Donald Huard, the author’s father and a veteran of both the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps, examines an M-1 Carbine from his son’s collection. Photo: Paul Huard
Today in War Is Boring, my article examines the gun that nobody wanted to give up: The M-1 Carbine.
This wasn’t a hard story to report and write. The M-1 Carbine is one of my favorite weapons, iconic in its own way not only because of its use during World War II but also because of its service during the Korean War (correctly nicknamed “the forgotten war”) and Vietnam. One of my favorite uses of the carbine was in its M-2 variant, a select-fire weapon that pumped out 900 rounds a minute in full auto. In Korea, GIs and Marines carried the M-2 on night patrols, sometimes pairing it with the Sniperscope, the first night-vision optic ever put in the hands of American servicemen. To use the language of the age, there are a lot of dead commies because of that weapon system.
So, if you are interested in cool guns and military history I hope you give the article a read.
This has been a tough year for the blog. I’ve had little time to write and my injured arm made typing a painful, difficult chore for months. However, like the old cowboy too stubborn to stop roping cattle I am back in the saddle again.
One recent project involves contributing to the on-line magazine War is Boring. The brainchild of war correspondent and author David Axe, who wrote the “Danger Room” blog for Wired, the site is an eclectic collection of independently reported stories on all aspects of war, the military, military history, and foreign policy. (By the way, the linked article about Axe explains the improbable name of the on-line magazine.) I recently wrote two stories: an article on how a WWII GI was misidentified as a German soldier, buried with his enemies, and declared MIA for nearly 70 years until DNA tests revealed his actual identity; and a story on the diplomatic and personnel skills of Eduard Shevardnadze as revealed in recently declassified documents from former Soviet and White House sources. I particularly enjoyed reporting and writing the latter story since it allowed me to return to my roots as a student of Russia and the Soviet Union, the topic that was my introduction to undergraduate history studies 30 years ago.
War is Boring is part of Medium, the news and culture group of Twitter.
I hope this is the beginning of a long association with the magazine, which would allow me to write about the military affairs issues so near to my heart and intriguing to my mind.
OK, I realize that purists (as well as the U.S. Army) celebrate June 14 as the anniversary of the formation of the Continental Army by the Second Continental Congress, a year prior to the Declaration of Independence as tensions between colonists and Great Britain began to increase in New England. Contrarian that I am, I argue that today should be the anniversary because that is when George Washington was appointed Commander-in-Chief. The men who fight make an army — I in no way want to minimize that fact. But the Continental Army really takes shape under Washington, who repeatedly led his men without surrender against the British in the first successful anti-imperial revolution, organized the Army in ways that exist to this day, and served as the embodiment of the Army’s values of courage and selflessness despite the overwhelming odds faced by every U.S. soldier. Washington always respected the civilian command structure (he was subordinate to Congress) and his greatest moment as a soldier was when he voluntarily relinquished power, surrendering his sword, disbanding his army, and returning to civilian life with no expectation of political power as a reward for his service. The U.S. Army at its best still maintains those ideals and fights to defend the ideals of this nation. Besides, if we celebrate the Army’s birthday today the anniversary is not swallowed by another worthy patriotic celebration, Flag Day. But whatever the day, Happy Birthday to the nation’s oldest branch of service, the one that first fought so the ideals of the Declaration would become an independent reality called the United States of America.