Thursday, June 11, 2009

Did Somebody Turn On the Range Fans?

Thirty-plus years ago, on a foggy gunnery range in Germany, a crusty old tank platoon sergeant sent his new butter bar to "Turn on the Range Fans" so they will blow away the mist. Fortunately I knew better, but every time I shoot on an Army range, the safety briefing mentions range fans (the left and right limits) and I get a little nostalgic.

So, speaking of ranges, we qualified yesterday with our pistols (I shot "Expert", including from farther than 21 feet, Lima Golf!), and then it was off to the rifle range. I zeroed my rifle, which required only 9 rounds. (Zeroing is the process of verifying that the sights are properly aligned with the bullet's trajectory) Normally I use 20 or more rounds of ammo to zero, because it requires putting 6-9 consecutive bullets into a 2-inch circle from 15 meters away, which is usually tough for me to accomplish quickly. Feeling very optimistic about my chances of shooting "Expert" with my rifle (which almost never happens, because for some reason my rifle marksmanship skills are about the same as my math skills), I headed over to the qualification range. No more than 5 seconds after sitting down on the bleachers, I was "invited" to walk all the way back to the Zero Range and join the "Ammo Party". Yeah, some party... Anyway, 4 hours later, I trudged the half-mile to the qualification range, thoroughly tired out and drenched with sweat. When it was my turn to shoot, I got down into the prone position, and considered just sleeping instead of shooting...after all, what had those targets ever done to me? Nothing. But in my best Pavlovian response, when the god-like voice from the range tower commanded me to open fire, I did. I quickly discovered that I couldn't see the 200 meter, 250 meter, and 300 meter targets, due to a combination of the sun's angle, the overgrowth of scotchbroom, and my bleary eyes. I bolo'd...did not qualify. Tried again an hour later, same result. I did qualify during the gas mask and night ranges, but had to return the following day. This time I qual'd with no problem. Lesson? Hide from the SGT MAJOR when he's looking for flunkies.

1 comment:

  1. omg, that was hilarious! Especially the prone position part. You are funny!