Murphy's Law: February 8, 2001

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The rifle and pistol ammunition shortage in the army continues. All troops who are trained to use small arms (nearly everyone in the army) is supposed to fire at least a hundred rounds or so each year to maintain proficiency. Pistol (9 mm) and rifle (5.56mm) ammunitions costs about the same, fifteen to twenty cents a round. The higher price can be found at retail outlets. Although the army doesn't like to talk about this, some of the troops are just going down to Wal-Marts and buying a few hundred rounds with their own money. The troops want to be ready for war and they know that live practice with their weapons is important. Their commanders often look the other way, despite the risk of a micromanaging boss hanging them out to dry for allowing such an embarrassing solution to the shortage, and exposing the army to embarrassment. Actually, this sort of thing is an old practice in the military. Often, when critical items are not available through the military supply system, the troops will try and buy the stuff in civilian outlets. The items in question are usually inexpensive, common hardware, truck parts or things like more memory for one of the units PCs. While this sort of personal sacrifice improves unit performance, it also hurts morale and is one of the reasons good troops do not stay in uniform. 

 


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