Saturday, August 8, 2009

Soldier of Marathon

It's a proud thing to be sitting in the theatre waiting for them to get to your trophy presentation so you can go up on the stage in front of a bunch of really great shooters and get a National Trophy. We were a happy row of Texans.

I'd spent the day shooting Infantry Trophy with the team and then switching to the old reliable Springfield 1903A3 for the CMP "games" match. Infantry Trophy team was me on the left end shooting two targets, Justin Utley, Gregg Foster, Keith Stephens, Jeff Lin, then Rick Crawford shooting the swing on the other end. It's a team match: do your job, listen to instructions and keep the chat to a minimum. No questions. People have thoughts to be thinking and work to be doing. Do yours.

I wrote my target numbers on the back on my hand and the fireplan on my palm. The back said 60-61. The palm said 11-11, 13-13, 9-5. That's 11 in both targets at 600, 13 in both targets at 500 yards and nine on the outside and five on the inside at 300. I missed one hit at 600, (when I looked at the scorecard later), none at 500 and none at 300. Actually Utley and I had an argument about who might have missed a shot on the inside target at 300 since he shot at it also, but I'm sure it was him.

In the pits we were followed by a team that shot hell out of the targets with a perfect wind call, the followed up doing the same at every yardline as they came down the range. Turns out it was the winning Junior Team from California who won the whole match. Overall. Unprecedented for anyone but a military team to win the match, and especially for a JUNIOR team to win. With a couple of girls on it. The Marines and the Army practice and practice shooting this match with a pick of the best shooters in the world, then get blind sided by some kids from the land of fruits and nuts. There are going to be some asses chewed at the Army Marksmanship Team and the USMC. We had some problem down the line somewhere with some groups hanging half off the targets at 600, but we win or lose as a team. Coach Curry's wind call was accurate.

Children with assault rifles from California are well-coached and can SHOOT.

Next up was the Springfield. Mike, of Breda and Mike came over to watch me shoot. I shot a 99 prone and then cleaned prone rapid with the old bolt action. It liked the issued ammo. I shot a very average 10 shots standing and finished with a 290X6 or so. Rick Crawford saved a round at the prone rapid, (shooting a bolt action left handed, which is a difficult thing to watch) and then shot 98 standing, finishing with a 287. He would have won the entire match walking away and set a National record if he hadn't lost that 10 points.

I'd keep that bullet. He was second a couple years ago.

I'm assuming Mike was impressed. It was some damn fine shooting. Utley shot a 290 with his K31, I shot 290 and Rick shot 287 with a saved round, all in a row.

The awards ceremony was pretty good, but we were wiped out from all day on the range. Got there just as it started and it takes two hours. They gave us plaques with a photo of a dying greek on them. He's unarmed and has an oak leaf covering his wedding tackle. Soldier of Marathon.

Garands this morning in a rain. Mike and Breda showed up, Mike and I shot my Garand. I shot a 284X4. I cleaned (100X2) the prone, lost four out the top, barely in a mist shooting rapid prone and didn't shoot very well standing. You had to look between the water drops on your glasses and through one in the peep with a wet front sight. Mike handled himself in his first competitive match ever. No misses and really not even any bad shots. I think he hit 244. I kept feeding him information in a flow, patting him on the shoulder like a big dog and reminding him to breathe. Anyone can do this, but it's a lot of stimulation coming at you at once until you have a little experience. We got our T-shirts and they hit the road in the rain.

The NRA Highpower Championship is rolling in and the crowd is changing. We got our packets which came in a very chic blue tote. I have to take off my CMP nametag pinned on my hat and put on the NRA tag. Very emotional. Everyone puts a sticker on the back of your tag showing your firing point, relay and range so I've looked at my tag about 20 times a day. (I save all these old tags, running down the arm of an old shooting jacket covered with medals. Katie makes me keep it in the closet.) When I walked off the NRA pavillion I could see CMP folks shooting vintage rifles on the rain. Poor bastards. I'm with the NRA now. I got tote.

The teams are leaving. Our group left hauling off our trailer of equipment. Schutlz, Utley, Heffner, Liang, Lin. It's lonesome already. On the other hand, Rick and I are about halfway through our shooting spree and the weather is supposed to be good.

We moved into a module near commercial row, rolling in the wet carts and turning up the AC to dry things out. I unloaded my cart, hanging wet equipment all around and found a ziplock of olives that escaped from my now picked-over foodbag. Just the snack for a soldier of Marathon.


Old NFO said...

Keep up the good work Robert! And yeah, AMU and USMCMU are going to be spending a LOT of time on the range... LOL

Mike said...

Thank you very much. I had the best time. And next year I'm getting a medal.


E. Lawrence said...

Nice shooting Robert! I just got into the Highpower game this year and didn't embarass myself. 278 and 4X. I need to learn to shoot the wind and distance. Tomorrow the M1A Match. Maybe next year the P100 and NTI if I can continue to improve offhand. I've really enjoyed reading your shooting posts especially.

Eagle 1 OH