Parenting and Phony Ranger stories

| August 3, 2011 | 35 Comments

Blackfive sent us this Salon link last night that he received from a B5 reader. It’s about some chick who meets a Ranger in a bar who tells her the story of a training accident that happened when he was a young LT;

While my dad and mom were zooming down I-35 listening to Creedence, my dad’s friend — we’ll call him Joe Trevor, the same guy I met in the bar 20 years later — led a group of soldiers, Team A, in a mock-ambush of a military vehicle full of soldiers, Team B.

Team A’s job was to jump out from hidden positions along the side of the road and “kill” all the soldiers on Team B as they came by in a tactical vehicle. Team A checked out guns full of dummy ammo from the supply personnel on duty at the arms room that night and headed out to the ambush spot on one of the many dusty roads that crisscross the training areas of Fort Sill. But the ammo was live, and before they realized what was happening, Team A killed — really killed –seven American soldiers on Team B. A friendly fire episode.

Yeah, a real tagedy…if armorers issued weapons already loaded. Soldiers load their own weapons and magazines, and they’d probably be able to notice the difference if they were loading live ammunition as opposed to blanks. The short round with no bullet in the middle of this picture is blank ammo;

In the event he was talking about M14s and not M16s, the round on the far right is 7.62 blank in this picture.

But, you get the idea, the ammunition is distinctive for a reason, so no one loads live ammunition when they intend to load blanks. And like I said, armorers don’t issue weapons with the ammunition already loaded. Even if they did, don’t you think that a soldier would look in the magazine and notice the live ammo at some point?

And she keeps calling it “dummy” ammo. The big difference between dummy ammo and live ammo is that dummy ammo doesn’t make a *BANG* noise when you pull the trigger – it’s inert.

Yeah, this Constance Squires made up the whole story, for some stupid reason, because only someone who knows absolutely nothing about weapons and procedures in the Army could come up with this fantasy bullshit to write about parenting. Stay in your lane, Constance. Now your daughter knows you lie.

ADDED: Anonymous reminds me in the comments that the rifles would require a big red and noticeable blank firing adapter to make the rifles fire properly in semi- or full-auto mode and would have prevented a bullet from reaching their intended target and would have exploded in the barrel of the weapon.

TSO Adds: Well, it gets interesting…..

From the Trial:

UPDATE: OK, so the story is 1/2 bullshit, and 1/2 true. It was only one rifle loaded with the live rounds, and it didn’t happen at all the way the chick said. A LT borrowed the weapon, didn’t know what he was using. Said he fired it in the air. Later it turned out to be loaded with live rounds, and he had blown the BFA off the end of it. They actually found the BFA in pieces later on. Going through reports of the trial now.

The whole edited and researched story.

Category: Shitbags

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Don’t forget about the big red blank adapters.

  2. J.M says:

    I agree that the story sounds like complete BS.

    BFAs are designed to break apart if used with live rounds to protect the weapon and the firer. The first shot usualy breaks apart the BFA, but any subsequent rounds fired should fire normally. That’s why at places such as JRTC and NTC, strict control measures are supposed to be taken to prevent mixing live and blank ammunition. Almost every friendly fire incident that happens in these types of situations involve a soldier who had a magazine of live ammo left over that got left in his gear and mixed in with the mags of blank ammo.

  3. Daniel says:

    My question is:

    Wouldn’t the death of 7 Soldiers and the resulting Court Martial of a LT result in any sort of media coverage, especially in the late 60s?

    I know the answer but how can Salon even print this article without any other corroborating evidence?

  4. Claymore says:

    I’m thinking I may recount my own “ranger in a bar” story…it’s pretty cool…he was part of a patrol that got wiped out by the enemy and he was wounded pretty badly and left for dead. He was discovered by this local kid who nursed him back to health, but once healed up, the guy decided to go back into the field and carry out his sworn duty. Not wanting to tip off the bad guys as to his identity, he donned a mask and went after these evil doers all by himself…one lone ranger. True story.

  5. Old Trooper says:

    “Constance Squires has been nominated for Best New American Voices, the O. Henry Prize Series, and several times for the Pushcart Prize, in addition to having her work featured in the Atlantic Summer Fiction issue.”

    So, she’s good at writing fiction? Who woulda thunk it?

    The part about the Lt. being responsible for checking equipment is partly right, but the PS and squad leader are also responsible for checking equipment, but the final, most responsible person is the individual soldier and I never loaded rounds in my weapon that I didn’t know what they were.

    Why did she tell this story if the narrative was supposed to be about parenting? Or, was that just a smokescreen to take a stab at smearing soldiers? If you read the story, you come away thinking that the only person responsible for the “tragedy” was the Lt. and that the enlisted folk firing the weapons were mindless troglodytes that couldn’t function enough to go to the latrine without receiving instructions from the Lt.

    Same bullshit, different day.

  6. Old Trooper says:

    Well, Daniel, I did a search and could find no friendly fire incidents of that nature anywhere for Ft. Sill between 1967 and 1970. The only thing I did find was a mishap on an artey piece that caused the death of 1 soldier.

    If anyone on this board knows of such an incident taking place at Ft. Sill in those years, speak up.

    I smell bovine scattology all over this story.

  7. AW1 Tim says:

    Absolute BS. The other option, however, is that it wasn’t the author that made up this story, but the “Ranger” she met in the bar. She’s another stupid leftist female who muckled onto a story because it fit her worldview and was too good to actually fact check, so she ran with it.

    Leftists aren’t interested in facts that get in the way of their agenda(s).

  8. TSO says:

    Someone is saying there is an article at the LA Times Archive about the deaths of 2 troops in this story. Apparently you need to purchase it. If anyone can find what they are referencing, I will plop down my CC and buy it right off.

  9. TSO says:

    Hmmm
    Jun 28, 1967 – Two soldiers were killed and one was wounded when they were am- bushed by simulated aggressor forces during a training exercise at Ft. Sill, Okla.

    It’s in the LA Times Archive and I ain’t gonna buy it.

    —slashdot Read slashdot’s other letters

  10. Biermann says:

    “The supply clerk on duty in the arms room who issued the live ammo instead of the dummy ammo was a private so ditzy the Army didn’t know what to do with him.”

    Taken off of KP to issue live ammo????? LOL, wow when I was in the AF and if I remember correctly, the SP’s that didn’t conform to standards were placed in the chow hall and told to stay away from the butter knives.

  11. NotSoOldMarine says:

    This type of stuff happens. It was only a couple years ago a Lance Corporal, so proud to be in his new recon unit playing by “big boy rules” down in Pendleton, loaded a live mag instead of a blank one during a nighttime exercise and shot another Marine in the head. It blew the blank firing adapter right off the end of the LCpls rifle and killed the other guy. This sounds like this story got inflated and changed some overtime but I buy the premise without any difficulty.

  12. NotSoOldMarine says:

    Edit:

    Here’s the Marine story link. I misremembered, the guy was a Sgt, no less.

    http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20070502/news_7m2algrim.html

  13. Dave Thul says:

    Even had the ammo been pre-loaded, how could you not notice the difference in weight between ball and blank? Or if the blank and ball was mixed together, the first ball round would destroy the blank adapter, and every other blank round would have to be manually ejected.

    The newspaper article sounds more to me like someone who settled a grudge intentionally with live ammo, then claimed he thought it was blank instead. Remember, we are talking about the 1960′s when morale and discipline in the Army were a bit different than today.

  14. Jonn Lilyea says:

    Well, at least we know the real name of “Joe Trevor” – George Lovelace. Two dead and one wounded is less than seven dead. And the “Ranger” isn’t even wearing jump wings (I know there were “leg” Rangers, but a new 2LT? Not likely). 2/79th Artillery is a strange designation for a Ranger unit. So is the 593rd Engineer Co.

    It looks like Lovelace is wearing Air Defense Artillery branch insignia – not usually a Ranger-heavy branch.

    And a 2LT who is not “familiar” with blank ammo shouldn’t have been anywhere near this exercise. I don’t know anything about a BFA for an M14. The closest thing to an M14 I ever fired was the XM-21, the experimental sniper version, and we didn’t need to fire blanks through it, so that’s outside my area of expertise. Nonetheless, blank 7.62 ammo is distinctive and any of the troops should have recognized the difference.

  15. Scott says:

    Wow, NSOM, I expected to click on the link and read a different story. An almost identical incident happened right around the time I was going through SOI and the division (if not the whole Corps) changed the rules so that blanks and live rounds were not to be used in the same training day.

    http://www.armytimes.com/legacy/new/0-ARMYPAPER-1356988.php

  16. Doc Bailey says:

    I’ve heard of people getting a flash burn by being too close to the barrel when a blank goes off, but I’ve never heard of someone accidentally loading green tips in with blanks. Different Mag I could see. One thing I don’t think anyone else has pointed out; if you don’t have the BFA on there the rifle WON’T cycle. As preciously mentioned the BFA will break apart if regular ammo is used. While it is possible, its HIGHLY unlikely, and I think its most often a case of faulty reporting or a grade A jackass that doesn’t do his PCI/PCCs

    Either way if this were an LT, He’d have done a lot of time for killing 7 soldiers.

  17. NotSoOldMarine says:

    re #15

    A Force Recon Marine too, geez. The article even brings up the weight difference. Those two articles are eerily similar.

  18. NotSoOldMarine says:

    re #16

    That’s how the adapter is supposed to work but it doesn’t always. Read Scott’s link.

  19. Old Trooper says:

    You’re right, NSOM, this does happen, however, it did not happen 7 at a crack, unless it was an errant artey shell that falls into a squad or platton and from what I read, while researching this story, it didn’t happen in garrison so much as it happened in the war zone.

  20. Old Trooper says:

    Did anyone notice that in the news strip TSO provided, they say “dummy bullets”, quoting an Army spokesman? How many military people don’t know the difference between “dummy” and “blank”? I wonder if that is the reporter’s use of words, instead of an actual quote? Also, Lovelace wouldn’t have relayed the story to include the words “dummy bullets”, either.

    This whole narrative that the chick tells is full of holes.

  21. NotSoOldMarine says:

    re #19

    That’s probably true, which is why I said I believed the premise even if I thought it had been inflated and changed overtime.

  22. TSO says:

    I have the whole story now, except how the trial turned out. Looking into that now, although assuming he got off. Will draft it all up at some point, but it is rather complicated. but yeah, looks like Butterbar was a moron *short story* and didn’t realize he had live rounds. Also didn’t realize his first shot blew the blank adapter off, and though it was a weapons malfunction. They, a vehicle went by and he opened up on it.

    This was just a case of an LT trying to make the thing more realistic by requesting extra ammo, and somehow live ammo got added to it. The story is WAY different than the Salon one, and her Dad should feel zero guilt. In fact, the LT shouldn’t feel much. I was your standard ammo goat fuck.

  23. TSO says:

    Thursday Sep 7, Ada Oklahoma News:

    BULLETIN
    FT. SILL (AP) — Army Lt.
    George B. Lovelace was
    found innocent today by a court martial
    board that returned the
    verdict after about 1 ½ hours of
    deliberation. He had been
    charged with negligent homicide in the deaths of 2 soldiers
    in a training problem

  24. Old Trooper says:

    True, NSOM.

    TSO; so the only one that shot live ammo was the LT? Yeah, it’s way different than the Salon article. I’m still trying to figure out how that story had anything to do with parenting to begin with?

  25. Chuck Z says:

    No shit, there I was, true story. Flying 65,000 feet, inverted in a seven-g negative dive, in a huey with a slingload. I had air medals dangling in may face and couldn’t see a damn thing. I had all of sixty cents in my pocket, but there wasn’t a coke machine in sight.

    But… you wouldn’t understand. You weren’t *there.*

  26. Old Trooper says:

    Chuck; you only pulled 7gs? Pussy.

    :)

  27. Doc Bailey says:

    Nope Chuck Z I haven’t a clue what you’re saying. That’s ok. Let me tell you about the time I no shit killed 100 Jaysh al Mahdi, and ALMOST got Sadr with nothing more than a rusty Machete.

  28. Orion says:

    My memory of being on that truck while the Force Recon Rangers attacked us is seared – SEARED – into my memory! I’ll never forget how they slaughtered us all as we begged them to stop firing live rounds…Of course, we were all killed.

    Orion

  29. DaveO says:

    I work on Fort Sill, and will say this about firing incidents: they happen. The Gospel of Safety and Accuracy doesn’t prevent crap from happening.

    On a lighter note: now we know where one urban legend began.

  30. NHSparky says:

    Do weapons accidents happen? You better believe it. Even in a job where I don’t see things go “BANG” very much, we still had to qualify on weapons (M-16, .45, and 12-gauge shotgun.) You can imagine how our TM1 reacted when a ST on my first boat doing weapons quals managed to put a shotgun shell in the ejection port BACKWARDS and STILL managed to rack the slide all the way forward. Guy was lucky he didn’t blow his leg/hands/whatever off.

    Our security force at the power plant I work at does a lot of “force-on-force” drills using MILES and blanks. Blanks are supposed to be kept separate, but a few months ago, a live round was found with the blank ammo. Oops. Not a good day for the security guards. But at least they caught it.

  31. Coldwarrior57 says:

    Well second hand he said stories are rarely true. Now its been a LONG time since I was in the service and I was just a mechanic in USAF. So I know exactly DICK about this situation that being said , I find it hard to beleive that they had LIVE rounds in an exercise of this order. LIVE rounds in this arena ? Doubt that all to hell. He borrowed the weapon? again Who and why did that one person have LIVE rounds. The person he “borrowed” it from didnt tell him it had live rounds? I am a NUT about gun safety, EVERY gun, rifle, shot gun, sling shot, even spit wad straw is LOADED and ready to go. When you pass it to some one you INFO Them of the condition of your weapon. At least that how I was tought in USAF basic training.

  32. ret7army says:

    The M14 blank firing adapter (BFA) consisted of a piece of flat metal with a hole at one end that slipped over the bayonet lug. It had a 90 degree bend in it which went in front of the muzzel, in this portion there was a metal tube soldered (?)in. Some of them were rounded off a little above the muzzle while others curved over making a trap for the M14 blank rounds’ wad to strike.

    It was attached by inserting the metal tube into the muzzle of the M14 and then snapping the bottom onto the bayonet lug. Cheap, worked fine.

  33. Faith+1 says:

    I was at The Graf in Germany for Yet Another Reforger (USAF testing C2 systems, not part of the shooting side) exercise when at the end of an exercise we had to be locked down and couldn’t go home because some Army Lt lost his M9. They were locking it down because apparently he had also loaded it with live ammo–which you weren’t supposed to do unless you were heading to the live fire range. Especially since the exercise had ended the day before and there wasn’t even a reason to be carrying the sidearm in the first place….

    No one was shot, but I know a number of people who would have been gunning for the Lt if they had chance. Grafenwöhr ain’t the most luxurious place to be stuck at for an extra 2 weeks.;-)

  34. Red Haze says:

    Sorry for being so late, just happened on this.
    I knew George Lovelace. He was in my class at OU and we were in ROTC together. He was our classes’ DMG (Distinguished Military Graduate) and was headed for great things in the Army.
    As for: “While my family prospered, Trevor worked in a liquor store and sold OU cozies out of the back of his pickup truck.” Untrue. George Lovelace, after being acquitted, went ahead and completed 20 years in the Army, retiring as a Major.
    Finally: Major George B. Lovelace III of Norman died Saturday, June 9, after an extended battle with cancer.

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