Postcards from Tradocia

semper absurdium

Rifle range…all…day…long. It was basic training style, almost. Total rounds fired by me: 152. Total rounds fired by B Company + the others from various units who accompanied us: over 30,000. We ran out of ammo for the daytime qualification.

Of course, the allotment of ammunition would have been more than adequate had the range been up to par. On the first run, 7 out of 20 actually qualified. Overall, if I had to guess (which I do), I’d say that less than 25% qualified on the first attempt. That’s abysmal – 75% is more typical. Most of the targets were so shot up that they wouldn’t register hits – the rounds would just pass through the existing holes.

For my part, I qualified on my third try. Many didn’t qualify at all. This may just sound like me doing my usual bitching, but people who regularly shot 30 and above (out of 40) were failing; when they did qualify, their scores were in the mid twenties. (23 out of 40 is the minimum.)

We also qualified with our masks on, then at night. As the sun set, the controlled burn in the forest beyond the range crept in our direction, lighting up the sky and smothering the range in smoke as the wind shifted uprange. Of course, because of the “class 5” risk for forest fires, we weren’t allowed to use tracer rounds for the night fire exercise – despite the fact that the forest just beyond was totally ablaze.

M855 ball ammunition (as pictured above) has a very particular smell – not quite as nice as 7.62×39 Soviet, but pleasant all the same. I got my fair share of that aroma yesterday.

More briefings this afternoon. Zzz.

1 Comment

  1. Mom and Dad

    Hi Alex – Hope the rifle shooting turns out to be more fun than the gas chamber!

    The Duluth Bulldogs beat the Gophers 3-1 in the Midwest Regiona finals yesterday, ending the Gophers’ season. Despite what Wally Shaver thought was some bad non-calls by the refs, the Bulldogs probably deserved to win.

    DU had earlier upset North Dakota, so it will be DU vs. Duluth and Boston College v. Maine in the first round of the finals in Boston 4/8 and 4/10/04.

    Al Hoppe and I spend a cold rainy day on the Mississippi yesterday. Out total catch, one big carp.

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