Rock Island Arsenal M15 General Officer’s Pistol

Categories: Collectibles, Handguns
Caliber: .45 ACP
Model: M15

This Rock Island Arsenal M15 was originally issued to Brigadier General Leo Golash. The M15 is distinctively marked with “General Officer Model/RIA” on the left slide and bears the serial number “GO 258” on the frame.

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Description

Rock Island Arsenal M15 General Officer Semi-Automatic Pistol in .45 ACP, Issued to Brigadier General Leo Golash

The Rock Island Arsenal’s M15 pistols, a refined version of the classic M1911A1, were crafted between the early 1970s and 1985 when the U.S. Army transitioned to the Beretta M9. Each pistol underwent precise modifications, including removing original markings for the new M15 designation, shortening the slide and barrel to 4 1/4 inches, and adding elevated profile sights for improved accuracy.

Distinctively marked, the M15’s left slide features “General Officer Model/RIA,” while the frame’s right side proudly displays “Serial No. GO 258” just above the grip. The grips themselves are of a luxurious checkered walnut, adorned on the right with the Rock Island Arsenal Ordnance Corp’s emblem—a symbolic pairing of crossed cannons and a leather belt inscribed with “ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL,” capped by a “Shell/Flame” and “Ordnance Bomb.”

The pistol’s aesthetic is further enhanced by a profoundly polished blue finish covering every component except the chrome-plated barrel. A blank nameplate is subtly inset into the left grip. The pistol includes an original WWII-era GI magazine, identifiable by the capital “G” on its front lip.

This particular Rock Island Arsenal M15 was entrusted to Brigadier General Leo Golash, as confirmed by its listing on page 149 of “The Colt U.S. General Officers’ Pistol” by Horace Greeley IV, noting its issuance in 1974. General Golash’s distinguished military career began with enlistment in the U.S. Army in 1941, followed by officer training at Ft. Benning, Georgia. His service spanned the eras of World War II and the Korean War, during which he was captured and later repatriated. His commendations include the Combat Infantry Badge, Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, National Defense Service Medal, and the WWII Victory Medal. Beyond his military achievements, General Golash furthered his education with a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Business Administration and later owned and operated insurance agencies in Massachusetts. His military career culminated in his appointment as a brigadier general in 1974, commanding the 187th Separate Infantry Brigade in Boston. He was interred at Arlington National Cemetery in 2001.

As a noteworthy piece of military history, this M15 represents the era it was crafted in and serves as a tangible connection to Brigadier General Leo Golash. Its mechanical excellence and well-preserved state make it a highly desirable collector’s item, offering historical significance and functional integrity.

This firearm is a distinguished example of the Rock Island Arsenal M15 General Officers pistol series, embodying the spirit and dedication of the service members to whom these pistols were issued. It is more than just a weapon; it is a piece of history, a tribute to the General Officers who led with distinction, and a remarkable legacy of American military craftsmanship.

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