Blasts from the Past: A look at stories from the pages of National Defense as NDIA and the magazine approach their 100th anniversary.

 
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Jac Weller was a frequent contributor to Ordnance, the predecessor of National Defense, throughout the 1960s. The former college football star made his living selling insurance and real estate, but his true passion was researching military history and firearms.

Weller in 1965 took a 10-week, 45,000-mile fact-finding tour of Southeast Asia to compare and contrast the equipment U.S. soldiers and Marines were using in their fight against the Vietcong. He interviewed everyone from "privates to generals." His blunt assessment of what he found was published in a March-April 1966 article, "Counterguerrilla War: Unique combat problems in Vietnam demand new weapons and tactics with which to find, frustrate, and finally defeat the Red invader."

He had little good to say about the M14 rifle and the M3 machine gun--deeming them too heavy for jungle combat--but the lighter M16 "was much closer to perfection" for the fight. Further, it made no sense for soldiers to be carrying anti-tank weapons with them into the field.

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