Postcards from Tradocia

home on the range

Thursday was rifle qualification – again. Unlike Benning, the range here at Hood actually works, making the whole process much easier. However, the safety briefing at Benning didn’t include a warning about engaging free range cattle. (Apparently cows have been known to wander across the range at inopportune times.)

For anyone who believes the Army should issue AK-47s instead of M16s, I challenge them to shoot the groups that I did on the zero range on Thursday with an AK. At 25 yards, each group was just three holes touching each other – almost as good as my bolt-action .22 with a 4x scope. This rifle – from the B company armory – is virtually brand-new, and after a little lube has the sweetest trigger of any M16 I’ve handled. It has almost no creep and breaks cleanly at maybe 6 pounds – light for a military rifle.

We also had to night-qualify again. As darkness set in, we hit the range once more, and in a brief absence of sense, I volunteered to be a range safety – someone who stands behind the firer and verifies that their weapon is empty at the end of the firing sequence. I was assigned lane five – the start of a long night.

The targets were virtually invisible, so after the first group fired the range officers had to go downrange and attach chemlights to each target so we had any chance of scoring a hit. Every third round in our magazines was a tracer round – they made yellow-white streaks across the blackened range and when they ricocheted off a berm, they spun off in crazy directions like a flare, accompanied by a weird high-pitched whizzing sound.

Our fatigue descended into near-delirium and general hilarity as the firing continued until about 0230 – much later than we should’ve been out there. Luckily, no one got crazy – despite the best efforts of the inept civilian range control to get somebody shot.


  1. Mom and Dad

    Great Bl0g, Alex.

    I was reading an article on the US Army War College’s website today, talking about the transformational concept of self-contained brigades. It said that three National Guard Brigade Combat Teams will be deployed in Iraq late this year or early next year, with the prospect of more in the future.

    Yahoo news: An additional 10,000 regular Army troops are headed for Iraq. Between Iraq and Afghanistan, 9 of the 10 active duty Army divisions are currently deployed overseas.

    Your Mom says she misses you, and so do I.

    Maintain situational awareness!

    Love, Dad

  2. Mom and Dad


    I’m glad to hear that you’re getting such good equipment and training.

  3. cindy

    Alex- do you remember when you were 3 or 4 years old and could identify all kinds of different birds? It’s interesting to be getting your first hand information on the military.

  4. Bryce and Lola

    Thanks lots. Bryce worked on infrared image converter tubes when he was at Farnsworth in Ft. Wayne. Its warm today and we mowed the yard. I only did four strips in the back but am getting my powers back now that the amiodorone is getting out of my system. Liebe G&G

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