Special Ops in Afghanistan Question

Here’s my dilemma…

I have fantastic figures from Evolution Miniatures, but have a problem with a weapon one of them is carrying:

The weapon is M249 Para.

All the photos I’ve seen from that period (2001-2003, I’m talking about Bones, Cowboy and that particular group of Operatives) never show any weapons other than M4s. I suppose they did have some heavier weapons, but have never seen evidence of M249.

As I don’t particularly like the weapon in this figures’ hands. I was planning to replace it with Live Resin offering. However, Live Resin has this version of M249 Para which features different buttstock and Piccatinni rail handguard. I’m not sure if this particular iteration was available in 2001-2003:

So, I’m not sure if I can use M249 at all, let alone this particular Live Resin version.

Any thoughts?


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Hello Mario,
after small bit of research I have come to the conclusion that you would be ok. the Piccatinni rail handguard was available in 2003, but not 2001. in other words, (Some may disagree) that resin M249 will work.

Thank you L. I was worried about the buttstock as well. This one seems to be >2003, but I can’t confirm that.


Our team TO&E (10th SFG(A) ) had one M249 SAW, twelve M4 carbines, two M203 grenade launchers and twelve M9 pistols. The M249 replaced the M60 MG as soon as it was fielded by the US Army. The same with the M4 carbines and the M9 pistols - Each replaced the earlier weapon (M16A2 and M1911A1) as soon as they were fielded.

Piccatinni rails were installed on most M4 carbines and SAWs starting in the early '90s and by the mid-90s were on all of ours. We had the LPL laser pointers available along with NVGs on an issue basis of one per team member starting at the same time.

We also had a number of sniper weapons systems on the ODA TO&E that were also replaced over the years as newer weapons became available. So, from the '70s we had the M21 (two per team), then supplemented with the Barrett (one per team), then supplemented again with the 5.56 mm suppressed system (another two per team). Various M40 based systems generally replaced most of the M21 at a basis of two per team (but not all). Many of the M21 were later refurbed as MBRs.

(For a period I was on a team that had two, XB40 sniper rifles along with two M21. The sniper teams were built around one of each, with two teams on the ODA in order to satisfy a particular on-call OPORD. But that was just that team and that possible mission.)

There were also a lot of weapons that were on the company / ODB TO&E which the teams could draw on. At the battalion level, we had a enough AKMs, RPKs and SVDs to replace every US equivalent weapon on every team in all three line companies. (This might have been a 10th Group only thing, though.)

Edit: Heck I totally forgot about the M240 7.62 MG… Also available from company level.

Every team in 5th SFG(A) was allocated M240, M19 and M2 machine guns along with the standard TO&E M249. A usual outload might be a DUMVEE with one M240, another with a M19 and a third with an M2. Another SAW or M240 carried on the flex mount for the co-driver for three more fully automatic weapons. Each team member would also have an M4 and an M9 and the sniper systems would also be carried in the vehicles.

So, we also had 60mm and 81mm mortars, anti-tank weapons like 90mm recoilless rifles, M47 Dragon missile trackers, etc. IIRC, we had one M40 106mm recoilless rifle in the battalion arms room that we could use for training (and presumably draw on during wartime). All of these could be requested based on a particular mission.

None of this even touches on the CIF teams who usually had their own MTO&E which varied from group to group somewhat. Depending on the time period, there were either CIF teams one per company or one company per battalion (or none).

Really, the only dead-nuts accurate reference would be either a written description by someone actually there or a clear photo. Even photos can easily get civilian PMCs mixed up with US SOF or SOF from other nationalities, so you really need to know something about the photo you’re using as a reference.

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Maybe on SF teams. Army wide, the M249 SAW (Squad Automatic Weapon) replaced the M16A1 Automatic Rifleman. The M240 MG replaced the M60 MG.

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Not in the SF TO&E.

SF ODA TO&E (at least when I got on my first team ca. 1979) had the M60 MG on the detachments until it was replaced by the M249 SAW. When the M240 became available, they were fielded in the SF Company TO&E and were available as additional, mission specific weapons that could be requested. Thus, the SF ODA went from the M60 to the SAW.

At the time, we already had the M16A2 (replaced our M16A1 around 1982-83) which was replaced by the M4. The “3-round burst” feature was considered a “down grade” from the full-auto M16A1, so teams started carrying the M60 more often (rather than leaving it in the arms room). I know I was happy to see the M249 since it gave us back full-auto AND ammo compatibility at a significant weight savings.

This was for 10th SFG(A), though. When I was later assigned to 5th SFG(A) in 2000, the teams there all had a different mix of weapons, mostly because they were equipped with the GMVs. 5th Group teams had a weapons mix that allowed for two, fully automatic weapons per GMV (lovingly called Dum-Vees from when they were initially fielded as the “Desert Mobility Vehicle” before being all dolled up as “Ground Mobility Vehicles” and fielded on an inter-service basis). In this mix were the M249, the M240, the Mk19 and the M2 HB (along with all the other MTO&E weapons issued in the other groups).

AH, I see the confusion… When I wrote that the M249 replaced the M60 as soon as it was fielded, I was only thinking about SF.

At the ODA level, our M60 MGs were replaced as soon as the Army adopted the M249. The M60s actually went onto the company / ODB TO&E, so they were still available, but on the ODA we didn’t have to schlep them around unless we asked for them for some particular purpose. The SAWs then gave us back our full-auto capability that we lost with the M16A2…

Sometimes the latest and greatest toys are not actually the best toys. The M16A2 was a better weapon from a ballistics point of view (better long rang accuracy and somewhat improved stopping power with the new SS-109 M885 ammo and barrel combo), but the loss of full-auto for small teams that really needed to put down a huge volume of fire (even for a short duration) was seriously missed.

Very interesting the differences between the regular army, (is it still called Big Army by Spec. Ops guys ?) and SOF.

Well, it was still called that when I retired in '04. I have no idea what the young bucks in the team room call it today. (LOL! I can only imagine, though!)

Mario, are you gonna change out the M249?

I did not know you were a 10th Grouper. Which bat? I was C-2-10. Got there in '83. I’m told I missed having a German WWII vet on my team by one year. The teller of that tale is named Fred, who was my Level III instructor, and as much of a Teddy Bear as he might appear, was apparently the baddest of the bad in your day, But I digress…

We had 249’s mounted on our Tacoma’s in 2002.

I started carrying this for CQB after a bad day in a gunfight. Everything they (or I) taught in SFAUC goes out the window once a dude drops a grenade on you in a stairwell from three feet above your head.

This was in '07 when I was with the 10th Group Mafia, otherwise known as 19th Group. We plussed up 5th, so maybe I knew some of your friends.

I know this version was organic to us at least as far back as '05, but I don’t know if we had them in '03, although I suspect we did. Much as I tried, I simply could not shoot everything we had.

Hi guys,

Great info and discussion, thank you for that! It is always great to hear from people who were actually serving in these units and have the know-how.

This is the GMV I did some time ago:

and now I’m making the base with Evolution figures:

I presume the figures were based on US Army Special Forces ODA operatives nicknamed „Bones“ and „Cowboy“, and the series of images from Northern Afghanistan in August 2002. Unfortunately, the images don’t show any weapons other than M4s.

So, I’m still undecided about the M249… The weapon that comes with the figure is appropriate for 2002 timeframe (Para variant with short barrel, plastic handguard, tubular buttstock and Picatinni rail on the receiver), but the weapon just doesn’t look good to me. On the other hand, Live Resin is outstanding piece of resin, but I feel this version is >2002.

Decisions, decisions.



Nice GMV.

When I was at Ft Lewis in late ‘04 training up for deployment overseas at the MOUT site, 2nd Ranger Battalion was also using the site one day that we were. They had several HMMWVs modified in a similar way I’ve never seen before or since, and I did not have a camera on me at that time to take photos. Do you happen to have any photos of those? I’ve never had any luck googling for them.

Hold up, Mario. I don’t recall that the modifications for the GMV being around 2001-2003 because if it were true, the SOFs in Afghanistan wouldn’t be driving around in Tacomas and pickups, even to “Blend in.”

I think the GMV you built is dated way after 2003. Best to have someone verify this before you slot in the 2003 timeframe. If not, then you can “advance the time” of your figures to after 2003 and use better Live-Resin armaments.

Stik, I used Rob Skipper’s (18bravo) DVD with photos of GMVs and Special Ops Humvees for my build. A great reference, well worth it.

Pete, the some of the GMV photos on the internet show the date when they were taken… most are dated to March/April 2003. I believe GMVs were in Afghanistan even before that time though.


Yup, Osprey’s New Vanguard “Special Operations Patrol Vehicles” says:

The GMVs deployed in support of the ODAs in late 2001 featured no armor packages, although some teams eventually received limited examples of the M1114 “up-armored” HMMWV variant in early 2002. Special Forces at this time preferred the speed and relative agility of the un-armoured GMV, which was often stripped of doors and even the windscreen both to reduce weight and to allow the crew to fire unimpeded out of the vehicle with their personal small arms.


I contract with a retired Sergeant Major from 5th Group who was interesting in so many ways. His father either developed or had a big hand in the development of the AC-47.
He himself developed the concept for the GMV - prior to the first Gulf war. He was one of those guys that at least ONE person on this site would question, “Why would you do that?” i.e. putting a deuce rear end on a half track front end during WWII. Stuff borne out of curiosity continues to fuel the creative process in many directions. At that time the GMV (which had not yet been named that but did exist) was designed to tow a dedicated trailer which was specifically for hauling two scout motorcycles.
As Jose B. (I add the name because perhaps Mike knew him) relates the story, ol’ Stormin’ Norman had a bee up his britches about SF over something that happened in Vietnam, and relegated them to what he thought would be the inglorious role of Scud Busting. Jose is still chuckles to this day because someone else (and I forget exactly who) stole the limelight from 5th Group for their actions.
The bottom line though, is that these vehicles have been around a lot longer than folks realize.

I enjoyed the Tacoma not because we blended in (we didn’t) but rather because it had a robust A/C unit and a kickass sound system. Imagine attacking a Taliban compound in the village of Sharona with the Knack’s My Sharona blaring through the speakers. Ah, what times…

LOL! Small world.

After I graduated the the Q-course in '79, I started off on 236 in C-2-10 before the sixth team in every company got cut. We then combined with 233 (they moved into our team room, but both teams were way short-handed so together we made just one good sized team).

I PCS’ed in '82 for DLI and then went to Berlin for a “short tour.” That unit got shut down shortly after I arrived. Rather than move to Stuttgart (I finally got quaters and had my family inbound), I moved over to a Scout Platoon in CSC/2-6 INF (this was before the 18-series and as an 11B I had the option). However, while doing a little time in the “Big Army,” I got a form letter from PERSCOM asking if I wanted to reclassify to 18B. I signed the letter, mailed it back, and in a couple of months I was down in Bad Toelz, but working in ARSOFE at PCT.

Went from there to SWIC for my obligatory instructor tour, then back to 10th Group and C-3-10 where I was the team sergeant on 081 for four years, the ops sergeant on ODB 080, then a couple years as the Group HHC 1st SGT, a short stint as the 3 BN S-3 (acting) SGM, and then finally the NCOIC of the Group S-2.

After the Academy, I got sent to C-3-5 as the SGM for ODB 590. That’s where I was when I retired in '04.

We deployed in '01 to K2 running the ISOFAC, then moved down to Bagram after the last teams deployed south. After we handing off to 3rd Group in January '02, we re-deloyed CONUS to prep for OIF.

During OIF, our ODB was down south with the I-MEF as the MEF SOCCE. We finished up in B-dad between the river and Sadar City on the side of the city where our ODAs were doing ops. Once we redeployed to Kuwait, I came up on orders to ARCENT (aka to 3rd Army HQ at Ft. McPherson to in-process then back to the Sandbox) to work in the G-3 SOF liaison cell. At that time, I opted to retire… LOL!

After I retired, I did contract work until 2010 when I finally unpacked my ruck for the last time and really retired for good.

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Mike, by PCT do you mean Platoon Confidence Training?? I went through there in August of ‘87. I went with A-2/6 Inf ; I was in D 2/6 Inf but anyone from the rest of the battalion who wanted to go to PCT were blended into A Co. Best training I ever got in my entire career. It was like a mini Ranger course…

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You have to have known Bob Mit… He was C-2-10 as well, before and after me, but not while I was there. He’s the VP of the local SFA and has asked me to join. (Bob and I were both in Berlin as well) That was right when COVID started up so we’re not meeting right now. There was also a “Roy” who called me out of the blue last year. We stood in the same formation every morning but I can’t for the life of me remember his face. I’m betting Higgs was there when you were. I like to tell everyone that when I got to Group everyone was a Vietnam Vet and the Sergeant Major was a Korean War vet, so I kept my mouth shut and did not try to enlighten them all with the latest TTP’s from the Q. (As the X-rays do today. I have to point out that my beret is older than they are and to kindly STFU.) I’ll be out next year when I turn 60, but I ran into some General at the Best Warrior Competition last August who said he could keep me in longer if I want to go past sixty. I think I do.

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