Leadership Stories - At the Rifle Range


The leadership stories provided reflect my experiences at Marine Corps Boot Camp are meant to help improve your already good leadership skills. My experiences are presented for your reading pleasure only and are not to account for every single thing that happened there. Primarily they are to explain my feelings while there

I am certain that my experience prepare me for life and improved my good leadership skills without question.

Hope you enjoy page 16 of those experiences!

We were now in week five of our training and next on the list was the rifle range. Who couldn't love the rifle range?

Well, under normal conditions the rifle range most likely was a great experience. Attending it in Boot Camp took a little bit of that away.

The entire first week we were there was consumed by training and preparing for the actual firing range.

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Leadership Stories - My Marine Corps Boot Camp Experience

That training was extremely boring at times and at other times a royal pain. Let me explain.

The boring part was being in the various positions as you sat approximately ten to fifteen yards away from a white 55 gallon drum that had black dots on them simulating targets.

So picture in your mind if you can, a white 55 gallon drum sitting in the middle with twenty or so Marine Recruits circled around it about 10 to 15 yards away, all sighting in on the barrel. So what is sighting in mean? It is where you get into the sitting, standing, kneeling or prone position as if you were going to fire off a round and aim in on the black dot. We would do that for hours on end.

Leadership Stories - My Marine Corps Boot Camp Experience

The other part of this was that the Dl's would have us stand up, take the rifle and hold it out in front of you. So you would have this rifle in both hands extended out in front which sounds easy.

It sounded easy then too. Until you do it for very long periods of time. It is amazing how something so light can become like a lead weight in a short period of time.

As soon as one of us would begin to drop the rifle just a little, the 01 would have us start over. Just like everything we did there, it always sounded easy, but ended up being harder than you would think.

Leadership Stories - My Marine Corps Boot Camp Experience

When I told my son one time about this, he said no problem. I gave him a taste of it and he changed his tune really quickly.

I don't know what was worse, bends and thrusts or holding the rifle out in front of you. If I get to choose I will pick going to the ice cream parlor and having a huge milk shake. I guess that isn't one of the choices.

Back to the white drums and practicing sighting in on the little black targets. While I would be doing this you couldn't help noticing the person that was on the other side of the drum doing the same thing you were.

I would think back to how my father would always tell me to always assume a weapon was loaded and not to point it at anyone. He used to say that this is how most accidental shooting happen with weapons that people are certain are not loaded.

Leadership Stories - My Marine Corps Boot Camp Experience

Although I have never checked to verify those statistics it seemed like a logical statement at the time. He wouldn't lie to me.

With that in mind, I had to laugh to myself to think that here we were with real M16A1 rifles, deliberately sitting directly in line with someone else who was doing the same thing back at you.

We went to several classes that week and at each one they would almost kill you if you even came close to moving the barrel of the weapon anywhere close to another person. Yet here we were doing it on purpose now. I certainly wasn't going to point this minor issue out to the DI!

During this week I remember a run that was exhausting, and one that I remember like yesterday.

As always we were in our uniforms without our uniform shirt.

Leadership Stories - My Marine Corps Boot Camp Experience

He told us that we would be making a run to the beach.

The run started off normal with the exception that we were running on some very rough trails. For the most part it was a good run. We had a good pace and everyone was sticking together. By now most of us were in pretty good shape.

As we go almost to the beach we ran under the major highway that goes along from Los Angles to San Diego. For a moment you almost felt like you were part of society again. To be honest you felt kind of proud as you know that many going down the highway were watching you.

He had mentioned that we had just ran about five miles.

We finally made it to the beach and he ran us right into the water. Very refreshing and I thought to myself, why did he do something that we would enjoy? That was my first mistake. Yes, thinking was my first mistake.

Leadership Stories - My Marine Corps Boot Camp Experience

Although the water felt great as soon as we came out I could feel the weight of my feet increase. The water had filled my boots and now they were soaked.

Now he had us run up to the dry sand where we stopped. He had us spread out. We then did some bends and thrusts. After several of those he had us roll around in the sand and rub it into our clothes and the exposed parts of our body.

When we were finished we formed up again and made the run back. I must tell you it was a run like no other run we had taken.

I can't imagine that this type of run was in a training manual somewhere. How would they write that up? Would it sound like this?

Leadership Stories - My Marine Corps Boot Camp Experience

Take fifty or so guys. Run them over very rough terrain that goes up and down until they just about can't go any further. Then take them and run them into the ocean. Once they come out of the ocean have them do some bends and thrusts until they almost drop. Have them rub dry sand into their wet clothes and skin. Then have them run back five miles at a killer pace. Maybe that is how it was written up?

This experience once again proved that just when you think it can't get any worse, it does! The human body and mind are something special. You can overcome almost anything if you believe you can. It is the second you don't believe anymore, that you are finished.

My boot camp experience showed me that no matter what the odds or obstacle, if you believe you will succeed. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do something or achieve your goal. You are the only one that can stand in the way of it.

Thank you for reading another one of my leadership stories and may God Bless you!

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