CAMP AGUINALDO, Philippines – Joint Armed Forces of Philippines and U.S. team conducting M1 Inventory, 2017
The backstory on how six divisions worth of M1 Garands got repatriated from the Phillipines, where they have seen hard service since the 1950s in some cases, back to the U.S. to be sold through CMP in Anniston. Contrary to what a lot of people think, CMP actually had to spend a small fortune to get these vintage weapons back CONUS.
“It goes almost without saying that accurately accounting for and transporting approximately 90,000 small arms from the other side of the globe is challenging under any circumstances. Throw in termite infestation, monsoon season, and asbestos contamination, and you will have a recipe for disaster.”
To see just what the non-profit has on the shelf, I visited the Civilian Marksmanship’s South operations in Anniston. Co-located near the Anniston Army Depot — which is actually in nearby Bynum — and stores much of the Army’s stockpile of guns and items not needed for current operations, the CMP has a series of warehouses dotting the rolling hills of the area.
Unfortunately, most of them are nearly empty.
While now-retired CMP boss Orest Michaels told me back in 2010 the organization had 125,000 M1 rifles on hand including complete rifles, stripped receivers, and welded drill rifles, the group is coy about just what the numbers are today after several years of brisk sales and surging interest in U.S. martial rifles.
As Jim Townsend, CMP’s business development officer, walked me through a tour of their largest warehouse, he swept his arms over a large expanse of empty floor space and said, “When I first started here, this whole side of the building was full of M1s.” Repurposed crates that once contained M1s returning from allies in Greece and Denmark now hold everything but.
Repurposed crates that once contained M1s returning from allies in Greece and Denmark now hold everything but.
Why keep the empty space?
Check out my column at Guns.com for the answer.
The Civilian Marksmanship Program advises the Army could soon hand over a large stock of historically significant M1 rifles.
A post on an M1 Garand collectors group on Friday mentioned a group of loaned rifles coming in from the Philippines was being processed by the U.S. Army for shipment back to the states. Mark Johnson, CMP’s chief operating officer, confirmed that a large group of rifles may indeed be headed home and wind up in the organization’s hands.
”There are 86,000 or so M1’s hopefully coming back to the Army,” said Johnson. “We hope to see them in the future.”
More in my column at Guns.com
Last week the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed the 2017 defense authorization act– but hidden inside its pages is a section that could destroy the military’s current stock of surplus rifles and pistols.
The Senate’s version of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act authorizes some $602 billion in spending and despite President Obama’s threat to veto the annual policy measure over issues including a ban on closing the Guantanamo Bay military prison, saw widespread support, passing 85-13 last Tuesday.
While many have noted the measure includes such items as requiring females to register for the draft beginning in 2018, others have been lost in the almost kafkaesque layers of the bill.
In short, within 90 days of the bill becoming law, the Army would transfer almost all of the surplus guns it held at Anniston to Rock Island for meltdown. The only exceptions would be for up to 2,000 M1911 pistols and 2,000 M14 rifles that could be donated to military museums for preservation.
This could mean the death knell for surplus guns for CMP, the 1033 Program which supports some 8,000 local police agencies, and the Ceremonial Rifle Program which provides guns for veterans’ groups such as the VFW and DAV.
More in my column at Guns.com