On October 6, Colonel Mario Campos, (L) USAF Retired, past Flight Captain of the General Nichols Flight of the Daedalians in nearby El Paso, briefed his fellow aviators about the last 75-year history of small arms weapons and their legacy in the Air Force. After his PowerPoint-supported talk, his audience agreed they learned things they never knew, even when on active duty. Remember to simply click on any photo below to see it in full resolution and full size. 2 short videos (A brief 1:00 minute long highlight, and a 10-min. cut of his one-hour presentation, follow below the still photographs.
The scheduled speaker for this Luncheon was canceled, so Colonel Mario Campos stepped in with his PowerPoint Presentation about the history of Air Force small arms, entitled, “75 years of USAF Small Arms.”
The following description of the presentation was written by Colonel Bob Pitt.
Mario began by pointing out that while the Air Force has a rich and well-documented history of its major weapon systems since its birth in 1947, little has been written on the small arms the Air Force has used during that period. He also pointed out that the Air Force has been instrumental in the acquisition of small arms that have had an impact on all the other services. He limited the discussion to personal arms and excluded crew-employed machine guns, light machine guns, mortars, handheld rockets, and so on.
He described the period of 1947-1956 which included the transition of the Army to Air Force small arms. He went over the history of the M1 Carbine and the Colt M1911A1 as the primary weapons adopted by the Army during this period. He also covered the M1 Garand, but primarily of its use as an Air Force competition and ceremonial weapon.
Mario then transitioned to the 1956-1990 period by highlighting some unique firearms like the .22 Hornet M4 and .22/.410 M6 Survival rifles. He then went on to give the history of the Air Force’s transition to the Smith and Wesson “Combat Masterpiece” .38 Special and the Snub-Nosed .38 Special as the Air Force’s primary handguns for Security Forces (Police) – and Aircrews.
Colonel Campos then described the Air Force’s role in acquiring one of the legendary battle rifles still in use today . . . the M16. He described how Gen Curtis LeMay was the first of the service chiefs to recognize the value of the weapon and, after being initially rebuffed, it was the Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, who ordered all services to use the M-16.
Mario also went through the different Air Force versions including the Colt Model 604 (M-16) and the XM177E GAU-5 (M-16 Carbine). He also went over the Air Force’s continuing use of the Remington 870 Shotgun.
Finally, Mario transitioned to 1990 and beyond when the Air Force adopted the M-16A2, Beretta M9 pistol, M4 Carbine, M24 Sniper System, M11 pistol, and now the Sig Sauer M18 pistol and the HK 417 Designated Marksman Rifle. He ended the presentation with a description of the new Aircrew Survival Weapon, a foldable M4 Carbine that fits in aircrew survival seat kits.
Here, below, are a short video (1 minute) highlight of Colonel Campos’ hour-long presentation, and a 10-minute version. Please excuse the problem with the variation in the lighting in some sections.
“Full-screen” mode won’t work on the first video clip, but it will on the YouTube version.