Re-Visit Please: I Am Over-Proud of This One–Not Sure Why. “Home, Home On The Range: The ‘Gun Range’ That Is”

Home on the Range (Bush version)

by ‘The Freedom Toast

*****

CAUTION:

I Do A Little Bit,

NO.

I Do A Lot Of Shameless Braggin’

In This Post:

Read At Your Own Annoyance

Absolutely NO Refunds

*****

As most of Y’all Regular and some of Y’all ‘Irregular’ readers know,

I am a Proud U.S. Navy Veteran.

Only served five years ‘active’ duty, but I crammed about fifteen years worth of Navy Experiences into those Five Years.

***

  • Awarded during ‘Boot Camp’ THE NAVY CLUB OF THE UNITED STATES MILITARY EXCELLENCE AWARD: “Presented to the graduating recruit who best exemplifies the qualities of enthusiasm, devotion to duty, military appearance and behavior, self-discipline and teamwork.” Follow Orange Link if you’d like to read more about THAT. Hahahaha
  • Honor Grad From Gunner’s Mate ‘A’ School at Great Lakes Naval Training Command
  • Two Runs at BUD/s (SEAL Training), Coronado, CA
  • Six Month ‘’Round-The-World” Deployment Onboard The USS Callaghan DDG 994 in’87
  • Six Month ‘WESTPac Deployment Onboard The USS Frederick LST 1184 in ‘89
  • Certified Range Master & Small Arms Expert
  • Ships Armorer & Small Arms Instructor for Entire Ship’s Crew During both Deployments (Yes, save only one Officer, I had Complete Control Over ALL The Ship’s Small Arms)  Pistols up to the .50 Cals, and everything in between to include even hand grenades. And of course All of the Ammunition to go with. Needless to say, Nobody fucked with me, especially since I had ‘Rocked-Out’ of SEAL Training immediately prior to Both Deployments and was usually in a foul mood, not really relishing hanging out with ‘Black-Shoe ‘Haze-Gray & Underway’ Sailors—At least not at first. Eventually I made a small—very small—Circle of Loyal Friends.
  • Managed to Fall-in-Love at every Port I visited: “A Woman in Every Port” as the Saying goes, or more accurately in my hard-case, “Any Port in a Storm.”

Okay, Now that we have my Résumé all sorted, I will get to the ‘Point’ of this Exercise.

Finding myself between jobs in Memphis and under no small amount of pressure to find one from my British, actually ‘English’, “There is A DIFFERENCE” Girlfriend informed me. “Get another Job, You Tool!”

‘Tool’ is NOT a Term of Endearment.

If You have ever had an English GF, or BF I suppose, You’d Know This.

As I was saying, I needed a job. But what for me to do in Memphis? I hated Memphis. I had already worked a short stint for UPS. Short stint for FedEx. Longer stint for NIKE—Hated them all.

So one day, Helen asked me,

“What ARE you Qualified to DO Lance?”

“I can shoot straight,” I said.

“Why not then become a Security Guard?”

I thought about it for a moment, and then said, “You know, You’re right. That is at least something I might even enjoy and I’ll get to pack a gun.”

I ended up working for two different Security Companies, each Gig lasting about a year.

The first was G4S, A HUGE International Security Firm

With All The Corporate Bullshit That Comes With THAT.

I was assigned to Crosstown Concourse:

But they stuck me into a little ‘Secure Room’ in charge of monitoring all the CC Cameras, about 235 of ‘em, and I did not get to carry a gun.

“No Need,” They said.

*****

Quit G4S and went to work for a ‘Mom & Pop’

Security Shoppe

Called

‘Phelps Security.’

Memphis’ Old Money

Apparently They Had Been Around Since Moses Was A Pup

Worked the Graveyard Shift at Hotel Indigo, Downtown Memphis.

Eventually quit that Gig too and also quit town, headed for Texas.

See This Story If You Like:

****

Okay, backing up now to the meat-of-the-matter:

It was required that I prove that I could, indeed, fire a handgun.

I was sent to ‘Bullseye’

—A proprietorship which specialized in training and qualifying men and women to be armed security guards.

After a week of ‘Classroom Horse-Shit’ came time to ‘Officially Qualify’ on the pistol range.

But I actually did learn one useful thing in that class:

The Instructor, a grizzled old retired military vet and an ex-cop, told us:

“If you ever shoot someone, shout as loud as you can, THREE times,”

“I thought the Mother-Fu*ker was gonna Kill ME!”

****

I had told no one of my Navy ‘Qualifications.’ In fact I rarely spoke at all.

The day we were taken to the range was very cold and even though the Range was indoors, it was still damn cold, wreaking havoc with the arthritis I had been developing over the past year or so.

Ya know, It SUCKS getting old.

ROLLING STONES MOTHER’S LITTLE HELPER

“What A Drag It Is Getting Old”

Cred For Vid Share: ALOPS

****

The Man at the counter asked me what kind of gun did I want.

I said, “A loaded one.”

He was NOT Amused.

He handed me A Glock Nineteen, some hearing protection, some eye protection, then said,

“You’ll be issued ammo when you get to the range,”

He pointed at a door.

“Right through there Son. NEXT!”

“SON? SON?!”

Hell! I was Pushin’ Sixty.

Kinda pissed me off, but I let it go.

I went through the door and joined my other ‘Fellow Classmates’

“Bit of a motley crew, but typical for Memphis,” I mused as we waited for the Range Master to Show.

Presently he arrived with his assistant who was pushing a Kroger’s Shopping cart containing lots of boxes. I assumed and rightly so this was our ammo.

Range Master gathered us around (I think there were ten of us) and proceeded to give us his ‘Safety Briefing’

The main thing I took away from his ‘Briefing’–which greatly amused me, was when he said,

“Keep your weapon pointed down range at-all-times. If you turn around, even accidentally, not thinking, and point it even inadvertently, at me or anybody else, I will shoot you.”

***

That sorted, we took our individual places in our assigned ‘Shooting Booths.’

He and his assistant handed out the ammo.

We were issued fifty rounds each.

Then we were instructed to load our magazines—‘clips’—I prefer calling them ‘Clips’. I am ‘old-school’ that way. ‘Magazines’ go into rifles, ‘Clips’ go into pistols.

I was having a lot of difficulty loading mine because of the aforementioned cold and my arthritis.

Looks Easy, Don’t it? Wasn’t for me that day.

This did not go un-noticed by the Range Master. He walked over and assisted loading my clips—ten rounds each—we had two clips.

As he was walking away I could feel his eyes on me, probably thinking, “This guy is worthless. Probably never even seen a gun in his life.”

The paper targets were already in place. First rounds: ten, were to be shot at about ten yards or so and then targets progressively moved back to about fifty yards.

We were instructed on his command to fire one round. Just to make sure we all knew which way to point the pistol and to also make sure we understood where the trigger was to be found.

We all got into our stances and Range Master gave his command, Mil Style,

“Firing one round! Ready Right! Ready Left! All Ready on the Firing Line! Fire!”

He said these commands exactly as I had been taught when I was going through MY Range Master Training and I wondered if this guy was a Vet like me.

Well I squeezed off my round.

Range Master went to all the students to make certain all had gone well.

Satisfied, he stepped Back and announced we would now fire off the remaining nine rounds before he moved our targets further back.

After he repeated his fire command and we had expended our rounds he made his rounds again. Seeing my target he did a ‘Double-Take’ and looked at me. My rounds had all hit the ‘Bullseye.” As he was staring at me I just kinda shrugged and tried not to laugh.

The targets were moved further and further back. This presented no real problems for me even though my eyesight ain’t quite what it used to be.

It did present ‘problems’ for several of the others. I could see their targets as well as mine. Obviously many of them DID NOT have fifty holes—More like thirty or so by my estimation.

Our targets were pulled in to be graded,

I think the requirement was seventy-five percent hits.

Anywhere on the HUGE Silhouette.

I think all managed that, but some just barely.

After all targets had been inspected and signed and we were heading up to the front desk to finish up the paperwork more than a few of my ‘Fellow Rangers’ came over to me,

“Where’d you learn to shoot like that?”

“CUP SONG COMPILATION”

“Of Course!”

Street Cred For Vid: Binaziz animation

*****

They Continued:

“Wow! Great shooting!”

“Good Job!”

“Awesome shooting!”

Yada, Yada, Yada & YADA!

Hell! I had NO Time nor desire for ‘small talk’. I just wanted to wrap things up and head home to the Little English Misses.

‘Typical’ Results From My ‘Class’

*****

Here Is My Completed Target

“I Think I Got Him!”

Thus Making Me ‘Bona-Fide’

****

The Moral of This Story:

I Hit What I Shoot At.

With Extreme Prejudice.

In Other Words,

“If I am ‘Armed’, Do NOT Mess With Me.”

****

Bonus Added Value:

Toby Keith – Bullets In The Gun

*****

Paula Cole – “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?” 

“I’m Right Here Darlin’

Open Yer eyes”

****

Home, Home On The Range: The ‘Gun Range’ That Is

Home on the Range (Bush version)

by ‘The Freedom Toast

*****

CAUTION:

I Do A Little Bit,

NO.

I Do A Lot Of Shameless Braggin’

In This Post:

Read At Your Own Annoyance

Absolutely NO Refunds

*****

As most of Y’all Regular and some of Y’all ‘Irregular’ readers know,

I am a Proud U.S. Navy Veteran.

Only served five years ‘active’ duty, but I crammed about fifteen years worth of Navy Experiences into those Five Years.

***

  • Awarded during ‘Boot Camp’ THE NAVY CLUB OF THE UNITED STATES MILITARY EXCELLENCE AWARD: “Presented to the graduating recruit who best exemplifies the qualities of enthusiasm, devotion to duty, military appearance and behavior, self-discipline and teamwork.” Follow Orange Link if you’d like to read more about THAT. Hahahaha
  • Honor Grad From Gunner’s Mate ‘A’ School at Great Lakes Naval Training Command
  • Two Runs at BUD/s (SEAL Training), Coronado, CA
  • Six Month ‘’Round-The-World” Deployment Onboard The USS Callaghan DDG 994 in’87
  • Six Month ‘WESTPac Deployment Onboard The USS Frederick LST 1184 in ‘89
  • Certified Range Master & Small Arms Expert
  • Ships Armorer & Small Arms Instructor for Entire Ship’s Crew During both Deployments (Yes, save only one Officer, I had Complete Control Over ALL The Ship’s Small Arms)  Pistols up to the .50 Cals, and everything in between to include even hand grenades. And of course All of the Ammunition to go with. Needless to say, Nobody fucked with me, especially since I had ‘Rocked-Out’ of SEAL Training immediately prior to Both Deployments and was usually in a foul mood, not really relishing hanging out with ‘Black-Shoe ‘Haze-Gray & Underway’ Sailors—At least not at first. Eventually I made a small—very small—Circle of Loyal Friends.
  • Managed to Fall-in-Love at every Port I visited: “A Woman in Every Port” as the Saying goes, or more accurately in my hard-case, “Any Port in a Storm.”

Okay, Now that we have my Résumé all sorted, I will get to the ‘Point’ of this Exercise.

Finding myself between jobs in Memphis and under no small amount of pressure to find one from my British, actually ‘English’, “There is A DIFFERENCE” Girlfriend informed me. “Get another Job, You Tool!”

‘Tool’ is NOT a Term of Endearment.

If You have ever had an English GF, or BF I suppose, You’d Know This.

As I was saying, I needed a job. But what for me to do in Memphis? I hated Memphis. I had already worked a short stint for UPS. Short stint for FedEx. Longer stint for NIKE—Hated them all.

So one day, Helen asked me,

“What ARE you Qualified to DO Lance?”

“I can shoot straight,” I said.

“Why not then become a Security Guard?”

I thought about it for a moment, and then said, “You know, You’re right. That is at least something I might even enjoy and I’ll get to pack a gun.”

I ended up working for two different Security Companies, each Gig lasting about a year.

The first was G4S, A HUGE International Security Firm

With All The Corporate Bullshit That Comes With THAT.

I was assigned to Crosstown Concourse:

But they stuck me into a little ‘Secure Room’ in charge of monitoring all the CC Cameras, about 235 of ‘em, and I did not get to carry a gun.

“No Need,” They said.

*****

Quit G4S and went to work for a ‘Mom & Pop’

Security Shoppe

Called

‘Phelps Security.’

Memphis’ Old Money

Apparently They Had Been Around Since Moses Was A Pup

Worked the Graveyard Shift at Hotel Indigo, Downtown Memphis.

Eventually quit that Gig too and also quit town, headed for Texas.

See This Story If You Like:

****

Okay, backing up now to the meat-of-the-matter:

It was required that I prove that I could, indeed, fire a handgun.

I was sent to ‘Bullseye’

—A proprietorship which specialized in training and qualifying men and women to be armed security guards.

After a week of ‘Classroom Horse-Shit’ came time to ‘Officially Qualify’ on the pistol range.

But I actually did learn one useful thing in that class:

The Instructor, a grizzled old retired military vet and an ex-cop, told us:

“If you ever shoot someone, shout as loud as you can, THREE times,”

“I thought the Mother-Fu*ker was gonna Kill ME!”

****

I had told no one of my Navy ‘Qualifications.’ In fact I rarely spoke at all.

The day we were taken to the range was very cold and even though the Range was indoors, it was still damn cold, wreaking havoc with the arthritis I had been developing over the past year or so.

Ya know, It SUCKS getting old.

ROLLING STONES MOTHER’S LITTLE HELPER

“What A Drag It Is Getting Old”

Cred For Vid Share: ALOPS

****

The Man at the counter asked me what kind of gun did I want.

I said, “A loaded one.”

He was NOT Amused.

He handed me A Glock Nineteen, some hearing protection, some eye protection, then said,

“You’ll be issued ammo when you get to the range,”

He pointed at a door.

“Right through there Son. NEXT!”

“SON? SON?!”

Hell! I was Pushin’ Sixty.

Kinda pissed me off, but I let it go.

I went through the door and joined my other ‘Fellow Classmates’

“Bit of a motley crew, but typical for Memphis,” I mused as we waited for the Range Master to Show.

Presently he arrived with his assistant who was pushing a Kroger’s Shopping cart containing lots of boxes. I assumed and rightly so this was our ammo.

Range Master gathered us around (I think there were ten of us) and proceeded to give us his ‘Safety Briefing’

The main thing I took away from his ‘Briefing’–which greatly amused me, was when he said,

“Keep your weapon pointed down range at-all-times. If you turn around, even accidentally, not thinking, and point it even inadvertently, at me or anybody else, I will shoot you.”

***

That sorted, we took our individual places in our assigned ‘Shooting Booths.’

He and his assistant handed out the ammo.

We were issued fifty rounds each.

Then we were instructed to load our magazines—‘clips’—I prefer calling them ‘Clips’. I am ‘old-school’ that way. ‘Magazines’ go into rifles, ‘Clips’ go into pistols.

I was having a lot of difficulty loading mine because of the aforementioned cold and my arthritis.

Looks Easy, Don’t it? Wasn’t for me that day.

This did not go un-noticed by the Range Master. He walked over and assisted loading my clips—ten rounds each—we had two clips.

As he was walking away I could feel his eyes on me, probably thinking, “This guy is worthless. Probably never even seen a gun in his life.”

The paper targets were already in place. First rounds: ten, were to be shot at about ten yards or so and then targets progressively moved back to about fifty yards.

We were instructed on his command to fire one round. Just to make sure we all knew which way to point the pistol and to also make sure we understood where the trigger was to be found.

We all got into our stances and Range Master gave his command, Mil Style,

“Firing one round! Ready Right! Ready Left! All Ready on the Firing Line! Fire!”

He said these commands exactly as I had been taught when I was going through MY Range Master Training and I wondered if this guy was a Vet like me.

Well I squeezed off my round.

Range Master went to all the students to make certain all had gone well.

Satisfied, he stepped Back and announced we would now fire off the remaining nine rounds before he moved our targets further back.

After he repeated his fire command and we had expended our rounds he made his rounds again. Seeing my target he did a ‘Double-Take’ and looked at me. My rounds had all hit the ‘Bullseye.” As he was staring at me I just kinda shrugged and tried not to laugh.

The targets were moved further and further back. This presented no real problems for me even though my eyesight ain’t quite what it used to be.

It did present ‘problems’ for several of the others. I could see their targets as well as mine. Obviously many of them DID NOT have fifty holes—More like thirty or so by my estimation.

Our targets were pulled in to be graded,

I think the requirement was seventy-five percent hits.

Anywhere on the HUGE Silhouette.

I think all managed that, but some just barely.

After all targets had been inspected and signed and we were heading up to the front desk to finish up the paperwork more than a few of my ‘Fellow Rangers’ came over to me,

“Where’d you learn to shoot like that?”

“CUP SONG COMPILATION”

“Of Course!”

Street Cred For Vid: Binaziz animation

*****

They Continued:

“Wow! Great shooting!”

“Good Job!”

“Awesome shooting!”

Yada, Yada, Yada & YADA!

Hell! I had NO Time nor desire for ‘small talk’. I just wanted to wrap things up and head home to the Little English Misses.

‘Typical’ Results From My ‘Class’

*****

Here Is My Completed Target

“I Think I Got Him!”

Thus Making Me ‘Bona-Fide’

****

The Moral of This Story:

I Hit What I Shoot At.

With Extreme Prejudice.

In Other Words,

“If I am ‘Armed’, Do NOT Mess With Me.”

****

Bonus Added Value:

Toby Keith – Bullets In The Gun

*****

Paula Cole – “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?” 

“I’m Right Here Darlin’

Open Yer eyes”

****

“Don’t Rain Rust on my Parade”*

“Petty Officer Marcom! Your fifty cals are rusty!”

I must admit; yes, they were. I tried so hard to keep ahead of the rust, but here I found myself between the second half of a six-month, round-the-whurl-WestPac deployment, and somewhere just off the coast of Somalia. Yes, rust was my enemy, and never my friend—the machine guns were always mounted while we (The USS Callaghan DDG 994, full cast and crew) were Haze-Gray and Underway. Yes, always mounted. And subject to rust. Rust Relentless. Relentless She Be: That Sea.

My professional life was to be found somewhere in those machine guns.

The Navy had a solution though. They provided canvas covers to cover those guns and make them safe from the rust. Alas, those canvas covers had seen better days, probably back when Pearl Harbor was just an ordinary Naval Base.

While scrubbing the Indian Ocean rust off’n the fifty-cals one morning I hatched a plan. Knowing full well we were soon to pull into Mombasa, Kenya, I saved my money. Once in Mombasa, I would smuggle one of the moth infected, jig saw, ‘holy’ canvas shards off the ship. I would rent a taxi and find a leather shop in Mombasa and commission new covers for my fifty caliber machine guns.

And This is exactly what I did, and to the amazement and astonishment of my Senior Chief Petty Officer and my Department Head (almost a Navy Commander… he kinda looked like JFK, now that I think on it—I did not like him, but he respected me—not sure why…)

The next time they inspected my Fifty Cals, they were pristine! (They did not take notice nor time to notice that the canvas covers were not exactly Haze-Gray Naval Gray–No, more like Third-World-Rustic.  And I was so desirous that they did NOT notice, but my Master Chief did notice, yet, never ever voicing his ‘inner thoughts’ in front of what he referred to as “Shit Birds” — ‘Officers’ — Never let on.

And I should have been cognizant of this, yet I was somewhat giddy after my .50 Cals had finally passed inspection, that I did not stop to think that anyone, not even Master Chief had seen through my ruse. I was drunk with my own cleverness and lying in my rack, congratulating me.

(Now, you must realize how the Military Mind works. I was my Ship’s Armor All–Armorer– IN Charge of All The Ship’s Small Arms! I was a Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class! Freshly rocked out of SEAL Training and trying to regain what little was left of my  pride.)

And I loved and Respected My Master Chief. Did not ever want to become an embarrassment to him, nor to my Fellow Gunner’s Mates who worked on the “Big Guns”.

And even more important, (anyone who has ever ‘Served’ will know this), the Military is Run on Fear: “Oh God, Please Don’t Let Me Fuck UP!”

That kind of fear.

Well, as I was lying in my rack just before Taps with my little blue ‘privacy’ curtain drawn, someone abruptly jerked back the curtain.

Yep.

Master Chief Anderson

“Son, tell me where you found those brand new gun covers.”

Trying to try to my side and find an elbow to lean to, I half-coughed out, “Master Chief, I had them made while we were in Mombasa.”

“I see”, was all he said, as he yanked my curtain back shut.

I did not sleep that night. For you see, I knew I had broken Naval Regs by doing something not-in-the Naval Seaman’s Bible–The Blue Book–The book I had been made to almost memorize while at Recruit Training Command, i.e. boot camp. I had broken the rules.

Sometime mid morning the next day, I was summoned to the berth/office of  The Department Head of my Division, Lt. Commander ‘Kennedy’. Shitting bricks is too trite.

I was nervous.

I gave a hearty rap on the bulkhead door as I was trained to do in bootcamp…

“Enter!”

“Petty Officer 3rd Class Marcom Sir!”

“I know who you are Lance; sit down.”

(What??? Lance??? Sit Down???)

Mouth agape I sad down, speechless

“Son, Master Chief Anderson tells me you went out on your own, commissioned and paid for, with your own money, those .50 Cal Gun Covers. Is this true?”

“Yes, uh, yessir,” I stammered.

“Well, that shows some fine initiative. How much did you pay Son?”

“Un Sir. Doesn’t matter…. I just, well, the .50 Cals cost ten-thousand dollars each, and I thought…rust….an…”

“How much did you pay?!”

“250 Dollars Sir.”

Without saying a word he opened a little three lock box (OK; I made that up. It was only a one-lock box) that he had in a drawer and handed me two-hundred and fifty bucks.

I sat there a moment too long, still in shock, looking the bills in my hand…

“Petty Officer Marcom! You’re dismissed!”

Jumping up, some tears welling in my eyes, “Yessir!” As I saluted him and abruptly left his quarters, knocking some books off a shelf as I tried to hustle out…

 

 

 

 

 

 

I may continue this story, (or not). My time in Kenya was rather interesting though.

(Those bits I remember anyhow)