Trust me, that rubber dummy had it coming.
He was just standing there, looking like a bunch of old tires. I had to gut him with the bayonet on the end of my M-16.
Day three at the Military and the Media seminar, and we are at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri.
My apologies for not getting to the blog last night. To be honest, our second day at Fort Leavenworth gave me a lot of knowledge I will take home with me as I cover Oklahoma’s military, but it wasn’t too exciting. We flew to Fort Leonard Wood yesterday afternoon on a C-130 Hercules cargo plane.
Today was much more exciting. Wake-up was at 4 a.m. for physical training with a group of sergeants. Now, I may not look like much of an athlete. Truth is, I play sports. I play in tennis and softball leagues. But running and weight training with these soldiers at 5 a.m. was humbling to say the least. These guys are in tremendous shape. I am also in tremendous shape. Tremendously round.
We also got to watch some privates in basic training go through an obstacle course. We even got to negotiate some of the obstacles ourselves, though I passed up the ones that would have required me to get wet or crawl in the mud. After that, it was off to the bayonet course. We got a chance to try out some of the basic tactics the troops are taught for using a bayonet, which our instructors reminded us was an absolute last option when all of your ammo is gone and you have no other weapon. That’s when I took out that pesky rubber guy.
Next up was the live-fire range. Recruits fired machine guns, including the intimidating .50 caliber, affectionately known as the Ma-Deuce. It can take out vehicles.
We got our hands on some weapons at a virtual firing range. We shot M-16s and the Mk-19 40mm grenade launcher at a range that resembles a massive video game. The weapons weigh the same as their live counterparts, and compressed air makes them kick like the real thing, too. I’ll skip modesty for a moment and say I did pretty well with the M-16. I’ve fired rifles before, and all those hours of video game marksmanship finally paid off. It was tougher getting used to the grenade launcher. It weighs a ton and is difficult to aim. Still, I managed to cook some of the turkeys the instructors loaded up as our targets. Yes, turkeys.
Tonight’s activity was watching an A-10 Warthog fire its massive gatling gun at some ground targets on the aerial gunnery range. Reluctantly, I passed up my chance to watch that spectacle so I would have time to write this blog.
Tomorrow it’s back to Fort Leaveworth. Keep watching this space, as I hope to bring you more updates and some video.
- Staff Writer Bryan Dean