On rappel !

Well my long drill weekend is over. It was fun, but long and my body is a little sore and a lot tired. :) Friday morning the bus that was contracted to take us down to AP Hill did not show. It turned out that there was a miscommunication between the bus company and whoever in my chain of command that arranged it. So to cut that long story short we arrived over two hours late. We were taken straight to the "zero range". That is where the soldier takes their weapon and put bullets down range in groups of three. After each group you walk down range to look at the target and then make adjustments as needed. It took me two roations through to get the weapon where I wanted it, but that is mostly because on my first rotation I wanted to zero without using the sand bags to steady my aim. My thinking was it would better prepare me for the qualification range (more on that below). Well, once I used the sandbags I had no trouble. But I still, fired up all 18 rounds that I was provided. I just really like target shooting and I never get to do it in my civilian life. Because we arrived later than we were supposed to that was all we got accomplished on Friday. On Saturday I got over to the qualification range. The entire brigade was on post so I knew that if I wanted to do anything else for the day I had to get quailified on my rotation. But due to the sheer numbers of people on the ground it took me until 11:45 to even get my chance. While waiting around I ran into my brother. He had joined up about a year ago to finish out his 20 years (he did 15 active before deciding to get out). He was on the rotation prior to mine so I paid attention to his lane number and listened for his score as he was coming off. He scored a 28. Not great, but it qualifies. To be fair he usually scores in the 30's (at least that's what he tells me). So I told my partner that I had better score at least that much. :) I got down into the foxhole and set up the sand bags, but to hit the right 50 meter target I had to really contort my body. Good thing those targets are fairly easy to hit. When the qualificaiton began I was aiming too high. When I first joined the Guard back in '86 the M16a1 you aimed about neck level for the 250 and 300 meter targets so I sent several rounds sailing too high, but after about 5 shots I realized what I was doing wrong and adjusted. They did not break down how I did in each group so I am not sure how well I did. After that I climbed out and got set for the prone unsupported portion. I settled in and began pretty well. Then the weapon tried to feed two rounds into the chamber. Quite frustrating, but with some guidance from my partner I got it cleared up. In the end I too scored a 28, but I brought three rounds back to the tower unfired. So I just had to tell my brother, "I didn't want to show you up in front of your 'boys' so I scored a 28 as well and brought three rounds back to the tower." I loved that. By this time it was after noon. I got the group of soldiers that were from my battery and had qualified so far. We were given the option of either hitting the land nav course or the rappel tower. No choice to be made there - the rappel tower! :) There's not really too much to get into, but I did my first Australian rappel on Saturday. That was a blast. The first time I went out over the edge and was horizontal to the ground - looking straight down - I had to take a deep breath. One guy snapped a picture on his phone and said he would e-mail it to me, but I am not all that hopeful. If he does I promise to post it. It was a lot of fun, but I have a couple of new 'tattoos' to show for it. A small rope burn on one arm, and a good bruise and rope burn on my belt line. I am going to miss this when my retirement becomes official. Updates: None Verse for today: 1 Corinthians 1 : 18-26, ESV For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

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