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September 19, 2007

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Join the Navy, Steal a Gun?

Here is a smallish news story that further illustrates these facts: a) the government is a chief supplier of a lot of the dangerous stuff the government doesn't want us to have and: b) the press, upon which we rely for our news of the military, knows hardly anything about the military.

The story, written by one Todd Richmond, who works for the Associated Press, carried the headline "EX-NAVY CLERK PLEADS GUILTY IN GUN CASE." I read that and thought, Wow, some Petty Officer Third Class managed to steal a bunch of guns. Promote him to Master Chief.

So then I read a little further and found that the squid in question, a Lieutenant David Carmel, was actually a supply officer on the U.S.S. Shrike. (Memo to the fact checker at AP, if there is one: A supply officer is not the same thing as a supply clerk. An award is not the same as a decoration. A marine is not a soldier, and vice-versa. And on, and on.)

While on active duty, the enterprising Lt. Carmel obtained hundreds of laser sights, machine-gun parts, and night vision goggles that he wasn't entitled to. This seemed odd to me, as I can remember having to sign a loyalty oath, swearing that I would not make fun of Lyndon Johnson's semi-beautiful daughters, in order to buy a field-jacket liner from the Army in 1964. "Uh, this is Lieutenant Carmel on the Shrike. I'd like to requisition all the M-60 and SAW parts you have, and a bunch of NVGs, and some laser sights, and a ham on rye, hold the mustard."

Apparently the Navy hands this stuff out to whoever wants it. But give them credit. Carmel was caught, and asked to leave, but since becoming a civilian has expanded his scope of operations. He was found to have 60 unregistered machine guns (not mere parts), plus a rocket launcher, artillery shells, and dozens of grenades. Carmel faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced on November 27.

However, this would be a tragic waste of talent. Commission him in the Army and put him in charge of getting the troops up-armored HUMVEES, or something like that. They could use a man with his kind of initiative.


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The real tragedy here is that we have a mere dribble off the tip of a very large iceberg. Talking to an aquaintance who is a member of law enforcement on the 'Left' coast I was shocked to hear that the armories of Fort Lewis Washington seem to supply far more weapons to the most dangerous gangs than do legitimate retailers. For a while the gangs would actually have members JG (junior gangster) join Uncle Sam's Army for a hitch just to steal all that they could.
The mainstream press dare not get too deep into this one for fear of their own behinds not to mention the political fallout. We should be pushing for a change to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) to allow capital punishment for theft of weapons if those same weapons are used in a homicide. We should also demand much better accountabiliity for weapons by our military (and police forces) both for our own safety and because our tax dollars are being pilfered.


Good idea on the humvees for sure.


Upon learning that one of my friends had been in charge of the ship's store on a carrier, I asked, "Were you one of those guys protrayed in the movies who could get anything for anybody?" His reply was, "What do you have and what do you want?" Such captialistic individuals should be rewarded and encouraged.

Dave Petzal

I saw this on a supply cage in 1964. Never forgot it:

"Beware of the sergeant who is known as Supply,
for his tongue is false, and Satan dwells in his heart.
He will smile and smile, and work all manner of evil against thee."


Marine is ALWAYS capitalized, as it is a TITLE, not a noun.


ps... I was supply and I was the most popular girl in the company. I thought it was my charm - apparently it was my ability to "get anything for anybody" Alas... there goes the charm theory!


wish it was that easy for me to get my hands to get our hands on that kinda stuff, and im in the navy. i dont need 60 machine guns just one.


When I was on active duty in the Army they kept extremely good accountability of weapons. I doubt someone could steal one very easily.

Dr. Ralph

I have never served but have many veteran or enlisted friends. I can testify that munitions, arms and body armor can and do find their way into the civilian marketplace at an astounding rate. Knew an old Colonel once who used to give me all the .308 ammo I wanted, and sold the holy crap out of cigarettes way too cheap...


"However, this would be a tragic waste of talent. Commission him in the Army and put him in charge of getting the troops up-armored HUMVEES, or something like that. They could use a man with his kind of initiative."

Funny, thats exactly what I was thinking before you wrote it. Great minds do think alike.

Clay Cooper

Man this seaman is stupid! Didn’t he learn anything from Johnny Cash how to take a Cadillac home! Apiece here and apiece there chances are good you’ll get away with it providing it’s not serial numbered?

It’s ok to be stupid, but this guy really abused the privilege. I knew better to take things from work. Especially when I found out my next door neighbor was an OSI Agent and was investigating my shop! Sure glad I kept my nose clean! One year latter, they dropped the hammer on several guys in the shop and I was in Okinawa Japan. Can you say BUSTED!!!

Clay Cooper

I had a supply troop and the nearest available F-15/16 engine part was in Italy, 90% of the time he would have me a main fuel pump or anything else I needed in 30 minutes, NO JOKE!


How bout the shipment of Glocks that "disappeared" in Iraq only to reappear in the hands of the insurgents?
Perhaps it's the Govt that shouldn't be allowed to own firearms?


AMEN, Dave!

JA Demko

Back when the AWB was still the law of the land, I knew of more than one guy in the Army who "suplemented" his income by selling M-16 magazines. They're considered a disposable item, apparently, and there was/is no great effort to keep track of them. There's not much incentive to liberate and sell them now; but back when a used 30-rounder sold for $20 or more at gunshows, it was a pretty low risk way to make a few bucks.


Howdy there,

As a classmate of Carmel's from USNA, I always thought there was stomething strange with him. Now I never really thought there was anything wrong, so to speak, but this guy did have a fascination with guns. He used to go from dorm room to dorm room looking at everyone's drill rifle (an beat up and broken M-1 Garand) to see if he could piece and part one fully functional rifle together.

Luckily for us, all the barrels had been cut with a torch. God knows what he might have done back in school then, or in a few years from his farm in Wisconsin.

Sure, there's nothing wrong with have a colleciton of whatever, but Dave definitely deserves whatever he gets in court, and then some. He stole from the Government and made funds unavailable (however small compared to the whole) to support our troops at war.

I'm disgusted to say I'm a classmate and I knew him once.



He had at least one registered MG. Too bad, if he hadn't stolen stuff and just registered the stuff he could have opened his own little museum. If you're ever down by Ft. McClelland in Anniston, AL, the Farley Berman arms museum is pretty cool. Especially when you realize it was owed by one really neat old guy.


Shooter Bob


I knew Dave from USNA as well. I never had a problem with his hobby, but I figured like myself he would have been more respectful of the law and his oath. Shame on him.


seriously when he gets whats comin to him he should pursue a millitary weapons expert or some thing. i mean this guy got as the article above said multiple firearms and explosives form OUR gov. this guy is good or our gov. is slopy

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