Parris Island shooting team

Parris Island shooting team

On Friday, March 13th, I journey north to Camp Lejeune, NC for an opportunity to shoot competitively with the Parris Island Rifle/Pistol team.

The CIAP has traditionally provided the Marine Corps with the skilled and experienced marksmen necessary to support a productive marksmanship training program and success in battle. The primary objective of the program is to enhance marksmanship proficiency within the Marine Corps by refining precision marksmanship skills through advanced marksmanship training and competition. Participants will fulfill their annual rifle and pistol qualification training requirements. Marines who participate in the 2009 division matches will receive the following three-week training package:

Week one: Classroom instruction, dry firing, and practical application in precision rifle and pistol marksmanship.
Week two: Live fire training to develop shooting positions, establish zeroes, and enhance individual marksmanship proficiency.
Week three: Individual and team competition with rifle and pistol, and awards ceremony.

I’m taking an indefinite break from my normal duties as a drill instructor. But before I detail the choose-your-own-adventure style of the next year of my life, let’s review how I got here to begin with.

  • 1991: A camping trip in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State produces an impressive number of chipmunk kills when I borrow a scope-equipped pellet rifle from a friend.
  • 1992: As a founding father (#999) of the least famous, yet most historically significant gang in my suburban locale, I embark on a two week crime spree, making off with a shit-ton of home weaponry ranging from your typical .44 Magnum Ruger Redhawk 7.5″ barrel to assorted rifles to a genuine Ingram MAC M11 submachine gun. All weapons were quality tested at the L.T. Murray Wildlife Area near Selah, WA, where I may or may not have blasted the hell out of more than a few junked appliances.
  • 1993: Dad and I take turns firing his .38 Special at a skunk hiding in a culvert in our yard. A year later, forensics conducted on bone fragments flushed out by heavy rain reveal the skunk could have died of starvation, old age, or suicide, but definitely not gunshot wounds. My dreams of a future in competitive shooting are dashed.
  • 1998: Despite qualifying Sharpshooter on the rifle range in boot camp the year prior, I qualify Expert as a fleet Marine and continue the trend for four more years.
  • 2000: Fresh off a Battalion Marine of the Year win and meritorious promotion to Sergeant, I’m promised a seat at Army Airborne School (a.k.a. Jump School), Ft. Benning, GA. Due to a delay in blood work, I miss the submission deadline and dropped from the course. As a consolation, my Company Gunnery Sergeant submits me for the next pistol range detail. In the week prior to qualifying, he takes me to a civilian indoor pistol range, teaches me disassembly, assembly, and weapons conditions of the Beretta M9 service pistol. I end up qualifying with a 386 of a possible 400 points, setting a Battalion pistol record.
  • 2001: I receive the Top Gun Award in MSG School with 199 of a possible 200 points, narrowly beating my nemesis-in-arms, John Klimas.
  • 2005: I return triumphantly to the Marine Corps rifle and pistol ranges after four years overseas, qualifying high Expert in both.
  • March 2008: In the middle of my first cycle as a drill instructor, a standard five day pistol range detail is shortened to three. As a compromise, shooters are issued extra ammunition to make up for lost days. I proceed to shoot the black out of the target, and people take notice. I’m “the Gunny from MSG” and an ammo tech Marine asks if I had ever thought of trying out for the Parris Island shooting team. My interest is piqued.
  • May 2008: Still on my first cycle as a drill instructor, my platoon of recruits is qualifying on the rifle range. On four targets at the end, members of the Parris Island shooting team are practicing. I strike up a conversation with the OIC and he informs me of tryouts coming in the fall. We exchange emails.
  • September 2008: Eight men show up for a two day rifle and pistol tryout. I take “#1 gun” for both.
  • October 2008: I compete in a pistol and rifle CMP competition and blow both out my ass. Fortunately, a member of the Marine Corps Pistol Team takes notice of my potential skillz and talks of my future eligibility to go to the “Big Team” ensue.
  • January 2009: Official Intramural competition tryouts for the Parris Island shooting team are held, producing over eighty competitors from Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, and the Naval Hospital. A life-altering event prevents me from finishing the competition, but my already impressive record generates a direct request to my command for TAD orders to the team.
  • February 2009: Orders are finally approved through much red tape. I begin a rigorous five week shooting program to prepare for Eastern Division Matches in Camp Lejeune, NC in late March. Nine hour shooting days are not uncommon.

Present day.

Following Eastern Division Matches are the Marine Corps Championships in late April. My TAD officially expires on May 4th, but there’s been a lot of talk about the possibility of me going to the Big Team through the summer. If that’s the case, I won’t be pushing recruits again until the fall. That’s fine by me. There will always be recruits to train, but this is a rare opportunity I don’t plan on passing up.

A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity.
– Sigmund Freud


19 Responses to “Parris Island shooting team”

  1. Sean says:

    Viva la Thunder Lake (a.k.a. Camp Go-Fer-Beer) camping association!

    Also, S.L.H.A.N.A.

  2. shirley staiger says:

    Holy bullets batman! I shot competitively in college…it was texas,targets mostly roachs..but,WOW,you have blown the curve…I never realized you had had an interest in competitve shooting or jump school.You have mad and many skills. Russ has his silver wings for 125 + jumps from perfectly good airplanes,he says there is no such thing as a perfectly good airplane. We will watch this space for the notification of you having once again raised the bar up there out of sight.take care of yourself…have fun s

  3. Rick says:

    It was your destiny to launch torpedo’s into a 3 meter wide gap without targeting computers because you used to shoot womp rats back home, and they weren’t much bigger than that. Hopefully you got that reference or I am going to look really crazy. Regardless, the fact is that you are a hillbilly and shooting a gun isn’t a skill, it is a genetic trait. That being said, I congratulate you on using the “skillz (genetic trait) to pay the billz (shoot competitively)”.

  4. Ed says:

    I still think you owe me lunch for the pistol range. I am trying to get a competitive 3 position air rifle team off the ground at the HS where I work. I had one chance to go and shoot Western Div matches and I passed it up. I really regret not going. By the way I am still waiting for the Drill Manual?

  5. shaun in the hat says:

    GRAB, LOOK, PUSH, PULL!!!!!!!Good luck, now the Wii will not be getting the attention she needs.

  6. Nicole Rouse says:

    Finally man! You wrote something, I recently got a blackberry and have read I think just about everything on the site.This is Jodi ‘n Dale’s sister in law. Hope all is well and hope we get to see you this summer but I won’t hold my breath.

  7. Jordan says:

    hay, Here I was google-in attempting find match results from Pac Div or Parris Island Inter mural matches and hit this webpage or “blog”. I believe I met you last October at N.C. State match (the Asian guy). Glad to hear everything is working out for ya. Good luck at Stone Bay and don’t sweat those egotistical “big” team Marines, especially guy name Footer from the Pistol Team. I’ve seen what you can do, don’t force bad shots and above all HAVE FUN. I’ll be at P.I. in July heading up one of those known distance ranges so feel free to stop by after the summer season. Oh, by the way, I know everyone on the big team so if you need assistance w/ anything let me know. Again, good job making it this far and shooter center.

  8. mack says:

    you are a hard man to get ahold of. i’ll be near your sand pit in a couple months. maybe i’ll stop by for a visit.

    i’d smoke you with the M9 and the M16 by the way.

    top gun MSG 4-01

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The author.Born in the year of the Dragon, the author grudgingly accepts the fact he has too many interests and not enough time. A cyclist as long as he can remember, an avid yet inconsistent writer since age eleven, and a U.S. Marine since age twenty-one, the author also adds peak bagging, diving, snowboarding, and computers to his list of interests. Incidentally, he is aware of his inability to make a living from any but the Corps. The author accepts this as fact and remains optimistic. Feel free to drop him a line.

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