Getting 86,000 M1 Garands Back from the Philippines

Many of the rifles were stored poorly and infested with termites. Regardless, they've made their way back to the USA.

Back during the Cold War, the United States had something called the Military Assistance Program, part of the the Mutual Defense Assistance Act, by which it lent thousands of arms to various countries around the world.

When those countries were done with them, or they’d become obsolete, by agreement they had to offer them back to the U.S. Army, which has the right of first refusal.

Recently, a cache of about 86,000 M1 Garand rifles was offered back to the U.S. from where they’d been stored in the Philippines for decades.

As per the agreement, the Army accepted and the process of returning the guns to the U.S. and delivering them to the Civilian Marksmanship Program, which handles all surplus Garands. But, it turned out, to be a far more difficult and expensive endeavor than anyone thought it’d be.

Officials from the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) went to the Philippines to facilitate the return and found, first, that many of the rifle stocks were infested with termites.

It cost about $1 million to have the stocks treated and the rifles repacked so they could be shipped to the U.S.

Another problem cropped up when DLA officials realized one of the warehouses where the rifles were stored had a leak in the roof, and that leak was carry asbestos from the roof onto some of the rifles.

Experts were hired to inspect and clean off the asbestos from all the affected rifles. That was another $1 million on the tab.

Fine and dandy. Then, the rifles actually had to make the voyage across much of the Pacific Ocean. Because of various regulations regarding how arms can be shipped between nations, the rifles had to be carried on a U.S. flagship and could not be shipped with any other products.

This meant the DLA had to drop $3.2 million on a ship rental that would get the rifles to California.

And all this had to be done in a 30 day window.

Despite the difficulties and expenses, the 86,000 guns made their way to the CMP warehouse in Alabama.

In the video above, some of the boxes storing the M1 Garands are opened, yielding some pleasant surprises, including an M1C Garand, which had its scope mount holes filled in by Springfield Armory before it was shipped to the Philippines.

Some had evidence of bizarre modifications, like one with a ventilated hand guard.

The video was made by the Garand Collector’s Association, which has been helping the CMP sort through, inventory, and classify the huge cache of rifles.

Many of the rifles will likely be offered for sale by the CMP, to elligible individuals.

To buy an M1 Garand or a M1911 from the CMP, an organization tasked with spreading firearms safety training and rifle practice, you must abide by its very specific rules.

The CMP can only sell surplus military firearms given to them by the Army, and only to adult members of affiliated shooting clubs who meet certain guidelines.

They must be a U.S. citizen, over 18 years old, who is already legally eligible to purchase a firearm.

They must provide a copy of a U.S. birth certificate, passport, proof of naturalization, or any official government that shows proof of citizenship. A military ID can be used if E5 or above.

Proof of age must also be supplied, which is usually taken care of by the proof of citizenship document.

Additionally, a purchaser must provide proof of membership in a CMP-affiliated organization, of which there are more than 2,000 in most corners of the country. If a CMP affiliated club does not issue individual membership cards, they can fill out the CMP Club Member Certification Form, which can then be included with the order.

There's more. You must also provide proof of participation in a marksmanship-related activity or otherwise show familiarity with the safe handling of firearms and shooting range procedures. You can find a list of these qualifiers here.

This last requirement is waived for any purchasers over 60 years of age.

Plus, you must be legally allowed to purchase and own a firearm, and if you’re state has any additional requirements to buy a long gun or handgun, those must be met as well and a photocopy of all pertinent documents must be included with the order.