Chapter 31: Moving targets

The rifle range. Oh how I love the rifle range! Now that I was the training NCO, I had to take the Marines down to the range to fire the shotgun. It was the hottest of days when we went. Heat index of 170 degrees (okay, slight embellishment, but it was a scorcher). We had about 60 or so Marines out there ready to train.
The ride to the range was a little odd. We saw Border Patrol running around, but didn't think anything of it since we were so close to border. We were notified earlier in the morning that the water alarms were set off in the desert, so we knew some illegals were progressing in our direction.
The range was out in the middle of nowhere. The street the range was on was covered in abandoned furniture and cars, which seemed to be used for target practice. Just through me for a loop considering the ranges at Camp LeJeune were nice, clean and well-guarded.
I was excited to be on the range. Nothing like the smell of gunpowder to make a girl happy. We walked around the range, put up the flags, discussed things with the Range Officer, put the targets up in the pit, and were getting to proceed with our live fire. 
The firing line was ready to aim down range at their targets. The range rules were recited: treat every weapon as if it were loaded; keep your finger straight and off the trigger until you intend to fire; never point your weapon at anything you don’t intend to shoot; keep your weapon on safe until you intend to fire. The Marines dropped to one knee, and began to load their magazines. "The shooters on the line with a 20 round load." We heard some sirens, but didn't know where they were coming in from, so we basically shrugged our shoulders and looked down range.
The first group of Marines proceeded to the firing line. "Is the line ready?" I waived my green paddle. The line is ready. "Ready on the left?" Ready on the right?" "All ready on the firing line. You may commence shooting once your Dog target appears." The Marines aimed down range.
"Cease, fire, cease fire!"
Luckily not one round went down range. Border Patrol was chasing a family across the range. In the distance, you saw the family taken down my Border Patrol. Thank God it was hot outside and everybody was sluggish and knew the qualification meant nothing.
My Staff Sergeant, you know, the one that just got off of the Drill Field, yeah, he chewed some Border Patrol ass for that one. That was one day that I would love to forget, but cannot. Thank you God for small miracles.
The MP's and Border Patrol relied heavily on one another. One good thing about Border Patrol is that they were good at finding deserters. Every day when I would come back from chow, there was a deserter sitting in the brig. We would go back to the holding area, tell them how stupid they are, make them cry, then make them feel miserable as they sat in their cell. We had nothing else to do. Well, we had stuff to do, but this was more fun.


  1. Who would sign up and then decide to desert? Weird.

  2. He was a Marine who had already served his time, but was recalled like I was. Instead of showing up, he decided to go to Mexico, but Border Patrol caught him when he tried to pass through the gate. Not the brighest...


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