ACCOKEEK, MD - On Friday 17-September, Congressman Steny Hoyer visited Beretta USA Corp. in Accokeek to tour their facility and to announce the $1.9 million in federal funds for Beretta included in the fiscal year 2005 Defense Appropriations Act at Congressman Hoyer's request. The legislation was enacted in July.
The funding secured by Congressman Hoyer, which will be used by Beretta to replace magazines on the Marine Corps standard issue 9mm sidearm, will enhance the reliability and extend the operational service life of the M-9 9mm pistols, and will significantly improve the safety of these weapons for the servicemen and women using them.
"I am proud to be here today to discuss this joint effort with Beretta, which we've actually been working on over the past two years to modernize and extend the service life of the M-9 pistol for the U.S. Marine Corps," said Congressman Hoyer.
"Beretta USA Corp. is one of the largest private employers in Southern Maryland with approximately 335 employees. With these funds, Beretta will play a significant role in helping to protect our servicemen and women in dangerous situations by ensuring that their weapons work properly. The funding included in the defense bill for this project demonstrates a recognition by the Congress of Beretta's substantial contributions to our nation's defense and will ensure that Beretta continues to provide a growing number of jobs in Prince George's County and strongly supports our state's economy," added Hoyer
Beretta General Manager Jeff Reh added, "Congressman Hoyer has been a stalwart supporter of Beretta USA and the many people it employs in Southern Maryland. He has been instrumental in obtaining federal funding to provide Beretta pistols, the finest and most reliable side arms in the world, for the United States military. Those pistols have been made at the Beretta facility in Accokeek since the 1980s. Few families in Southern Maryland have not benefited from the many jobs created at Beretta and supported by Congressman Hoyer."
The Marine Corps is the heaviest user of their issued service side arm, the M-9 9mm pistol, due to their aggressive training and tactics. Between 1987-1991, the Marine Corps purchased approximately 72,000 M-9 pistols. The M-9s were originally supplied with the manufacturer's high quality magazines. As these magazines wore out, the Army, as the single supplier to the Department of Defense, replaced them with magazines supplied by the lowest bidder. In Operation Iraqi Freedom, these replacement magazines routinely failed. This funding will permit the Marine Corps to replace the current magazines for the M-9 pistol.
Last year, Congressman Hoyer successfully secured $3.75 million in federal funds for a similar modernization program to upgrade 33,500 (46.3%) of the Marine Corps M-9 pistols. The $1.9 million included in the fiscal year 2005 Defense Appropriations conference report will be used to purchase the new, higher quality magazines for the US Marine Corps M-9 pistols.