Forums: Skydiving: Skydiving History & Trivia:
Any Viet Nam, Iraq or Afgan vets use a flare gun?

 


Guru312  (C 6814)

Mar 11, 2007, 3:08 PM
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Any Viet Nam, Iraq or Afgan vets use a flare gun? Can't Post

I started a subject thread in the Bonfire about signals flares called "Have you ever fired a flare gun for survival?" It just occurred to me that maybe this forum would have been the better place to put my question...so I'm asking the question again.

The specific device I mention is a hand-held signal flare device known in the military as: Illumination Signal Kit, Mk 79 Mod 0.

We developed the first units in 1963-64 so I'm wondering if any of you older jumpers, such as myself, used the 'pencil flare' or 'pen gun' flare for survival or signaling of any kind during combat in 'Nam.

During WW II and Korea the only device doing what we created was a very cumbersome gun, called a Very pistol. Our unit made the Very pistol almost obsolete.

Any of you olde farts ever use anything like that for survival?


steve1  (D 23640)

Mar 12, 2007, 11:35 AM
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Re: [Guru312] Any Viet Nam, Iraq or Afgan vets use a flare gun? [In reply to] Can't Post

My memory is about shot, but I do recall a flare of sorts, used by the military back in the 70's. If I remember right it fired a star cluster. It came in a narrow tube and you hit one end of it to set it off....Steve1


WGore  (D 3379)

Mar 12, 2007, 11:52 AM
Post #3 of 24 (1655 views)
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Re: [steve1] Any Viet Nam, Iraq or Afgan vets use a flare gun? [In reply to] Can't Post

Steve, Thats not the one he is referring to, but they were a lot of fun though. Yout tax dollars at work.

I never used one to save my ass,but the pen flare was the size of a fountain pen. The flare screwed onto the end of it and was fired by pulling a plunger back and letting it go to fire it.

Bob


Guru312  (C 6814)

Mar 12, 2007, 1:07 PM
Post #4 of 24 (1646 views)
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Re: [WGore] Any Viet Nam, Iraq or Afgan vets use a flare gun? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I never used one to save my ass,but the pen flare was the size of a fountain pen. The flare screwed onto the end of it and was fired by pulling a plunger back and letting it go to fire it.

That's correct, Bob, it came in a packet with seven cartridges in a bandaleer and was tied to the bandaleer with a nylon cord. Pilots usually kept them in their upper arm pockets.

I've had some pretty fascinating comments regarding uses via PMs which I'm going compile [without names] in a future post.

I posted here hoping to get comments from people who were in-country during 'Nam. I was lucky during and stayed state-side.


AirCav  (D 3888)

Mar 12, 2007, 1:30 PM
Post #5 of 24 (1643 views)
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Re: [Guru312] Any Viet Nam, Iraq or Afgan vets use a flare gun? [In reply to] Can't Post

Fortunatly I never had to use one but we did shoot them off at New Years and some times after drinking a little too much. If I remember correctly the projectile had a metal ball about the size of a 38 Caliber. It seems to me they would go about 800 to 1000 feet up.


WGore  (D 3379)

Mar 12, 2007, 2:07 PM
Post #6 of 24 (1637 views)
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Re: [Guru312] Any Viet Nam, Iraq or Afgan vets use a flare gun? [In reply to] Can't Post

I came down on orders to go with the 5th Mech Inf in 68 but only had 93 days left at the time so was passed over. Wasn't a lot of incentive to re-enlist, although I told them if they would guarantee me a year on the Knights that I would re-enlist. They said that they couldn't do that so I left to go back to making 400 jumps a year instead of 100.
Yeh we found lots of uses for military items especially after a few beers. I'm sure Air Cav might have had similar experiences except he was in country.
I use to run a DZ near Ft Campbell and the Warrants he brought out to learn to jump were a pretty rowdy bunch when alcohol was involved, all fresh back from Nam. Couldn't think of a better bunch of guys to go to war with though.

Bob


davidlayne  (D 3102)

Mar 12, 2007, 2:07 PM
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Re: [AirCav] Any Viet Nam, Iraq or Afgan vets use a flare gun? [In reply to] Can't Post

I remember the cylinder ones with parachute flare. We used to have them in our tower and bunker when doing perimeter duty. Could tell lots of stories about them, great fun.
Also remember setting off the same type of flares and artillery simulators when under canopy. That was when I was stationed in Germany.


Usetawuz  (D 2747)

Mar 12, 2007, 6:37 PM
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Re: [Guru312] Any Viet Nam, Iraq or Afgan vets use a flare gun? [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah. 'Nam. 'Nuff said.


HillerMyLife  (D License)

Mar 15, 2007, 4:47 PM
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Re: [Guru312] Any Viet Nam, Iraq or Afgan vets use a flare gun? [In reply to] Can't Post

Not personally but while on a tour in Iraq one of my Corpsman buddies got left behind in a house(we were in a very urban city) by his squad. So Sully goes up to the roof(almost every house in Iraq has a flat roof) to fire it off and and instead of shooting it straight up he aimed at one of our OP's(observation posts)!! It took a minute to figure out what the hell just hapened but we got him back.


1888  (D 320)

Mar 18, 2007, 11:47 AM
Post #10 of 24 (1482 views)
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Re: [Guru312] Any Viet Nam, Iraq or Afgan vets use a flare gun? [In reply to] Can't Post

Usta use very pistols at demos in the early 60,s. Would leave the door with a cartridge in the pistol, one tucked in my chest strap & a 3rd in my mouth. Fired in the direction of jumpers who had left previously who would pull a boot mounted military smoke. Each shot resulted in a different color smoke . Looked great from the ground, as if you actually shot him.


lekstrom10k  (D 3001)

Mar 30, 2007, 5:22 PM
Post #11 of 24 (1371 views)
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Re: [Guru312] Any Viet Nam, Iraq or Afgan vets use a flare gun? [In reply to] Can't Post

 I used to work for Dirty Dan the parachute man at Midwest Parachute Sales in Novi MI in the early 70's. We would find the Flare guns in the Triangle lower side flaps pocket on B/4.s. The surplus guys forgot to take them out. I remember the pull and let it snap back firing . Also the cartridges crimped like blank bullets. Sometimes the minimum survival kit too. It was a book on how to take your rig apart and make a blackjack ,tent clothes fishing hooks and line. Also for those who have seen 4 different quarter panel round reserves it was for signaling and camouflage . Back to the flares they worked great we never got around to telling Dan we found them.


algotto

Aug 28, 2007, 9:44 AM
Post #12 of 24 (1210 views)
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Re: [Guru312] Any Viet Nam, Iraq or Afgan vets use a flare gun? [In reply to] Can't Post

hello my name is buddy.i was in vietnam and cambodia and lao from 68 to 72.i never used one but i have seen them used before.i had a friend convert onr to shoot a 22 cal long rifel bullet.it was good for close range.i my self har a m204 i thank it was mounted on my m-16.and i use to shoot 12 guage flairs out of it for fun.do you have one and if so what is your plans with it.my email is algotto06@yahoo.com let me know buddy..


longtall  (D 7244)

Aug 29, 2007, 4:20 AM
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Re: [lekstrom10k] Any Viet Nam, Iraq or Afgan vets use a flare gun? [In reply to] Can't Post

my first rig was a b-4: how DO you make the rig into a blackjack? What was in the min. survival kit? ..................................J..............................


Rick  (D 28557)

Aug 29, 2007, 5:25 AM
Post #14 of 24 (1161 views)
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Re: [Guru312] Any Viet Nam, Iraq or Afgan vets use a flare gun? [In reply to] Can't Post

When I worked on the F-4 Phantom right after Nam our pilots carried these type of flares


skybill  (D 6009)

Aug 29, 2007, 6:07 AM
Post #15 of 24 (1159 views)
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Re: [longtall] Any Viet Nam, Iraq or Afgan vets use a flare gun? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Tall,
In your old B-4 rig if it wasn't scavenged too much, it had a little booklet stashed somewhere on it, title,"Survival uses of the parachute" cool stuff, like how to make nets from the lines, how to make shelters and among other things, take some of the hardware pieces and a strip of webbing and "bingo!!" a blackjack. I have a couple of these books stashed in my archives!! See above posts they make mention too.


(This post was edited by skybill on Aug 29, 2007, 11:49 AM)


AirCav  (D 3888)

Aug 30, 2007, 3:20 AM
Post #16 of 24 (1110 views)
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Re: [skybill] Any Viet Nam, Iraq or Afgan vets use a flare gun? [In reply to] Can't Post

The survival kits had all sorts of stuff in them including condoms. Anyone know what they were for? It's not the obvious.


skybill  (D 6009)

Aug 30, 2007, 6:13 AM
Post #17 of 24 (1097 views)
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Re: [AirCav] Any Viet Nam, Iraq or Afgan vets use a flare gun? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Cav,
I was a Navy Rigger circa 1967-70 Ships' company V-6 div. Paraloft on the USS Princeton LPH-5 and the USS Okinawa LPH-3 'Viet Nam cruise '68 and '70. as for the survival kits for issue there were several. None were the James bond type or the one Slim Pickins was going thru in the movie "Dr Strangelove!!" BUT there were condoms!! We called them High Speed Water Recepticles!! They were suppose to be for storing fresh water!! Well what ever floats your boat. AND they could be used for R&R in the Phillipines too- remember 'Po-town??


AirCav  (D 3888)

Aug 30, 2007, 10:20 AM
Post #18 of 24 (1082 views)
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Re: [skybill] Any Viet Nam, Iraq or Afgan vets use a flare gun? [In reply to] Can't Post

You are correct. The condoms were to be placed in a sock for support and then filled with water for a make-shift canteen. You would have to be pretty thirsty.Sly


skybill  (D 6009)

Aug 30, 2007, 11:52 AM
Post #19 of 24 (1071 views)
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Re: [AirCav] Any Viet Nam, Iraq or Afgan vets use a flare gun? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Cav,
Hoo-ya!! for the "High Speed Water Recepticle!!" As for the Mk 79 mod "O" pencil flare, with the early model, one had to make sure it was cocked before you screwed in the cartridge or when it bottomed out on the firing pin you got a big surprise!! They came out with the "A" change after that!!


diablopilot  (D License)

Aug 30, 2007, 7:35 PM
Post #20 of 24 (1058 views)
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Re: [AirCav] Any Viet Nam, Iraq or Afgan vets use a flare gun? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
The survival kits had all sorts of stuff in them including condoms. Anyone know what they were for? It's not the obvious.

Collecting rain water? Waterproof storage?


winsor  (D 13715)

Aug 31, 2007, 8:46 AM
Post #21 of 24 (1040 views)
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Re: [AirCav] Any Viet Nam, Iraq or Afgan vets use a flare gun? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
The survival kits had all sorts of stuff in them including condoms. Anyone know what they were for? It's not the obvious.

IIRC, condom-type gizmos were issued to keep water out of the barrel of one's rifle when carried slung. The results of shooting a rifle with a barrel full of water can be quite spectacular, and the use of condoms to avoid that eventuality was commonplace in some venues.

An M-16 would require a condom appropriate for a poodle, but an M-1 Garand would take a condom sized for a stallion. There were stories to the effect that opposition forces, unaware of the true purpose of the Garand-specific condoms, concluded that Americans had mutant genitalia.

Of course, there is the possibility that someone in the bowels of the Pentagon was a die-hard Boy Scout who, given the reputed moral caliber of airmen, figured that after ejection the first goal would be to get lucky and that aircrew should Be Prepared. Given the fundamentally insane nature of warfare, much more bizarre things have turned out to be true.


Blue skies,

Winsor


bozo  (D 10154)

Aug 31, 2007, 9:04 AM
Post #22 of 24 (1034 views)
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Re: [winsor] Any Viet Nam, Iraq or Afgan vets use a flare gun? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
The survival kits had all sorts of stuff in them including condoms. Anyone know what they were for? It's not the obvious.

IIRC, condom-type gizmos were issued to keep water out of the barrel of one's rifle when carried slung. The results of shooting a rifle with a barrel full of water can be quite spectacular, and the use of condoms to avoid that eventuality was commonplace in some venues.

An M-16 would require a condom appropriate for a poodle, but an M-1 Garand would take a condom sized for a stallion. There were stories to the effect that opposition forces, unaware of the true purpose of the Garand-specific condoms, concluded that Americans had mutant genitalia.

Of course, there is the possibility that someone in the bowels of the Pentagon was a die-hard Boy Scout who, given the reputed moral caliber of airmen, figured that after ejection the first goal would be to get lucky and that aircrew should Be Prepared. Given the fundamentally insane nature of warfare, much more bizarre things have turned out to be true.


Blue skies,

Winsor


Is this a....."sea story" ? Smile


AirCav  (D 3888)

Aug 31, 2007, 12:55 PM
Post #23 of 24 (1019 views)
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Re: [winsor] Any Viet Nam, Iraq or Afgan vets use a flare gun? [In reply to] Can't Post

That is a funny story and condoms may have been used to keep water out of weapons. However the ones in survival kits were primarily for flight crews who were not issued rifles , only pistols. (We did carry our own weapons but they were not issued)


mdf  (D 10103)

Sep 4, 2007, 7:01 PM
Post #24 of 24 (979 views)
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Re: [Guru312] Any Viet Nam, Iraq or Afgan vets use a flare gun? [In reply to] Can't Post

Nice to see some other "mature" folks commenting;

Never used one in Viet Nam, but carried one of these for some years in my jump gear. These were about the diameter of .38 cal round, and were replaced by a small rocket flare only slightly larger with a choice of several colors. I carried several for some years and on one water mission used it to signal a vessel to rendezvous with us so we could get closer to land for a helo transfer.



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