Monday, June 30, 2014

My perception of reality is strange enough without it following me into my dreams...

Woke to a very strange dream, I was in this age but much younger and foolish -

Sorry, I stopped to get one thing from the Caravan and unloaded it since it is the quiet of the morning here. Got my first mug of coffee, and am sitting thinking of how strange it is that I have a DOE-15R target among my memories of this weekend. And I placed those nine holes in that target, yes I did.

For all my foot draggin' 'I don't like that two bays dividing my shooters and crew' and it is going to rain all weekend.... well, there wasn't a shred, not a smidgin' of BAD both days. Two and a half hour drive, PaulW and CubFlyr already parked in the lot waiting when I showed up. Tracey and her crew/family arrive, Ralph comes in - the whole crew is here and we haven't even opened the range yet.

First great news is the Club hosting is waiving the range fees, providing the bays as a community service, or because we did well the last time we were here. The heavy users are the local Federal and State law enforcement units for this range, it is the last one on the way to Canada so it has the location locked. The other thing is Kerry, one of the board members, gets the doors between the bays opened and we put the target boxes under cover where both bays can get them and we can walk back and forth at the equipment line, coordinating or just saying hello. We also get the club house for the lunch and telling of the tales and strikes of the match. So we have cover over everything except the firing line - just in case it rains, which it doesn't. Just cloudy and cool enough to be a very fine day for shooting.

All training and demonstrations presented, the highlight of my day was my NPOA laser, green, demonstration where I fell into my NPOA on the lower left target then muscled my way to a nice lock on the lower right target and then after proving I was on target, I relaxed and the shooters watched my laser wander back to the lower left target - where my relaxed body wanted to take the shot. Two Riflemen made on the first day, one on each bay, and of course KEVIN repeated his Rifleman several times. One more Rifleman on the second day and several shooters scoring well just needing a few more adjustments and lots of practice. Three scored AQTs on the left bay and two on the right bay on the first day, and the second day there were six scored on the left bay and six on the right bay. Known distance was presented by not fired because the range doesn't have the immediate capabilities.

After day one instruction was over and the shooters departed, the crew that wanted to shoot, did. Ralph had brought his ancient weapons, 1903, Enfield, M1 sniper rifle (D?), and provided the DOE-15R targets. We had a ball, I even pulled my M1 out to fire - am looking forward to shooting KD in August, need to work up my skills to match the rifle.

Things for me to improve on -- packing, the paper containers were perfect, the odds and ends containers were too many, too un-used or needed at another place, and what exactly does the Shoot Boss need in a clip board, timer and measurer? Always trying to improve the mix to get it just right. I did lose control of my demo rifle and almost panicked that it had been taken, but Matthew suggested that I might have left it where I used it for the demo. He was correct and I have a rifle that needs some TLC for sand and wet grass issues.

So, another great weekend on Appleseed, many things shared and learned, I will likely be back to that range in the Fall, might not be shoot boss, but we will see.  Custer Sportsman Club, Custer, Washington. Now, to breakfast and a regular Monday.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Finished up? or just finished?

Only the rifles, my food and I are not in the Caravan, the other stuff is. Targets, ammunition, t-shirts, study material, markers, pens, staplers, staples, books, water (and it will rain most of Saturday somewhere). Sunday might be sunny.

As I prepared for this and the other Appleseeds I looked at the long list of the ones I have helped with or attended for a day, and wonder where some of these other RWVA folks are? Wheeler44, RL. OLDGEEZER,. Ducko, Fredness, - shucks I am still trying to figure out where Joe went with IIT hat he took from me only three weekends ago. Not a peep from that new guy.

I guess, like any volunteer organization - churches, Boy Scouts at the very local level - they just keep the volunteers as long as the volunteers volunteer. On April 19th, 1775 - three or more things happened.

The militia was called out, Captain Isaac Davis marched away from his home and family when there were thirty of his Minutemen assembled. Marched off with certainty, courage and resolve to defend all he believed in and to lead from the front. He died suddenly at North Bridge, and remembered ever after by the statue with the hat and the plow beside his feet.

James Nichols, born in England but immigrated to Lincoln, fell in with the militia but was not eager to confront the Regulars, getting someone to hold his musket he went down to talk to the soldiers at the North Bridge. After a brief talk he returned, secured his musket and declared he was going back home. Which he did - a volunteer organization and nothing to defend nor attack that threatened James Niclols.

The third thing that happened was not realizing the Regulars were out at all. No Paul Revere nor other rider came calling in the dark. So the town of Waltham woke to normal Wednesday chores, work and thoughts - feed the family, animals, clean the area, plow, seed, and whatever else one would do in a New England Spring day. There was plenty to do without watching FoxNews or MSNBC. 

I was once the Division NCO of the year, and was flown back to the United States with the Division Commander, Command Sergeant Major and the Soldier of the Year. To the 1st Armored Division annual reunion of those that served in WWII. Around 1980, wonderful stories good men and nice families that supported their get-togethers. But they having served, and having come home and grown older, and older, have continued to pass on to more glory, and pass on the traditions to the younger folks.

Not only the RWVA, but perhaps the ideal of America, the America of the middle of the last century has to find again those volunteers to return it to its potential. Does seem like too many just reclining on the couch.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

So after mid week church....

I come home to read "Death in the Long Grass", and when finally my eyes are hardy open, and my wife slips me my glass of onion wine (medicinal purposes only). I slip the Planet Earth DVD into the player, on the Great Plains - grass and all that eats such. And add a glass of some iced whiskey to the mix. Great nite.

Forgotten wars... or at least lessons never learned...

In the Revolutionary War Veterans Association are tales of repeated conflicts between England and France - and since they have been going on since the time Duke William (which is different than his name and title in French) the Conqueror. How to become King in one not so easy lesson...

Today seems to be a memorial day for the invasion of the Republic of Korea by its nasty Communist brother to the North. 25 June, 1950. As the Korean Cable retells the tale, and different people and their lives affected by the event. Interesting... but I was too young.

It did get me to thinking about wars and campaigns missed - but also how many places that faded completely into the darkness as we concentrate on Our Time.  And we seem to think that this time it will be different. I heard the domino theory tossed around yesterday - like it wasn't true that Laos and Cambodia fell to communism as soon as Vietnam fell to the armored divisions of the North. Everyone knows... nothing.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

As I sit here, sipping coffee and awaiting...

 Tuesday, seems like Monday just slipslided away... I did mow the lawn, chopped composting matter, I did do a coffee stop with Hal from about early dark thirty til 8:30 AM, saying Hello to old Methodist Men of the old Spanaway United Methodist Church. We had about three and a half hours of no takers on free coffee, then people started waking up and came by for regular. I took some power naps through the day - sleeping to Le Mis? Then my wife came back from clamming and my day returned to real. I read, posted the Course of Instruction for the Custer, Washington Appleseed this coming weekend. Twenty-one shooters. Hope I can get them all on the same range. Good crew called in. Went to bed at ten thirty and slept until eight. Now I should be ready to re-insert into the Matrix of my life. 

Off to the YMCA, stop at the public library to download my three new kindle books. Then massive sweating, stop twice for my wife to connect and then back home to trim up the yard, pack up the Appleseed stuff for loading out, clean the firearms for packing out. This week is short by design, and check and pay some bills. Stephen Hunter wrote something in American Rifleman, and has another book out. I am still happy Bobby Lee has gotten older but still deadly. I comprehend the older so well. Half my cup of coffee is gone so it must be about time for me, too. I took an interesting test on Facebook, Ghent University's. Vocabulary Test on English, I should have asked what Ghent would ever know about English - but I hadn't caught that when whizzing through it, only about four minutes. I ended up with 87%, and that is 90% correct minus one word I thought was real. They do give you results and definitions for what you didn't get, and the test can be taken over and you won't have the same words - I was impressed. But then it isn't a real Facebook fooled you test with ten questions. This was very good. Cup is eighty percent empty, must be about time to move out.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

There and back again... or another Appleseed bites the dust...

  I signed up to instruct at an Appleseed in Idaho, which is just down the road - I have been to CdA and Lewiston before, I have even been to Boomershoot. But this Appleseed was in Nampa and I hadn't been there and wanted to see the range and the other RWVA folks - it was on a Friday Saturday schedule, so my time for church would be open. Then I left on Thursday morning, and found out my GPS wanted me to cross a lot of Washington State, turn towards Oregon and then cross a lot of Oregon, before I would get to Idaho and Nampa. Long trip, then they throw Mountain time zone at me, too. I would never recover.

  I was glad that I found the range, that Mike was already there and I could park and stop driving. I got out a folding chair and sat down and spent the evening talking to Mike after looking at the way he built a fence for his target backers. He says it is relatively cheap, I would have painted the political signs two different colors, but it was all pretty effective. I slept in my van.

  Up with the moon and the Sun and we went off to breakfast and meet the Shoot Boss Tim and his wife, Pat, another RWVA instructor, they are migrants from California, if they stay they become California ex-patriots. Just kidding, I am always surprised anyone is still living in California. I got my oatmeal and raisins, and coffee. Talk about the day and what they have been doing and are going to do. Then back to the range. Finish setting up and Pat takes in-processing. We have nine shooters, three parent child teams and many camera shy. Still the day is gentle, and slower than I am used to. Since I am there to help and look for other ways to make an Appleseed work, I am watching closely. Only one sighting square target, then lunch, and then two Red Coats side by side, very much like I once did using the Green Coat targets. I had discussed my use of an AQT instead.

  The only AQT target was used to present the sitting and Standing positions, steady hold factors and the transitions - it was not timed nor scored. After that the only Red Coat of the day, and then the Third Strike of the Match and the benediction.  Clean up and pack up and I would spend several more hours thinking I should get my rifles out and shoot - but instead I just talked to Mike. Then I turned in, although the pace and instruction seemed slower and gentle I was beat.

  Woke for second day, washed and shaved, and thought I really should have a load list for my travels. Mike remarked that he had also thought we should have shot some targets last evening - as he sat there and talked the night in. Breakfast again, I got a farmers platter over easy and lots of coffee. Only eight shooters were still there when we opened the range. Review was quick, the shooters still lacked confidence in their answers, to my mind. Their shooting skills hadn't improved, but they showed promise in the Red Coat target and the only sighting square of the day. Shoot an AQT with a walk down to see the target engagement after each stage and talk targets and techniques with each shooter.

  Lunch with Dangerous Old Men stories, shoot the ball and dummy drill, then two AQTs at speed and I was finished. I had jumped upon a shooter that was just walking beyond the firing line with three shooters with rifles and magazines in preparation period on their mats. She was going to post her AQT target thinking of NOT. I used my PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO ME voice, which is startling, to frightening. And had unkindly reminded her that she hadn't been told by me the LINE BOSS to move across the firing line, and I hadn't cleared the line and NO ONE should be talking while I was talking as LINE BOSS (that last was for the few that had kept right on talking while I got her attention and back to the equipment line). I had the shooters in prep safe their rifles and go back to the equipment line, the RSOs to clear the line, then I sent the young woman down to post her AQT target so she could shoot it.

  I called the AQT course of fire for all four stages, told Mike he was now going to be Line Boss and to take over I was on my way home - a long drive to Spanaway, Washington. Said good -bye to Pat, told her I was sorry about shouting at the shooter, and I hoped it would not affect her the remainder of her day. Shook hands and said good-bye to the Shoot Boss and left one rug, one folding chair and a memory of me that will last beyond my name. It is a beautiful range with a wonderful history they proudly share with tourists. I was also sure I had left an M1 Rifle Appleseed cap at the diner during breakfast on day two.

  I made fuel stops and short rest stops and was home by ten in the evening, Pacific Daylight Savings - being the longest day of the year, I used every bit of it. Although I wore two sets of sunglasses and the visor down to keep the setting sun from burning my eye balls blind. Unload, glass of wine, hot shower and sleep, deep sleep of the exhausted. I will always wish I hadn't had to turn tyrant on the shooter with no regard for her own safety. But that was only one of several instances that I thought wouldn't have happened on most Appleseeds done at the normal pace and unfeeling professional instead of personable professional that projected kind and caring... I thought two shooters weren't getting as far as they could have with a different tact. Maybe next time, it will click. Everything except Known Distance and carding the sights was taught and covered, so they have it all. Hope I see them again somewhere on the trail.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Fledgling flights...

Every year swifts nest under a front eave, having at least two fluffy mouths to feed. Which is good to hold the bug population down as their parents fly trying to get them fed. But sooner than later the fluff is picked off and kicked out, and real feathers show. Then the fledglings come out and stand on the edge of the roof asking for food, and somewhere along that time the parents have had it and do demonstration flights and aerial dances to get the young'ns to follow, or just flutter. Then I start to laugh, for the young'ns will fall off the edge and flutter and flop to the ground, and then flutter harder and fly, kind of, back to the safety of the roof.

But they really aren't flying yet, except they are moving through the air. They are stumbling around like a drunken sailor or that almost toddler in diapers, no control over wings and four forces of flight - shucks they can't count that high yet. Too early, too soon, they will have to get much better before they can catch food in flight, much. Still, they do strengthen, smooth out their landings, learn how to make quick twists in flight. Now if the neighbors cat doesn't creep up on them they might make it.

I finished The Boys in the Boat,

Great read, more for me because I row to nowhere in the YMCA, but mostly for the perspective of the people living in the depression, and just hard life, and what was needed to beat the Supermen of Germany on their home waters in 1936. Very interesting.

So after watching Munich last evening I stuck Seabiscuit in to the DVD player and watched the story unfold, again - how against the odds, good sense - the best won. But only because they believed and worked hard. Don't really see that lesson on the media now.

Just like the fledglings, flap those wings furiously until they tire and you get efficient. Then learn to soar.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Back to me, since I can't control the borders... or the boarders.

Repel all boarders! Avast, me hearties,    .....where is Long John Silver when one needs him?

I wake to the whine of NPR, didn't hit the correct buttons on the radio last night - no telling what subliminal messages I have to ignore the remainder of the day. Saturday, after five days of good hardly a workout at the YMCA, I feel like a break is due. No, I will go later and sweat, I am so old and fat and falling totally into pieces. I must go. But I should have fun along my way, the lawn needs trimmed today, I have at least one rifle to shoot and I want to try that 100 yard KD AQT. I do believe in hands on experience - theory is fine to start the mental images, but I read way to much fantasy and fiction to not know I need to have done it badly at least.

I got a green laser to mount on my dummy rifle for training, actually I received two, one puts out a multi-point pattern (?) and the other a very nice dot. The dot is the one I will work to make happen. Then the red laser goes to back up utility. I don't have cats to chase the dot around, maybe I could distract the neighbor's cat?

I have a computer cave that needs more organization, and I need to quit drinking so much brandy.... no, I don't drink that much (first step in knowing there is a problem is the denial?). So I pack the YMCA bag, pick up one rifle - one, NO,
not two, I will take two to Idaho, just in case. But then I don't have to take all the Appleseed gear, just my support my shooting gear. Hooded sweatshirt today, it is in the fifties and rainsome and somewhere. Top of Mount Rainier is covered.

So, since you did stop by to look, have a wonderful weekend, Army birthday, Flag day, and Father's Day on Sunday. Go shooting, safely and well.  The church is having a Golf Tournament this morning, seventy-five dollars - I told the Pastor that I could get a spot on the range much cheaper and would have more fun, but he always looks at me funny when I mention shooting. My son might be golfing, it would look good on him - he isn't a total klutz. How do I know the sport isn't for Earl? Well, if a ball is used that is where I can sit and watch. I would play rugby (when I was much younger) but never handle the ball, except to pass it back to someone that wouldn't drop it.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Since the President and Congress have surrendered to the invasion...

I mean, when Syrians want to be refugees in Turkey, they get tent city, international aid and surrounded by Turkish soldiers that will kill them if need be. It wasn't that long ago 'Ottoman' wasn't a piece of furniture.

But I think the turmoil in Central America, and Mexico, is easily cured. Just teach the refugees how to speak English, study HISTORY, economics, civics and get a fine education in revolutionary tactics, and send them back better prepared than the Bay of Pigs.

I understand not wanting to grant amnesty for breaking the law. Issue them a permanent, or temporary labor card. No citizenship. They already have a country they are afraid to go back to... no reason to allow them to stay here forever cringing every time the government picks on them, like it picks on us. Don't worry about them ever voting, there are enough dead voters and crooked election officials. That is how they play the game, they being the respective political parties, living in fear of losing their power. That was King George the Third's problem - he wasn't loved enough, respected by those far, far away and was sure there was Historical precedent for Kings losing the throne, or even their head.

Personally, if I had enough time left, I would seriously study Spanish to gain a command of the language. Then I would prepare to exploit the Latin American nations, one filibuster at a time. a person engaging in unauthorized warfare against a foreign country.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Sign up early, and sign up often...

Good morning, world. I listen to the ravens in the woods, opening my window for the fresh cool air, admiring the rich greens growing outback. I am back from an Appleseed shoot at Blue Lake Range in Stevenson, Washington. Nice group of ten shooters, one father observing and encouraging his son. One woman, two eleven year old boys, seven men of various ages and marksmanship levels. One of them had made a Rifleman score before and brought friends. He was also an EMT, so we were covered.

   I had driven three and a portion of one hours to be the shoot boss, the fellow in charge of making it happen. Actually, Kenjo had mentioned the shoot had no shoot boss signed up, so I had offered to wear that hat - it does still fit my head. Janer had signed up to learn and share more and get her progress check for IIT3, which she earned. TheSquirrelPatrol had forgotten to sign up, but since Kenjo put out another blanket email, his memory was jogged and he said to include him with the COI. So we had a great ratio for the twelve expected shooters. Two became no shows and we taught ten. The range can hold a few more but the brass would be bouncing back at the shooter instead of landing on their neighbor's bare skin.

   I had written the course of instruction (COI) assigning instructors and demonstrators for the first day, I intended to get the Redcoat target and two sighting square targets done before lunch - there is so much to teach that sometimes shooting is secondary. But we got the instruction out, fired fifty rounds on the two sighting squares and tightened up most of the groups. The boys had challenges, one shooting a single shot Rascal rifle - his size but the rear sight was off and he never hit paper. He couldn't close his right eye either. I tested his rifle, found it hitting six inches high, knocked the rear sight down, and had duct tape covering his right eye protection (safety glasses). He hits! Often learning marksmanship is conquering one problem at a time. The other boy had a very heavy adult size 10/22, heavy from the bull barrel and the scope. He was also smaller than the normal rifleman, he will grow into it, in about four or five years. His father was thinking of getting him one for his current size soon. Still, he took to shooting excellent groups and in the rifleman's cadence so he will do fine when he is big enough to carry the weight.

   Lunch in the shade, listening to the pre-1775 history, the First Strike of the Match and followed by the Second Strike of the Match. We know too much to tell it all, I had six Revolutionary War books with me, and I learned long ago that trying to stick every thing in your presentation isn't what the shooters need, what they need is enough to decide to find out more on their own. Let them connect the dots and explore. I mentioned Lexington was a village of seven hundred people and four hundred cows - no one asked how I knew.

   After lunch I used an AQT target for Ball and Dummy and then teaching the positions and steady hold factors, NPOA, and Rifleman's cadence. Not recorded for score, but to verify they were picking up the instruction. Then we fired and recorded two more AQTs at speed. Interesting results.  We then had the Third Strike of the Match and shot the final Redcoat of the day, improved so much from the morning one. Gave them a short benediction and the Seventh Step and cleaned up the range sending them to hot showers, food, lots of liquid and some solid sleep. Yes, I gave them a packet of homework to read and memorize before morning, but I know they would look at it later.

  The instructors gathered and talked about the day, the COI, the good things the bad things the way to improve, and gave out assignments for Sunday instruction. I stayed and camped on the range, talking to one father, who was camping there, too. He knew about the Iceland Solution. Interesting conversation but I needed water and sleep.

I  did get a beautiful view of the Big Dipper and the Milky Way, the night sky over the Columbia River was crystal clear and only tall trees limited the horizon.

Second Day, Redcoat, review, one sighting square target to confirm groups and sights, then two AQTs before lunch, Dangerous Old Men stories at lunch. I held the line boss while they were told. The lunch line boss is a lonely quiet time. Still it demonstrates to me that those fine rifles don't put holes in paper without a shooter attached. In the afternoon, we would shoot a known distance demonstration by moving the targets back to the hundred yard line. Showing the bullet drop from the 22LR and the rise from the center fire .223s, and the spread of the Minutes of Angle as the distance grows. We would also use the drop or rise to adjust the shooter's aiming point, doing the Rifleman's Dance. Moving back to the twenty-five meter line we fired one Peppermint drill for bursting the candy, some could and some couldn't. There were four more AQTs, and a Redcoat target.

Although the day was sunny and bright, the pace and heat started to take its toll and I could wrap the shoot up about an hour early. We honored our repeat Rifleman, and had a baptism for our new Rifleman, Gordon, who scored exactly 210 points We had one Rifleman, with three Appleseeds under his belt, volunteer to become an Instructor in Training (IIT) and gave Junior Patriot patches to the two young boys for doing so much with the adults, no complaints nor problems. One had all the math in public stuff down when I had given the IMC the day before. He was rocking.

Overall, I would do it again. And likely will, although the drive is long it reminds me of the early Appleseeds, that were smaller, friendly groups, more coaching than preaching. A great weekend for me, hope yours was, too.

Friday, June 6, 2014

D-Day, seventy years ago, remembering the trips to Normandy...

Talking to Mike at church fellowship last week, about how one has to teach the new soldiers to run through the machine gun fire, Mike's eyes got big. He had been taught that one can't do that, and I said you can's stay still and be anything but a target.Yesterday I watched Saving Private Ryan, have owned it for years but hadn't watched it ever. The big screen movie had been a solid lock in my mind. A powerful movie, and then I stayed for the credits and Mister Spielberg's comments after. Then I put Band of Brothers Part 2, Day of Days, on and watched as the paratroopers came in and tried to live through the drop.

The choice of movies had others clamoring for Longest Day, which I had read while young, I read all his books. But I will save it for today, it is too star studded but a great overall view of the span of the battle.

One of my cousins is on a honor tour of Normandy this week with his wife and other old folks.

I was stationed at Pinder Kaserne in Zirndorf, BRD from1978-1982, four years. One of the soldiers from that tour reminded me of where the name was earned. MOH John J. Pinder,

He died on his birthday, on D-Day, doing all he could to get communications established for the unit.

The same posting got more about Pinder, seems he played baseball and is considered by those that follow the game to have been one of many that would have made a difference. So Facebook makes a difference and does spread knowledge. And I know more about the day. Difficult to honor all those that served and died. While we had a large military presence in Europe, staff tours and studies relived all the battles.

Politicians posed and post and think about the effort. But like my American History teacher, that taught and coached the high school rifle team, took a trip to Gettysburg every summer. We have to connect, to honor and to grow into the best we can be during our time. And to ensure that our current politicians don't bend our admiration for the past into a very stupid future, where we have to do it all again.