FORT BENNING, Ga. – The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit hosted the 2011 Army Rifle and Pistol Championships in conjunction with the U.S. Army Infantry Center. The training and competitions were open to all Army components, of any rank, with any military occupational specialty, including Reserve and National Guard, and West Point and college ROTC cadets.
In a continuing effort to support our U.S. Armed Forces, Kahr Arms, Auto-Ordnance and Magnum Research were pleased to attend and display at this event. Auto-Ordnance Corp was proud to present an Auto-Ordnance 1911A1 “WWII Parkerized”, 100th Anniversary Edition pistol to the winner of the Champion Combined Arms Match.
The 2011 Champion, Combined Arms Match is Matthew Ray, a native of Newport, Arkansas and a senior at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Cadet Ray will graduate and receive a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the U. S. Army on 21 May 2011. He will be assigned to the Infantry and following graduation will attend the Infantry Basic Officers Leadership Course at Fort Benning, Georgia. His first duty assignment is to be at Fort Richardson, Alaska with the 25th Infantry Division. We are very proud that Matthew will begin his Army career with a firearm that represents a long tradition of service to the United States Military, the 1911A1 45ACP pistol from Auto-Ordnance. Auto-Ordnance Corp was founded in 1916 by Col. John Taliaferro Thompson, a graduate of U.S. Military Academy class of 1882. After a distinguished career, Thompson retired as a Brigadier General and is buried at the West Point Academy.
PEARL RIVER, NY – Kahr Arms, the well known American based producer of high quality compact pistols has announced its recent purchase of Minnesota-based firearms manufacturer, Magnum Research, maker of the Desert Eagle pistol.
Kahr Arms takes pride in its ability to offer customers a selection of unique niche-type firearms, such as the world famous “Tommy Gun” and Auto-Ordnance line of M1 .30 caliber carbines. The addition of Magnum Research products to the Kahr Arms family will provide Kahr Arms and Auto-Ordnance customers another unique line of firearms to choose from.
Magnum Research® was founded in 1979 and was responsible for the design and the development of the Desert Eagle pistol. The firearms in its current product lineup include the Desert Eagle® (available in .50 AE, .44 Magnum, or .357 Magnum), Baby Desert Eagle® Fast Action Pistol (9mm, .40 S&W), Desert Eagle® 1911, Micro Desert Eagle™ (.380 ACP), Magnum’s BFR (Revolvers in .44 Magnum, .45 LC/.410 or .45/70), Mountain Eagle™ (Rifles in .22/250, .223, .30-06, .280 and 7mm) and Magnum Lite® (Rifles in .22LR, .22WMR or .17 Mach-2).
To learn more about these products and more that will be offered through Kahr Arms, visit www.magnumresearch.com.
While at the first day of the NRA show, I had the pleasure of meeting Walter E. Hughes, a WWII paratrooper that had jumped in Holland during Operation Market Garden with I Company of the 504th Regiment, 82nd Airborne. He was very interested in Thompson/Auto-Ordnance Tommyguns and M-1 Carbines. He told me how paratroopers would pin a set of “jump wings” on the leather cheek pad on the AOM150 Paratrooper folding stock. I introduced him to everyone in the booth and we all enjoyed visiting with a member of this legendary paratrooper regiment.
On the second day of the show Walter, as he insisted on being called, returned to the booth and said “You have my picture in your catalog!” He pointed to the pictured in the top, right photo on page #6 (next to 1911 pistols) of our Thompson Auto-Ordnance catalog. He is running with a tommygun in one hand and a couple of magazines in the other. It was clear to see that he was correct. Walter told me the circumstances of this photo. After making a combat jump into Holland, the 504th was engaged in the battle made famous by the movie A Bridge Too Far and HBO’s series Band of Brothers. During one of the many battles, an I Company Lieutenant called to Walter and said “There are three Germans with a machine-gun up the road and they are holding up this war! Clear ‘m out!” Walter replied, “Sir, that sounds like another job for the Sergeant.” The Lieutenant barked “Sergeant Hughes, clear ‘m out!” During the following action, Walter’s photo was taken by a Stars & Stripes correspondent who was lying in a ditch, without Walter’s knowledge. Walter said “I almost shot the guy!” The photo appeared on the cover of Stars & Stripes newspaper and got Walter in trouble with his Major because he didn’t have his helmet on. Walter said the Major really liked the exposure for the unit and commented that you could give a paratrooper a Tommygun and some ammo and he’d get the job done. The photo later appeared on a Belgian postage stamp which honoring the liberation of Holland by the Allied Armies.
Meeting Walter Hughes was a true pleasure and hearing his stories about the Tommygun made me proud to continue our efforts to provide Thompson and Auto-Ordnance products which are truly “A piece of American History”!
Walter E. Hughes
Born: 29 October 1925 Brooklyn, New York
Enlistment date: December 1943
Deployments: Europe – 12 August 1944
Units: 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division
Specializations: SCR 300 Radio Operator, Wireman.
Qualifications: Sharpshooter M1, Carbine. Marksman 45 Pistol. Combat Infantryman’s Badge. Airborne Jump Wings with 1 Bronze Star.
Decorations: World War II Victory Medal, EAME Theater Medal with 3 Bronze Star and 1 Bronze Arrowheads, Presidential Unit Citation, Distinguished Unit Badge, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Hearts with Oak Leaf Cluster, Belgian Fourragere, Netherlands Orange Lanyard. German Occupation Medal
Discharge Date: January 1946
Other Information: Walter served with I Company of the 3rd Battalion 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment after joining the regiment as a replacement in August 1944, after the 504th PIR had jumped into Sicily. His first combat jump with the 504th was into Holland where he, along with the rest of the 82nd Airborne jumped into the area near Nijmegen at the Grave DZ.
Later, as fate would have it, Walter found himself in an unusual position for airborne troops, when he joined the rest of the 504th PIR led by Julian Cook in rowing across the Waal River to assault and capture the Nijmegen Bridge. Walter continued with the 504th as they battled through Holland, Belgium and finally “All the way to Berlin” where he formed part of the occupation army until his discharge. On of his proudest moments occurred when he joined the 82nd Airborne in making a parade through the streets of his home town New York as part of the Victory celebrations that marked the end of the war.