have added. We had muskets back then. I have no experience with ranges at 29 Palms or the JRTC, the ranges at Bragg, Drum and NTC tend to be flat. There is discussion nd training about shooting at the max range of the M-4 and units make the adjustment once they are in country. Units AAR’s and TTPs provide excellent references to deploying units, but Reserve/NG units are constrainted by terrain and time. I think Dirty Mick could write volumes about his convoy life fire training Vis via his experince on the Pech and in Kunar. It’s hard to replicate the terrain and conditions. You do the best you can with what you have.
    However you make a very interesting comment about “work up”. Both the 173rd and Striker Brigade that deployed to Kandahar in 2008 had issues because they were slated for Iraq but were remissioned for Afghanistan. This fact was highlighted by the Wanat Case study.

  • Herschel Smith

    I try to be cognizant of the ammunition I am firing out of my AR-15 and what effect my choices have. This is a good starting point:

    But I don’t think we’ve done as well for long distance shooting and shooting uphill as we have for CQB. More work needs to be done to understand and train our men to this kind of battle (as well as develop optics that assist the Soldier or Marine in this kind of battle).

  • Davod

    Can someone remind me why the US army removed the fully automatic fire from the original version of the M16?

  • Herschel Smith

    It ins’t needed and wastes ammunition (and really the SAW gunners have been trained and conditioned to carry the additional weight of multiple SAW ammunition drums). As of right now most of the M16s and M16A2s and M4s have select fire capability (single fire or three-round bursts). But it isn’t an area suppression weapon system like the SAW. The fire team consists of a SAW gunner, a team leader with an M4 and grenade launcher attached to his rifle, and two other riflemen. Those riflemen are tasked with protecting the SAW gunner and team leader while they lay down suppression and heavy fire. They are precision riflemen, or so the theory goes. The squad consists of three fire teams, the platoon consists of three squads, and so on.

  • Jean

    Talk about a bunch of grown men crying, it was the end of world when we converted to the M16A2 adopted the Nato 5.56 and lost the automatic fire capability. The field grade officers and ISG/CSM in my battalion were Vietnam era Vets. What a bunch of grumpy old men. We have become them…..

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