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Old 02-01-2010, 07:58   #1
RussP
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USAF Model 15's - Ever see them at shows, in shops?

I'm looking for a 4" model. Saw one a few years back at a local shop. It was in excellent condition having been carried by a Bird Colonel (therefore not fired much ). The guy was asking $750. I knew nothing back then, and offered $500. He sold it to a collector in California for full price.

But, since then I've only seen a couple snub nose Aircrew models. Prices were not too bad. I just want a 4" like I carried.

Can someone recommend where I might look for better results?
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Old 02-03-2010, 06:21   #2
MSgt Dotson
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Having been in the Air Force for 20 years, including during the era of .38 Special useage, I can tell you I've never seen a Colonel carry a weapon; the only folks outside of combat zones who even get weapons are Security Forces. In combat zones, during wartime, even the aircrew members have long since transitioned to the M9. (We did have several S&W revolvers locked in a safe on my recon aircraft in the first Gulf War, after one was stolen, rigid control quickly returned, but, I can assure you, the AF does not hand them out like canteens!)

So any stories accompanying a particular revolver for sale at a gun show or store, are simply stories, IMO....
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Old 02-04-2010, 01:34   #3
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There was (is?) a regulation that allowed, under certain conditions, a retiring officer to buy their issued sidearm upon retirement from the service, under certain conditions.

I was personally involved in one of these transactions in the early 1980s. The commanding officer of my base's Air Base Group (a Colonel), was retiring, and I was contacted by a junior officer that needed assistance in creating a presentation case for his weapon (a S&W model 15 .38 Special revolver). After everything was done (and at my request), I was shown the regulation that allowed him to buy the weapon from the USAF upon his retirement. IIRC, there were several conditions that had to be met, including one that stated the person had to have been involved in combat or stationed in an active combat zone, WITH the weapon in question, or a very similar one. I cannot remember what reg it was, or even what general section of regulations it fell under, but as the person was actually buying Government property, I assume it was a Supply or Logistics reg.

Many years later, I met another retired officer (Major General) who had also taken advantage of this regulation upon his retirement. So, there are former military sidearms, purchased and possessed legally, that are out there floating around.

Last edited by DJ Niner; 02-04-2010 at 01:36..
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Old 02-04-2010, 06:19   #4
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Originally Posted by DJ Niner View Post
There was (is?) a regulation that allowed, under certain conditions, a retiring officer to buy their issued sidearm upon retirement from the service, under certain conditions.
.
The Air Force doesn't really issue sidearms, even for Security Forces; they are checked out/signed for at the armory.... daily.

If they make exceptions for retiring officers, and allow them to purchase the 'ole Widowmakers (i.e., .38 Spec users!) remaining in the inventory, great.
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Old 02-09-2010, 21:07   #5
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Never saw any such thing legally done...I spent 15 years as a SAMTU (Small Arms Marksmanship Training Unit) instructor, it later changed to CATM (Combat Arms Training and Maintenance), eventually the range instruction transitioned to Security Forces control...I left before I ever had to act like I was SF.

As the designated Base Weapon Inspector...I'd have likely known of any such transfer.

I ended my USAF career at WPAFB...USAF Logistics Command HQ. If there were a reg allowing such a transfer, all of the Generals there would have found out about it.
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Old 02-09-2010, 21:53   #6
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I've heard of a few being sold but never seen one. I've been looking for years. I would love to find one. I can still remember the serial number of the .38 I had before we switched to the M9. K747471.

I had the honor of serving with DJniner back then. Actually he was my boss. The only ones out there were released in the manner he described. Unless a few of the "lost" ones from a combat zone made it home. DJ, I can remember when that happened. How time flies.

Also as I remember, its been some time. A General officer could keep his side arm upon retirement. For us mere commoners you had to have a significant event tied to the side arm in order to be eligible to purchase it.

Last edited by pennlineman; 02-09-2010 at 21:59.. Reason: to add info
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Old 02-10-2010, 01:41   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samtu_Ray View Post
Never saw any such thing legally done...I spent 15 years as a SAMTU (Small Arms Marksmanship Training Unit) instructor, it later changed to CATM (Combat Arms Training and Maintenance), eventually the range instruction transitioned to Security Forces control...I left before I ever had to act like I was SF.

As the designated Base Weapon Inspector...I'd have likely known of any such transfer.

I ended my USAF career at WPAFB...USAF Logistics Command HQ. If there were a reg allowing such a transfer, all of the Generals there would have found out about it.
I was originally SAMTU as well, then CATM, and wrangled the retirement not too long after they changed us over to the Security Forces 3P1x1 AFSC.

I Googled around a bit, trying to find any reference to the Regulation in question, but came up empty-handed. I'll keep looking, but I don't have much hope of finding anything, as all this took place many years before computers trickled-down to the office desktop level.

Hell, the first couple of military typewriters I learned to use were manuals...

(for you young pups, that means they didn't use electricity)
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Old 02-10-2010, 07:48   #8
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Nice to see another 753x0 DJ!

I was originally drafted US Army 11B, cross trained to 21G, then jumped tto the USAF. I was at Lackland, Seymour Johnson and Wright Patt...still live just north of Dayton. I was SAMTU at Lackland and Seymour, they changed from ATC to TAC and SAMTU to CATM at the Shady J, PCS'd to WPAFB and while there, they made the change to put CATM under the SF. They started to expect us to pull gate duty during exercises, and having never had any SF training, said to hell with it and decided o separate.

Got out, did a BS Ed and taught Special Ed, Severe Behavior (figured if I could train the SF, special ed was a natural) for 10 years, did a BS EE during that time and went back to work for the AF but as a contractor doing Computer System Security Engineering. I retired last June a month before my 55th birthday.

FWIW, I was registered on here a long time ago as either SAMTU or CATM (perhaps both)...lost the logon so am now a noob again!

If ya ever want to talk National Match, PPS, Peacekeer Challenge or just chew the old days when we got free ammo...let me know!

Ray
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Old 02-10-2010, 08:41   #9
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Ray, what years did you serve? I was Catm from 84-92 at Minot AFB, Raf Greenham Common/Welford and Raf Upper Heyford/Croughton.

Last edited by pennlineman; 02-10-2010 at 08:45.. Reason: Grammer
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Old 02-10-2010, 10:22   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pennlineman View Post
Ray, what years did you serve? I was Catm from 84-92 at Minot AFB, Raf Greenham Common/Welford and Raf Upper Heyford/Croughton.
Interesting...1972 to 1987...I was almost your NCOIC once! When I left Seymour in 1984, I had a choice to go either to WP or Minot. I chose WP because my Dad in Cleveland was sick (he passed in early 1985).

From what I've read here, I'd guess DJ got to Minot around the same time...

It's a small world, eh?
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Old 02-10-2010, 10:35   #11
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Originally Posted by Samtu_Ray View Post
Interesting...1972 to 1987...I was almost your NCOIC once! When I left Seymour in 1984, I had a choice to go either to WP or Minot. I chose WP because my Dad in Cleveland was sick (he passed in early 1985).

From what I've read here, I'd guess DJ got to Minot around the same time...

It's a small world, eh?

Sure is. I would have went to WP too if given a choice. Minot took some getting used to. But I had some of the best times of my life up there. Went back to visit once, hope I can make my way back out there some day. DJ got up there about a year after me and became my second supervisor. I left a year before him.

If I could do it again I'd do it in a heartbeat. Keep your powder dry my red hat friend.
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Old 02-10-2010, 17:11   #12
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Just out of curiosity...I still have my SAMTU hat. Do you?

lol...I pitched the CATM one.
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Old 02-10-2010, 17:30   #13
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No, I just missed the Samtu era. Some of the new guys to my shop were still wearing them when they showed up. The Catm had survived up until a few years ago. Being in pretty bad shape it did'nt make the last move. I do still have my Leg medal. Wish I had taken more pics back then.
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Old 02-11-2010, 08:37   #14
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Wish I had taken more pics too...

What I really miss is the 1000 rounds of .38, 5.56, 7.62 and .22 each month!

No problem missing the 25 12ga and the 40m/m.

We did get pretty good with all that ammo though, eh?



lol...the only thing I ever took...I still have my blue muffs with my name on them.
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Old 02-11-2010, 13:14   #15
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I still have my blue ear muffs too complete with the yellow label maker name tape. I don't use them anymore, the padding got hard.

I really miss all the free ammo as well. At Minot we had several guys who did'nt care to shoot much. DJ & I as well as a few others had no problem helping them spend their allotment. Especially the .38, I always enjoyed that revolver, still do.

As a side note on the red hats. Not long after I PCS'd to Minot we had a bunch of new (to us) second termers show up. We had Samtu, Catm and Combat Arms hats. You had your choice. This bothered one of the new SSgt's who proceded to pester the NCOIC for some new hats. About a month later we got a big box of new Combat Arms hats. We each got two and had enough left over for new guys.

Good times.
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Old 02-11-2010, 14:29   #16
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We *did* make a big deal about the hats...lol

Our muffs used the tactical *black* tapes.

Have you or Dj had any issues with the lead poisoning? We all popped the tests *big time* when we got tested. No known issues except maybe that we are all a bit more stupid than we should have been.



Sorry...to those of you that may read this and not understand, we (SAMTU & CATM) used to have to dig out our backstops every so often when we started getting too much lead spit back toward the firing lines. We did it by hand, using spades and homemade sifting boxes. Once we dug out and sifted the lead bits and dust by hand, they labeled the containers *HAZARDOUS MATERIAL* and paid some company big bucks to haul them away.
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Old 02-11-2010, 14:31   #17
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BTW...Did you ever know a Redhat named Randy Kuhner? He'd have been a buck at Minot.

Might have been spelled Keihner...it's been a very long time.

Last edited by Samtu_Ray; 02-11-2010 at 19:48.. Reason: Trying to remember the spelling...
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Old 02-11-2010, 21:57   #18
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Sorry I did'nt know Randy. We must have been lucky, we never had any issues with lead. But the range was freshly refurbished prior to may arrival and rebuilt before I left.
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Old 02-11-2010, 23:40   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samtu_Ray View Post
We *did* make a big deal about the hats...lol
Somewhere I think I still have a SAMTU hat; I know I've got several Combat Arms/CATM caps laying around.

When we started wearing Camo BDUs with the red hats, some of the cops called us Rosebushes.

Quote:
Have you or Dj had any issues with the lead poisoning? We all popped the tests *big time* when we got tested.
None for me. I paid for a test a year or so after retiring, just to make sure. I've always run slightly above the non-hunter/shooter norm, but lower than most other firearm enthusiasts.


There may have been a reason that not many SAMTU/CATM hats survived military careers intact; seems to me that I remember a tradition centering around personnel about to PCS or retire, the ability to "frisbee" a ball cap at least 15 yards into the range bay, and fully-loaded M16 rifles and/or M9s/M15s...



.

Last edited by DJ Niner; 02-11-2010 at 23:47..
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Old 02-11-2010, 23:56   #20
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