YOUR Military Story- What type of weapons did you fire during Boot Camp? How good were you?

Note: This is part of series to help ALL who served and their families to reminisce, remember and record memories and stories of your military service. Be sure to check out all the other posts and comment in the white space below each one!

Last time we talked about the food you ate in Boot Camp.  Let's get fired up and talk about what weapons you fired. (Pun intended!!)

I can only speak for Army Boot camp in the 1990s here, so I would love to hear Army vets from other eras and those of you who served in the other branches respond with your memories.  

Before leaving for Army training, I had fired exactly one rifle one time at a New Year's Eve celebration.  I remember my shoulder feeling as if it had been blown off.  Yea, I didn't hold it tight enough.

I liked going to "the range" in Boot Camp.  The cadre and drill sergeants were very safety conscious.  One time I was doing something stupid, I forget what, and Drill Sergeant Davis whapped me on the helmet with his paddle (like a ping  pong paddle).  Ouch, just like a scene from Bugs Bunny with the stars around his head. Other than that, I did well and shot Sharpshooter on an M-16A2 rifle, and expert with the grenades.  We also fired an M-60 machine gun and an AT-4 grenade launcher for familiarization.

My most vivid memory of weapons training was the night fire exercise.  We had to low crawl under live fire the length of a football field.  Sergeants were spread out on the field making sure we kept down.  I heard a few years ago a private stood up, probably out of fear, and got hit and killed during that same exercise.  I am sure this is nothing for those of you who experienced countless days of enemy fire.

Your turn- What weapons did you fire during basic training?  How good of a shot were you?  Did you go into the military with weapons experience or not?

Simply write in the white space below and hit "submit".

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Comment by Jeff Wenum on November 16, 2014 at 6:29pm

Al and his son do CCW training in Ohio, and they are the best in the area..

Comment by Jeff Wenum on November 16, 2014 at 6:20pm

Al and I go way back....40+ yrs., I guess...Obviously from his comments we shot about the same in boot camp.With M-14's...We had to go out to 5-600 yds. Don't know how far the Army guys had to do it!!!!!!

Comment by Albert Wohlwend on November 3, 2014 at 10:28am

In Basic I trained on the M-14, qualified expert rifle and was the second highest in the Company.

AIT (advanced infantry Training) at Ft McClellan AL I qualified expert with M16  both rifle and auto rifle also expert on M60, graduated as "Honor Graduate" of the company.

Then to NCO school at ft Benning, GA trained with pistol, 90mm recoilless , M2 .50 cal., m79 "thumper" and m72 LAW . 

Having done extensive shooting and hunting as a kid growing up definitely prepared me for military firearms. Also playing high school football and being in better than the average condition of recruits really helped.

Comment by Jeff Wenum on October 26, 2014 at 7:11pm

Per Richard on "fam-firing".. We were shooting .50cal machine guns at Lejeune when a coyote(the originals!!!!)came down the draw in the valley.3 guys started shooting,no hits,but the coyote really started moving!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Comment by Jeff Wenum on October 26, 2014 at 7:06pm

As an addendum-- In the USMC, if you shot "expert" on the range; you were a "god."All the DI's loved you.Now the only problem 40yrs. later is that my shoulder can't quite keep up with the recoil of anything above .223cal. But, I've got a Remington .22/250 that I can still handle quite nicely. In fact, my oldest(armorer in USMC) says that it's still the rifle he wants to grab when he has to put a round where it needs to go..

Comment by Jeff Wenum on October 11, 2014 at 4:02pm

I had shot .22's and had bought a .30/06 after high school. So I had a little experience. Probably why my hearing test wasn't the greatest.LOL

Comment by Jeff Wenum on October 11, 2014 at 3:57pm

Like Richard, I shot the M-14. Still love that weapon. I'd take it over the "plastic fantastic" M-16 any day of the week. I was a little luckier, shot expert from 200-500 yds. and came in 2nd in the battalion to a guy that had never shot before(??). The .45 cal pistol scared the death out of me, had never shot a pistol before; shots in the dirt,etc. Since then I've gotten a little better and even own one.

Comment by Richard Boyd on October 5, 2014 at 2:54pm

The week at the range was the very best part of boot camp. We fired M-14's for qualification, and spent a day of that week fam-firing the M1A1 .45 cal pistol. Our rifles were our constant companions and best friends. Issued on the second day of boot camp, and turned back in a couple days before graduation. We drilled with them, slept with them, and constantly cleaned them.

Woe unto the poor sap that dropped his rifle, and if you made reference to your rifle as your gun, then the next hour (or so) would be spent reciting the famous litany "This is my rifle. This is my gun. This is for fighting. This is for fun" while grasping the appropriate "weapon" as it was mentioned ... Fortunately, I never dropped my rifle, nor referred to it as my gun. That was it for weapons in Marine boot camp. I fired Sharpshooter.

After bootcamp, those of us who were not Grunts spent a month in Infantry Training Regiment (ITR). At ITR we got to force march to ranges all over Camp San Onofre, at Camp Pendelton. Fam-firing machine guns (M-60, and 50 Cal) and bloopers (M-79 grenade launcher), throwing grenades, learning how to set claymores, and experiencing a variety of live fire events. It was fun. There was no qualifications on any of it, though.

Marines have to qualify yearly with the rifle. I shot Sharpshooter each time. Again with the M-14, and once with the M-16.

Comment by Dale Day on September 18, 2014 at 9:25am

Fired Expert on the M-1 - a great long-range rifle.

Marksman on Carbine and 45cal pistol.

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