Friday, July 6, 2007

Sometimes, getting the minimum is juuuust fine

As I alluded to in my previous post, today was our last day of Army Training here at Fort Jackson. To celebrate, we drew M16-A2 rifles early this morning, and headed to the range for a little Basic Rifle Marksmanship, or BRM.

Now to those of you who knew me during my huahh-huahh Army 1.0 days, you probably recall that BRM was something that I was never really that good at. Sure, I had my good days...but I never qualified expert (36 out of 40 hits) and once or twice I put up some real stinkers.

In fact, in a 4 year Army career otherwise unmarred by mediocrity, my rifle skills were never more than average.

Furthermore, I found rifle ranges so stressful--I was never 100% positive I would qualify--that the last time I fired an M16 back in April of 2005 was, at the time at least, one of the 2 or 3 happiest moments of my life. It meant that I never had to fire an M16 again, and I was more grateful for that than you can imagine.

All of that brings us to today, and my triumphant return to the M16. And by triumphant, I mean that I managed to put up a 23/40...the minimum score needed to pass. Of course, had I failed to pass they would have simply made note of it, and sent me on my way. What else could they do, really? Send me to Iraq?

All in all, though, I was relieved to pass after my two year hiatus from shooting. And to be honest, I'm proud of my 23. It was a nasty-hot day, my glasses fogged up on me, and I didn't have time to properly zero my weapon before the qualification range--I basically had to aim low and left on all of the targets to get the rounds to hit where I wanted them too. At the end of the day, I passed, and that's good enough for now.


Jeff Mac said...

It's official...I'm back "in the Army" again. After a week (July 1-6) of wearing civilian clothes, and trying desperately to find stuff to do between the two and a half days off (play golf, go to movie, go to...yes, Hooters, etc.)...I've FINALLY donned the uniform, zeroed and qualified with the M16, eaten an MRE, and cleaned the M16...ALL in one day!

It was definitely a surreal experience putting the uniform on again....which I guess I did correctly (the new ACU "all velcro" system is a bit different than what I remember). Not that it's exactly rocket science, but a brief (20 min.) class on how to properly wear and other uniform related regulations would have been nice. Then again, I don't think I've seen a drill sgt since I got here a week ago.

M16 qual was interesting as well...keep in mind this is the first "Army thing" I've done since showing up. After getting handed an M16 and being bussed to the range I sat in the bleachers and waited 45 min or so to go zero (no, I haven't skipped any familiarization, no safety briefing, etc.). Fortunately shooting a rifle is like riding a bike - you never forget - and I saved the Army 6 rounds of ammo by zeroing in 12 rounds (Army standard is 18). I was then promptly bussed to the qual range where we waited around for an hour or so (note again, no "instruction")...until they called us up - in the meantime I was informed by one of my fellow IRR soldiers that the qualification firing "positions" have changed...20 x prone supported...10 x prone unsupported...and 10 x "kneeling"...ALL news to me. Oh well. I proceeded to my lane where as I waited to fire I thought back to when the last time I fired an M16 was literally 4 years ago in Iraq at "bad guys", talk about wierd. Thankfully I was lucky enough to get a less than stellar, but adequate 27/40. But, as Andrew mentioned, I don't think it would have mattered if I got 7/40.

All in all...despite the lack of training...not a bad day. Luckily I ran into Andrew and Chris (another CPT) and a couple former "dog faced soldiers" (3rd Inf. Div.) which made me feel a bit nostalgic.

nate said...

i shot skeet the other day. i was extremely consistent: i think i hit 6 (out of 8) at each stand.

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