USRA Boot Camp 2012

Osage Beach Boot Camp AAR

Oct 13-20, 2012

 

I’ll apologize up front for the length of this AAR.  So much took place that it can’t be squeezed into a paragraph or two.  You’ll want to block out time for next years Boot Camp now.  It will be Oct 19-26, 2013.

 

Boot Camp opened on Saturday the 13th.  It was scheduled as a travel day and folks took advantage of it.  As people rolled in and tents began to spring up, you could feel the electricity in the air.  USRA’s inaugural Boot Camp!  Everyone joined in on last minute preparations to the range and helped one another get their campsite squared away.  Friends helping friends.  A few tried out the 25M range just to make sure they were good to go.

 

Sunday morning found more tents erected, sun shades in place, and “kitchens” set up.  The 25M range saw some action until 1400 hrs.  That’s when Darrin, our pig roaster, rang the dinner bell.  Smoked pork butts smothered in BBQ sauce, coleslaw, chips, ice cold pop and water was all that was on anyone’s mind!  Let me just say this, he cooked enough for 40 hungry people.  We had about 30 eating.  There was about half a pan of pork left!

 

After the pig roast, we got down to USRA business.  The Annual Meeting is where the membership provides input and direction with regard to policy, course curriculum, content, and elects members to the Board.  It went a little longer than I expected, but that’s not a bad thing.  These members are genuinely interested knowing what’s happening, making it better, expanding our classes, and most importantly, having a say in who carries out the directives from the members.  Pappy was retained as Vice President and Steve Schnurbusch will take over as Treasurer on Jan 1.

 

Accepting the motion to adjourn, everyone socialized and introduced themselves to friends they had only “spoken” with over the internet.  We had people from at least 7 states in attendance, some from as far away as New Mexico and Georgia.

 

Monday we all met at the flag pole at 0730.  As part of tradition, the flag that was flown at Bagram AFB in Afghanistan on September 11, 2004 was proudly hoisted.  A daughter of one of our members that served there gave this flag to us.  After the Pledge of Allegiance, morning brief spelled out the activities of the day.  Some went to the trailer for NRA training, some to the 25M range for the American Marksman clinic, and the rest to the pistol range for the Introduction to Defensive Handgun class.

 

Tuesday was basically a repeat.  This allowed our members to take American Marksman one day, then handgun the next; or, repeat a class if they wanted to absorb as much information as they could.  Derek took some 25M shooters from Monday over to the distance range.

 

Wednesday had a few changes.  This is why we had morning brief every day. With a lot of our attendees in the NRA pistol class, the remainder took advantage of the 400M distance range and some additional time on 25M to work with new rifles.  The night shoot had to be moved to Thursday due to some storms rolling in.

 

Thursday had some changes as well.  At brief, it was determined that several wanted another handgun class.  Seems that being stuck in a classroom completing NRA certification requirements for 3 days makes a guy want to send some rounds downrange!  With the help of willing instructors, we were able to have 4 ranges active;  Handgun, distance, 25M and Pappy’s “midway”.

 

Pappy and his committee developed a number of fun and competitive games to test the shooters skills.  The turkey shoot gave you one shot with your favorite handgun to get closest to the black square.  Congratulations to John Scott as the clear winner.  Missouri’s own Jungle George showed everyone how to shoot bowling pins quickly and accurately while Mike Royle flat out owned the “Tourist or Terrorist” game.

 

The night shoot gave our shooters an opportunity to view night vision equipment, thermal imaging, tracers, various flash hiders, etc.  This was very well received as we all work hard for our money and loved the chance to “field test” some of these items before plunking down cash only to find out it’s not what the advertisements claimed it would be.  Thanks to everyone for sharing their gear with the group.

 

Friday’s brief found shooters chomping at the bit for the Zombie shoot, the Rimfire Sporter Match, more time at distance, and a chance to even the score, so to say, on Pappy’s “midway”.   The Zombie shoot had 21 targets set between 75 and 100 yards.  There were 5 targets each for standing, kneeling, sitting, and prone.  Then, of course, there was a stop plate.  You had 1 shot per target with time deducted for each target hit while time was added for every target missed.  Congratulations to Derek Parker for walking away with the honors.

 

After the Zombie shoot, those that wanted more distance time got it.  Others went over to the 25M for the Rimfire Match.  Dave ran a good match and congrats go out to Justin Anderson for besting the group.

 

Friday night the 1 Shepherd guys came out and we took the opportunity to use their MILES gear for a little Tru-combat gaming.  Rifles shooting blanks that activate lasers, which hit sensors on your clothing confirm a good hit.  Very exhausting!  You get a full appreciation for cover/concealment and movement.  Hitting a target while you are settled into prone is entirely different than when it’s moving, you’re moving, and the adrenaline is pumping!

 

Saturday things were winding down.  It was planned this way, again, to afford as many people an opportunity to attend without blowing additional vacation days.  The “midway” was opened up for those last minute grudge matches that just had to be settled and the distance range was open for those wanting to send some final rounds down to the steel.  We had 8-10 volunteers help the 1 Shepherd guys tear down their tents and get them stored away for winter.  A cooperative effort between two organizations for the betterment of all.

 

 

 

But enough about shooting.  Let’s talk food!  Besides the pig roast on Sunday, Dave (Out of Ammo) whipped up an awesome fish fry on Tuesday night.  We dispatched someone to the store for the necessary sides and when it was ready, we met in the mess tent for some good food and good conversation.  Camaraderie at it’s best!  Thursday, Terry minded the store working on dinner while we went to the night shoot.  Upon completion, we gathered in the mess tent for a fantastic spaghetti dinner.

 

Friday was an impromptu pizza night.  Knowing we were battling the quickly setting sun before doing the 1 Shepherd gaming, a quick call to the local pizza joint for 10 large pies and we were all happy campers.

 

There’s more, a lot more.  I couldn’t possibly touch on everything that took place over those 8 days.  So many little things that you would have to have been there to really appreciate.

 

Things like:  Donkey, wind, tape with names on them on the handgun barriers, rain, brush pile, campfire discussions each night, friendly trash talk, ringing steel, bright stars, deepening friendships, the deuce and a half, the willingness to share ammo, food, guns, cots, ice, utensils, you name it.  And the list goes on.

 

I want to thank everyone for taking the time and making the trip to Osage Beach.  I think we had a safe, fun, informative, action packed boot camp.  Each and every one of you played a role in making it successful; from planning to building props, volunteering to be a range officer for the day, cooking, picking up trash, being safe, to being an engaged participant.

 

Plans are being made for the 2013 Boot Camp as I write this AAR.  I hope to see all of you back down there…..with a friend tagging along.  To those that couldn’t make it, start planning now.  What you’ve just read is merely a glimpse of all that took place.  See you the week of October 19-26, 2013…..if not before!

 

Bill Essling