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MindPilot

(12,693 posts)
Mon Sep 16, 2013, 04:32 PM Sep 2013

Can we please dispel this myth that military people are at full battle rattle 24/7?

There are at least three posts I've seen today asking "how could a shooting rampage happen at a military facility what with every body carrying around bazookas and machine guns?"

Most military people get through their entire tour of duty without ever touching a firearm after boot camp.

Personal possession of a firearm is prohibited on-base, they must be stored in the armory, and have to be checked out if you want to go hunting or to the range.

On base the only people who have guns are MPs and those actively engaged in training. The guns you do see, like the ones used in parades and formations, are mock-ups.

So to repeat, for the most part military installations and facilities are gun-free zones, with some of the tightest rules and harshest penalties there are.

38 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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Can we please dispel this myth that military people are at full battle rattle 24/7? (Original Post) MindPilot Sep 2013 OP
Funny how the military thinks that the servicemen do not need to walk around base with weapons and VanillaRhapsody Sep 2013 #1
True, and that applies to everyone. MindPilot Sep 2013 #4
Ever been in the military? wercal Sep 2013 #6
My father was career military... VanillaRhapsody Sep 2013 #11
Half and half I guess wercal Sep 2013 #18
Plus, soldiers often need extra cash NickB79 Sep 2013 #12
I spent 5 straight days wandering the training area, looking for night vision goggles wercal Sep 2013 #17
A few years ago a coworker asked me if I wanted a new scope NickB79 Sep 2013 #35
Good decision wercal Sep 2013 #38
I was an armorer in the Army. tazkcmo Sep 2013 #30
Mostly, the people who ask those questions have no military experience. MineralMan Sep 2013 #2
Alot of people are also under the mistaken impression that everybody lives on base, wercal Sep 2013 #7
Quite true. People have funny ideas about the military. MineralMan Sep 2013 #9
People get their impression of the military from the movies wercal Sep 2013 #21
I know. Sad to hear these young guys with a familiy MindPilot Sep 2013 #13
When I first got to Fort Riley, I went to the housing office wercal Sep 2013 #19
Times have changed. I was single and allowed to live in base housing sammytko Sep 2013 #31
I was in the Navy during Vietnam MindPilot Sep 2013 #8
Yup. If your job wasn't shooting, you didn't have a weapon. MineralMan Sep 2013 #10
I was an electrician. MindPilot Sep 2013 #14
Well, there is that... MineralMan Sep 2013 #34
Even in combat zones, when you're in base camp, Jackpine Radical Sep 2013 #26
IIRC that ribbon is one of the many my dad had. Of course the nicest one was his DFC. kestrel91316 Sep 2013 #28
They have armories to store weapons. Rex Sep 2013 #3
Relatively few casualties result from small arms fire FarCenter Sep 2013 #5
It was an office building with one way in. So, how on earth ... Tx4obama Sep 2013 #15
Maybe he didn't onenote Sep 2013 #22
That could be. But it wouldn't explain the double barrel shot gun. n/t Tx4obama Sep 2013 #23
three years ago, a nutjob with a rifle shot the guard at entrance to Holocaust museum onenote Sep 2013 #25
According to my experience you are correct, but don't bet your life they are unarmed. Lasher Sep 2013 #16
And on payday the money was handed out by an officer Jackpine Radical Sep 2013 #27
Not everybody.. but there should be armed security there. Motown_Johnny Sep 2013 #20
Real life is like that too. hunter Sep 2013 #24
+oo phantom power Sep 2013 #32
military culture is very foreign to most people, MindPilot Skittles Sep 2013 #29
True. Solly Mack Sep 2013 #33
The Army still has to qualify annually doesn't it? bluedigger Sep 2013 #36
Military bases and facilities are NOT "gun free zones." Tommy_Carcetti Sep 2013 #37
 

VanillaRhapsody

(21,115 posts)
1. Funny how the military thinks that the servicemen do not need to walk around base with weapons and
Mon Sep 16, 2013, 04:38 PM
Sep 2013

keeps them locked up. But the RKBA will never acknowledge that even the military disagrees with their position.

 

MindPilot

(12,693 posts)
4. True, and that applies to everyone.
Mon Sep 16, 2013, 04:43 PM
Sep 2013

Even the well-disciplined highly-skilled Marine sniper who can put a round between the eyes from a mile away, doesn't get to take his weapon into the NCO Club.

wercal

(1,370 posts)
6. Ever been in the military?
Mon Sep 16, 2013, 04:45 PM
Sep 2013

I have.

The weapons stay locked up in the arms room, not for safety reasons, but because it would be an accountability nightmare.

In order to make sure that nothing has been lost or misplaced, or damaged, while training in the field with weapons we would do a 'sensitive items' report twice a day. All leaders had to physically make sure their subordinates still had weapons, codebooks, night vision, etc. It was a pain in the ass...and guess what, all three of those items were locked up in the arms room 90% of the time. Not because the night vision goggles could hurt somebody...but because its a pain in the ass keeping track of them when you aren't using them.

 

VanillaRhapsody

(21,115 posts)
11. My father was career military...
Mon Sep 16, 2013, 04:54 PM
Sep 2013

I have lived on a base or two...I think it is two-fold actually....I don't think the military wants to project that image while working state-side...do you?

wercal

(1,370 posts)
18. Half and half I guess
Mon Sep 16, 2013, 05:28 PM
Sep 2013

To some extent it depends on the branch and the base. Some bases, like this Naval Yard, are in dense populated areas, and have an 'image' to protect. The Army bases I was at were more remote, and image wasn't really a problem.

Heck, even when I was in Korea, we didn't walk around with weapons all day long. It was the same as CONUS, for the most part, with a few exceptions - and nobody really cared about image there.

NickB79

(19,394 posts)
12. Plus, soldiers often need extra cash
Mon Sep 16, 2013, 04:55 PM
Sep 2013

It's not like we pay them very highly for the work they do, and they usually have families to support.

Can you imagine the temptation to sell a few pieces of high-value equipment that could be easily smuggled off-base?

wercal

(1,370 posts)
17. I spent 5 straight days wandering the training area, looking for night vision goggles
Mon Sep 16, 2013, 05:22 PM
Sep 2013

Turns out a guy who was on his way out of the Army smuggled them out of the arms room, during the confusion of issuing out equipment for a training exercise.

I was an 'Arms Room Officer'...and I told the E-4 Armorer not to let ANYBODY in the arms room...no Platoon Sergeants...no officers...nobody.

NickB79

(19,394 posts)
35. A few years ago a coworker asked me if I wanted a new scope
Tue Sep 17, 2013, 03:04 PM
Sep 2013

He claimed he had a friend in Iraq that was rotating back to the states, and this friend was going to bring back some mil-spec equipment that he claimed the military was just going to destroy anyway. Sights, scopes, a few other pieces of small hardware.

I politely declined; the last thing I need is to go to jail for buying stolen military gear.

wercal

(1,370 posts)
38. Good decision
Tue Sep 17, 2013, 05:12 PM
Sep 2013

A guy working at Burger King once tried to sell me an AK47 out of the blue.....ah, no thanks.

tazkcmo

(7,418 posts)
30. I was an armorer in the Army.
Mon Sep 16, 2013, 05:52 PM
Sep 2013

I had many, many, many security inspections, accounting audits, etc. The Army was very serious about their weapons being secured when not in use. You can't even take a picture of the exterior of an arms room much less the interior. As for when they were issued to our soldiers the accountability continued as you said. Not a bunch of John Wayne crap going on that's for sure.

MineralMan

(146,620 posts)
2. Mostly, the people who ask those questions have no military experience.
Mon Sep 16, 2013, 04:40 PM
Sep 2013

You are correct. Weapons are issued to combat troops in battle zones and military police elsewhere. Everyone else is unarmed. The military is very big on that. Unless you're training or in a combat zone, you aren't going to be carrying firearms.

The military is very smart about firearms.

The ribbon is the USAF Expert Marksmanship Ribbon. Earned with a perfect score with the M-16 at the range. That was the last time I had any firearm in my hands while serving in the USAF. I can't remember any time when I could have accessed one, either.

wercal

(1,370 posts)
7. Alot of people are also under the mistaken impression that everybody lives on base,
Mon Sep 16, 2013, 04:50 PM
Sep 2013

like in basic training. They have some vision of guys in bunks, in a large open building - with no concept that many (sometimes most) get in a civilian car and drive home at night...I don't know what they think everybody would do with their weapons when they went home at night.

wercal

(1,370 posts)
21. People get their impression of the military from the movies
Mon Sep 16, 2013, 05:32 PM
Sep 2013

Most movies are either about basic training or combat.

It wouldn't make an exciting movie to chronicle daily life on base.

 

MindPilot

(12,693 posts)
13. I know. Sad to hear these young guys with a familiy
Mon Sep 16, 2013, 04:57 PM
Sep 2013

talking about how they are going to join up and live on base.

You don't get to live on-base in family housing unless you are like E4 or above. And there is usually a looooong waiting list. My dad was in the USAF for 25 years. In all his different assignments, we lived on base exactly twice. The rest of the time--on a wait list, and renting off-base.

wercal

(1,370 posts)
19. When I first got to Fort Riley, I went to the housing office
Mon Sep 16, 2013, 05:30 PM
Sep 2013

I asked if there was any available O-1 housing.

Answer: No.

I asked if there was a waiting list to sign up for.

Answer: Howling laughter....and "you go ahead and sign up, you'll be PCS'd out of Fort Riley before your name comes up."

sammytko

(2,480 posts)
31. Times have changed. I was single and allowed to live in base housing
Mon Sep 16, 2013, 06:00 PM
Sep 2013

There was a surplus of houses and they have to meet a certain occupancy rate, so they let single E-5 and above live on base.

This was at a small base in Oklahoma.

BAQ was so low there, it was better to live on base. I was paying out of pocket to live off. But in the San Antonio area, BAQ was double my house payment!

 

MindPilot

(12,693 posts)
8. I was in the Navy during Vietnam
Mon Sep 16, 2013, 04:51 PM
Sep 2013

And my dad was 25 years in the USAF.

I qualified in boot camp, and that was the only time I fired a weapon.

MineralMan

(146,620 posts)
10. Yup. If your job wasn't shooting, you didn't have a weapon.
Mon Sep 16, 2013, 04:53 PM
Sep 2013

What would you do with it, after all? I was a Russian linguist. Who would I have shot at?

 

MindPilot

(12,693 posts)
14. I was an electrician.
Mon Sep 16, 2013, 05:00 PM
Sep 2013

So, I might have been tempted to use it as a last resort for dealing with uncooperative equipment.

Jackpine Radical

(45,274 posts)
26. Even in combat zones, when you're in base camp,
Mon Sep 16, 2013, 05:48 PM
Sep 2013

your weapons are locked away unless you're on guard duty. At least that's the way it was in Vietnam.

 

kestrel91316

(51,666 posts)
28. IIRC that ribbon is one of the many my dad had. Of course the nicest one was his DFC.
Mon Sep 16, 2013, 05:51 PM
Sep 2013

And yeah, the only weapon he handled professionally after that was the one he had on him when flying in Nam for self defense in case he got shot down.

 

Rex

(65,616 posts)
3. They have armories to store weapons.
Mon Sep 16, 2013, 04:42 PM
Sep 2013

Unless it is a battalion of MPs, most military people are not armed with anything but their wits. Not until they go to the armory and draw weapons.

 

FarCenter

(19,429 posts)
5. Relatively few casualties result from small arms fire
Mon Sep 16, 2013, 04:43 PM
Sep 2013

Artillery, bombs, rockets, machine guns, mines, torpedoes, grenades, etc. do most of the actual killing in battle.

Tx4obama

(36,974 posts)
15. It was an office building with one way in. So, how on earth ...
Mon Sep 16, 2013, 05:00 PM
Sep 2013

... did he carry an AK47 through the front door without anyone noticing?

onenote

(43,426 posts)
22. Maybe he didn't
Mon Sep 16, 2013, 05:32 PM
Sep 2013

A more logical explanation may be that he got the assault rifle from the DC cop he shot early in the incident.

onenote

(43,426 posts)
25. three years ago, a nutjob with a rifle shot the guard at entrance to Holocaust museum
Mon Sep 16, 2013, 05:42 PM
Sep 2013

He didn't use the gun after he got through security, he used it in order to get through security.

on edit: Apparently there are recordings from security cameras at the entrance that should shed some light on what transpired.

Lasher

(27,875 posts)
16. According to my experience you are correct, but don't bet your life they are unarmed.
Mon Sep 16, 2013, 05:08 PM
Sep 2013

I have stood guard duty in the Army in Fort Gordon, GA; Fort Jackson, SC; and at Camp Nabors, in Seoul, Korea. In every case I was issued a rifle but never any live ammo.

But one time I was responsible for guarding about 20 Model 1911 .45 caliber pistols with belts, holsters, clips, and a shitload of ammo. This was because the soldiers using them had returned from the range after the armory had closed, so the weapons couldn't be secured as usual. I was left overnight with orders from the Officer of the Day to keep one of those sidearms loaded and ready on my person at all times and the rest of them under my direct control. I was under a direct order by him to relinquish those weapons only to him personally when he returned in the morning, and to kill anyone else who tried to take them from me.

Like I said, don't bet your life on it.

 

Motown_Johnny

(22,308 posts)
20. Not everybody.. but there should be armed security there.
Mon Sep 16, 2013, 05:32 PM
Sep 2013

I doubt that anyone here things the whole base is battle ready all the time.

hunter

(38,586 posts)
24. Real life is like that too.
Mon Sep 16, 2013, 05:37 PM
Sep 2013

The guy who is going to shoot you is going to shoot first, and he probably has more experience.

Fucking guns.

phantom power

(25,966 posts)
32. +oo
Mon Sep 16, 2013, 07:34 PM
Sep 2013

The rest of us, also, would like to not live our fucking lives at 'full battle rattle.' And yet, that is exactly what the NRA argument boils down to. If only we were all armed at all times, and ready to "defend ourselves," it would all be just groovy. Well, that sounds like a whole world living their lives at full battle rattle to me.

Skittles

(154,969 posts)
29. military culture is very foreign to most people, MindPilot
Mon Sep 16, 2013, 05:51 PM
Sep 2013

the vast majority of folk have never even been on a military base

bluedigger

(17,115 posts)
36. The Army still has to qualify annually doesn't it?
Tue Sep 17, 2013, 03:11 PM
Sep 2013

I would assume the Marines do as well. It's a slight exaggeration, I think, to say that "Most military people get through their entire tour of duty without ever touching a firearm after boot camp. " Maybe the Air Force and Navy, but they are not the majority of the armed forces. Your overall point is true, however. It is exceedingly rare to see weapons outside of training exercises or off the firing range on a military installation. Certainly not at a naval post devoted to naval architecture and comprised largely of DOD civilians.

Tommy_Carcetti

(43,346 posts)
37. Military bases and facilities are NOT "gun free zones."
Tue Sep 17, 2013, 03:24 PM
Sep 2013

They are "CCW free zones."

There's a major difference.

There are people with guns on these military installations. Just not private citizens, and not always members of the military.

And allowing private citizens to be armed on a military base....well, I think the stupidity of that course of action speaks for itself.

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