I just got your “lecture” and I don’t know if I can justify breaking the law by mailing the gun and ammo. Consequently I’ll concentrate on your other points.
Point #3 “Need.” The situation in my area is very serious. We know that there are at least 72 V.C. in the area. This does not account for V.C. sympathizers. We do not know how many N.V.A. are around because the number varies from day to day.
In other words the V.C. cadre alone outnumbers my CAP 2 to 1.
The major danger is in the fact that we are so close to the people. At any hour of the day there are about 10 to 15 Vietnamese within grenade range and 200 or 300 within easy rifle shot.
(There was little justification for my fears. When I first arrived at CAP 2, I was leery of the Vietnamese civilians, expecting many of them to be bloodthirsty VC. I learned that nearly all were neutral, some were passive supporters of one side or the other, and a relative few were active VC.)
Right now I’m sitting on a 2nd floor balcony of a house we are staying in today. My rifle is inside the house about 15 feet from where I’m sitting. The pistol is in the pocket (unbuttoned) of my camouflage jacket which is lying across my lap. If I spit over the edge I might hit one of three Vietnamese standing at the well below me.
I suppose I could keep my rifle within reach most of the time (which I do anyway) but not all of the time. Compared to the pistol the rifle (7.8 lbs, 38″ long) is too clumsy to carry.
(I later changed my mind on this subject and kept my M-16 in my hand or within arm’s reach 24 hours a day.)
The Marine Corps does not issue any more pistols than it has to. They are dangerous, inaccurate at long ranges, and much desired by “collectors.” Black market .45s are worth up to $200. My CAP leader Sgt. Burd sleeps, eats, and washes with a loaded .45 on his hip or under his pillow.
Safety – Point #4. I carry the pistol with a full clip in, but no round in the chamber. When shooting starts I chamber a round and put the pistol in the right waist pocket of my camouflage jacket. The risk seems small to me because every weapon in my CAP always has a round in the chamber and the safety on. The only exceptions are our two M-60 machine guns. I carry two grenades in the pocket of my flak jacket and I’ll carry 4 more when I can get ahold of them.
I have the unique position of being able to call in 60mm, and 81mm and 4.2 mortars, 105mm, 106mm, 155mm, 175mm, and 8″ artillery any time I feel the need. (Uh, not really. I was gilding the lily here. True, CAPs theoretically had access to that kind of firepower, but we rarely used it and had to have a damned good reason when we did.) That is what distinguishes a CAP Marine from a regular grunt. I can also call in air strikes, gun-ships, and Naval gunfire.
I have more firepower on call than any battalion in Viet Nam. (BRAGGART!)
Point #5 Inspections — We have no inspections.
If we did, my superiors are in no position to bust me for an unauthorized weapon. My captain carries a 12 ga. shotgun loaded with 00 buck shot. The geneva convention (we are signatories) forbids the use of buck shot. Shotguns are unauthorized in the U.S. Armed forces. My CAP leader carries an unauthorized .45 cal. The captain’s driver carries a 9mm Swedish K submachine gun, also unauthorized. (Sea lawyer!)
Point #6 Getting it home — I originally intended to try and bring the gun home. Now I’m not so sure. It’s dangerous and not good for anything but close range people shooting. I think I’ll leave it here unless somebody (Mom) raises a really serious objection.
I don’t think a pistol is worth having unless you think you’ll have the necessity of using it on a man.
Gun’s don’t really scare me. Other people’s guns do. I KNOWthat there is a round in the chamber of my rifle and that it is on safe. I’m not sure about other people’s weapons so they do scare me.