Once upon a time, I commanded a 105mm Firing Battery in the National Guard.  We went to Fort Riley for Summer Camp one year and I got my first introduction of how unofficially they were required and discouraged at the same time.  For training, everyone was issued their weapon that was required by the TO&E (Table of Organization and Equipment) and we carried them for training.  They did have blanks for the M-16 but nothing for the .45's carried by the officers.  

Most of the time, things went well in training and there was no mixture of live ammo and blanks. There was a unit training at Fort Sill that had some soldiers ambushed and live rounds were mixed in to the fray.   Thank god that when red tracers started to fly someone had the good sense to stop.

Near the end of Camp, one of the Battery Officers was selected to be the Class A Agent to go draw the pay for our unit.  The requirement was that he be armed and that he had two armed guards as there was a pretty considerable amount of money issued.  Officially, we had no live ammo, but for years when it came time to send armed guards after the pay, a mysterious source for ammo was found.   I found out later when I went full time that most units had at least one or two magazines of  M-16 and .45 ammo in the battery safe for that very reason.   So, it was illegal to have but required.  

Much later on in my Military Career, I saw one day that the XO of my Battalion had live ammo for his .45.  It was a funny little round that had a plastic nose and had what looked like shot gun pellets in it.  I asked him about it and he said that the year before he was "attacked" by a rattle snake and would never be without snake shells again.  Again illegal but required.

One year I was the President of the National Guard Association and our association was to purchase a 9mm pistol for the Honor Graduate of our State OCS.  While I was looking around, one of the guys from Wichita told me that his friend had a gun shop and would discount them to Police Officers and Members of the military.  The price was good and while I purchased one for the Association, I bought one for me.  

Right after they arrived, our unit went to the pistol range.  I had been a member of the State small bore (.22) team but always had problems with the worn out .45's the guard units had.  I took my pistol to the range and used it to qualify.  Right out of the box, never having fired it before, I missed qualifying expert by one round. I fell in love with the 9mm Beretta Model 92F right there and then. I never failed to qualify expert after that with my pistol.

A couple years later, I went to summer camp and I took my own pistol and in the ammo pouch there was two magazines of live ammo.  I carried a spare empty magazine in the pistol to keep the dust out of the inner workings.  Late one day I was cleaning my pistol over in the sleeping tent and one of the guys  saw my two magazine pouch for the Beretta on my pistol belt.  No One in the unit had been issued one and he opened the snap down flap and was shocked that I had live rounds in the the magazines.  I didn't think anything about it until later on that person mentioned it to one of the General Officers.  He asked me about it and I told him about the requirement to have ammo for the Class A Agents.  He accepted my response and I forgot about it altogether.

A couple of weeks after we got home from Camp the Adjutant General had the Chief of Staff send me down to his office.  He asked me about the live ammo and I reminded him that the MP's that were there to guard him were not armed with live ammo and I would be willing to bet that every General Officer armed with his own personal weapon had live rounds.  I then informed him about the requirement for the Class A Agent to be armed and at that I was dismissed.  Again something was required but illegal. 

If you want to call me a regulation breaker, I am your Huckleberry.   

COL, (Ret)

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