previous post next post  

Connecting with the past

I think everyone here is familiar with the concept of a "blood chit," right? As far as I know, the AVG pilots who flew for the Chinese prior to our entry into the Second World War started the trend of having a multilingual identification scarf handy in case they went down on the wrong side of the lines, but RAF and AAF pilots carried the idea one step further by adding an escape map -- just in case.

Well, we've always carried escape maps, but they're so detailed, they're too big to be worn as scarves, and that's about all I should really say in an open forum such as this one. And we've never really had a reason to carry a multilingual ID for E-and-E purposes, because if we had to PL (okay, "Precautionary Landing") in the hills, we had a working agreement with the Cav guys -- if they went down in our AO, we were there for them, and vice-versa.

That's changed with the drawdown

*waving good luck to my Cav buds*

and nothing quite hammered that idea home like being issued our own personal blood chit.

It's not as fancy as the ones the AVG or the AAF guys carried -- it's cotton, not silk, for one thing -- but it'll do.

However, I have to wonder about the one I was issued, even though I'm told it was ordered specifically for me.

It's nice to know I have friends.

The dirty bastids...


Are they letting you carry a personal weapon, yet?
It's a good thing they didn't number them in accordance with age.....I doubt that petrogylphs translate clearly into any of the other languages.
Aside from various and assorted easily-concealed and not-so-easily-concealed blades -- nope.

Which is a giggle, considering that our AF brethren on the FW side won't even fly in the pattern unless they're carrying an M-4 and a couple of mags.
I used to have one of those old blood chits - got it from a CBI pilot who had some harrowing times over the hump, but never had to use it.

When you say "nope" on the weaps, does that mean not issued, or not allowed?
"... unless they're carrying an M-4 and a couple of mags."

Which is scary in light of the handgun *training* some were given when Rummy decided that ALL military personnel were to be pistol qualified.  Officers at Edwards were given manuals with pictures (think Chilton's) showing how a gun was broken down, cleaned and put back together.  Never.once.touched.a.gun.
Instant pistol qualification!
Please tell me you are joking....
Sadly, I am not.
Susan - even in the Army, outside of the Infantry, small arms training was...  and in some aspects still is... weak.

I was always amazed at the number of fellow officers in artillery units (and more senior officers in Armor and Infantry units when I was serving as a Fire Support Officer) who regarded carrying a weapon, much less practicing with it, to be a tedious chore, vice a fundamental practice.

And who *still* had that officer arrogance about being an "expert" marksman. 

I was brutal in disabusing them of that conceit when I was in charge of the ranges. 
Probably not.  The AF has a few...quirks I've noticed about their flight personel having to get their hands dirty.
Good Lord.

A movie scene involving a handgun in the middle of combat is springing to mind: "Prepare to defend yourselves."

So, too, is a real life horror scene, of Nidal Hassan popping away with... a handgun.

The point is, sometimes there comes a time when a servicemember *may* need to be able to use these things. Leaving aside my puzzlement that anyone would consider weapons training a chore... I don't get the *expert* qual when you don't shoot expert?
I maintained my Expert Pistol qualification for thirty-seven years, starting with the .45, continuing through the .38, and finishing up with the 9mm.

Two thoughts:

1. Considering the diminishing effectiveness of each pistol, I'd damned well *better* be able to put a round through someone's eye at 20 meters if I had to and

2. All things considered, the Army made a supremely bad decision when it went with the 9mm.
I don't get the *expert* qual when you don't shoot expert?

You don't -- some senior officers *do*. It's a brag thang for them and an integrity thang for their scorers.

BTW, you can outshoot about 98% of the AF types I've coached on the range over the years.

Mythilt,  Um... are there any USAF folks on here? Hey, guys! LOVE the planes! And really love some of those way-cool ops from days gone by. I've heard some of the required activities now include keeping the manicure in good condition, tho....
My Pop said the same thing about the military many times, Mr. DeBille.  As has MH - an MP with tour duty including Okinawa, S. Korea, PI, Libya and Iraq.  He likes the 9 mm for recreational shooting, but when it comes to *business*, he'd rather have a .45.
Susan - what I was referring to was the attitude and assumption of expert shooting ability when it didn't exist.  Back in my day, officers didn't have to "qualify" with their sidearm.  They only had to "familiarize."

Multiple threads of bad logic were at work.  Officer's weapons are their troops, right?  And, ammo is expensive.  So why actually encourage officers to use their weapons...

So, the gentlemen and ladies would show up to the range, talking about what great shots they were, and promptly have trouble hitting the target.  So, of course, it was all those crappy WWII-era M1911A1s that were at fault.  Everybody knows you can't hit the broad side of a barn with them.

Except that I and the armorer had refurbed of them, much to the annoyance of the DISCOM bubbas.  But that's a different story.

So, I would take the offending weapon, empty a magazine rapid-fire, all into the 8 ring or higher, hand it back to them and say, "Yep, must be the pistol."

Thus creating the need to learn.

When I was done, everybody had actually "qualified" vice "familiarized" and only three of us shot "Expert."  Mind you, the criteria for 'expert" wasn't that high, though I can't remember it at the moment.  I used the earlier edition of these charts to help the shooters diagnose their problems.
Bill, that would not be the first set of dumb decisions the Army made in regard to weaps. What might the others be? Well, I tend to think a weapon should not jam when you need it to do its thing. But, hey - that's just me.

*high five* on those expert quals - tough to do with a pistol. Not everyone can go for the head shot... but it's the most effective.

And about that target. *Thank you* - I was actually really disappointed in that. Pissed me off. But that was using a weapon I'd never fired before. I much prefer wheel guns, and it was so cold my hands were frozen solid and ice kept forming on my sunglasses, and if it weren;t for the rangemaster spotting me shifting my grip, little pieces of my thumb still would be scattered at Blackwater.... yeah, yeah. Excuses, excuses. On the M16, however... yep. Shot expert. The only one in the battallion. But girls have a hard time with unsupported rilfe firing, mostly due to upper body strength issues.  Pays off to grow up slinging hay bales! : )
Bill, that would not be the first set of dumb decisions the Army made in regard to weaps. What might the others be?

Don't. Get. Me. Started.

Except that I and the armorer had refurbed of them...

Could've used the two of you in the Joisey Guard -- the M1911 I drew for qual in 1979 went full auto on me due to a worn sear. But I still kept it on the paper for all seven rounds...

John - Ugh. Is nothing sacred? Thank you for keeping the Combat Leaders honest. Yeesh. At least Patton was a genuine force to be reckoned with on the range...

So. It looks as if we have ourselves a shooting team. We should issue a smack-down challenge against a randomly plucked squad of USAF killers. 
"But girls have a hard time with unsupported rilfe firing, mostly due to upper body strength issues."

Sorry, but teach the proper shooting stance and technique and that is a non-issue.
Yeah, with a pistol....
teach the proper shooting stance and technique and that is a non-issue.

Sez the gurl who grew up fighting wildfires in the woods with a shovel.

the M1911 I drew for qual in 1979 went full auto on me due to a worn sear. But I still kept it on the paper for all seven rounds...

I think there's a sub-badge you can dangle off the Expert badge... Malfunctioning Weapon. I'll see if I can find one...  Other than that.... serious brag rights. You can be first on the rotating team captaincy.
Yea, and splitting wood, working in the garden, yada yada yada......I've been accurately shooting rifles since I was 8 -- long before fighting fires and being allowed to chop more than kindling.  We've taught our daughter to shoot using proper technique and stance.  A lack of upper body strength (due to the fact that fighting fires, chopping wood and slinging hay bales have not been part of her daily life) and the fact that she was wearing a splint on her wrist didn't seem to diminish her ability to shoot accurately the last time we had the opportunity.
He's not showing you the *other* side of the chit, with the Aramaic.  Roughly tranlates to "Please don't hurt this poor slob any more than he already is, but don't coddle him it only encourages him.  Keep away from explosives, undergarments, zippers (bet you didn't know Aramaic had a word for zipper, did you?), flat-bread-wrapped-around-beans-and-cheese-with-great-spicyness, and anything female.  And poles.  If he tells you he can fly he's lying.   You will be rewarded somehow, don't worry Sky-6 doesn't need any mortal serial number to keep tabs on you lot."
The rifle itself is a weight. If she's been shooting that long, she's got muscle memory and enough strength to overcome the splinted injury. When I did my quals on the M16 - after shooting wheel guns on a regular basis from the age of 8 - none of my fellow WACs had anywhere near that conditioning, and most had never fired any kind of weapon whatsoever.  The grenades, now, were another story... not one of us was allowed to throw anything but the dummy. Good thing. In a week's time, I think I progressed from blowing up my foxhole to blowing up the DI who stood barking instructions from oh, mebbe 10 yards away....
Hey, Carb - that Aramaic side sounds helpful to the point of being downright angelic...
"The rifle itself is a weight."

Nnnoooooo!  Really?! 0>;~}  Honestly, she's not had that much opportunity to shoot with us being stationed (until recently, that is) in SoCal for the last several years.  We're hoping to change that, though, in about 18 mo.'s -- for all of us.

"In a week's time, I think I progressed from blowing up my foxhole to blowing up the DI who stood barking instructions from oh, mebbe 10 yards away...."

Please don't say that the DI was behind you.....
Good for her - she sounds like a natural!

Nope - the DI was taunting us: "Can you hit me? Ladies, I said, can you even hit me?" Yes, I did want to reach for the M16 at some point and say, "you mean, like this...?"

The M60 was fun, too. Whole lotta fun.
Heh.  Ladies, please.  Yer behavin' like boyz!

{john and bill emailing furiously in private}
"Well, it's keeping the thread active...."
"Let's offer a mud pit..."
"No - Jello! Yeah, that's it. Jello!"
We're behaving.  At least we're not talking about guantlets thrown and mail-backed ones being smacked across a face......

"{john and bill emailing furiously in private}
"Well, it's keeping the thread active...."
"Let's offer a mud pit..."
"No - Jello! Yeah, that's it. Jello!"

And probably all too true knowing them.

Hey - JTG was moving perilously close to getting his butt in a bind, challenging me on terminology, in public.

"But girls have a hard time with unsupported rilfe firing, mostly due to upper body strength issues."

Somebody please 'splain that to the guys that got whooped by the strong presence of girl shooters this year at the National Legion match.........


Training. Conditioning. Been known to work. But not standard in the culture.
I don't let anyone say that ladies can't shoot. The lead shooter on my base pistol team was 5 foot nothing and maybe weighed 100 pounds in a soaking wet Class A uniform. And our coach was Maj Sallie Carroll. Also we were shooting M1911A1's. PS we consistently beat all the LEA and PD/Sheriff shooters in the area, using their weapons.
Someone shooters should know: SSGT Julia Watson, USMC- local gal who shot on the state Junior team at Camp Perry, joined the Marines, won the National Individual rifle championship in 1998, and a bunch of other titles since then, including the Distinguished Rifleman badge (many magnitudes above the wussy "Expert" ribbons...).

Gurlz can shoot!  Probably because they listen to instructions better than guys who "know all about shooting."


Of course girls can shoot. My own expert qual badge, being one of the items I would save in a fire, is a case in point. I was talking about unsupported rifle shooting:

But girls have a hard time with unsupported rilfe firing, mostly due to upper body strength issues.
So.... we go into a mall, and pluck 6 teenage girls at random. We then go to a 5-day-a-weaker gymnastics team, and pluck another 6 teenage girls. All without prior weapons experience. Gee... wonder who would do better with rifles?

Depends on whether or not they are taught proper stance and technique.

Aaaannnnddd......we've come full circle.

You might want to hold off bad-mouthing the AF types.  I'm not recent., but when I flew many-motors we DID have to qual on pistol, and it WAS issued as part of alert gear.
It was Bill and Mythlit. I didnt do any of it.
Have I said how much I love Phantoms, F16s, and all that other cool equip, and how grateful I am to the USAF for turning the tide in Korea , and...  : )
Interesting thread... 
Actually, I started it.  But hey, I was born on an AF base and came home in khaki diapers, so I *can*. 
And it isn't *bad-mouthing* if it's true. 
I saw the manual.
Like I said, not sure if it's current but back BC the many-motors types HAD TO qual on pistol to keep flying status, and it WAS issued as part of alert equipment.  Not sure about the tankers or cargo or fighters...
Good folk all,
I am not even close to being in the same league as any of you folks.  My AF Reserve time ended 20 years ago.  I was an Aerial Recon Weather Officer on a hurricane hunter crew.  We were all required to qualify with a pistol regularly (even though if we were activated it would have been as trash haulers and only the two enlisted crew  members would carry arms).  My last time at the range, the sargeants on either side of me must not have had much faith in my ability to qualify because I ended up with about 4 more hits than rounds...
Ah the good old days.


I'm not getting into the AF discussion.  I'll stick to my own little Army bailiwick, which I mostly pan vice support, when it comes to marksmanship.

I'm something of a "gravel-belly" in terms of importance placed on it - though I'm not to the level of "if you can't hit 'em in the eye at 100 yards you ain't a shooter."

I'm more practical than that in what satisfies me.

Hey, if ya gots the right weaponry, close is good enough!
That's the nice thing about AF many-motors!  For EITHER mission, close was good enough.
Did somebody mention my name?  Hey, I almost never exercise with the pieces, but both of my single-handed weapons are .45s.  Why use anything smaller on an attacking human? I mean, humans are provably dangerous!

Oh, and I'm totally with the Armorer on having evverbody qualify with personal weapon.

Did y'all know, that if you're a Swiss citizen and you don't qualify with your rifle every year, you don't get to vote?
JTG - you got a cite for that?
Just a memory of something I read years ago, about the Swiss Ambassador given range privileges at a US Government range, because he couldn't get home in time. 
Brings up a memory way back about twenty five years in my Army Reserve Civil Affairs unit.  Captains and below had M-16s and Majors and Lt. Colonels had M-1911s.  When we went for weapon qualification the M-1911 carriers had live rounds in the magazines just in case our convoy was attacked by someone trying to steal the M-16s.  One weekend we got to the range, did what we were supposed to and got back to the Armory late in the afternoon.  At the door to the arms room one of our Majors was waving his M-1911 around and saying "bang" when the armorer cautioned him not to do that because it might fire.  "Oh, no," says the Major, "I took the magazine out."  The armorer calmly took the M-1911 and pulled back the slide.  Sure enough, a round had been chambered all the time.  I never before or since saw a Major try so hard to become invisible as that afternoon.
For the record, I don't care a jot as to what is considered appropriate insofar as weapons carry aboard mission aircraft is in the Army, whether they be fixed or rotary wing.

In fact, I really don't spend too many brain bytes on what other USAF communities--recce, strat lift, tac lift, strat attack, strat strike, or fighter/interceptor--consider appropriate.

Fact is, if the powers that be tell crews to carry "M4s and a couple of mags around the pattern" then, when you go through the life support room to suit up (or throw on whatever, say, C-130 guys throw on for a hop) then there'll some airman there waiting to hand your your weapon and ammo. You dutifully ensure the chamber is empty before holstering it in your survival vest (I'm speaking as a (very old, retired) Hog driver now) and that the clips are loaded and secured in self same vest. Otherwise, you have to explain the airman why you're not complying with Sqdn/Wing/higher HQ guidance. This, of course, puts the airman is the position of having to say, "Colonel, why aren't you willing to take the weapon?" At which time you have to come up with some lame and/or unprofessional excuse as to why you're bucking the system when it's really not necessary. So, you TAKE THE F**KING 9mm and drive on. The only problem I had with it was that it was a 9mm POS. Never liked those things. Doesn't matter what you're doing that's The Law. This isn't necessarily a dumb thing, either. Train like you fight, especially in theater. Who's to say you won't get a real-world tasking while on a training flight? I have been there and done that, which is why we always, at a minimum, had a full load of 30mm in the jet when overseas. Period.


We qual'd with the personal weapon annually. Yes, there were some who were not very good at shooting but I, and my other moth-eaten A-10 crowd enjoyed keeping everything in the 9/10 ring. Is annual too little? Probably not, in peacetime, but I don't waste too many brain bytes over that, either. Believe it or not, some USAF types know how to shoot. I started when I was twelve (local rifle team) and have loved the feel of a well-made firearm--handgun, rifle, shotgun--ever since. So, don't underestimate those USAF sissy-boys.;)

One day, I hope to show up at the Armorer's house and plink from his porch. I probably won't hit much anymore (eyes are going) but I'd have a ball. I just hope he has a Barrett I can try. I think that'd be the most fun, especially if I accidentally hit one of those pesky coyotes--nothing left but mist and maybe an eyeball. Oh, yessss.
This would probably be about the time I'd chime in with the tale of the Brigade CSM and me getting our hearts started by a newbie Lootenant who popped a .45 round into the floor at our feet while "clearing" the M1911 -- but I've already told it a while back...
Almost forgot--I wore that blood chit on the inside of my jacket for the three years I was a Vanguard.

The 23rd was a great way to start a Hog career...and there still may be a P-40 on a stick at what used to be the main gate.

...and my present employer bought Madam Chang Kai-shek's post-war company, Flying Tigers Airlines several years ago. Just can't get away from those guys. Of course, given the Chinese economic saber-rattling these days, maybe we need to start carrying the chits again...
No chit, Cherlock...
JTG, I know a Swiss that does not qualify annually can be fined heavily. I've never heard the part about not being able to vote. I can understand the Ambassador wanting range time here if he couldn't get home. It's a matter of pride in Schweiz to maintain your weapons quals, and could have political consequences if he didn't.

Bill, I thought they were keping sharp objects out of your reach.

Seriously, I agree with you on doing away with the 45 autos. Very stupid move. It's very interewsting that the SOF troops have some version of a 45 auto available to them. I think Delta adopted a modified version of the 1911. SEALS took up the H&K USP in 45 ACP.