20 Round Magazine

20 round magazine vietnam
M16-Vietnam.jpg

At some point during my first enlistment, I acquired a 20 round magazine. The standard Army rifle magazine is 30 rounds, and the 20 round magazine was no longer issued, as far as I knew.

It was shaped differently. Instead of the banana curve in the 30 round magazine, the 20 round magazine was angled and sharp. It was also just a little lighter, and when inserted into the M4, the rifle didn’t seem to tilt or wobble while leaning against something as much as when it did with a 30 round magazine.

Of course, it held 10 fewer rounds.

While the 20 round magazine was an interesting oddity to others, it became an object of disdain to senior Non-Commissioned officers who viewed it as a totem from another dimension. They didn’t like seeing it and they definitely didn’t want me to use it.

At first, I thought they were just jealous, which I admit today, seems very Gollum-esque.

Eventually, I learned their disdain came from the fact that the magazine just didn’t belong in the standard infantryman’s load anymore. It’s time had passed. These magazine were old and would likely fail at some point.

And most importantly, by using one as a leader, it sends the wrong signal that it’s okay to use whatever you want when it comes to equipment.

I put it away.

They still look cool though.

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10 Things My NCOs Told Me That I Can’t Forget

Over the years, NCOs (non-commissioned officers) have uttered little sayings or missives that have been forever etched in my mind. Whether they are true or not is not clear. Either way, I cannot forget these little sayings, and as far as I am concerned, they are the absolute truth, simply because a good NCO told me it was so:

1. Don’t trust anyone who doesn’t drink alcohol.

What makes him so special?

2. Every day of PT that is missed requires two days to make up.

It’s not science, but he was wearing a Drill Sergeant hat.

3. A stretch is ineffective unless it is held for at least 15 seconds.

Because 10 seconds is too easy.

4. You really don’t want a CIB.*

There’s a lot of baggage that comes with it.

5. Never, ever, mention rain in the field.

If you do, it will inevitably rain.

6. Nothing good ever happens after someone says “watch this shit…”

But it is probably funny.

7. You can always squeeze in one more.

One more rep, one more person in the truck, etc.

8. If it’s stupid but it works, it isn’t stupid.

Unless it is stupid.

9. Fake it until you make it.

False motivation is better than no motivation.

10. If it smells clean, it is clean.

Pine-Sol the shit out of the latrine!

There are likely many more that I just can’t remember right now. If you’ve got some gems, please leave them in the comments.

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