Warning! Inspect the Chamber
Before Pulling the Trigger on an Unloaded Rifle
By Gerald F. Mazur

When B Battery was on Hill 34 outside of Da Nang, FDC was housed in an old French concrete bunker. We had a rifle rack in our FDC bunker. Rather than keep our rifles in our hooch (which was less than 100 feet away from the bunker), we kept them there. Almost everyone had a loaded magazine lying next to the butt of his rifle. I had my bullets lined up this way -- tracer -- eight rounds of ball -- tracer -- last eight ball rounds -- total 18. To further identify my ammo, I actually had two magazines taped together.

I would usually pick up the magazines and "sight down" the bullets before I took the rifle and ammo out of the bunker. One day, I picked up the magazines and it was 2 bullets shy. I figured that someone had grabbed my magazines and chambered a round. I proceeded to pick up each rifle, bring it to the "high port" position, and pull the trigger. One rifle went off; a bullet had, indeed, been chambered. The ceiling of our bunker was 3 to 4 feet thick concrete and was covered by a 1/4 inch steel plate. That bullet went thru the plate and about 4 inches into the concrete. Needless to say...Everyone came running when the round went off.

Gerald F. Mazur