Japanese Arisaka Type 99 7.7x58mm bolt action rifle with grenade damage and inscribed presentation plaque captured at Saipan 16 June 1944. The “mum” is present on the receiver, a rarity in an of itself. This rifle recently came up at auction with an estimated price of $1,500.
The right side of the buttstock has a small brass plaque that reads “AT 0440 ON THE MORNING OF 16 JUNE 1944,/AN AMERICAN INFANTRYMAN JUST LANDING/ON THE SHORES OF CHARAN-KANOA BEACH,/SAIPAN, THREW A HAND GRENADE AT A/JAPANESE SNIPER, KILLING HIM INSTANTLY./THE FORWARD STOCK OF THE RIFLE/WAS DAMAGED BY THE EXPLOSION./PRESENTED BY/COMMANDER WALTER BANTAU, USNR”.
I figured if this was new to me, it was likely new to some of your as well, but did you know that the table two portion of the Marine’s annual rifle range qualification has changed to become more practical?
Among the changes:
•Keeping up the heart rate: Instead of Marines staying stationary while shooting, they are required to start at the standing position and quickly get into the kneeling or prone position when the targets are ready to appear.
•Engaging the enemy: Marines begin qualifying at the 500-yard line then advance towards the 100-yard line, where previously they trained the other way around.
•Maintaining situational awareness in combat: New targets show both friendly and enemy forces and Marines must maintain awareness of the targets to determine when to shoot forcing them to make combat decisions.
By a 98-1 vote, the 115th U.S. Senate confirmed retired Marine Corps Gen. James Norman “Mad Dog” Mattis to be the 26th secretary of defense Jan. 20, and Vice President Michael R. Pence administered his oath of office shortly afterward.
Mattis is the first retired general officer to hold the position since General of the Army George C. Marshall in the early 1950s. Congress passed a waiver for the retired four-star general to serve in the position because law requires former service members to have been out of uniform for at least seven years to serve as defense secretary.
Mattis retired from the Marine Corps in 2013. The former CENTCOM commander previously led I MEF, United States Marine Forces Central Command, and 1st Marine Division during the Iraq War as well as 1/7 Marines in the Persian Gulf War. He reportedly carried a worn copy of the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius throughout his deployments while his extensive library has earned him a reputation as something of a warrior monk.
His first message:
Message to the Department of Defense from Secretary of Defense James Mattis
Release No: NR-020-17
Jan. 20, 2017
It’s good to be back and I’m grateful to serve alongside you as Secretary of Defense.
Together with the Intelligence Community we are the sentinels and guardians of our nation. We need only look to you, the uniformed and civilian members of the Department and your families, to see the fundamental unity of our country. You represent an America committed to the common good; an America that is never complacent about defending its freedoms; and an America that remains a steady beacon of hope for all mankind.
Every action we take will be designed to ensure our military is ready to fight today and in the future. Recognizing that no nation is secure without friends, we will work with the State Department to strengthen our alliances. Further, we are devoted to gaining full value from every taxpayer dollar spent on defense, thereby earning the trust of Congress and the American people.
I am confident you will do your part. I pledge to you I’ll do my best as your Secretary.
The 58th Presidential Inauguration Joint Task Force National Capital Region (JTF-NCR) has stood up and has been practicing for the swearing-in event, scheduled for Jan. 20. The task force is under the command of U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Bradley Becker.
As outlined in the below infographic, each of the five military branches– the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy, U.S Air Force, and U.S. Coast Guard– will have a 180-strong marching company in the parade as well as a 355-member (103 for the Coast Guard) cordon stretched along the parade route.
Each of the four federal service academies will have 90 cadets marching as will the Army and Air National Guards.
Finally, there will be six military premier bands encompassing 550 members and a 2,340-strong combined honor guard primarily drawn from the Army’s 3rd Infantry Regiment– the famous “Old Guard” who are tasked with ceremonial military duties in the Washington Military District such as mounting the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
In 2004, the Marine snipers deployed in the sandbox needed a rifle that was shorter and lighter as well as quieter, than their standard M40s.
This led a small group of sniper wonks including Steve Reichert (then SNCOIC of the 2nd Marine Division’s Pre-Sniper course) and others to hammer out what was known as the DARPA XM-3 rifle, using an 18.5″ Hart 416R Stainless Steel (Mil-Gauged) barrel that was suppressor ready.
What was so special about them?
-The receivers were clip slotted to accept the reverse-engineered titianium picatinny rail (IBA Design) to fit firmly.
-The receivers’ internal threads were opened up to 1.070” to allow a perfectly true alignment with the bolt face and chamber/bore dimension. The chamber was cut to accept M118LR ammo.
-The titanium recoil lug was built with the 1.070” diameter opening for the larger-barrel threads and surface ground true.
-The stainless steel magazine box was hand fitted and welded to eliminate movement when assembled.
-The stocks were custom made for the project.
-The barreled actions were bedded in titanium Devcon and Marine Tex to allow for decades of hard use without losing torque or consistency.
-Nightforce made a full 1 MOA elevation adjustment on their NXS 3.5-15X50’s to allow for faster dope changes at distance. These scopes had 1/4 MOA windage.
While successful and a hit with the Devils who got to use them, the 56 or so XM3’s were all pulled from service by 2014.
Thankfully, some have made thier way to the CMP and, as surplus bolt-action rifles, can be sold to the public.
They just auctioned off XM-3 rifle, serial number S6534025 with a factory green stock finish, built at Iron Brigade Armory by D. Briggs, USMC (Ret), 2112.
The rifle included the scope, sniper data book with some firing information; PVS22 Night Vision Device and other goodies.
Talk about functional history…
It looks like Wyoming-based Magpul will be providing the mags for the Marines moving forward, with their PMAG being the only authorized mag for field use while the USGI EPM will be relegated to training.
In government administered tests, the Gen M3 PMAG ran through 20,400 rounds of M855A1 ammo without any magazine-related stoppages, so there is that. The mags will be in two types, GEN M3 PMAG in Black (NSN 1005-01-615-5169) and the new Medium Coyote Tan (NSN 1005-01-659-7086).
“In light of the results from an enormous body of reliability and durability testing and 4 years of combat use, today it was announced that the PMAG 30 AR/M4 GEN M3 Window, in Black and Medium Coyote Tan (MCT), would be the official magazine of the entire United States Marine Corps,” noted the company in a statement on social media.
The company says the MCT mags with the NSN will be available around SHOT show for commercial sale and were designed with the HK416/M27 in mind, which is a big plus.
And it also means their will probably be about 2 million old metal body GI M16/M4 mags hit the surplus pipeline in the coming year or three.