‘The Greatest Battlefield Implement Ever Devised’
The original memo that led to the quote, 72 years ago today:
The good ol M-1 certainly carved out its place in history, being used by the U.S. Army as its front line rifle until 1957 and in the National Guard and Reserve through 1976.
It is still used by select honor guards, veteran’s units, ROTC and the like today.
Among the current stock of M1 rifles maintained by the Army earmarked for the Ceremonial Rifle Program, of which the Army’s TACOM Life Cycle Management Command in Warren, Michigan advised me amounted to some 250,000 rifles loaned to over 31,000 civilian clubs including such well-known organizations as the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Disabled American Veterans.
The government-chartered Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) still has on hand some 125,000 former GI-owned M1 rifles in numerous grades from welded drill rifles to stripped bare receivers to complete collector grade weapons and everything in between.
Freedom of Information Act requests tell me that, “US Army records show 182 M1 Garand Rifles, NSN 1005-00-674-1425, are serviceable and in use by Army units; another 115 are serviceable held for possible issue, and 68,443 are considered unserviceable but frozen from disposal action by Congressional moratorium for total Army owned quantity of 68,740.”
Figures from the Department of the Air Force and Navy are unavailable, but nonetheless, there seem to be upwards of about a half-million M1’s still in the hands of the federal government or it’s chartered programs, which is not bad for a gun that was officially replaced 60~ years ago.
Overall, it seems like the M1s days of service are still far from over.