Putting weapons in the hands of inexperienced people could be dangerous.
Although the most frequently recognized U.S. small caliber automatic weapon of the World War II era was the Thompson .45 caliber submachine gun (the so-called “Tommy gun” of gangster fame) the troops training at Geiger Field used a much simpler design, the United States Submachine Gun, Cal. .45, M3/M3A1, called, due to its appearance, the “Grease Gun.” These were fully automatic weapons, which meant that as long as you held the trigger down they would fire. And they had gained a bit if a of a bad reputation, as dad found out about first hand.
He was on the firing line at the gunnery range, concentrating on readying his weapon for fire amid the noise of dozens of automatic weapons roaring away, when a violent kick behind his knee sent him sprawling. He was about to spring up and go after his attacker when he heard, "stay down, you damn idiot! (or something similar)"
He looked up to see the gunnery instructor holding the man next to him in a bear hug as his “Grease Gun” shot off its magazine. The man, startled by the violence of the recoil, had his gun in a death grip. The gun's recoil had started to swivel the shooter around to mow down the rest of the firing line. The gunnery instructor’s quick actions, and being in the right place at the right time, had probably saved dad’s life.
Dad had better luck with other weapons in the 801's arsenal. He admired the
M-1 Garand rifle. He liked the M-1 carbine even more for its lighter weight. He loved the raw power of the .50 caliber machine gun and the pinpoint accuracy of a mortar. But his main weapon during the war would be a surveyor's transit.