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-   -   Army Chief's wisdom (https://forums.1911forum.com/showthread.php?t=439476)

Ricky T 12-09-2013 12:34 PM

Army Chief's wisdom
A couple of members had approached me about starting a thread to post a collection of Army Chief aka Chuck Petrie's best advices, wisdoms, one liners, etc.

I will begin it with his words from October of 2012 when he asked me to announce his illness and the battle that he will be waging. I will add the words from his wife from this past Saturday morning, December 7, 2013 announcing his passing. Then I will start to collect (cutting and pasting) his words from threads as I remember and as time allows. We will build this slowly, I need your help to collect the words. This is a work in progress and it will not be in any chronological order, it will not be perfect or complete.

October 2012:

I'm sorry to report that my heath continues to devolve rapidly. The sinus sarcoma which first appeared in August has already reached an inoperable stage, and is now expected to take my life in the next 60 days.

Will begin a 2x daily radiation protocol on Monday at UNC so as to at least mount as aggressive an 11th-hour response as possible, but we've no curative expectations of this; we're simply hoping to be able to slow things enough to afford us a few more days together as a family.

God remains in control. Above all else, I feel such a compelling sense of gratitude for the fullness of the life that I have been given, the blessings that have been waiting around every corner, the incredible opportunities that have been extended to me, the friendships that have been my privilege to forge and sustain over the years, and for a family that has consistently loved and supported me far more than I could ever hope to deserve. My story may be ending somewhat prematurely, but what an incredibly meaningful story it has been.

I am prepared for this final fight, and am going forward from here with a very tangible sense of peace; that said, please keep Terri and my family in your prayers as we deal with this most unexpected life change.

In a closed discussion, he added:

Truth is, I'm not even all-that-sure I'm going to make it to Radiation. They can't start until Monday at 0700, and we'll really have to see if I can still breathe while laying flat on my back by then.

Another private message:

Am already beginning to struggle with some airway issues, so I get the sense that the close-in fight will quickly be at hand. In this, I would appreciate a bit of assistance if you've any ideas on how we might make the general membership aware of what is going on, without it coming off as disruptive, overly-dramatic or presumptuous -- which is why I haven't posted anything on my own behalf.

His wife's email on December 7, 2013:

I'm so sorry to have to share this, but Chuck passed away in his sleep at around 2am this morning. I'm so sad as I write this, but so relieved and happy for Chuck. The suffering is over, and he is in heaven now. Many people hope in the reality of heaven and that they'll go there when they die, but for Chuck and me, it's not just a "maybe" or a "I hope I was a good enough person." We know for sure. We have complete faith through our belief in Jesus Christ and the forgiveness He's offered. Chuck and I are both far from perfect and have made a lot of missteps in our lives, but thankfully, it's not about us.

All our comments this past two years about God being good and our having been blessed, stand true even on this awful morning. Chuck's biggest desire was that he be found faithful and that he didn't get in the way and screw up what God wanted to do through this whole thing (his exact words).

He loved you guys and was always deeply moved by the outpouring of love and friendship that came from friends he had, in most cases, never even met. He was so happy to have met both of you! I've been so grateful for the whole community as well! I can't explain what it's all meant to me.

God bless and I will let you know about services, etc. when I have more information.

A couple of pictures of Chuck training with Ken Hackathorn during better days:

Photos courtesy of www.gandrtactical.com



Here is a picture of our friend when he was in Iraq.







Beware that the pictures are not hosted by me, they're hosted by their owners, so if they disappear, there's nothing I can do about it. Sorry.

jordanl 12-09-2013 12:48 PM

Thank you Ricky T.

Starship Enterpris 12-09-2013 12:51 PM

Godspeed to him and prayers to his family........

Ricky T 12-09-2013 12:54 PM

10/14/2012 - from the m4carbine.net forum:

Do I believe in the God of the Bible, His plan for mankind, and the redeeming work that He accomplished through the sacrifice of His Son? Yes, I do, though this ultimately this speaks more to my relationship with God -- through Christ -- than it does with any particular expression of organized religion in society. I do try to attend church, and I do have an interest in the doctrines of the faith, but I do not look to the denominations, conventions, councils, or boards formed by men to discern this truth: instead, I rely upon careful reading of the Word, allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal what I need to know, and I try to devote some time to discussions with Godly men who I know have no agendas aside from becoming more consistent followers of Christ.

Like most anything else man organizes (even for the noblest of purposes), there are many inherent flaws in contemporary concepts of religion. Too much of it has become a duty, a performance, a social obligation or some kind of financial cause. Little wonder that there are so many out there whose foundational beliefs in God has been shaken, or even destroyed, by those who would seek to substitute Christ's message of simple belief with a littany of their own expectations, rules, and -isms. Jesus Christ did not go to the cross to provide us with -isms; He went because it provided the atonement necessary to restore access to God, even in our gravely flawed states. We've taken the simple and made it difficult ... and it's wrong.

In this case, because my focus is upon walking faithfully with God Himself, rather than being right with a church, I have absolute confidence in His ability to work in my situation. It may spare my life, but I have zero expectations of that, nor am I praying to get out of this. What I am praying is that I will serve the purpose He has called me to, and that I will do it faithfully. If God needs me to be his barrel wrench right now, then I will find fulfillment in that calling, period. Again, I'm talking about a relationship with the Father that is anchored to the simplest and earliest of Christ's teachings: believe that He did the work necessary to save my soul, follow His example, carry the message of eternal salvation, and care for one's fellow man. It is not a cultural phenomenon. It not based upon traditions or opinions. It is not something that will change 200 years from now during the next big doctrinal/social/end-of-the-world shift.

This is the real source of my peace, even the the challenge for me is to carefully consider how faithful I actually am being in my daily walk. Sometimes I am a complete lunkhead. Sometimes I am slow to listen. Sometimes I still just want to do things my way. Still, when is all is said and done, more than anything else, I want to be found faithful.

In a much larger, more philosophical sense, I think it is a very natural thing for thinking men everywhere to ponder the question "do I believe in a God who might actually be in control of all of this, and if so, who might have some actual purpose or direction for my life? My sense is that this is hard-wired into the souls of most, but we learn to ignore it after years of seeing jaded versions of "Christianity" play out that bear little resemblance to the Christ that they are supposedly seeking to emulate. Either way, this doesn't make the basic questions any less valid, and something as simple as the "Roman's Road" in the New Testament can provide some exceedingly simple -- if profound -- truths on where we stand before God, and what can be done about it. Now, it's true that the right church at the right time can also be helpful in helping a new believer find a few consistent keys to growth, but the church is not the vehicle by which God offers the gift of salvation. So, where does that leave me?

Adherence to a formal religion? No, thanks.

A meaningful relationship with God? Absolutely -- I would be in total despair without it.

I'm admittedly on pain meds meds right now, but hopefully this helps to shed a bit of light on where I'm coming from, without putting anyone into an uncomfortable position who might have very different views -- or no views at all. I appreciate your support just the same either way, but thought a word of explanation might be useful as to why I'm not allowing my situation to remove the joy from however many days I might happen to have left. I came into the world a pretty light-hearted, optimistic guy, and I plan to go out in very much the same way.


Grandpas50AE 12-09-2013 01:40 PM

Thanks for taking on this task Ricky. Chuck's explanation of the foundation of his belief, and all that it implies, is far more eloquently stated than I could have done, but expresses the fundamentals of truth that I hold - it is as if he were looking into my soul and putting words to it. I feel more than blessed to have known him even if only over the 'net.


SVTNate 12-09-2013 01:41 PM

Oh man. I feel sick to my stomach.

I have a lot of admiration for the man and will miss talking to him.

Rest in peace my friend, and bless his family.

Atlas 12-09-2013 01:59 PM

Great to see this. Thank you.

Ricky T 12-09-2013 02:07 PM

Please reserve this thread only for posting Chuck's wisdom and comments regarding his exact quotes. Feel free to cut and paste your "Chuck's favorite" quote here.

Please leave words of condolenses in the General Discussion stick thread.


TwoThirtyBall 12-09-2013 02:10 PM

In my short time on the Wilson Forum I found AC to be extremely helpful. Even though he has probably helped a 100 newbies with their first WC builds, he took his time to put together a eloquent response to help alleviate my concerns with my first build.

I found to that be really impressive.. That he took some of his last moments on earth to share his knowledge with someone who has a common interest.

I spend time on numerous forums as I have interest in blades, home theater setups, DIY stuff, etc, etc, etc., and as many people know, often times those who frequent forums and become a part of them have a hard time accepting new members.

This did not appear to the be case with Army Chief. In my limited dealings with him, he was nothing but courteous, helpful, and knowledgeable in his hobby.

I wish nothing but the best for him and his family.

SA-TRP-Operator 12-09-2013 02:24 PM

From AC just a few weeks ago..............
From AC just a few weeks ago..............

Appreciate the intercession and kindness, brother.

For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. I am indeed a man of faith, and perfectly content with my fate. God has a purpose -- my only prayer is to not let myself get in the way of whatever He is seeking to do through this. All else is of only a passing significance to me, and every day that I do get is a blessing. It's pretty much just that easy. =]

Yes, I do have better days than others where the body is concerned, but the mind remains strong and the spirit positive. As I'm already a year past my predicted life expectancy, you won't hear too much complaining from me.

Again, my sincere thanks for your note. Means a lot.


Ricky T 12-09-2013 02:51 PM

Chuck's observation on the gun control debate (around Feb. 2013):

Like most of you, I've been watching the battle lines form once again in our national gun control discourse (something we have long known was coming), and waiting to see just how far afield things get carried this time. Another discussion for another time, but I'm always disappointed at the way that political expediencies force the focus upon symptoms, while completely ignoring the underlying disease.

Someone asked Chuck what exactly was his duty with the Army prior to being diagnosed with cancer:

Now there is a question I don't answer very often. The truth is that I am the Deputy Executive Officer for the Commanding General of U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM).

Working directly for a 4-star as a member of his personal staff affords me a lot of flexibility (which has been a godsend while I've been sick), and while the job is primarily administrative, much of what I do is coordinating his aggressive travel schedule with a fleet of small military jets. In other words, I'm not exactly a fangs-out operator these days, but I do love what I do, so going back to work is no hardship -- once I get my uniform on, that is. Getting dressed still kind of wears me out. lol.


Ricky T 12-09-2013 03:13 PM

On 5/1/13 he said this:

Not that I am the font of all spiritual or relational wisdom, but I actually managed to figure this one out: you've got to find a woman who loves God more than she loves you -- albeit just barely.

She will be much more inclined to forgive when you're being a clod (because it's the the right thing to do, and it is wrong to harbor bitterness and offenses) and she will be more likely to recognize and work on her own shortcomings before they become a major source of agitation for you and/or the family.

I happen to be the meatball in my own relationship, but fortunately I chose well, and Mrs. AC and I will celebrate our 25th Anniversary in less than 90 days ... unless I kick her butt to the curb, of course. lol Not much chance of that happening, though; she's only improved with age, and was already far better than I deserved in the first place.


On 11/4 about his daughter's engagement and her fiancee:

Without turning this into too much of a sidebar, as a fellow man of faith, I will tell you that the new fiancé is a true gentleman with a clear heart for God and a strong drive to serve others. When you find that kind of discernment and maturity in any young man (instead of the cocksure pride that we doubtless had. lol) it makes it a pretty easy thing to entrust him with a beloved daughter who happens to share those same life goals. Feeling pretty blessed all-around.

Not sure if I'll still be on my feet for a June wedding, of course, but I have perfect peace about where this couple is headed. They are doing it right. What dad could really ask for more?


They later changed the wedding date to after Christmas. :(

Ricky T 12-09-2013 03:44 PM

Thanking folks for his birthday wishes on 11/7:

What a great day, men. Thank you for taking note of the occasion.

So many kindnesses. So many blessings. So many good friends texting, writing and sending good wishes. Calls from brothers in Germany. Family surrounding me with love and great surprises. Wonderful gifts that I could not have anticipated. More than one purposed and carefully-selected toast in my honor. Even had a 4-star General ring the long-latent work BlackBerry to sing Happy Birthday to me.

I continue to marvel at the manner in which so many continue, relentlessly and without even the slightest hesitation, continue to pour out genuine affection, concern and to me. I cannot deserve any of it, and yet they -- and you -- haven't slowed down for a moment, and show no signs of backing off now. How can I even begin to mount an adequate response to that, really? I can't. There is simply no way that words can touch it. Not even any of the ones that usually come so easily to me in any other circumstance. I can only tell you that you enrich my life in more ways than can be counted, and I am deeply humbled.

So, yep ... I guess I made it to 48, after all. Never saw it coming. Now I see it going. And I am feeling pretty darned good. Thanks for choosing to have been part of it today.

Better brothers I could not, and would never dare, ask for.


A week after his birthday, "Operation Irene" landed at his house, yes they gave it a name. A band of m4carbine.net brothers took it upon themselves to solicit funds, donations and contributions for a care package for Chuck. Some of the stuff were donated by our own WilsonCombatRep. The picture below was only a small part of stuff. There was also a Surefire X300 Ultra for Chuck's new Colt Rail Gun that a 1911forum moderator donated (it wasn't me), Raven Concealment System holster, Wilson mags, a Volund Gearworks ATLAS belt, Wilson coffee mug and ammo.


Chuck's comments on the whole deal:

Just wanted to add a quick footnote on the heels of what Cory said, above. While I cannot know precisely how our various interactions come together on or off of the forum, it has always been my desire to see folks truly invest in each other in ways that matter beyond the simple give-and-take of another online community. These resources have their limitations, of course, and I don't wish to be silly about any of this, but given the amount of time that so many of us spend here (whether by design or pure happenstance) I think it is important to be able to take something "real" away from it.

If my situation has served as some sort of catalyst for guys coming together, finding some genuine lines of support and forging new friendships, then I obviously find tremendous encouragement in that. It's not about me, ultimately, but about the way in which like-minded men choose to create and maintain meaningful exchanges that serve to enrich the lives of those around them. So, what might seem like a small thing on the face of it (though I would not call Operation Irene a small effort), I find even greater significance in the fact that so many of you have learned, as I have learned this past year, that the investments that we make in others are among the most important things that we can do with our lives. It runs contrary to popular wisdom, but the truth is that the less we look out for ourselves, the more extraordinary the results.


On December 2:

Short on eloquence today, boys. Haven't been online much at all.

I really, really wrenched my back just before lunch, and have been laid-up hard all day. Good thing I already had strong pain meds on hand. I'm just really weak in the physical sense (muscle atrophy from prolonged steroids), and moving a small pistol rack onto my nightstand was all it took. Totally unrelated to anything else ... just one of those old guy things.

I had actually felt well-enough to be out tooling-around in the garage for an hour or so prior to that, and having some old energy reserves back had proven to be a great encouragement. It's something that I've been struggling with quite a bit since the move, actually. Most days, simple movements from the bedroom to the study, living room or kitchen are about all I'm getting accomplished. Am trying to fight my way back into a more normal routine, and working on getting back out of the house with Mrs. AC more often.

Someone asked what flavor of 1911 was Chuck's favorite, he replied on 12/4:

1911s? What is this? Slow-pitch softball? lol

I think that different folks being very different entry and exit points to questions like this. You recall the influences of Cooper (as do I) and were drawn to the Commander. Another unique old Colt came your way via a close family member. There is significance tied to these guns that reaches far beyond the steels and woods involved. Context matters.

So it is with me. My affinity for the 1911 is less-driven by any particular delusion that it remains the best tool for the job in 2013, but rather by the fact that it is pretty-consistent with who I am as a person. I'm willing to make the greater knowledge base investment to get the necessary results from a 1911. I appreciate what can be done to these guns -- and what I can do with them -- that cannot generally be done with others. In this, I suppose I am simply reflecting an innate appreciation for classic, high-quality things in general. I apply much the same logic to timepieces and fountain pens.

Where 1911s are concerned, I've ended-up in a place where old custom Colts probably speak to me more than anything else. Model-wise, Commanders remain a favorite just for what they are, but 5" guns really form the cornerstone of my armamentarium. Without going into too much detail, on any given day, that means that you might find me with a Wilson Stealth, a custom Colt LW Commander, a custom Colt Rail Gun or some other variation on the 5" theme that meets a particular need. I may have more to say about all of this in time (and likely will), but for now, I think I am going to leave it at that.


Ricky T 12-09-2013 03:46 PM

"Elite" designations come from the things that you DO in life, and not from the things that you buy along the way.


James3612 12-09-2013 04:59 PM

First, decide what you want the weapon to be - Concealed carry, bedside, BBQ, long range shooting, CQB, whatever. Then, the options of significance (sights, scopes, finish, etc.) will become self-evident. The other options are in the eye of the beholder.

R0CKETMAN 12-09-2013 05:16 PM

Privately with topic redacted


Originally Posted by Army Chief

Well done, brother! Happy for you!


Gamecockgangsta 12-09-2013 05:25 PM

A recent quote that hit me funny because it's so true...I thought it was great advice considering a lot of the questions asked.


My standard advice on these kinds of topics is that, if you suddenly develop an irresistible compulsion to work on a 1911 -- with or without a Dremel -- then you need to go out and buy yourself a RIA, hit the garage workbench and knock yourself out. Just don't start experimenting on a $4k pistol that is almost guaranteed to be in far better condition when you start your project than it will be once you've finished making your "improvements."

WitchDoctor 12-09-2013 06:41 PM

Running specs by AC....
From the keyboard of the man himself:

Where are you really headed with this one, Trooper?


You will be missed!

RCND82 12-09-2013 06:49 PM

I am in tears and admiration every time I read this private message:

Faith remains strong and I'm in very good spirits actually, but no -- I'm on a pretty rapid decline, truth be told. Tumor regrowth has been unusually-aggressive and swift over the past couple of weeks, and I've no viable medical options to mitigate it this time. Again, not a matter of any great consequence to me, with eternity secured, but just something that colors the perspective a bit, as you might imagine.

The prayers are always appreciated, brother. I don't pray for healing myself, but I do pray in earnest that, whatever God is seeking to accomplish through this, that I will not get in the way. There is a purpose here, and I'm content with whatever it might be, whether I am meant to know it in the here and now or not.


Grandpas50AE 12-09-2013 07:02 PM

Here is an entry from a week or two ago, I found it humorous but generally true:

Keep in mind that esoteric equals expensive

Grandpas50AE 12-09-2013 07:08 PM

Another really good one
This one was one of his responses about waiting times that I found rather poignant:

In other words, spend some time dancing with the girl that you brought with you, rather than constantly watching to see who might be hovering over by the punch bowl. If you can't learn to find any immediate satisfaction with the Wilson gun that you "couldn't possibly live without" last year, how is the arrival of the next one really gong to change the equation any?

The questions are rhetorical, of course, but this business about waiting being difficult comes up fairly often around here, and I think guys forget that it really has a lot less to do with the guns than it has to do with human nature itself. I'm pleased that so many of you have other orders in the queue to look forward to, but I'll bet you're also overlooking some cool opportunities to spend some quality time enjoying one or two fine pistols that you've already got sitting not so very far away from where you're sitting right now.


Tom R 12-09-2013 07:38 PM

Ever chiding, in a respectful way, gun fetishism vs utility, I liked this recent quote,

"I do find it somewhat interesting that, at a time when Wilson's is building their ambi thumb safety-equipped pistols with the BP units that no longer feature the traditional foot extension, they would issue a contract that calls for right-side panels to retain the cutout by default.

On the other hand, there seems to be a very thin line on the Wilson board these days between attention to detail and a rather odd degree of obsession, and I think we may have just found it. Again.


Gonna miss this guy....

Ricky T 12-09-2013 08:57 PM

Referring to a comment by fellow moderator PT-Partners about the contemporary custom 1911 owners taste and limited knowledge of history behind the weapon:

Actually, that is a very valid point. Our introduction to the gun was based upon experience, rather than research, as it simply wasn't possible to log on to a computer and have all of your questions answered in those days. Either you were issued one, bought one or spent time actually talking and shootng with with people who did. Worst case, you spent a lot of time on the phone.

Even in the early days of this forum, the nature of the discussions was often quite different and the number of available models -- especially in the Wilson line -- was a mere fraction of what is offered today. Customization options, now a Wilson hallmark, were much more constrained, and you couldn't simply "have it your way," more often than not.

Choice is a good thing, of course, but it can also be paralyzing; especially if your only real exposure to the guns comes from looking at pictures and reading forum posts. I almost feel sorry for guys struggling to build a spec sheet when they have no real idea what half of the check boxes really mean, why certain options exist or what might be best-suited to them as a shooter. It has, in some ways, almost surely become a more difficult process for a lot of guys. We see it here every day.

We've come a long way, and anything that increases our access to knowledge is a good thing, so I'm certainly not complaining. Like you, I do my best to guide and educate within the limits of my lane, and I'd like to think that we save a few guys here and there from making costly mistakes; still, it can be a tough row to hoe when you simply "don't know what you don't know." I also have to laugh a bit at the general lack of awareness of what constitutes the absolute top tier of the market. Wilson's builds a beautiful gun, and I'm a happy customer, but I wouldn't drop $7k on one. There are some others out there (i.e. the LTW crowd) that, well ... you know the rest of the story. You see and sell them every day.


Calishine 12-09-2013 09:31 PM

My recent fav

Originally Posted by Army Chief (Post 4797789)
Spend more time with the guns that you already own. Break them down. Study what is going on inside of them in detail. Shoot them more often. Clean them more carefully. Figure out what you did right and wrong when you ordered them the way that you did. Sort out what features you really like and which ones don't really seem to make as much of a difference as you thought that they might.

In other words, spend some time dancing with the girl that you brought with you, rather than constantly watching to see who might be hovering over by the punch bowl. If you can't learn to find any immediate satisfaction with the Wilson gun that you "couldn't possibly live without" last year, how is the arrival of the next one really gong to change the equation any?

The questions are rhetorical, of course, but this business about waiting being difficult comes up fairly often around here, and I think guys forget that it really has a lot less to do with the guns than it has to do with human nature itself. I'm pleased that so many of you have other orders in the queue to look forward to, but I'll bet you're also overlooking some cool opportunities to spend some quality time enjoying one or two fine pistols that you've already got sitting not so very far away from where you're sitting right now.

Perspective. ;)



Ricky T 12-09-2013 09:47 PM

The above passage has got to be one of the best from Chuck.

Sawgrass 12-09-2013 11:26 PM

He and I pm'd a bit after my waiting thread. This if from a pm a few days ago.
His insight holds many lessons on many levels. RIP AC. You will be missed.

" God has used cancer tremendously in my life, and I wouldnt change a thing about this journey. It just makes my participation here a little uneven at times, depending upon how I am managing things like swelling, meds and all of that sort of thing. I don't really have any medical options at this point beyond the palliative, but am still very much in the fight. I was only given 60-days to live last September, and radiation bought me considerably more than that (all of 2013!), so again, what on earth do I have to complain about? "

I asked him if he minded that I had quoted him in my Sig line and he replied.

"Not sure what on earth I would be objecting to in the first place, but of course you are free to do as you wish. It certainly does not bother me in any way. I think a lot of folks could stand to benefit from slowing down a bit to appreciate what they've already got, and if this line or two helps to remind them of that, then so much better.

Chuck "

Gr1911 12-10-2013 07:15 AM


Originally Posted by Army Chief (Post 4741653)
Balance. That's it, really. Don't be a fanboy. Don't be anybody's fanboy, ever. Strive to be an educated, savvy consumer. Will that lessen your enthusiasm for the Wilson brand? Heck no, it will probably only increase it, but you might just find that it affects some of your buying and configuration choices for the better, and you'll end up feeling just a bit less silly next year when you decide not to put your low-round-count Wilson on GunBroker in order to buy the next latest, greatest thing that you see pictured in the 2014 Wilson Combat catalog.

Study them. Invest in them. Appreciate them. Shoot them -- often. That is the secret to happiness in the high-end 1911 game. Skip a step here, and you will forever be chasing your tail.


One of my favorites. Chuck was full of wisdom.

Birdy 12-10-2013 01:48 PM

Some days ago, Chuck pinned my "Supergrade unplugged" thread.
I was very surprised and I sent him a PM. I said thank you and I asked "why a sticky?".
This was his answer. 100% AC! ;)


Originally Posted by Army Chief

As a rule, I remove them far more often than I allow them, so it is definitely a case where the content needs to measure up to a pretty high standard. In this case, the photos are almost too good, as I knew that everyone was going to want to fixate on the "look at how awesome Wilson parts are" aspect, rather than the technical insights they provide, but I'll take that risk if it leads to a guy actually being able to identify a disconnector at some point in his life. ;)

We cater to way too many masturbatory marketing shots around here. They serve a purpose, but they also reinforce the wrong kind of enthusiasm at times. I want the boys and girls to see some of the more elusive details, so as you may see fit to add to any of this thread, do me a favor and get inside of the gun as much as you highlight the aesthetics and options on the outside.

Let's show folks what is really going on in there if/when we can, so I can pull them off of the warm teats of ball cuts, case hardening, logos and chamber flutes. Show 'em springs and sears and links and mag catches and such.

Flanged Barrel Fanatic 12-10-2013 08:32 PM

This is from a recent post. I had the same question---it was glad to see he did as well.

Nice gun.

l admit that I still don't really understand why folks order reduced form-factor 1911s (to make them shorter -- i.e optimized for CCW/defensive use) and then go and put magwells on them (which makes them longer -- i.e. optimized for range games/competition), but Professionals definitely strike a nice balance in the lineup. Hard to really get one wrong.


goaround28 12-11-2013 02:17 AM

I started clipping my favorites about a year ago. An honor to add a few to the list:

Answering the OP, who wondered what would happen if he died before his WC was delivered:

Here's a quick moment of perspective, for those who may not already know. I actually am dying. As in, I have terminal cancer, and have no further medical recourse for the disease which will likely put me down for good in a matter of months from now. Different issue, of course, and one with which I am completely at peace as a man of faith, but I haven't exactly stopped living my life in the meantime, and I've got a custom 1911 build project going on right now.

Senseless? Not really. Whether I ultimately get to see the gun completed or put it through it's paces, it gives me something to look forward to, something to potentially enjoy and something that I know my children and grandchildren will appreciate no matter what happens to me, or when. Trying to forecast a Wilson delivery date as a mere 60-something year old, and feeling precautionary about the outcome may seem reasonable at face value, but when you consider the wider perspective, it is probably over-thinking things. Order the gun you want, and let the wait (and outcome) worry about itself. It won't be long before you have it in your hands, and realize that the early hesitance was actually pretty silly.

Then, order another one.


"Guidance" to the OP around certain trends:

Lately might be the operative word here, brother. By the time you could spec the gun and wait to have it built, you can rest assured that it will be something else that the herd is plodding toward.


Opining about the proliferation of compact 1911's:

Bottom line: the smaller and lighter the 1911, the least useful it will be as a piece of shooting iron. Yes, it may carry well, and you may shoot it just enough to gain sufficient confidence with it to keep it in that role, but they all represent a compromise. Not suggesting they are fundamentally-flawed guns; merely that our infatuation with them is probably not well-placed at times.


Gun cleaning:

I've got to be honest: there are some great products out there these days, no doubt, but a lot of this is much ado about nothing. Like everything else, the claims grow more lofty as the bottles get smaller and the price tags go up. All of these products bring something to the table, of course, but you can cover just as much ground with a bottle of Mobil 1 and a GI toothbrush for all intents and purposes.

Keeping oil on the gun is important. Period. Some products do simplify cleanup, or reduce fouling, or adhere to the gun better, or last longer, or taste great or are less filling, but at the end of the day, there isn't a lot to lose sleep over here. Lube your gun. Shoot it. Clean it. Repeat.

A properly set-up 1911 really doesn't need a break-in cycle per se. Just give it some oil in the right spots, some decent fodder and enjoy the experience of owning a fine pistol.


HD courses:

The problems associated with fighting/defense in a house aren't even kinetic most of time -- they are almost completely knowledge- and decision- based. Being accurate on the wrong target or on a non-target is no help. Losing in that environment with a family potentially at stake and/or in close proximity is not an option.


Replying to compliments about his prose in a WC vs Nighthawk post :

None of us are likely to tell you that we are ready to claim expert status, and indeed, in any field of endeavor, knowing your place among the big dogs is probably the first step toward actually beginning to learn something useful. I'm a middle-aged Army guy (CW5 -- hence the "Chief" thing) with a terminal illness facing medical retirement after 30 years of service, I own a few nice 1911s and I've been privileged to spend some time around some folks that know a few things about these guns. (Truth is, I'm actually far better-known as an M4/AR carbine guy elsewhere.) Unless you want to talk about various training courses and such, that's about the extent of my formal Curriculum Vitae, and I would not ever wish to pretend otherwise. I'm a Regular Guy.


From the same thread as above:

When talking both hardware and software (the guns and the folks who own/use them), what I value most is that sense of balance...
Top-shelf guns built with a clear and cogent purpose.
Shooters committed to being smart and competent.


On a growing trend of Fanboys in the WC community:

It seems, and I recognize that this is neither universal nor fair to all, that we've rounded some kind of corner now. Wilson's (to their credit) will now build you whatever you want. You'll pay for it, of course, and you'll wait longer than ever for it, but if you want a true full-house custom gun out of Berryville nowadays, it can be had for the right price. That wasn't typically the case in the past and I don't view it as a step backward by any stretch. I do think, however, that it has resulted in the emergence of a strange kind of new customer: the guy who wants the best, and is willing to spend the money, but who really has almost no experience or knowledge base from which to draw where these guns are concerned.

Balance. That's it, really. Don't be a fanboy. Don't be anybody's fanboy, ever. Strive to be an educated, savvy consumer. Will that lessen your enthusiasm for the Wilson brand? Heck no, it will probably only increase it, but you might just find that it affects some of your buying and configuration choices for the better, and you'll end up feeling just a bit less silly next year when you decide not to put your low-round-count Wilson on GunBroker in order to buy the next latest, greatest thing that you see pictured in the 2014 Wilson Combat catalog.


And one of my favorites:

The custom 1911 is a high-quality fountain pen. A cheap ball point will work better, more consistently and with less fuss, but it will also lack all of the intangible refinement that makes writing with a fountain pen an experience to be savored, rather than just another chore. It forces you to take your time, craft your manuscript and tend to the needs of your writing instrument, even as it delivers a smoother line, a satisfying heft and a more distinctive result. So it is with the 1911. It is heavy, which makes it particularly well-suited to the .45 Auto. It possesses an excellent trigger that no other handgun can equal. It offers a subjective feel in the hand that meets a rather particular need, and it catches the eye in a way that only a true icon can. The gun is a part of our national fabric, and still an incredibly effective tool.

Ricky T 12-11-2013 06:27 AM


You are on fire. Those are some treasured posts, I missed this one, but it is beautiful, thank you:

The custom 1911 is a high-quality fountain pen. A cheap ball point will work better, more consistently and with less fuss, but it will also lack all of the intangible refinement that makes writing with a fountain pen an experience to be savored, rather than just another chore. It forces you to take your time, craft your manuscript and tend to the needs of your writing instrument, even as it delivers a smoother line, a satisfying heft and a more distinctive result. So it is with the 1911. It is heavy, which makes it particularly well-suited to the .45 Auto. It possesses an excellent trigger that no other handgun can equal. It offers a subjective feel in the hand that meets a rather particular need, and it catches the eye in a way that only a true icon can. The gun is a part of our national fabric, and still an incredibly effective tool.

Ricky T 12-11-2013 09:20 AM

Link to the funeral home and also Chuck's obituary, written by his oldest son Matt.


kthom 12-11-2013 11:40 AM

"I'm a Regular Guy."

In spite of AC's modest nature and humble spirit, I submit that there is and was very little about AC that was "regular". But it was his modest nature and humble spirit that defined who he was, and he was modest and humble because of his great faith in Almighty Jehovah God. I believe we see in AC a prime example of one who practiced what he preached. And I, for one, truly appreciate his example. As these quotes of his posts here indicate, he had a unique gift for words and the best expression of them. I appreciate the posts we have and the memories we have, but I will truly miss his comments going forward. I treasure his comment about one of my posts that what I said was "on point". That's one of the best compliments I've ever been paid.

Thanks to all who have brought all these comments made by AC together in one place where we can read them occasionally and remind ourselves of how we should behave and treat one another.

goaround28 12-12-2013 03:40 AM

A few more:

On the DIY approach

As a rule, it is just easier to allow WC to upgrade the gun and address any refinishing needs all at once. It can take longer and be more expensive, of course, but at least you're assured of a positive outcome. The fact is that relatively few "good idea" upgrades undertaken out on the garage workbench really go half as well as envisioned, no matter how simple they might seem to be in theory. It makes no sense to try to save $300 on a $3,000 gun if/when you really want to have something upgraded or changed out.


On the LGS

I never cease to be amazed by the level of incompetence and bloviation associated with the typical gun shop experience. It's a wonder anyone ever gets any accurate information in some of these places.

Granted, it was always expected that the guy behind the counter was going to try to sell you whatever it was that he happened to have in stock, but the whole "impartation of knowledge" thing gets pretty ridiculous sometimes, and I've probably heard more pure BS in gun stores than just about anywhere else.


On the complexities of the 1911

This is also why many 1911s will begin to suffer from mysterious reliability problems once their owners begin making what seem like straightforward garage bench "improvements" that seemed to go well at the time. Even installing a pair of grips can result in these kinds of problems, which is why so many experts these days will rightly point you to a Glock if you aren't willing to get comfortable with Kuhnhausen. There is much to know, and once you really begin digging into the mechanics of the 1911, the more you come to realize how incredibly interrelated many of these components are, and how making a small change in one area can readily affect two or three other critically-important things going on inside of the gun.


AC's comments in the "comments" section below an article about his residential move and the more than 200 offers of help he received from fellow soldiers at Fort Bragg:

Nothing sad about this story, folks, but there is certainly great beauty here. We're a family of faith, and the larger situation is squarely in God's hands. I am content with my fate, and grateful for each new day until then.

What we could not have known, of course, is how an 11th-hour social media dragnet call (of which we were not aware) could result in such an outpouring of love and concern from a cohort of fellow Soldiers, family members, vets, retirees and others in the community who showed up with a desire to help. To ease a burden for a brother that they did not know, battling a problem of which they were unaware, to accomplish a mission that couldn't be found in any OPORD. They just came. From quite literally everywhere.

Before I knew it, they were gone just as quickly. Job done.

Soldiers taking care of Soldiers. This obviously resonates deep within those us who serve, and has been a central focus of my own life for nearly three decades. Still, it has been a rare thing that I should ever find myself to be the one truly in need. Yesterday our family had a need. Today we have a victory.

There are no words, really, and I spent most of the actual event overcome and not-especially-cogent; that said, on behalf of this Army family in transition, my heartfelt gratitude and respect goes out to every one of you that came out, offered a word of support or perhaps just sent a knee-mail or two on our behalf.

You truly made a difference.

Today is another good Army day for the very same reason as every other: because of good Army people. Soldiers. It is a great privilege to be counted among your number.


Flanged Barrel Fanatic 12-12-2013 11:32 PM

Folks, please read Chuck's obit, cited in the link above. What a great person.

.45_ACP 12-13-2013 02:10 PM


Originally Posted by Harley/kimber (Post 4823979)
Folks, please read Chuck's obit, cited in the link above. What a great person.

+1 and I would also like to suggest that you click on the "Tribute Video" tab and watch it. It will bring tears to your eyes :( but it also show you what an extraordinary life AC had.

thundrr1 12-13-2013 09:06 PM

By every definition,,,,,,,,,,,,, an American HERO.

Ricky T 12-13-2013 10:59 PM

Just got home from Chuck's funeral. It was a moving, emotional, spiritual and beautiful ceremony. I'll go into it a little later when I can catch my breath. I'm spent.

Addendum: 12/14/2013

It's been almost 24 hours since the funeral for Chuck Petrie at the All American Chapel at Fort Bragg.


The ceremony was beautiful, sad, happy, funny and like I said last night, very moving. Chuck's casket was covered by the American flag and a picture of him in his best blue military uniform stood nearby. There were comments by his pastor, prayers, hymns being sung, eulogy by Chuck's brother in law, a video montage of Chuck, and a final short speech by Terri. I managed to hold it all together until Terri spoke. Then the flood gate opened and it wouldn't stop, just like the moment that I read the email from Terri last Saturday a week ago.

Terri is a remarkable wife, mother and person. She will have a tough road ahead although she is a very strong woman. After Chuck is laid to rest, after all the friends and family are all back to their homes, Terri will be home with just her son Ben. I imagine that her daughter will be moving to be with her husband after their wedding later this month. That's when the house is quiet and she can really have a moment to herself to reflect. Her husband, best friend and confidant won't be there to laugh, talk, make funny face, and drink coffee with her in the morning. We all mourn and grieve at different level and duration. Surely Terri will have her period of mourning, grieving, crying and recovering. I wish her the best. I've been there and my Denise has been there with her own loss of her late husband. Hopefully the memories of good times and much happier times with Chuck will surface and carry her to happier days in the future.

Back to the funeral. There were people from all walks of life. There were his fellow Army soldiers from his unit, family and friends. Some have known Chuck all his life and some are new friends. A few he met through the forums :) We all adjourned to the fellowship hall next to the chapel for a beautiful reception. I was able to meet Chuck's parents and his son Matt, Matt's wife Betty, his daughter Emily and her fiancée. They're all great people. Terri was remarkably well composed after the emotional speech at the end of the funeral. She made a point to meet and thanked all that came to say their last good bye. I met a close friend of Chuck's, he is also on this forum. We had to get on the road for the eight hour drive home, so we said good bye to Terri and her family and made a point of staying in contact.

Good bye Chuck, I love you my friend, may you rest in peace.

TracerBullet 12-14-2013 12:10 PM

I had reservations about disclosing this PM Chuck sent to me a couple of weeks ago, but after reading this remarkable thread and watching Chuck's amazing and elegant obituary, I now believe keeping some of his final thoughts to myself would be selfish. Please allow me to give some background to his comments to me, and forgive me for my indulgences of my own condition. I believe my own problems will highlight the incredible thoughtfulness of our now-departed Army Chief.

I am a rapidly aging and increasingly diseased man. In my youth, I served a year in Viet Nam and came away with severe neuropathy and diabetes as a result of Agent Orange exposure. A couple years later, I fell eight feet attempting to make an arrest while I was assigned to the CID. I came away with ruptured discs, spinal stenosis and now, arthritis. We also now fear I am in the original stages of Parkinson's Disease, again a legacy of AO.

I live with constant pain which has taken a turn for the worse since earlier in the year. In short, I turned nasty, sour and just a miserable person to be around. I felt extremely sorry for myself and spent hours and days sinking into darkness and evil.

I began to follow Chuck's posts and began to get an appreciation of the progression of his disease. I also saw how his humor and grace prevailed through what few if any of us can possibly comprehend. Somewhere along the way I had an epiphany which I can only attribute to Chuck's sweetness. I don't know how else to put it, but this remarkable man whom I never met, pretty much showed me how to live a positive life regardless of whatever problems I had. I sent him a private message expressing my admiration for him and explained how he did so much to save my life. Here is what Chuck sent back to me:


Don't even know quite where to begin, and these PMs are pretty space-limited to start with, but I am humbled by, and grateful for, your kindness.

It is difficult to know sometimes the impact that we have upon others, whether deliberate or incidental. Although I have never asked God for healing, I have prayed earnestly that He use me -- and this situation I'm in -- in some meaningful way in the days that I have remaining. Notes like yours give wonderful purpose to these prayers. Thank you. I am at perfect peace with my fate (we're all dirt in a box in 30 years anyway, no?), but I want to invest myself in others as well as I can for as long as I can until I am called home.

Always a delight to hear from another old Chief, of course, and you can be sure that you will be in my prayers. Being familiar with pain, and the associated impact that it has upon mental state and everything else, I can certainly empathize with your situation. Don't let anger or bitterness get the upper hand on you, brother -- I'm encouraged to hear that you've seen some recent hard-won victories here. The body can surely be a challenge, but ultimately the spirit and the will are decisive. We are, after all, the men that we choose to be, regardless of the cards that we are dealt. Composure and grace aren't always easy to come by, of course, but when you can't control outcomes anyway, they do make things easier to bear in the meantime.

As odd as it must sound, given all that God has taught me through this cancer, I would not seek to go back and change it now if I could. The perspectives I've gained have changed me as a man for the better in more ways than I can even begin to count. I'm simply grateful now for each new day. Some are a little harder to get through than others, true, but every one of them remains a blessing. As I told my wife a few days ago, "I've never been more miserable (physically), but I've also never been happier in my entire life."


Again, my sincere thanks and abiding respect ... you cannot even fully know the significance of your words today.


What a man!

Ricky T 12-14-2013 12:19 PM


Thank you for sharing that gem from Chuck. Yep, that is our Chuck. They mentioned yesterday in the funeral the comment from Chuck about not willing to change anything in the last year and that he was at his happiest time. He was with God then, accepted that and he was at peace in his last moment with us.

Thank you for your service. I'm very sorry to hear about your own battle with AO and other injuries. Chuck's words are very comforting.

BTW, are you or have you received any compensations from the Army or VA for your suffering from AO. A friend of mine was in SVN and got Non Hotchkins Lymphoma (hope I spelled that right) from exposure. He received a fairly large amount of compensation from the government for his illness, it helps.

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