Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Best Defense question of the day: Does the recoilless rifle get enough respect?

This photo surprised me because in two decades of covering the U.S. military, I don’t think I ever saw U.S. forces with them.

Spcs. Dino Torres, foreground, and Anthony Alfaro, assigned to Baker Company, 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) 25th Infantry Division, U.S. Army Alaska, fire the Carl Gustaf recoilless rifle system at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Nov. 1, 2016.  The Carl Gustaf is a man-portable, breach-loading, 84mm recoilless rifle capable of destroying armored targets from up to 700 meters away. Torres and Alfaro are natives of Los Angeles, Calif., and Fayetteville, N.C., respectively. (U.S. Air Force photo/Alejandro Pena)
Spcs. Dino Torres, foreground, and Anthony Alfaro, assigned to Baker Company, 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) 25th Infantry Division, U.S. Army Alaska, fire the Carl Gustaf recoilless rifle system at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Nov. 1, 2016. The Carl Gustaf is a man-portable, breach-loading, 84mm recoilless rifle capable of destroying armored targets from up to 700 meters away. Torres and Alfaro are natives of Los Angeles, Calif., and Fayetteville, N.C., respectively. (U.S. Air Force photo/Alejandro Pena)
Spcs. Dino Torres, foreground, and Anthony Alfaro, assigned to Baker Company, 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) 25th Infantry Division, U.S. Army Alaska, fire the Carl Gustaf recoilless rifle system at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Nov. 1, 2016. The Carl Gustaf is a man-portable, breach-loading, 84mm recoilless rifle capable of destroying armored targets from up to 700 meters away. Torres and Alfaro are natives of Los Angeles, Calif., and Fayetteville, N.C., respectively. (U.S. Air Force photo/Alejandro Pena)

 

This photo surprised me because in two decades of covering the U.S. military, I don’t think I ever saw U.S. forces with them. The first time I saw one used in combat was, I think, one al Qaeda had in Afghanistan, on top of the ridge overlooking the Shahikot/Anaconda battlefield.

Photo credit: ALEJANDRO PENA/U.S. Air Force

 

This photo surprised me because in two decades of covering the U.S. military, I don’t think I ever saw U.S. forces with them. The first time I saw one used in combat was, I think, one al Qaeda had in Afghanistan, on top of the ridge overlooking the Shahikot/Anaconda battlefield.

Photo credit: ALEJANDRO PENA/U.S. Air Force

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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