MINNEAPOLIS - Minnesota Congressman John Kline says the U.S. Army has reversed a decision and will allow the Fort Snelling honor guard to keep the ceremonial rifles it uses for military burials.
The Army wanted to replace the 1903 Springfield bolt-action rifles the volunteer rifle squad used to provide military honors at nearly 60,000 burials. The predated World War I model was to be replaced by a World War II vintage semiautomatic. The newer model is heavier, with a tricky reloading mechanism that could give the older volunteers some trouble. The Army's new policy had also limited the squad to 15 rifles, down from 50 now shared among five details.
Kline planned to introduce legislation Thursday to allow the Army to loan or donate excess rifles to American Legion and VFW local chapters.