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486 pages, Paperback
First published February 10, 1999
[Sergeant First Class Paul] Howe popped an earplug and listened…The voices were speaking Somali. They must have been half deaf like everybody else from all the explosions, and didn’t realize how loud they were talking…As three Somalis rounded the corner, one of the D-boys from across the street shone a white light on the first in line. His eyes looked wide as a racoon’s startled in a garbage can. With his rifle resting on a doorjamb, Howe placed his tritium sight post on the second man and began shooting on full automatic, sweeping his fire in a smooth motion over the third man. All three Somalis went down hard. Two of the men struggled to their feet and dragged the third man up and around the corner. Howe and the other operators let them go. They didn’t want to expose their firing positions with more muzzle flashes. Howe was disgusted again with this 5.56 ammo. When he put people down he wanted them to stay down…
“His weapon was the most sophisticated infantry rifle in the world, a customized CAR-15, and he was shooting the army’s new 5.56 mm green-tip round. The green tip had a tungsten carbide penetrator at the tip, and would punch holes in metal, but that very penetrating power meant his rounds were passing right through his targets. […] The bullet made a small, clean hole, and unless it happened to hit the heart or spine, it wasn’t enough to stop a man in his tracks. Howe felt like he had to hit a guy five or six times just to get his attention. They used to kid Randy Shughart because he shunned the modern rifle and ammunition and carried a Vietnam era M-14, which shot a 7.62 round without the penetrating qualities of the new green tip. It occurred to Howe as he saw those Sammies keep on running that Randy was the smartest soldier in the unit. His rifle may have been heavier and comparatively awkward and delivered a mean recoil, but it damn sure knocked a man down with one bullet, and in combat, one shot was often all you got. You shoot a guy, you want to see him go down; you don’t want to be guessing for the next five hours whether you hit him, or whether he’s still waiting for you in the weeds.”