Remember the old addage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?” In military and law-enforcement duty, the force of that axiom is a matter of life and death. Grim stats, like those that show a high percentage of police officers killed with their own weapons, send a message loud and clear: Retain your gun or die! The rub is that training in weapon retention to prepare against a savage attack involves a great deal more attention than simply finding a way to stow the weapon on your duty rig. What about the ability to use it?
A powerful example of misguided “prevention” is provided by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, the “Day That Will Live in Infamy,” as President Roosevelt called it.
In charge of Army forces on Oahu, including the Army Air Corps, was Lt. Gen. Walter Short. During the months leading up to the attack on Pearl, Gen. Short became obsessed with the idea that in case of attack, the greatest danger to U.S. forces would come from sabotage. A great many Japanese-Americans lived on Oahu, and Gen. Short decided that they were more of a threat than enemy air attacks.
Gen. Short ordered that all aircraft, including fighters, be parked in tight groups, easier to guard than in scattered positions. That “plan” was great if you were one of the GIs walking guard duty, and, of course, it was just fine with the Japanese on Dec. 7. They were able to efficiently strafe and bombed most of our planes to pieces before counter-attacks could be launched.
It’s the Boy Scout motto, you know: “Be Prepared!” But professionals, military and law enforcement, face the daunting task of living up to much more difficult tasks than Scout priorities like sharpening knives and keeping firewood at hand. Their training must stress a level of preparedness needed for extreme missions—when the stakes are as high as they possibly can be.
The pages of this issue reflect, big time, how today’s crack, multi-tasked, military and civilian combat units are our front lines of prevention against terrorist invaders, punk criminals, and whackos armed to the teeth and out for blood. The hot issue of gun retention gets full feature treatment, with do-or-die techniques for close-quarters combat. We have covered off-duty firearms, carry rigs, and skills the pros can count on 24/7 if needed. Our features focusing on special-unit training take you inside prison walls where corrections officers are broadening and sharpening training activities; with fast-response units that must deal with the ever-growing numbers of new-age, hyperviolent “madmen”; and onto our rail systems where spec-ops units are preventing terrorist transit takedowns. One of the greatest attack-prevention, recon planes we’ve ever had gets a special tribute in a feature on the Navy P-3 Orion, the “Cold War Hunter,” retiring now to be replaced by the Boeing P-8A Poseidon.
As usual, this issue’s pages include training features, such as: A close-up visit with the founder of the USMC Sniper School and a look back at the “Silent Warrior” snipers of Vietnam; “Tidewater Warriors,” Navy Spec-Ops training—and much more. New weapons and gear include the first look at the Army’s laser beam weapon that takes out incoming artillery; the .338 Lapua Surgeon, the rifle called “The Best Tactical Option”; a “one-shot-kill” sniper rifle microchip; and the first look at a new “Multi-Mission Battle Rifle,” the assault rifle that doubles as a light machine gun.
Earlier, we were talking about Pearl Harbor. When considering our tribute to the Navy P-3 Orion, we can’t help but fantasize: Had the Orion been guarding Pearl, the Japanese fleet would have been spotted and probably destroyed before launching their sneak attack.
Remember the old addage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?”…
by Andrew Berry / Sep 12, 2008