Veterans Interest - Page 18
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-- Palin: "This Bureaucracy Is Killing Our Vets" - 2/26/15
-- Defense Bill Adds New Child Custody Protections - 12/19/14
-- VA Begins Second Phase of Choice Card Mailings - 11/21/14
-- Tricare For Life Pharmacy Update - 2/7/14 and 2/21/14
-- Hand Salute by retirees and veterans not in uniform - passed 2008 congress
-- Navy Message about sequestration - sounds like castration - posted 3/5/13
-- The Rough Riders’ Potato Digger - 2/27/2013
-- New Long Distance Kill Shot Record - posted 3/3/13
--

 Palin: "This Bureaucracy Is Killing Our Vets"

2/26/2015 Cortney O'Brien Townhall.com

It's always a booming full house when former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin takes the CPAC stage. This year, however, the applause was saved for her son Track and his fellow soldiers and veterans who have bravely served our country.

When the country's most famous Mama Grizzly spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference Thursday afternoon, she used her remarks to honor our nation's finest.

As a military mom, Palin knows a thing or two about the sacrifices our young men and women make every day fighting for our freedom overseas. Unfortunately, she somberly noted, our veterans face a whole new set of challenges when they return home. Be it PTSD, unemployment, or staggering divorce and suicide rates, our soldiers are in danger just as much off the battlefield as they were in combat. You only have to consider this one statistic Palin provided to understand the threats they face:

"The suicide rate among our best and our brightest is 23 a day. In these four days, 92 vets will have taken their lives."

Palin, however, knows our vets are not "charity causes," as Dakota Meyer, a former Marine Corps corporal who introduced her, noted. She knows first hand how those first deployments feel - that moment when he goes from a "son" to a "sir," as she put it.

After honoring her son and the rest of our nation's soldiers, Palin spent time shaming our bureaucrats.

"They're promised no one is left behind on battlefield...We're here to collect on the promises made. This bureaucracy is killing our vets."

With revelations that the Veterans Administration put our veterans on secret waiting lists and even dared to withhold benefits from them, that statement may be truer than we may like to believe.

As to why these scandals only recently broke, Palin knows the answer.

"The reason you don't hear about these scandals, is because our vets don't complain."

The former governor offered a few solutions as to how America could better serve our returning soldiers.

1. Offer vets treatment outside of the VA. Vets deserve the same freedom as their fellow Americans when it comes to treatment. What's more, Palin said, we must ensure that illegal immigrants don't jump in front. "We demand that the vets are first in line."

2. Let them use skills they learned in the military. She called this "common sense."

3. Secure their well earned benefits. Almost unbelievably, Congress voted to cut vets retirement benefits last year. They only relented, Palin recalled, when the American people spoke up. Notably, she added, these same legislators didn't vote to cut their own.

"We must provide our vets the political will to win."

Palin couldn't speak about our vets and national security without calling attention to the very real threat of the Islamic caliphate that our president continues to dangerously minimalize. Because terrorism is "on the march" all over the world, there is but one solution, Palin said.

"The only thing standing between us and savages, is the red, white and blue - the United States military."

Palin ended her speech by asking veterans in the crowd to stand so the audience could salute them, proclaiming, "We love you!"

Our soldiers are our suited protectors. In summary, I have to echo Mrs. Palin: "Our vets deserve better."

http://townhall.com/tipsheet/cortneyobrien/2015/02/26/at-cpac-sarah-palin-thanks-americas-finest-n1963018?utm_source=thdaily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=nl&newsletterad=
 

 Defense Bill Adds New Child Custody Protections:

December 19, 2014

Included in this year's annual defense authorization bill is a new rule that
prevents state judges from using military deployments against troops in child
custody cases. According to Military Times, versions of the measure have
passed in the House 12 times since 2007, but Senate and Pentagon objections
have repeatedly sidelined the changes, primarily because military leaders
wanted the states to voluntarily adopt their own regulations dealing with
military custody issues. Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) and former Kentucky
National Guard Capt. Eva Slusher said those efforts do not account for the
transient nature of military life. After waging a successful two-year fight
all the way to the Kentucky Supreme Court, Slusher had pushed for a national
law to prevent others from facing the same heartbreak. "This is about having
peace of mind," she said. "When you're deployed, there are so many things to
deal with. Worrying about your kids shouldn't be one of them." This action now
fulfills VFW Resolution 414, passed by delegates attending the VFW’s 113th
National Convention, which urged Congress to prevent permanent changes to
child custody arrangements while service members are deployed. Read the
Military Times article at:

http://www.militarytimes.com/story/military/capitol-hill/2014/12/15/ndaa-military-custody-fights/20303991/
 

 VA Begins Second Phase of Choice Card Mailings: The Department of Veterans Affairs began mailing Veterans Choice Cards this week to veterans currently waiting more than 30 days from their preferred appointment date or what is considered medically necessary by their physicians. This follows the initial mailing earlier this month of Choice Cards to veterans who reside 40 or more miles away from a VA facility. The VA has prioritized efforts to get veterans off of waiting lists and into clinics through the Accelerated Care Initiative begun over the summer. Through this initiative, VA medical centers have increased access to care inside and outside of VA, added more clinic hours and work days, deployed mobile medical units, and shared individual VA facility best practices throughout the organization. For more information about the Choice Program, call 1-866- 606-8198 or visit http://www.va.gov/opa/choiceact/

 Tricare For Life Pharmacy Update: Beginning Feb. 14, TRICARE for Life beneficiaries will be required to fill maintenance medication prescriptions through the TRICARE Home Delivery (mail-order) pharmacy system. The change stems from the recently passed FY 2013 Defense Authorization bill and is designed to save money by lowering costs for both beneficiaries and DOD. For instance, a 30-day refill of generic medication costs $5 at a retail drug store, but a 90-day refill through the mail-order pharmacy is free. For name brand medications, the cost is $13 for a 90-day mail-order refill versus $17 for a 30-day refill at a retail store. Beneficiaries living near a military hospital or clinic can continue to fill their prescriptions there and do not need to enroll in the mail order program. Additionally, nursing home patients and those with other prescription coverage are also exempt. Beneficiaries may opt out after using the mail-order refill system after the one-year trial period. TRICARE is currently reaching out to affected beneficiaries. You can enroll online or over the phone at 1-877-363-1303. For more information or to sign-up, go to http://www.tricare.mil/Home/Pharmacy/FillPrescriptions/HomeDelivery.

UPDATE

7. Tricare Pharmacy Update: The VFW received an update from Express Scripts, the pharmacy contractor for TRICARE, about the TRICARE for Life one-year mandatory home delivery pilot program. The only medications that are required for home delivery under the program are name brand maintenance medications. Generic maintenance medications and all short-term medications can still be filled at local retail pharmacies. Other key exceptions to mandatory program participation include veterans residing overseas, in nursing homes, and veterans with other health insurance plans in addition to TFL. Other exemptions and one-time overrides may be granted by Express Scripts on a case-by-case basis. To request a waiver, call Express Scripts at 1-877-363-1303. For more information, visit their website at http://www.express-scripts.com/TRICARE/TRICAREForLife/.
 

 Hand Salute by retirees and veterans not in uniform:   SEC. 594. CONDUCT BY MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES AND VETERANS OUT OF UNIFORM DURING HOISTING, LOWERING, OR PASSING OF UNITED STATES FLAG.
Section 9 of title 4, United States Code, is amended by striking `all persons present' and all that follows through the end of the section and inserting the following: `all persons present in uniform should render the military salute. Members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute. All other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, or if applicable, remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Citizens of other countries present should stand at attention. All such conduct toward the flag in a moving column should be rendered at the moment the flag passes.'.

 

 I have come into possession of a document you will want to read.

FRCMA_Aircraft_Dept_Msgs
Subject: 022300Z MAR 13 R DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY RESPONSE TO SEQUESTRATION//
Importance: Low

UNCLASSIFIED//

R 022300Z MAR 13 DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY RESPONSE TO SEQUESTRATION// SECNAV
WASHINGTON DC

TO ALNAV

INFO SECNAV WASHINGTON DC
CMC WASHINGTON DC
CNO WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS
ALNAV 014/13
MSGID/GENADMIN/SECNAV WASHINGTON DC/-/MAR// PAGE 02 RUEOMFL2337 UNCLAS
SUBJ/DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY RESPONSE TO SEQUESTRATION// RMKS/1. LAST NIGHT,
BECAUSE NO BUDGET DEAL HAD BEEN REACHED, THE BUDGET CONTROL ACT REQUIRED
SETTING IN MOTION THE AUTOMATIC, GOVERNMENT-WIDE CUTS KNOWN AS
SEQUESTRATION. GIVEN THAT REALITY AND THE ASSOCIATED IMPACT OF BUDGETARY
UNCERTAINTY IMPOSED BY AN INDEFINITE CONTINUING RESOLUTION, THE DEPARTMENT
OF THE NAVY INTENDS TO COMMENCE SOME REDUCTIONS IMMEDIATELY.
2. NAVY PLANS TO:
A. SHUT DOWN CARRIER AIR WING TWO (CVW-2) IN APRIL. THIS WILL INITIATE
THE PREPARATIONS TO GRADUALLY STAND-DOWN FLYING IN AT LEAST THREE ADDITIONAL
AIR WINGS WITH TWO MORE AIR WINGS BEING REDUCED TO MINIMUM SAFE FLYING
LEVELS BY THE END OF THE YEAR;

B. DEFER USNS COMFORT HUMANITARIAN DEPLOYMENT TO CENTRAL AND SOUTH
AMERICA, "CONTINUING PROMISE 2013", INCLUDING SUPPORTING SHIPS, SEABEES, AND
MEDICAL UNITS;
C. CANCEL OR DEFER THE DEPLOYMENTS OF UP TO SIX SHIPS TO VARIOUS PAGE
03 RUEOMFL2337 UNCLAS AORS THROUGHOUT THE MONTH OF APRIL;
D. LAY UP FOUR COMBAT LOGISTICS FORCE (CLF) UNITS IN PACOM STARTING IN
APRIL;
E. RETURN USS SHOUP (DDG 86) TO HOMEPORT EARLY AND NOT PROCEED AS USS
NIMITZ (CVN 68) ESCORT TO CENTCOM;
F. RETURN USS THACH (FFG 43) TO HOMEPORT EARLY FROM DEPLOYMENT TO
SOUTHCOM.
3. WE WILL ALSO IMMEDIATELY:
A. BEGIN NEGOTIATING CONTRACT MODIFICATIONS TO DE-OBLIGATE EFFORTS FOR
ANY INVESTMENT PROGRAMS FOR WHICH THE REMAINING UNOBLIGATED BALANCE WILL BE
INSUFFICIENT AFTER THE SEQUESTRATION REDUCTION IS APPLIED. MAJOR PROGRAMS
AFFECTED INCLUDE VIRGINIA-CLASS SSN ADVANCE PROCUREMENT, REACTOR POWER
UNITS AND JOINT HIGH SPEED VESSEL (JHSV 10);
B. COMMENCE FINAL PLANNING TO SLOW MARINE CORPS DEPOT MAINTENANCE
ACTIVITIES, INCLUDING REDUCTIONS IN THE NON-PERMANENT WORKFORCE;
C. CANCEL MARCH INTRODUCTORY FLIGHT SCREENING FOR FUTURE PILOTS/NFOS;
PAGE 04 RUEOMFL2337 UNCLAS
D. ANNOUNCE INTENT TO CANCEL BLUE ANGELS SHOWS SCHEDULED FOR APRIL
2013 [FOUR SHOWS: MACDILL AFB (TAMPA, FL), NAS CORPUS CHRISTI TX, VIDALIA
GA, MCAS BEAUFORT SC];
E. CEASE NEW USMC ENROLLMENTS IN VOLUNTARY EDUCATION TUITION
ASSISTANCE;
F. CANCEL MARCH NAVY RECRUITING MEDIA SUPPORT AND REDUCE THE MAJORITY
OF ADVERTISING CONTRACTS AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE UNDER CONTRACTUAL CONDITIONS.
4. THESE ACTIONS ARE BEING TAKEN TO PRESERVE SUPPORT FOR THOSE FORCES
STATIONED OVERSEAS AND CURRENTLY FORWARD-DEPLOYED.
REDUCTIONS IN LOWER-PRIORITY FORWARD OPERATIONS, AND SIGNIFICANT
REDUCTIONS IN ALL OTHER OPERATIONS, TRAINING, AND MAINTENANCE ARE THE
RESULTS OF THIS SELECTION PROCESS. WE MADE THESE CHOICES CAREFULLY, WHILE
TRYING TO PRESERVE OUR ABILITY TO REVERSE OR QUICKLY RESTORE NEGATIVE
EFFECTS IF AND WHEN FUNDING IS RESTORED.
5. ACTIONS WE HAVE TAKEN TO DATE WILL CONTINUE, TO INCLUDE THOSE AFFECTING
THE DEFERRAL OF MAINTENANCE FOR USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN 72); THE DEFERRAL
OF REPAIR WORK FOR USS MIAMI (SSN 755) AND USS PAGE 05 RUEOMFL2337 UNCLAS
PORTER (DDG 78); THE DELAYED DEPLOYMENT OF USS HARRY S TRUMAN (CVN
75) AND USS GETTYSBURG (CG 64); THE CIVILIAN HIRING FREEZE; THE PLANNING
FOR CIVILIAN FURLOUGHS; AND THE REDUCTION OF ALL TRAINING NOT RELATED TO
THE READINESS OF DEPLOYED OR NEXT-TO-DEPLOY FORCES.
6. NAVY DEPARTMENT LEADERSHIP UNDERSTANDS THE UNCERTAINTY THAT
THESE AND OTHER DECISIONS CREATE BOTH AMONGST OUR PEOPLE AND IN THE
DEFENSE INDUSTRY UPON WHICH WE RELY. THE LACK OF A LEGISLATIVE SOLUTION TO
AVOID SEQUESTRATION IS DEEPLY REGRETTABLE. THAT SAID, WE MUST ENDEAVOR TO
DEAL WITH THE SITUATION AS WE FACE IT, NOT AS WE WISH IT COULD OTHERWISE
BE. WE WILL CONTINUE TO KEEP THE SAFETY AND WELL-BEING OF OUR PEOPLE
FOREMOST IN MIND, EVEN AS WE TRY HARD TO KEEP WHOLE THE FORCE STRUCTURE
WHICH SUPPORTS THEM. WE WILL ALSO CONTINUE TO KEEP THE FLEET AND FLEET
MARINE FORCE FULLY INFORMED AS FOLLOW-ON DECISIONS ARE MADE.
7. RELEASED BY RAY MABUS, SECRETARY OF THE NAVY.//


 

 Roosevelt’s Rough Riders

2/27/2013    By Philip Schreier, Senior Curator, NFM

The Rough Riders’ Potato Digger

“Roosevelt’s Rough Riders” took two Colt-Browning machine guns to Cuba in 1898. One is now on display at the National Firearms Museum.



This past summer, I travelled to New England and New York to secure photos and information in preparation for the National Firearms Museum’s new exhibit “Theodore Roosevelt: Trappings of an Icon”, in which the National Park Service generously loaned the NFM more than 100 artifacts from Theodore Roosevelt’s family home, Sagamore Hill on Long Island’s Oyster Bay.

I had been invited to visit with Terry Brown, then the executive director of the Theodore Roosevelt Ass’n, at the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site, at 28 East 20th St. in Manhattan. It was here, overlooking Gramercy Park, in 1858, that the future 26th President of the United States was born. Brown was excited to show me the “TR in ’12” exhibit located in the beautiful Manhattan brownstone. The display chronicled the Presidential campaign of 1912 when TR broke from the Republican Party and formed the Progressive Party, or “Bull Moose” party as it was popularly known.  

Of particular note, Brown thought I would be interested in the Colt Police Positive .38 revolver John Schrank used on Oct. 14, 1912, to shoot TR in the chest shortly before he gave a speech in Milwaukee, Wis. Bleeding from the wound in his right side, TR stood before an audience of thousands and read from his bullet-riddled speech for 90 minutes before he would allow himself to be taken to a hospital. TR’s quote “It takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose” became a rallying cry for the rest of his ill-fated campaign. I was unaware of the Colt and was excited to see that it was on public display. I immediately began efforts with Brown to secure its loan to the NFM at the conclusion of the exhibit. (Alas, that was not to be).

On the way out of the basement exhibit area I glanced around the room and spied a familiar tripod-mounted gun half hidden in a dark corner. With only a small black-and-white photograph mounted to the wall to illustrate its significance, I was surprised to see a Colt Browning Automatic Gun Model of 1895 (Commonly referred to as a “potato digger” for the motion of its operating piston). Brown asked, “What do you think of the Gatling Gun!” With wild enthusiasm, I replied, “Could it possibly be one of the Rough Rider ‘potato diggers?’” I took a small SureFire flashlight out of my camera bag to illuminate the receiver so I could see what was written on it. My hands shook nervously as the light brought the words into view.

Presented to the 1st U.S.V. Cavalry [Rough Riders]
by L. and S. Kane
Las Guasimas June 24th, San Juan July 1, Santiago [siege of] 1898

Here was one of the two potato diggers that were in Cuba with TR and the Rough Riders. Brown and NPS Ranger Michael Amato could see that I was suddenly unnerved. They both moved in closer to see the inscription. On the top of the gun was the serial number, 161. This was most definitely the gun I had read so much about.

Brown assumed I knew about the four Gatlings supporting the Rough Riders at San Juan Hill. We have one of the four on display in the current exhibit courtesy of the recent Robert E. Petersen gift. I also knew where two of the other three were located and had even fired one of them in Kansas a few years ago with Jim Supica the director of the NFM. But this was not a Gatling; it was a potato digger and, as TR wrote in The Rough Riders (1899): “Our regiment had accumulated two rapid-fire Colt automatic guns, the gift of Stevens, Kane, Tiffany, and one or two others of the New York men … .” Most writers have since just referred to the Model 1895’s as “the Tiffany guns” supposing that the Tiffany mentioned by Roosevelt was Louis Comfort Tiffany, whose Oyster Bay estate, Laurel Hollow, was close to TR’s Sagamore Hill. They have also, mistakenly, referred to Louis Comfort Tiffany’s son William Tiffany, a trooper in the 1st U.S.V.

William Tiffany was actually the son of Newport, R.I., scions George and Isabella Tiffany, who donated one of the two guns to the regiment. He was promoted to sergeant commanding the two Colt-Browning machine gun section and was later promoted to lieutenant following his actions on July 1, 1898.

Aside from Roosevelt’s mention of the guns in his book, and few sparse mentions in other contemporary accounts, there is little modern scholarship on the subject available. I know of no published photographs of either gun made after July 1898. Their whereabouts have been unknown to the general public until the Kane gun went on display at the NFM in October 2012. I had been to the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace Site a number of times and would have certainly noticed this iconic firearm if it had been previously on display.

Some may ask, why all the fuss, what is so special about a seemingly lost potato digger? This was the very first automatic machine gun ever used by the U.S. Army in combat. This was the gun that ushered in the dawn of a new century and changed the face of military combat for the next 100 years—the U.S. Army’s first “big stick.”

Dolf Goldsmith’s The Browning Machine Gun, Volume I states that the Rough Riders’ Colt Model 1895, serial numbers 161 and 164, were delivered to the American Ordnance Co. of New York, N.Y., on May 12, 1898, and they were chambered in 7x57 mm Mauser. Tiffany’s section of 16 men took 4,000 rounds of ammunition with them to Cuba.

Remember The Maine!

After the sinking of the U.S.S. Maine in Havana harbor on Feb. 15, 1898, the United States declared war on the Spanish empire. Theodore Roosevelt, then assistant secretary of the Navy in President William McKinley’s cabinet, resigned his post to raise the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry, soon to become known as “Roosevelt’s Rough Riders.” Men were selected from the polo fields of Harvard, Princeton and Yale, and they were accompanied by cowboys, bronco busters, sheriffs and a few Indians from the western frontier. Together they formed one of the most unique and diverse units in American military history. They gathered at the State Fairgrounds in San Antonio, Texas, to train for combat, receive horses and their military equipment. Ever the firearm enthusiast, TR made sure, through his connections in the War Department, that his men were armed with the newest Model 1896 Krag Jorgensen magazine-fed, smokeless powder rifles in .30 Gov’t (.30-40 Krag). After a month of training they were sent to Tampa, Fla., and then embarked for Cuba.

On June 22, the Rough Riders landed in Cuba and began to march inland. Their first fight occurred on June 24 at Las Guasimas. It wasn’t the Model 1895’s first combat use as on June 14, the U.S. Marine Corps’ First Battalion, C Company, used four .236 USN Model 1895 Colts taken from the U.S.S. Texas, at the battle of Cuzco Wells near Guantánamo Bay.

On July 1, the Rough Riders made their historic charge up Kettle and San Juan Hills. TR would call this his “crowded hour,” an event that in 2001 would finally earn him the Medal of Honor for his leadership that day. Though little is mentioned of the unit’s two Colt Model 1895s, TR makes reference to the Gatling Gun Battery that had been formed by Lt. John Parker of the 13th Infantry. Back in Tampa, Parker had managed to secure four new Colt 1895 Gatling guns, serial numbers 1040, 1041, 1042 and 1043 from Gen. Shafter’s Chief of Ordnance, Maj. John T. Thompson (yes, that Thompson). Parker found his unique unit attached to the cavalry division and supported its advance up San Juan Hill. Once up Kettle Hill, the Rough Riders turned their attention to storming the heights of San Juan Hill. Soon an ominous noise rose from the field of battle. TR wrote: “One or two of the men cried out, ‘The Spanish machine guns!’ but, after listening a moment, I leaped to my feet and called, ‘It’s the Gatlings men! It’s our Gatlings!’ Immediately the troopers began to cheer lustily, for the sound was most inspiring.”

TR added: “From thence on, Parker’s Gatlings were our inseparable companions throughout the siege. They were right up at the front. When we dug our trenches, he took off the wheels of his guns and put them in the trenches. His men and ours slept in the same bomb-proofs and shared with one another whenever either side got a supply of beans or coffee and sugar. At no hour of the day or night was Parker anywhere but where we wished him to be, in the event of an attack.

The Rough Riders’ Potato Digger

“Roosevelt’s Rough Riders” took two Colt-Browning machine guns
to Cuba in 1898. One is now on display at the National Firearms Museum.

By Philip Schreier, Senior Curator, NFM

The most detailed accounts of Tiffany’s gun crews come from Parker in his book The Gatlings at Santiago (1898): “On the morning of the 2d of July a handsome young soldier, in the uniform of a Rough Rider, approached the battery commander, saluted, and said, ‘Col. Roosevelt directs me to report to you with my two guns.’ Inquiry elicited the fact that the young trooper was Serg. William Tiffany, that he had command of two Colt’s automatic rapid-fire guns, with a crew consisting of Corp. Stevens and six men, and that he had 4,000 rounds of 7-millimeter ammunition.

Four thousand was not a very large supply for two guns which could fire at the rate of 500 shots each per minute. Fortunately, the Gatling Gun Detachment had found time, on the 1st of July, to collect about 10,000 rounds of Mauser ammunition in the captured trenches, and a comparison of the Mauser with the 7-millimeter ammunition at once disclosed the fact that it was precisely the same ammunition which Tiffany had brought along for his guns. The problem of ammunition supply for Tiffany’s guns was solved. He now had 14,000 rounds, and his guns became a very powerful reinforcement at this point. Serg.

Tiffany and his men had carried these guns from Siboney to the firing-line upon their backs. How they got the four boxes of ammunition through they themselves could hardly tell.” Roosevelt clears up the issue by writing: “Tiffany, by great exertions, had corralled a couple of mules and was using them to transport the Colt automatic guns in the rear of the regiment.” Of the effectiveness of the combined Gatling and Colt Model 1895 battery, TR wrote that the dynamite gun that was also attached to the unit made good work of busting up Spanish fortifications, when it actually worked. A dynamite gun round, Roosevelt related, “… struck a big building, from which there promptly swarmed both Spanish cavalry and infantry, on whom the Colt automatic guns played with good effect during the minute that elapsed before they could get other cover. These Colt automatic guns were not, on the whole, very successful. The gun detail was under the charge of Sergeant (afterward Lieutenant) Tiffany, assisted by some of our best men, like Stephens, Crowninshield, Bradley, Smith, and Herrig.

The guns were mounted on tripods. They were too heavy for men to carry any distance and we could not always get mules. They would have been more effective if mounted on wheels, as the Gatlings were. Moreover, they proved more delicate than the Gatlings, and very readily got out of order. A further and serious disadvantage was that they did not use the Krag ammunition, as the Gatlings did, but the Mauser ammunition. The Spanish cartridges which we captured came in quite handily for this reason. Parker took the same fatherly interest in these two Colts that he did in the dynamite gun, and finally I put all three and their men under his immediate care, so that he had a battery of seven guns.”Despite their shortcomings, TR did find them to be useful during the two-week siege of Santiago that followed the July 1 charge up San Juan Hill. He wrote of the Spanish sharpshooters harassing their lines with effective suppressing fire:“[O]ccasionally we would play a Gatling or a Colt all through the top of a suspicious tree, I but twice saw Spaniards brought down out of their perches from in front of our lines—on each occasion the fall of the Spaniard being hailed with loud cheers by our men.  ”As far as active engagement during the siege, TR wrote: “Almost the only Rough Riders who had a chance to do much firing were the men with the Colt automatic guns … Parker had a splendid time with the Gatlings and the Colts. With these machine guns he completely silenced the battery in front of us.”Parker had high praise for Sgt. Tiffany and his men during the siege. His book is complete with detailed maps marking the exact position of each of the two Colt Model 1895s as well as his own Gatlings. Once in the trenches he wrote: “[Tiffany] and his men now succeeded in placing his guns in the trench, and, from that time until the end of the fight, they could hardly be induced to leave them long enough to eat; they didn’t leave them to sleep—they slept in the trench by the guns.”On July 17 Santiago finally surrendered and the work of the Rough Riders was finished in Cuba.

Sadly, they remained in their entrenchments for another month before they were shipped home to Camp Wikoff on Montauk Point, the eastern edge of Long Island. During the month of inactivity, many men of the regiment came down with “Cuban Fever.” Nineteen would perish, almost as many died from malaria as from Spanish bullets. On August 25, while recovering in Boston, Lt. William Tiffany died and was deeply mourned by Roosevelt and the rest of the regiment still quarantined on Long Island.With Tiffany’s death and the disbandment of the 1st U.S.V. Cavalry on Sept. 15th, 1898, all mentions of the two Model 1895s disappear. The discovery of serial number 161 in July of last year has sparked renewed interest in the historic use of these two machine guns. The most interesting developments have come from the clues the gun itself has left us. The inscription “L. & S. Kane” led to more research. Roosevelt noted the two guns were gifts to the regiment from: “Stevens, Kane, Tiffany, and one or two others … .” William Tiffany was made sergeant of the machine gun detachment, Joseph S. Stevens was made a corporal. This leaves Kane, who was Captain Woodbury Kane of K Troop. In the photograph of the two Colt 1895s taken at the San Antonio fair grounds in late May 1898, Tiffany and Stevens are identified in the group photo. One mustachioed gentleman on the far right is unidentified but is certainly Capt. Woodbury Kane. Kane was a friend of TR while he was at Harvard, was one of the country’s foremost polo players (as was Stevens) as well as an accomplished sailor, having crewed the America’s Cup entry to victory on more than one occasion.

As the great-grandson of John Jacob Astor, he was a man of privilege and wealth. He was also adored by his two doting older sisters, Louisa Langdon Kane and Sybil Kent Kane. The first machine gun ever used in military combat by the U.S. Army was a gift from two women who adored their younger brother and presented his unit with the finest in military firepower available at the time.TR’s original birthplace site was demolished prior to World War I. After his death, The Roosevelt Memorial Ass’n (as it was then known) rebuilt and restored the brownstone as homage to the late, venerated colonel of the Rough Riders. The home was transferred as a gift to the American people by the renamed Theodore Roosevelt Ass’n, along with Sagamore Hill, to the U.S. National Park Service in 1962.

The NPS records reveal that the Colt Model 1895 was in the inventory of the home upon its acquisition in 1962. When the TRA acquired the gun and from where is unknown, and the location of the other “Tiffany” gun (number 164) is still a mystery.The National Park Service has generously loaned the Colt Model 1895, number 161, to the NFM to include it in the popular “Theodore Roosevelt: Trappings of an Icon” exhibit. The gun will be on view through September 2013. “Trappings of an Icon” will continue on display indefinitely.

The NFM is located at NRA Headquarters in Fairfax, Va. Admission is free and the museum is open to the public every day except Christmas from 9:30 to 5:00.  

 
 

 New Long Distance Kill Shot Record (8,120 Feet/2,706.67 Yards)

3 Mar 2013    From: Customboattops@aol.com

Here is something that has been in the news the last few days. A British Army soldier by the name of Corporal Craig Harrison, of the Household Cavalry, set a new record for the longest shot in combat. Twice. Cpl. Harrison fired two shots at Taliban machine gunners in Afghanistan . They were confirmed via GPS to be 8,120 feet from Cpl. Harrison's position. That is 1.54 miles. More than a mile and a half.

To make it even more astounding, the range was almost 3,000 feet beyond what is considered the effective range of the weapon. At that range the bullet takes around 3 seconds to reach the target.

The previous record was set in 2002 for a sniper kill at 7,972ft. That shot was made by Canadian Corporal Rob Furlong, of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, who was using a .50BMG McMillan TAC-50 rifle.


Harrison accomplished this feat with the weapon pictured, a L115A3 rifle. The weapon is manufactured by Accuracy International in Britain and is chambered in the .338 Lapua Magnum cartridge. This is significant because the previous two shots that held the world record were with weapons chambered for the .50BMG. The .338 is a cartridge designed for accuracy and power beyond the range of the older 7.62mm rifles. It has a much flatter trajectory, which makes the complex trigonometry problem of finding the right arc to lob the bullet onto the target much easier. It is one of several other "lighter" rifle rounds like the .300 Win Mag., .416 Barrett, and .408 CheyTac that have been designed with extreme long range shooting in mind. Of especial importance is the velocity past 1000 meters, the shape of its trajectory and how long the cartridges stay supersonic.

The Accuracy International Arctic Warfare .338 is a bolt action, detachable magazine-fed, precision rifle. The rifle is about 15 pounds, unloaded and without optics. It can mount a variety of telescopic sights, laser designators, and night vision or thermal sights. In British service, it usually mounts a S&B 5-25x56mm day scope. The extra-large objective lens size of 56mm gathers a lot of light, making shots possible in the dawn, dusk, or into the shadows. The L115A3 can also mount a suppressor, helping to reduce the report flash and dust from the powerful rifle. The barrel is free floated for increased accuracy and is fluted for strength and cooling without excessive weight.

You don't get all that performance cheap though. News reports put the rifle at around $25,000. But if you put it in the right hands and it can hit a sized target from 4500 feet. More importantly, even at extreme range, the bullet retains its power, hitting with more force than a .44 Magnum at 25 feet.

"It was just unlucky for the Taliban that conditions were so good and we could see them so clearly. We saw two insurgents running through its courtyard, one in a black dishdasha, and one in green. They came forward carrying a PKM machine gun, set it up and opened fire on the commanders wagon. The first round hit a machine gunner in the stomach and killed him outright. He went straight down and didn't move. The second insurgent grabbed the weapon and turned as my second shot hit him in the side. He went down, too. They were both dead."

Cpl. Harrison had a memorable tour of duty, making the two impossible shots, having a bullet deflect off his helmet, and surviving an IED blast that broke both of his arms. He is reportedly healing well, and has returned to duty.



Corporal Harrison