Never Give Up
Four Wounded Warriors Hosted
To A Special Match By Rifles Only.
Three Marines and one Army Ranger, all military snipers, traveled to Rifles Only to practice their trade, maybe learn something new, and to compete. Not so unusual. Rifles Only trains military snipers throughout the year. But this time there was a huge difference. These warriors were missing limbs, taken from them by IEDs.
These young heroes are in a class by themselves. Four days in the South Texas sun, no shade, moving from event to event and not a single complaint. I have no idea from where they draw such strength of character. Though that might not be easily explained, it is contagious, moving me to put my shoulders back, face the world head on, and bless my lucky stars for the fortune of life and limb.
I watched them closely as they moved about the range. Three of the four could not wear prosthetics, their legs having been taken very high on the leg, one of them missing an arm as well as both legs. Shooter four was able to wear a prosthetic for his missing right leg. His left was in a brace. They did what they had to do, and the results were amazing. These guys are shooters. But then each was a sniper in his unit and no stranger to long-range precision rifle.
Jacob Bynum and his crew took them through the normal series of events. They shot over barricades, at long range from the tower, at moving targets at 500 yards, at close-range targets, et al.
They started shooting on Wednesday and finished on Saturday with a match. Jacob had invited four capable shooters to act as partners. The partners helped each other call splash and correction, ensure dope, and acted as a team. Even with the wind running, they splattered the 1,000-, 900-, and 800-yard targets. Over the barricades as well as in the prone position, they took the small bulls like the pros they are.
The mover was a steel plate about 12″ in diameter. As I watched, the range officer kept saying, “Impact.” I could hear the hit and see the target shudder without the aid a scope.
I have been competing in rifle matches twice as long as these guys have been alive. As I watched them, I kept thinking that I would have had my butt handed to me on a plate by these young men. They are the epitome of “badass.”
At the conclusion of the match, everyone enjoyed brisket, nilgai sausage, beans, potato salad, and plenty of beer.
They took their awards graciously and gratefully. Their partners presented one winner with a Remington hunting rifle. There were two emergency room doctors there, competitors as well, who make most of the major matches at Rifles Only. They had a Marine Armorer custom build a beautiful 1911 .45 ACP and presented the overall winner with it.
By Jacob Gottfredson
188 South F.M. 772, Kingsville, TX 78363
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