A reply to LCpl Joe Hickey from the Gipper, 34 years ago today

Via the Marine Corps History Division:

You’ve heard the quote by President Reagan; do you know where it comes from? You do now! Thanks to our friends at the Reagan Library for doing the digging to find this.

The 1983 Beirut barracks bombing would occur exactly a month to the day after this letter was written, claiming the lives of 241 U.S. peacekeepers (primarily of 1st Battalion/8th Marines), 58 French peacekeepers (of the 3rd Company of the 1st Parachute Chasseur Regiment), and six civilians.


100 Years ago today, Key West NAS


On this day in 1917 Lt. Stanley Parker made the first Naval flight recorded at Key West. It was in a Curtiss N-9 seaplane, like the one pictured here in Key West, circa 1917-18 (the planes in the back are Curtiss Model Fs).

The N-9 was the floatplane variant of the classic Curtiss JN-4 Jenny trainer and the Navy ordered very decent 560 of the craft, which remained in service as late as 1927. In all they trained more than 2,500 Navy, Coast Guard and Marine aviators during the World War I period alone and were vital to the development of catapult operations and early torpedo bomber experiments including pilotless drone torpedo concepts.


Only one is still in existence, on display in the Pre-1920 Aviation exhibition at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air and Space Museum in Chantilly, VA

Key West NAS, of course, is still around, though very battered these days.

Happy first day of fall

And in thoughts of things colder, here is the Flight IIA Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79) digging the Northern Lights as she transits the Arctic Circle Sept. 5, 2017.

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ryan U. Kledzik/Released)

“Oscar Austin is on a routine deployment supporting U.S. national security interests in Europe, and increasing theater security cooperation and forward naval presence in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations.”

Australian Glocks go a bit longer

My homie Sean Lindley with Texas Machine Gun & Ordnance told me that he was able to pick up the first Glock 17A out of Australia imported into the U.S. earlier this month. While it is not lubricated with Fosters and zeroed in on packs of running dingoes, Sean says the big difference between the 17A and a normal 17 is in the barrel…

Can you spot the difference?

More in my column at Guns.com

If you have 23 12-packs, you have enough raw aluminum for an AR-15 lower

With some 10th-grade metal trades skills, the guy over at Farm Craft brewed up an AR lower from 265 beer/soda cans.

Nothing really high-tech involved. He melts the cans down in his foundry furnace, first into muffin tin ingots and then pouring the molten recycled aluminum into a plywood and sand mold box.

Cutting off the sprue and machining out the billet, he threads and mills until he gets a relatively mil-spec receiver to which he drops in a LPK, attaches to an upper, and rips some rounds through.

Now if he could turn an AR lower into a can of beer, that would be magical.

Remember to recycle!

The fleet at work

PACIFIC OCEAN (Aug. 21, 2017) Sailors observe a refueling-at-sea with the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102) from the hangar bay of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). Theodore Roosevelt and Sampson are underway conducting a composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX) with the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group in preparation for an upcoming deployment. COMPTUEX tests a carrier strike group’s mission-readiness and ability to perform as an integrated unit through simulated real-world scenarios. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alex Perlman/Released)

Also, note the DESRON 23 “Little Beavers” emblem on her smack.

These views always remind me of the cutaway scene from Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, except without the weird sister cuddling.

Crank em out

Here we see a beautiful example of perhaps the best .45-70 chambered Gatling design, the Colt-produced Model 1890.

This wonder, fitted with 10 31-inch octagon barrels, could let those big buffalo-killer sized rounds rip at 525 rounds per minute, which would produce a giant billow of burnt black powder in the process. Weighing in at 200-pounds (sans bipod) this thing was a beast to run but had all the bells and whistles of a modern Gatling design including the Murphy Stop and the Bruce Feed.

This particular specimen sold last week at auction (Rock Island) for $54K.

Individual U.S. Army officers bought a few of Dr. Richard J. Gatling’s guns in the Civil War in .42-caliber and .58-caliber, and later the Army adopted the gun in 1866 and later morphed into the Model 1874, 1876, 1877, 1883 and 1889 guns chambered in .45-70.

On the lead-up to the Spanish-American War, the Army purchased 53 Gatling Guns in .45-70 over a three-year program: 18 M1890s, 17 M1891s, and 18 M1892s, and were the last in that caliber ordered by Uncle Sam.

The M1893 models and later were chambered in .30 Government (.30-40 Krag)– Lt. John “Gatling Gun” Parker famously took a quartet of M1895s to San Juan Hill in 1898 while the Marines had much lighter and more modern M1895 Colt–Brownings in 6mm. Not to be dissuaded, the Army ordered even more Gatlings in 1900 and even converted them to run the 30.06, keeping them in service until the cusp of WWI.

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