Talking with Vietnam vets is always a learning experience. They are a truly remarkable bunch of guys who accomplished a lot with very little. I am fortunate to know a SEAL who did some time during the heyday of Vietnam. Reading stories about the Brown Water Navy and SEAL/UDT Platoons in books were great but I had unanswered questions. I was always intrigued on what they did. Their exploits during liberty in the P.I. are hilarious, however what I found most interesting is what they had to work with. What was available? What worked and what didn’t? One particular piece of gear that I read about, and I believe does need mentioning is the Stoner 63. (Mike Perry has an excellent article on the subject.)
What got me curious was what they packed in their load-out. During one such conversation, the question I asked is what specifically they carried. Unlike today, assets can be called in as needed, but during the 60’s it wasn’t so easy. Long range radio communications were very unreliable most times. The River Rats (SWCC) and the Sea Wolves were used for insertion and extraction, but primarily SEAL Platoons were on their own. Recalling past missions he says that they when they geared up, they expected to be outnumbered. So in preparation, a platoon brought everything.
“On my first tour as point-man I chose to use the car-15. After a big firefight I found that I didn’t like changing magazines so I decided to go with the Stoner 63.
It was a little heavier, but with the short barrel and the 150 round left hand feed drum, it was a great weapon. With the adjustable gas port you were able to tune it to shoot 900/1000/1100 rpm. The thing with the Stoner 63 was you had to keep it clean. Shooting 1100 rpm you created a lot of carbon. The Stoner was the weapon that made a seven man squad so bad ass, it gave us the ability to take on a much bigger group. Our squad of seven had four Stoners, two M-60 machine guns, and our RTO carried a car-15 with a 203 grenade launcher. You put this all together and you are putting out over 6000 rpm. That will put the fear of God in you. The saying was “Peace Through Fire Superiority”.
Times have changed. Improved communications, and with more readily available assets, these old school load-outs are far few and in between. However, these old guys knew how to take care of business. We should lend an ear when we can, may learn something new.
(Featured image courtesy of tumblr.com)