Thursday, April 3, 2014

Fort Hood shooting...and armed Hooahs

* Hooahs. A term of varying degrees of endearment describing the average Private; usually used by senior NCOs when speaking collectively of his charges, usually preceeded by the adjective 'fucking'.

No need to recap the shooting yesterday on Ft Hood. But the event has spurred a renewed interest in allowing Soldiers on military installations to be armed. As a matter of course, service members on duty at stateside garrisons [and overseas, excluding combat theaters] are not armed, due primarily to Army Regulation 190–14, issued on March 12, 1993 and Department of Defense Directive Number 5210.56, issued on November 1, 2001. This is of course, excluding the carrying of issued military weapons in the course of training...though this is usually absent of ammunition, unless on an active range.

There are legal provisions for some military members to be armed, in accordance with 10 U.S. Code § 1585 - Carrying of firearms, which stipulates: Under regulations to be prescribed by the Secretary of Defense, civilian officers and employees of the Department of Defense may carry firearms or other appropriate weapons while assigned investigative duties or such other duties as the Secretary may prescribe.

After the first Fort Hood shooting in 2009, some members of Congress called for allowing service members to be armed, as stated in H.R. 3199: Safe Military Bases Act. This, or a similar bill, may be revived again, after going nowhere initially.

But the bill, and the general idea of arming military members while on peacetime duty, is fraught with logistical issues. I wholeheartedly support the premise of carrying, but the duties inherent in the peacetime drudgery of military service don't always lend themselves to carrying. This begs several questions that the aforementioned bill, and the good intentions of many, don't address:

- What firearms are we speaking of ? Privately owned weapons [POW] or military issue? If POW, what type/caliber and training requirement? Believe it or not, not every service member is required to train or qualify on the standard issue Beretta 9mm pistol.

- How would this comport with exiting firearms laws for the surrounding civilian community? Many military members live off post, in the civilian community.

- How would said weapons be stored during times when a service member can not or does not desire to carry?

I could go on, but the point stands, that good ideas aside...any allowance for service members to be armed, at will...must be accompanied by a thoughful discussion of the implementation and second order effects of such an allowance.

Your thoughts?


Sense of Events is asking much the same line of questions on this quasi-proposed policy.

Sense of Events: Should soldiers on base go armed?


  1. Good post. Anyone who's done it for any length of time can testify that carrying a weapon in garrison is a pain in the ass. In Kandahar, when I was there, we had to keep our weapon with us even when working out. Could not lock it in a locker.

    I would like to see some statistics on how many people used their weapons wrongly in the CENTCOM AOR where everyone is armed.

    I don't remember anyone shooting anyone else, but I do remember that every clearing barrel at every DFAC entry had multiple bullet holes.

  2. As a matter of fact, in 2004/2005 in Afghanistan, there were more casualties from blue on blue accidental discharge than there were from enemy contact

  3. SF - From my experience in Iraq, I certainly saw the same sort of riddled clearing barrels. A key difference in the pain in the ass factor, is that in theater, there isn't the distractions of going home, time off, running to the sotre, driving your POV, etc.

    I'm not philosophically against this concept, by any means, but would be a nightmare for NCO's.

  4. The old drop magazine, pull charging handle pull trigger trick doesn't work so well when performed in the wrong order, does it? ;)

    I agree, standing around an armory at least twice a day, maybe more isn't my idea of a good time.

  5. Out in the World as I am now, one doesn't hear of the clearing barrel ADs because no one is required to load/unload every time you pass a threshold. In fact, I can't think of a single instance of ADs for concealed carry.

    I'm all in favor of carrying on base, just like outside the base, but I agree that the bureaucracy is going to have to make adjustments. Until then, our military bases will be free-fire zones just like our elementary schools.

  6. Off the cuff, I'm thinking... Service members who have reached a specific degree of proficiency through training or testing, may check out a weapon when arriving on base, and check the weapon back in when leaving.

    I think that basic premise could be refined to be workable given mass murder/mayhem only happens in gun free zones.

    1. I think curtailing the pool of people authorized to carry service pistols while on duty, may be the most efficient provide some heightened level of protection, while avoiding a massive paradigm shift in daily operations on posts and bases. I would look to senior NCOs and company grade officers...combat tested, additionally trained in active shooter response, and thoroughly vetted. Nothing will ever be perfect, and shootings may still occur....but this may be the best mitigation.

  7. Since September 2013, there have been three shootings with fatalities here in the United States inside military installations: the Washington Navy Yard (September), the naval vessel in Norfolk (March), and Fort Hood (April).

    I don't remember anything like this "pattern" occurring before these recent events.

    1. I don't either.There have always been those isolated cases, but not like this. What is also interesting, is that with the talk and concerns over PTSD....these shootings have been perpetrated by persons who have not been in direct combat, where that case could be made.

    2. The military had better get a handle on what's going on -- and damned fast, too.

  8. Replies
    1. I saw these as well. I can't help but think it's morbid coincidence, that they come on the heels of the Ft Hood shooting. We really haven't learned the motive for that, other than Lopez snapped. The Lejeune event seems like an altercation between the two Marines.

      Ironically, the USMC has just doubled down on the policy on not arming Marines on base.

    2. CI,
      I know that "events" which occur on military bases are not covered by the news. Maybe we're getting more coverage now? Or maybe there really is an alarming trend about to burst forth?

      You likely have more insight than I regarding these matters. After all, I'm merely a woman with a computer. Heh.

    3. I'm pressed to think of what would be causing a trend, since we don't believe PTSD or other trauma is at play.

      I just watched most of the memorial taking place at Ft Hood. At the very least, people like SFC Ferguson give us role models to emulate, with their sacrifice.


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