As I noted before, even though my eyes were on the stars, a lot of the things I've done in life were focused on the ground. One such area was shooting, as in weapons training (and not just with firearms) and marksmanship training.
It started early in life, and I do come by some of it naturally apparently. My mother was the first woman on Mercer University's rifle team. My father taught marksmanship for the Marine Corps, and shot competitions for them. In fact, the rumor is that he shot Camp Perry for the Corps in the early 1930s, but I've not been able to confirm that.
I do remember one story he told about a competition and the "girl from Texas" who made an impression on him. They were shooting long distance, the longest they shot at the time. In the competition, she shot and he held his (in the nick of time) as the sign went up from his target for dead center, and hers clean miss. Turns out, she had shot his target, and that one shot cost her the victory and gave it to him. Shen she realized what she had done, she let go with a stream of invective that surprised and impressed him, as she apparently never repeated herself once. So, Dad had respect both for her shooting and her ability to cuss.
When I was old enough to start hunting, Dad taught me one shot, one kill. The object was to put meat on the table, not gather trophies. Never was that good with dove, but did manage on deer. I still miss the Sunday venison roast…
Nor was Dad the only one who worked with me. I was on the rifle team at high school, and over the years picked up training on some rather interesting things, from the Galil to the MAC-10. My own preference has almost always been for keeping things steady (one shot, one kill remember) and not go crazy on full auto, but will admit that such can be a lot of fun. Silenced full-auto is interesting.
At the time I worked at AEDC, I was shooting on a regular basis away from base. This usually involved several hundred rounds per weapon per month, just to maintain, not necessarily to improve. I did shoot a bit at the base, but that's a different story.
Now, the Air Force enlisted man I worked with on a regular basis was a character, and I will tell you more about him soon, as he has (or was) a shocking tale to tell. For now, just know that he was not happy about finding himself headed for Korea, instead of the posting he had been promised.
We were pals of sorts, at least on base, and the net result was that I found myself headed to the range with him for M-16 qualification. If he had to do it, so did I was the meme of the day, and despite the cloud over him that was Korea, we had fun with it. The range master and instructor was a good man who had put in 20 plus and was back as a contractor. He was a good instructor, and it was a pleasure to work with him.
Now, Sarge (my buddy) liked to bet and loved to drink, but the latter was out so we made a wager of a case of beer on who got the best qualifying score. To be fair and honest, he had no idea that I shot much. I think the thought that the case of beer was a sure bet for him, and I did nothing to dissuade him from this viewpoint. In fact, I admit, I may have acted even more inexperienced and innocent than normal.
The qual went well for both of us, but I did beat him (by a comfortable margin if I remember correctly). However, the range master let slip that I was a bit more experienced than I was saying, and in the discussion the facts of what Dad had been and done came out. Sarge felt that such was cheating, and refused to pay up on the bet. I, of course, argued that I had done nothing wrong and had not cheated -- my score was mine and he saw every shot. The range master, being a wise sort, refused to get involved.
Now, there was one part where Sarge did beat me fair and square, though it did not count for score. We each had to do one clip full auto from prone. Now, in my defense, I was used to shooting .308 on full auto, not .223. Sarge took aim, and did a very nice crotch to chest burst.
My burst, however, was not that good. I overcompensated for the .223, and instead of crotch to chin, I started between the ankles and blew the crotch out of the target.
When he regained his composure, the range master looked over at me and said
"Boy, you better get out there and finish him off. Otherwise, when he recovers, he's gonna HURT you!"
Now, to keep both of us in our place, the range master took a clip and said "Rambo was a pussy. If he knew what he was doing, this is how he would have done it." With that, he burped the entire clip into the center of a tire 100 yards away. He showed us how he had done it, and worked with us a bit.
For some odd reason, the range master was known to smile and snicker when he saw me out and about later (or so I am told, I would never admit to noticing anything like that *ahem*).
I nee did get my case of beer, but did finally agree to let a single beer at Sarge's going away party settle the debt in full. He maintained until the day he left that my failing to tell him about my parents and other work with weapons made the bet null and void, as it was cheating. To this day, I maintain that I had no obligation to do so, and that if you ain't cheating, you ain't trying (if you are in a fair fight, your tactics suck).
So that's my tale of being accused of sharpshoot cheating. What say you on the charge?