barack obama, concealed carry, Gropin' Joe Biden, military installations, Navy pilots, NCIS, Pensacola Naval Air Station, terror attacks, unarmed military
For many, the attack at the Pensacola Naval Air Station has already passed into the hazy company of terrorist attacks of the past. But for those of us paying attention, particularly those who have served, it is yet another reminder of a deadly problem of long standing. The Latest.com illustrates the issue:
The Naval Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) appears on TV as an effective team of special agents. Mark Harmon and his cast are treated as reverentially as Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.’s FBI agents in the 1960s and 70s.
However, Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani’s December 6th terror attack reveals that something is seriously wrong at NCIS Resident Agency Pensacola, whose website lists its mission as: ‘Preventing terrorism and related hostile acts against DON forces and installations.’
Sadly, this tragedy did not come as a surprise to anyone familiar with the base. Pensacola NAS is the home of Naval Aviation, and a symbol of American military power. It hosts the National Aviation Museum, Barrancas National Cemetery and historic Fort Barrancas.
Nevertheless, it has been badly mismanaged. I experienced my own set of Pensacola SNAFUs last year, complained on the base commander’s website, and wrote about it on my blog.
The remainder of the article speaks largely to the author’s personal experience, but ends with a pertinent point:
For if the Navy can’t protect a Navy base, how can it protect America?
There is some truth in this question, but it requires a much larger context.
I served in the USAF during the Cold War. I was a security police officer–USAF terminology for military police–in the Strategic Air Command, the original SAC before it was decommissioned and years later, resurrected. In those days, there were two kinds of SPs: actual police officers and rivet counters. The actual cops did the Air Force version of daily policing, and also manned the gates, the public access points to the bases. The rivet counters guarded facilities, aircraft, and the missile fields. Actual cops carried Smith and Wesson “Combat Masterpiece” .38 special handguns, complete with two dump pouches containing round nosed lead ammunition. The rivet counters carried M-16s—iron sights only—and were only rarely allowed to chamber a round. Both groups drew their weapons and ammunition at the beginning of each shift, and returned them to the armory when the shift ended. Both wore badges, but neither were allowed to carry weapons unless they were actively doing their assigned duties.
To be sure, sensitive areas on base, such as weapons storage facilities, were secured, and if necessary, armed personnel could be mustered to respond to any actual attack, but apart from a small number of SPs armed with revolvers, that kind of response would take considerable time. This remains the situation on virtually all Continental US military installations. The only people armed are on-duty military police officers.
Consider this from Legal Insurrection:
Navy instructor pilots have demanded their bosses allow them to carry weapons on their bases.
The request comes after Saudi Arabian Air Force 2nd Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani shot and killed three sailors and wounded eight others. For 10 minutes, he shot up the API (aviation pre-flight indoctrination) building.
The instructors spoke to Fox News but did not provide their names because they do not have the authorization to speak to the media.
The instructor pilots said the incentive to arm was obvious. ‘We need to protect not just the pilots, but our aircraft that are worth millions.’
One pilot called base security at NAS Pensacola and other Navy bases ‘mall cops,’ because protection on the base has been outsourced to private security and many were ‘fat and out of shape.’
I have zero confidence the guy I show my ID card to at the gate could save me,’ one pilot added. Fox News spoke to three Navy instructor pilots Tuesday.
It’s an opinion shared by many across the military, including the U.S. Army; more than a dozen soldiers and an unborn child were gunned down at Fort Hood in 2009.
‘We trust 18-year-old privates in combat with grenades, anti-tank missiles, rifles and machine guns, but we let service members get slaughtered because we don’t trust anyone to be armed back here in the United States,’ a senior U.S. Army officer told Fox News.
‘Why are we cowering in our offices, it’s insane,’ the officer added.
The instructors find it ‘insulting’ that cops off base were the first responders:
‘Our message is simple: arm us,’ one pilot said. ‘We don’t want to count on cops or gate guards to save us in a crisis.’
The pilot is referring to the fact that it was local Sheriff’s Deputies that killed the terrorist, not hired security guards, and not military personnel. The public mistakenly believes our military personnel are armed and able to defend themselves. This is not true, even of our elite warriors, unless they’re in a combat zone, and even then, there are restrictions and rules of engagement. When attacked at a state side installation, our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are as disarmed as the teachers and students in any gun free zone.
I’ve often written of the reality of these situations. When someone pulls a gun and starts shooting, unless armed people are present, everyone’s life is dependent on how quickly the police can arrive, find, and engage the shooter. In other words, a great many people are going to die while whatever number of police officers available can rush to the scene. In such situations, seconds matter very much, but the police are always minutes, even hours, away. As the Pensacola attack illustrated, the same is true on military installations.
Allowing qualified military personnel to carry weapons is the obvious, rational, solution. President Trump has indicated he is interested in solving this problem; he’s even receptive to this idea. “But we can’t give guns to every 18 year-old recruit! That’s crazy talk!”
As usual, that’s reflexive anti-liberty, gun grabber rhetoric. They’d rather see people die than concede their ideas might be wrong. No one is suggesting every recruit be constantly armed. The minimum age threshold might best be 21, just as it is for handgun purchase and concealed carry status in the states. It’s certainly reasonable to think 18 year olds not sufficiently mature for this duty–trained military police being a probable exception–but allowing the arming of NCOs (non-commissioned officers) and officers would neatly solve the problem. They’re present everywhere in the military, in every shop, every post, and they’ve spent sufficient time in service and in training to presumably make them reliable. Exceptions could also be made for exceptional personnel below NCO rank.
Every branch of the military has at least basic facilities for firearm training and qualification, though some upgrades would be necessary here and there. Military handgun training—outside special forces—is reserved only for those that have a need of such arms in their Military Occupational Specialty (MOS), and that training is usually quite basic.
One of the most significant problems involved is the large number of high-ranking officers appointed by Barack Obama (see this article by my favorite Bookworm). Politically reliable desk jockeys replacing them are political warriors that displaced real war fighters, and as one might expect, they are vociferously opposed to changing the status quo. President Trump can, if he chooses, overrule them, but it would be a process demanding constant attention to ensure his orders weren’t ignored or slow walked (see this article by Bookworm).
Issues of uniformity would also have to be resolved. Could personnel be allowed to carry personal weapons, our would all have to be issued? And what of holsters, ammunition, or other accessories? Geneva Convention ammunition restrictions would theoretically not apply as such ammunition would not be used in warfare, but certainly, some would use this to try to muddy the waters. Hollow point ammunition would only make sense as military ball ammo tends to over penetrate, but effective function vs uniformity is often a military issue.
Merely allowing much more comprehensive carry would be an enormous benefit, and would provide not only real deterrence, but would save lives in a time when terrorists love to attack our military. The other details can be worked out, but providing that deterrence and defensive capability must always be the decisive factor.
We know the Left does not see the lives of students and teachers as sufficiently valuable, or politically useful, to support the arming of teachers. We may soon see precisely how much–little–love they have for our military. If Mr. Trump and his advisors are smart, this could be a very useful campaign issue. It would surely illustrate the enormous differences between the Left and Normal Americans, while exposing D/S/C loathing for our military.
Gropin’ Joe Biden certainly doesn’t support arming our military, as Bre Payton at The Federalist reports:
During a question and answer session on NBC’s “Today” show, former vice president and rumored presidential 2020 contender Joe Biden said the hero who stopped the Texas church shooter earlier this month should not have been allowed to carry an AR-15.
“With the tragedy that just happened in Texas, how do you justify the Democratic view on gun control when the shooter was stopped by a man who was legally licensed to carry a gun?” a young woman in the audience asked Biden.
‘Well first of all, the kind of gun being carried he shouldn’t be carrying,” Biden said. “I wrote the last serious gun control law . . and it outlawed assault weapons and outlawed weapons with magazines that held a whole lotta bullets so you could kill a lot of people a whole lot more quickly.’
Granted, Mr. Biden was not addressing this particular issue, but it’s no stretch to realize he is very much the doctrinaire gun grabber. He’s certainly never shown any support for the Second Amendment.
If we truly care about the lives of our service members, we owe them nothing less than the same ability to protect their lives they enjoy in war zones., the same ability citizens enjoy outside military installations. Our Islamist terrorist enemy sees the entire world as a war zone. Perhaps it’s time we did the same? If our military can’t protect our military installations…
Regarding your observations on the base shooting.. I am absolutely 100% with you on this one, Mike. Not sure I recall you mentioning your USAF SP service. I too, was an 811.. the guys who got to play “Adam-12” for the girls on base and dress nice were the LE 812 guys. It was difficult to cross over AFSC’s. Anyway, after the recent shooting and reading that the shooter was killed by sheriff deputies I said to the better half… “Why the hell are county cops responding to an on-base shooting?” I knew the answer.. we have the same issue on the Marine base at 29 Palms… security of military installations is done by outsourced civilian vendors. So much for the good old days. But even in our day, as you illustrated, we only wore a weapon when we were on duty… and turned it in to the armory at the end of the shift.
(I was allowed to attend the college extension class offered on base when I was in Iceland during my duty shift (this was 1973). I was an NCO by that time and carried the “little” S&W sidearm and after the first couple of class sessions the NCOIC of our flight told me the class instructor didn’t like me wearing the sidearm in class… so each time I attended class I had to drive all the way back to the armory to turn in the weapon…. then back again 45 minutes later after class to return to duty.)
Mike McDaniel said:
Yup. Sounds right. Because we were in SAC, we had to wear ladder laced boots with white paracord, our revolvers had fake pearl grips, and we had too wear white ascots. Pretty, but not terrible effective.
When did you serve? I was in SAC at Grissom in Indiana, McCoy in Florida.. and ADC up in Iceland. Started out in electronics tech school at Keesler in Biloxi.. but couldn’t do the math. I was a rivet counter.. sadly. (Gawd I hate the berets they wear now!)
Mike McDaniel said:
Late 70s. I served in Texas and SD. Almost got sent to Korea but they needed people at Ellsworth, which most considered a hardship post. I actually wanted to go there–I like the cold weather–and amazingly, they sent me. I always preferred the beret. Lightweight and didn’t get in the way of anything. I was born without the math gene as well.
Yep.. Ellsworth.. and why-not Minot up north. :) You were LE. Fortunately I never had missile duty. Guarded alert B-52’s and KC-135’s for SAC. Ah well.. different times. Wouldn’t have traded the experience for the world.
Military installations are far different now. Civilians everywhere.. fast food chains on base.. even Walmarts. Makes no sense to me the lack of security to save a Pentagon buck.
Mike McDaniel said:
Ellsworth because I was born in Rapid City, so it was kind of like going home. I did feel sorry for some of the kids not remotely used to the weather. There were certainly no fast food chains on base in those days.
Leonard Jones said:
NCIS triggered a memory. There was an episode where Ziva and
Tony went to a Marine base. She played an ex Mossad agent
who became an NCIS agent. She asked Tony “this is a military
base yes? He responded by saying yes. She then asked why
nobody she saw was armed. I know it is a tradition to not hand
out bang sticks to everyone on base but in places like Israel,
it is not uncommon to see some female soldier strapped with an
assault rifle off duty on the beach in a bikini.
There is no excuse for trained military police not being armed on base!
Mike McDaniel said:
Dear Leonard Jones:
I’ve not seen most of those episodes, though I’m sure Mrs. Manor would recall it.
With limited exceptions, every Israeli citizen must serve in the military. When they are on reserve duty, they draw their firearm from the armory. If they have down time, evening or weekends, they just keep it with them. It is easier than trying to turn it in to go the beach or shopping. One of the unmentioned benefits is potential troublemakers never know who may have a loaded magazine with a round in the chamber.
Reblogged this on The zombie apocalypse survival homestead.
Mike McDaniel said:
Thanks for the reblog!
Small handguns freely issued would kill a terrorist even if he also had one. Big guns are only needed when invading an enemy compound. The small 6 shot Beretta can be held in the palm of hand when answering the door at home.
One nit to pick: These policies have nothing to do with Barack Obama. I enlisted under Reagan and served under GHW Bush, Clinton, and GW Bush and those policies were consistent during my entire tenure.
The issue with the upper brass is deeper than just one president. The fact is that except during the relatively rare occasions that we were participating in a full-fledged, declared war, the upper levels of military leadership have been manned by politicians, not warriors. The exceptions during such conflicts as the world wars occurred because the politician officers proved utterly useless in leading the nation in battle and were replaced by the warriors needed at the time; but as soon as those conflicts ended, things went back to business as usual and in many cases, the warriors were relegated to back seat status (or fired outright) because they weren’t capable politicians.
There are several rationalizations for not allowing military members to be armed on base…not the least of which is that the politician officers don’t trust the military members under them. Those officers know full well that military members don’t respect them. Military members respect the rank, but not necessarily the person holding it, and that creates fear in senior officers that know full well they don’t deserve the respect of the people below them. When you screw over the people below you enough times for political expediency or personal gain, trusting them to have ready access to deadly weapons doesn’t seem like such a great idea.
I would agree, Sailorcurt. I enlisted in the Nixon era and other than on-duty base security no one carried a loaded weapon. Just because a human being is wearing a uniform does not mean he/she is above being human. The same social pressures exist in military life that can cause humans wearing uniforms to use their weapons for lashing out. The average stateside military installation is much like a small town/city with some families of personnel living on base and many “public” base facilities for general use. My issue has been that in the past couple decades the Pentagon has been trying to save a buck by opening up military installations to outside vendors assuming traditional military support roles.. like base security.. and the proliferation of fast food vendors, civilians working in the chow halls, etc. and like I said.. I’ve heard Walmart is trying to get inside. I can’t even imagine the military is vetting all these civilians at time of hire who arrive on base daily to work.
Mike McDaniel said:
As I noted, this policy was in effect in the late 70s, and even earlier. I mentioned Mr. Obama primarily because of his destructive influence on our military, one which is currently being, to at least some degree, reversed. As you noted, morale is a problem when you have people like Lt. Col. Vindman as officers, political hacks rather than war fighters.
Reblogged this on Gds44's Blog.
Mike McDaniel said:
Thanks for the reblog!
Factual, No Brass No Ammo Drill Sargeant from back in the day, Military doesn’t allow weapons because some deranged solder might get angry and start shooting.
Makes sense. That’s wha MP’s are for. Perhaps need more making the round. Thanks for the article, J.C
What Sailorcurt said.
Just stumbled on this, and so I’m adding my two cents. As an MP at Ft. Riley, we were allowed to carry a magazine (with bullets) in the pistol. we just couldn’t chamber a round unless we had to. In Germany, we weren’t even allowed to put in a magazine.
Mike McDaniel said:
Welcome to SMM. During my tour we were allowed to fill our cylinders with ancient .38 special lead roundnose, but it was more than clear that it would pretty much need to be an world extinction level event for us to actually use our six-shooters.
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