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M-16 Tester Breaks 40 Year Silence. ‘I can’t stay quiet any longer’

#1 User is offline   jessefan 

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Posted 02 December 2003 - 11:55 AM

Take this with a grain of salt. This is the first report I've seen on this. We don't know if this guy is legit or not.
‘I can’t stay quiet any longer’
Coral Springs man talks of ‘defects’ in M-16 rifle that may be costing soldiers their lives

Published Tuesday, December 2, 2003
by Dale M. King

For nearly 40 years, a secret has been eating away at Gad Aflalo of Coral Springs.
It dogged him through the Vietnam War, through the invasions of Panama and Grenada, the first Persian Gulf conflict and now the fighting in Iraq.
“I saw an interview on Jay Leno with one of the soldiers who was in Jessica Lynch’s outfit when it was ambushed,” said Aflalo, 61, a Brooklyn native who now lives in South Florida.
“He talked about the problems with the M-16 rifle, and how it kept jamming,” said Aflalo, emotion grabbing his gut.
The former Marine was a member of the team that tested the M-16 in 1966 – before the rifle replaced the M-14 as the lead field piece in the jungles of Southeast Asia. The team, he said, deemed the MK-16 “defective,” and reported that to the Pentagon.
But the military rejected the document and went ahead and issued the M-16 to soldiers in the bogs and swamps.
Uncle Sam continues to give soldiers the M-16, though the weapon has undergone a number of changes and improvements over the years.
Among those is a second bolt or “barrel assist” to clear jammed cartridges.
Haunted by the specter of soldiers who may have died because their M-16s would not fire, Aflalo broke a nearly 40-year-old promise not to reveal the findings of those tests.
“How many soldiers’ have been shot and killed?” he asked with anguish. “How many soldiers were taken prisoner”
The Boca Raton News contacted officials at the Department of Defense on Monday, but they reserved comment on the weapon until they could review what Aflalo said.
The former M-16 tester – who still has a small Marine flag in his office – said he had just returned from Iceland when he was assigned to the ad hoc team working in Quantico, Va., late in 1966. He said the military was looking to compare the M-16 – manufactured by Colt – with the Storer weapon system. “We had to determine which would be acceptable.”
Right off, the Storer weapon seemed superior, he said, because it could be broken down and made into other weapons by switching barrels. Or they could be mounted on a tank or Jeep. The M-16 was basically a single-shot or automatic firing gun.
“We tested them for 12 weeks,” said Aflalo. “We put the information into a report and took it to the Pentagon. They said to test [the M-16] for another four weeks.”
So they did. And it continued to malfunction. “It would fire and jam. If some dirt got into it, it would jam.”
After 16 weeks, the panel went back to the Pentagon. “We went to the Marine commandant, Wallace M. Green. We gave him the report and he said ‘Crush it.’ I said, ‘Sir?’ and he said ‘Crush it. Have a nice day, gentlemen’ and walked away.”
Aflalo said he believes the military rejected the negative M-16 report because it had already purchased eight million of the rifles.He said the M-16 “is accurate. But otherwise, I wouldn’t trust it.”
In an unrelated development, the M-16 is apparently being phased out as the standard Army assault rifle because of “flaws highlighted during the invasion and occupation of Iraq,” according to WJLA radio in Washington, D.C.
U.S. officers in Iraq say the M-16A2 - the latest incarnation of the 5.56 mm firearm - is quietly being phased out because it has proven too bulky for use inside Humvees and armored vehicles. The M-16, at nearly 40 inches, is widely considered too long to aim quickly within the confines of a vehicle during firefights.
Instead of the M-16, which also is prone to jamming in Iraq's dusty environment, M-4 carbines are now widely issued to American troops, WJLA said. The M-4 is essentially a shortened M-16A2, with a clipped barrel, partially retractable stock and a trigger mechanism modified to fire full-auto instead of three-shots bursts.


#2 User is offline   reconlurp 

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Posted 11 December 2003 - 11:29 AM

Greetings to all,
First let me say that I have followed this site for many months and appreciate all the posters and the usually balanced views given by many members. I applaud the efforts of so many great Americans to honor PFC. Jessica Lynch and all men and women who are presently serving our great country, no matter where or what they do it is for the freedom we all enjoy. As the saying goes, Once a Marine Always a Marine.
As my name, ReconLurp may not be understood by some, it stands for "Reconnaissance/Long Range Patrol (LRRP). I was with the US Marine's 1st Recon Bn., during the Vietnam war, '69-'71, and endorse my fellow Marine's evaluation of the early M-16. (Please check this site for a good review of the history of the "Stoner" rifle that became the M-16, M-16A1, M-16A2, M-4, etc.)

I personally found that even with constant care the "sweet-16" was not the best jungle weapon and in Calif. desert training it was worse. Most special Ops (special or elite forces) would probably prefer rifles firing the heavier 7.62 mm ammo for the range (distance) and "knock-down" power. On two patrols my M-16A1 jammed at very critical moments, facing down a VC while trying to "Clear a double-feed" can make you grey among other things not printable. I later had the fortune to get a Russian AK-47, who's owner did not need it anymore. It NEVER jammed because it was developed for Mass fire, on full automatic on the assault, not for long range accuracy.
Many of our troops can appreciate the bad accuracy at, say over 200 meters when firing the AK-47. But at short range and with little maintainance the AK-47 does NOT stop firing. I also carried a 9mm Swedish-K submachinegun an excellent middle range weapon with good knockdown stopping power (and for firing from a Humvee, eh). I would use the Swedish-K inside the city and want the M-14 or Belgium FN rifles for distance.
(Here is another site that is about the latest Stoner designed rifle that can use AK-47 ammo and their magazines. This site is on newest Stoner weapons system.)

Well, that all for now, God bless all of you, God Bless the USA, and God D#@m our enemies where ever they are!

#3 User is offline   gwalker 

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Posted 17 December 2003 - 01:29 PM

Interesting article but no "secret".

I am an 11 Bravo (Infantryman) and 18 Bravo (Special Forces Light Weapons Leader) with now 25 years of experience with the M16 and the various civilian variations of the system. I've carried the M16 and the M4, and wrote / trained the AR-15 (civilian version of the military model) as a certified police firearms instructor ref: patrol rifles for police officers.

This said I feel capable of addressing this subject in as concise a manner as possible.

It is no secret the M16 experienced challenges during its development and fielding phases in Vietnam. Misfeeds and jamming in specific. If there were three primary causes determined these were: (1) An improper gunpowder used in the making of the 5.56mm rounds (bullets) which the rifle fires. This gunpowder was shown to cause extreme fouling of the mech. parts, hence misfeeds/jamming. The powder was changed after this flaw was determined. (2) Soldiers didn't clean their weapons daily. Too many soldiers, Vietnam or otherwise, don't clean their weapons daily in the combat environment. They just don't. In the tropics or the desert failure to clean one's weapons daily is asking to die, period. It takes little time and little equipment to properly wipe down; out; and inspect one's weapons. Too many soldiers don't take the time and too many leaders don't enforce weapons cleaning. This is a human failure, not a mech. failure. Special operations forces in Vietnam and elsewhere mandate, enforce, demand, and ensure their weapons are cleaned, serviced, and test fired before each mission. Guess what? Very few weapons problems. (3) Troops did not and do not service their weapons magazines. Most, MOST misfeeds and jams are due to poorly maintained magazines. This was true in the jungle, and it was certainly true in the desert. Troops are not trained or encouraged to take apart this simple piece of equipment, inspect it, clean it properly, and put it back together properly. Those that do have near zero mech. problems associated with magazine failure / feed failure.

I carried an M16A1 in El Salvador and never had a problem with it.

Carried an M4 (originally the CAR-15 of Vietnam era / Special Forces fame and now fine-tuned, beefed up, and truly a wonderful compact battle rifle) during Iraqi Freedom. Again, no problems. Carried / had available both an MP5K submachine gun in 9mm and AK47 "TABUK" (short version of the full size AK assault rifle). No problems as kept clean daily, lightly oiled at appropriate points, magazines checked / maintained, and rounds (bullets) inspected / wiped down / not "oiled" / replaced if deemed dinged, dented, or otherwise damaged during carry or use.

The full size M16A2 is a tough one to move around in confined spaces like HUMM-Vs, DUMM-Vs, and while doing house to house work. The M4 has proved itself reliable, sturdy, and a good platform for additional accesssories such as specialized optics, lights, and so on. Many other Armed Forces have long used a smaller, more compact battle rifle for all the above reasons. The US is simply catching on, catching up, and proving through good testing and good field experience that the M4 is a suitable system to replace the full size battle rifle as a general purpose issue item.

However, for specialized purposes the 7.62 NATO as fired in the M24 sniper system and the tried and true M21 sniper system is wonderfully effective at greater ranges AND is a penetrator where light armor and barricades are concerned. For every purpose use the appropriate tool if available.

I have posted this before. Lynch's unit did not maintain its M16s on a daily basis, nor did it fire on a daily or even weekly basis. It was a support unit. They certainly did not encourage, or necessarily even think to clean their magazines. I would not be surprised if Lynch were to be asked to tear down an M16 magazine, inspect it, clean it, and then reassemble it for use in the desert that she could. My sense is that the issued combat load, which they would have gotten just prior to departure from Camp Virginia, was never removed from their magazines once loaded, and hence never inspected or cleaned during their effort to maintain contact with the column.

Truth is many support troops tossed their rifles into their vehicles and just headed up the road.

The history of the M16 is well documented in magazines, professional journals, and books on the subject. The fellow carrying this "secret" is either well behind on his history or is a fraud/loon just trying to get some air time from some equally ignorant reporter.

There's an old saying in the Infantry that if you take care of your rifle it'll take care of you.

This is an unvarnished Truth.

Other than "stuff happening" under Murphy's Law the M16 is a good enough battle rifle if its owner/operator takes good care of it and its components.



#4 User is offline   jessefan 

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Posted 21 December 2003 - 12:45 PM

The fellow carrying this "secret" is either well behind on his history or is a fraud/loon just trying to get some air time from some equally ignorant reporter.

There are no other news reports or updates on this guy, so it is more than very probable he is a faker.
Thank you Mr. Walker for clarifying our picture of the jamming issue. There are other reports (one posted here) that say the Army is moving towards more of a "warrior ethos" for the various support troops. Presumably that will ensure that weapons cleaning will become second nature in the future.


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