Battle Damaged M16 At Home In New Zealand

Captain Peter Williams was carrying this rifle on February 14, 1967 in Vietnam when he was killed by an enemy landmine. The devastating forces involved with the anti-personnel booby trap that took Capt. Williams life is apparent in his damaged long arm that was also peppered with shrapnel.

Captain Williams was scheduled to return home after his tour of duty when he was asked to supplement one last mission to search a Viet Cong controlled area. During a briefing, Williams and another officer were killed and three other’s wounded in the blast.

I’m at a loss for further words. Rest In Peace, Captain Williams.


Captain Williams. February 14, 1967

From the Australian War Memorial:

An Nhut, Vietnam. One of the casualties of a mine explosion being evacuated to Vung Tau by a 9 Squadron Iroquois UH-1B helicopter (A2-1019). Between 13-14 February 1967 5th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (5RAR) were conducting a cordon-and-search (Operation Beaumaris) of An Nhut, a small village between Long Dien and Dat Do, when a mine detonated at C Company’s headquarters during a briefing of C Company officers and senior non-commissioned officers. Five of the group were wounded and three officers were killed; Major Donald Bourne, the Company Commander, Captain (Capt) Robert Milligan, second in command and the New Zealand artillery forward observer, Capt Peter Williams of 161 Field Battery. The explosion was thought to have been caused by an unrecorded ARVN booby trap left behind when old barbed wire barriers were removed from around the village. Identified from left to right: 212969 Sergeant Ralph Hindmarsh, 8 Pl, C Coy, 5RAR; 47046 Lieutenant George Roger Wainwright, Officer Commanding 8 Pl, C Coy, 5RAR; unidentified (on stretcher); unidentified; unidentified; unidentified RAAF crewman; Captain Anthony (Tony) White, Regimental Medical Officer, 5RAR.

Battle Damaged M16 @TFB

Capt. Peter Williams’ M16 @TFB

From New Zealand History:

This battle-damaged M16A1 automatic rifle belonged to Captain Peter Williams, 161 Battery, Royal New Zealand Artillery (RNZA). The rifle was damaged when Williams was hit and killed by a mine/booby-trap on 14 February 1967, while acting as Artillery Forward Observer with 5 Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (5RAR) in Vietnam.

The rifle was returned to the 1st Australian Task Force (1ATF) headquarters at Nui Dat and sent back to New Zealand with Williams’ personal belongings. It is currently on display at the National Army Museum in Waiouru.


Capt. Peter Williams’ M16 @TFB

From the Auckland Museum Cenotaph:

Battle Damaged M16 back in New Zealand @TFB




LE – Science – OSINT.
On a mission to make all of my guns as quiet as possible.
Twitter: @gunboxready
Instagram: @tfb_pete


  • TVOrZ6dw

    I’m always amazed by the sacrifice others have made for my own easy life possible. God Bless.

    • Phillip Cooper

      Well said, sir.

      • UnrepentantLib

        I missed serving in Vietnam thanks to the God who looks over babes, fools, drunks, and green 2LT’s. By the time I finished training we were on the way out and my services were not required, for which I am eternally grateful. The more I’ve learned of the war since then the more I realized what an utterly foolish venture it was. If the US hadn’t been so obsessed with the communists French Indochina would have been left to sort its post-colonial history out on its own with far less bloodshed. How do you apologize to men like CPT Williams who did their duty despite the foolishness of their leaders?

        • John A. Smith

          Amen to that; you’re absolutely correct.

    • Wolfgar

      Perfect and so true.

    • John A. Smith

      The US browbeat New Zealand to deploy troops by threatening to abrogate its own duties under the ANZUS treaty in 1965 so that the US could further its claims to hegemony in the region — largely so it could demonstrate to the UK that it was calling the shots. And this little bit of d*ck waggling, while intended to do that and to demonstrate to the USSR and China that we not only meant business after getting the snot kicked out of us in Korea that we still had the chops to project power, did little more than get almost 60,000 Americans killed, another 150,000 wounded (a number of them from my own family), and embarrass us on the international stage.

      Pretending that poor bastards like Captain Peter Williams were anything other than the victims of the ill-conceived and dreadfully executed military side of an idiotic political policy does their deaths and memories a despicable disservice. They didn’t die for freedom; they died because vicious chickenhawk bastards like Robert McNamara (and that equally vile little troll, Kissinger) too cowardly to do it themselves, whispered poison into the ears of JFK, JBJ, and Nixon, and convinced them that this was the best way for the US to swagger in the face of the other superpowers. And that was a catastrophic failure.

      Instead of lauding their sacrifices for the cause of freedom, we should beg their forgiveness and swear on our own lives never to allow our leaders to do such things ever again.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        Pretty sure most of them died for the guy to the right and the guy to the left.

        • John A. Smith

          They almost certainly did die for their comrades, but they died because of our leaders.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Yeah, the North Vietnamese werent too familiar with game theory as practiced by the geniuses at RAND.
            They kinda did their own thing.

        • Chris

          YES !

      • Swarf

        ” we should beg their forgiveness and swear on our own lives never to allow our leaders to do such things ever again.”

        Too late. Way too late.

      • john huscio

        Getting the “snot kicked out of you” implies total defeat, something that didn’t happen in Korea.

        • John A. Smith

          That you, General Dodd? I thought you died back in the 70s. I assume you agree with the rest of my post?

      • TVOrZ6dw

        I won’t argue over the political reasons that got us into that war- I think Vietnam should have belonged to the Vietnamese all along. We screwed up letting the French reassert control after WW2. The Vietnamese helped us fight the Japanese, and would have stayed friends with the US if we had backed their sovereignty after WW2.

      • I don’t necessarily disagree with your points about the idiots who decided to make Vietnam a battlefront, and then ran it terribly. However, I think the premise it was just for “swagger” doesn’t quite give due weight to the “iron curtain” the Soviets had just erected across Eastern Europe, including the Berlin Wall. Not to mention the horrific stories of the Soviet gulag and the Chinese cleansing that cost additional millions of lives. And of course, there was the Soviet attempt to place medium range nukes in Cuba …

        Many Americans and Western Europeans were legitimately terrified of the prospect of communism spreading, and bolstering what appeared at the time to be a massive USSR desire to enslave more countries and strategically surround the free countries before an all out war to end democracy.

        • Tassiebush

          I think this context is really important. In hindsight it is questionable but at the time it looked like an expanding threat with lots of recent precedent.

    • Vitor Roma

      I hate being that guy, but I will have to…how that mess in southeastern Asia made your life any better?

      • TVOrZ6dw

        I’m commenting on the sacrifice this soldier made- Stayed longer because his mates needed him. This kind of sacrifice always moves me. I have not had to make a decision like this, but I know I owe my good life to others who have. Doesn’t matter if it’s an America an Valley Forge, a Filipino who hid Americans from the Japanese, or this Australian fighting communists. The picture of that M-16 tells volumes of what this person was willing to face to help his friends, and the terrible violence that was his last few minutes.
        My life here in the USA is good- I don’t have to adhere to any specific religion or be skinned alive, and when I go to the polling place next week I don’t expect any issues, no matter who I’m voting for. Much of the rest of the world cannot say that.

        • Dougscamo

          Well said….so many of the other comments are politically driven with the luxury of hindsight….I don’t believe that they know (or they choose to ignore) that both WWI and WWII, prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, were viewed in the US as an unnecessary war….and I’m not defending our involvement in Viet Nam….
          Anyone who believes that all war can or ever will be eliminated is smoking or drinking a substance that I have never encountered….
          Honor the courage….it’s the only thing that counts when bullets start flying….

          • Vitor Roma

            The WWI was totally unnecessary and senseless, even more so from an american point of view. Just the fact that WWII was even worse showed that the way WWI ended with a clearly winner thanks to american intervetion was no good in the long term. WWI didnt have a clear villain, everybody involved was somewhat guilty.

          • Dougscamo

            Like I said….the luxury of hindsight…

          • iksnilol

            How was WW2 seemingly unecessary? Like, Germany was literally invading left and right.

          • Wolfgar

            I promised not to get political………….biting lip…………….so hows the weather where you live?

          • gusto

            horrible, heavy snowfall but not very cold so it turns to heavy slush

            and I drove an hour away to my cabin/small lake to pull up the boat, that woodroad had totally snowed in but I plowed thru, don’t know if I followed the road most of the time but i got there

            the boat had already freezed in place, but I pulled it loose with my trusty lada niva

          • Tassiebush

            It’s getting warmer as we head towards summer but the mountain had snow yesterday. It’s cloudy today but I’m feeling a bit sunburnt from the last few days. UV index is very high (damn ozone hole)

          • iksnilol

            It’s Norwegian fall. Pretty crappy in other words :p luckily no rain yet.


          • Rock or Something

            He was speaking of the American (isolationist) point of view prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

          • Dougscamo

            You’d have to ask Charles Lindbergh and the America First Committee about that….”I” didn’t say it wasn’t necessary….

      • Just say’n

        If the U.S. and its allies had not stood fast in Vietnam, even though they eventually lost, communism would have most certainly spread to every country in that region, then the world. You have to put out the brush fires before they become forest fires. I for one am grateful for the 45,000 American servicemen (some in my own family) who gave their lives for this cause.

        • iksnilol

          You honestly believe the Domino theory?

          I guess you also believe Chaplin was a commie spy then?

          • Blake

            I’ve never understood why people always mention the Domino theory when it is a well documented fact that Russia (and China to an extent) was actively trying to spread communism. Dominos or not it was happening.

          • iksnilol

            They were trying to spread communism. Just like I was trying to sleep around a lot. Doesn’t mean that either was sucessfull on its own accord.

        • Bill

          But communism DIDN’T spread…

          I’m not a fan of commies, but the war was sold under false pretenses, and the South Vietnamese government was as cruddy as they came/come.

          • Blake

            I don’t think you actually read his comment. His comment is saying that if the US hadn’t put its foot down communism would have spread, and you’re saying communism didn’t spread? Are you agreeing with him?

          • Bill

            Parse his statement:

            “If the U.S. and its allies had not stood fast in Vietnam, even though they eventually lost”

            We “stood fast,” but still lost. Putting our foot down was ineffective at best and counterproductive at worst.

            “(C)ommunism would have most certainly spread to every country in that region, then the world.

            If we, and the South Vietnamese, fought to keep communism from spreading, why didn’t it spread when the South fell? The dominos concept was flawed, as the last several decades of Eastern European history demonstrated with the fall of the Soviet Union, where the dominoes in effect have stood themselves back up.

            Maybe I misunderstood your comment.

          • Ron

            I am sure Laos and Cambodia are glad to know Communism did not spread to them.
            If not for the Thai firewall, the domino theory would have been proven true.

        • gusto

          not all commies are the same thou, many states with communisic leanings were outside of the cold war, some smaller countries played the USSR vs China for their own benefit and such moxie is impressive 😛

          as commie regimes go the vietnames was pretty lenient, and they did remove the Khmer rogue from power (one of the worst regimes all -isms ever)

          Bottomline is, even a commie revolution can have popular support, and when it is a fight for independence and “freedom” (ironic) it may still be right even if communism is wrong.
          Batista in Cuba, Pinochet in Chile and today with US support of Saudi Arabia, they are just the same as the Taliban/Isis but have cleaner clothes and drive fancier cars

          American and West support of right wing dictatorsships that use means Stalin would be proud of are a big smudge on otherwise free and democratic states

    • iksnilol

      But ‘nam was an unecessary war. His life was thrown away in vain.


      • crackedlenses

        Tell that to the Vietnamese who escaped when the Vietcong took over.

        • iksnilol

          I think more of them died during that war than escaped.

          • crackedlenses

            The number that would have tried to escape would have simply increased if we had not intervened for a period and the North had overtaken the South quickly.

  • Phillip Cooper

    To him, and those like him.
    Too damn few.
    God bless.

  • Audie Bakerson

    From what I’ve heard you can own full autos in New Zealand, you just need another registered “collector” on hand to be able to shoot them (officially you are demonstrating them to a potential buyer). Amazing what we’ve come to in the “land of the free”

    • Gary Kirk

      Don’t think that one’s gonna be firing anymore.. Looks like the sear pin was taken out in the blast.. Could maybe get a semi fcg in there but why??

      • Porty1119

        A1 parts and replica components are not hard to come by, if you’re looking to build a retro rifle…

      • Audie Bakerson

        Oh I doubt that one will fire, but it’s not formally “deactivated” and could never be owned privately in the US.

    • That is the impression I got from gun owners down here.

      They are amazed at the price we pay for machine guns in the US.

  • John Eden


  • iksnilol

    Wanna bet it still works ?

    • TheNotoriousIUD

      If it was issued in 1967 theres a good bet it NEVER worked.

      • iksnilol

        True, forgot that part.

  • droog

    “War is a Racket”

  • mazkact

    Enough political bullshi%. Rest in peace Captain Peter Williams, thank you for your service.

    • Pete – TFB Writer

      Thank you.