Cold. Mud. Ice. Rain. Snow. Sleet.
On Saturday, Feb 16th, members of The Wayne County Militia and MMCW-Macomb County deployed to Camp Stasa to participate in Level One qualification, offhand corner shooting, the four pin tactical shoot, tactical movement, and a really brutal evaluation of our cold/wet weather gear.
Commander Wilks of MMCW-Macomb has been designated the range officer for the monthly Camp Stasa training. I am more than willing to back him up and help him out.
About seven or eight MMCW-Macomb County militia persons showed up, and four WCM participated in training this weekend.
The pre-noon weapons function check and sighting in period saw a rather unusual Schmidt-Rubin 7.5X55 straight pull bolt action rifle (I have now seen three of these in my life), and a break-open single shot .270. You wanna see some obscure weaponage? Come to training. Both of these rifles shot well, although the scope on the .270 seemed to experience a very unusual breakdown.
At noon, after a briefing from LTC Wilks, the two mile mud march began. A militiaman from Macomb County needed a sitter for his three year old son, and yours truly volunteered. Everyone but myself and this well-behaved young lad started the march, with one WCM participant not having yet arrived.
As soon as I was relieved from babysitting, by one hardcore militia guy who made a hearty effort at the walk, I took off on my two miler. It was horrible, wet, cold, icy, and muddy. What fun. The rest of the group finished in time and in good order.
At the end of my first lovely mile, I was called over to help out with the gear check. I had a nice quantity of latex gloves for anyone who was short of them in their first-aid kits, but that wasn't necessary, as everyone's gear was straight and in order.
We also discussed some hows and whys of certain gear and how and where it was carried. There was also some neat home made camouflage present. How hardcore can you get?
The shooting for record began, with two shooters per set. This seemed to work out rather well, with Lou's CETME blasting some lovely divots out of the ground, whilst it minced the paper plate. I re-qualified with my Daewoo (I don't remember the last time, if ever, that I did that with the Daewoo, on the first try, no less, I love that rifle...) K-Log seemed to draw patterns on the target with his AR (showing off, no less....). Everyone else shot well, with I think, two new first-time Level One qualified folks from Macomb, and soon to be two re-qualified folks from WCM.
Mike then moved the range down to about 50 yards for some around the corner left-handed shooting. This is fun and challenging (okay, folks, if you are left-handed, don't show off here, go ahead and shoot around the right side, please?). Many bowling pins fell down quickly during this drill. As the drill concluded, I checked to make sure I had my 100 rounds, so I could re-do my 2 mile walk.
This so totally sucked, but hey, I did it in 36 minutes, and this was after already having done a mile earlier, just for the overwhelming glee, I guess. It was hard, muddy, cold, wet, and generally miserable. Whilst I was marching, Mike had the fellas doing some of the wonderful four pin shoot. Lou was very cool and generous to let folks use his battle-ready Moisin Nagant during this drill. (This turned out to be a scene right out of "Enemy At The Gates" whereby the shooter was followed by a non-shooter, who was carrying five extra rounds. Go rent this movie...) Everybody did the drill, except me, because I was out enjoying my stroll. When I came back in, I eagerly demanded that somebody come and look at my spiffy gear that I had carried, so they can see that I am truly a menacing hardcore Level One qualified militia beast.
But wait, before you send us any more adoring fan mail, we did MORE. We broke down into two fire teams, with WCM being the lead team, MMCW-Macomb being the Bravo Team, and Mike being the squad leader, and did a huge, across the field, bounding movement toward the barns.
You would not normally move across such an open area, but 1. We were trying to teach people how two fire teams participate in bounding, and 2. the weather gave us a good deal of concealment, anyway.
During this drill, the wind picked up and started flinging sleet at us, horizontally. We were out in a field, laying down in icy mud, in the cold, with horizontal sleet screaming at us. We were soaked to the bone, tired, and hungry. We were out there, doing this, not because it is fun, but because it is necessary. If the average American would realize his duty and responsibility to get out there and shoot and train, freedom would be a bit safer.
After this drill, some folks went back to The Griffin's Den to dry and warm up a bit. One militia person had gotten the tent warmed up with the wood stove and Mike's kerosene heater. The stove and heater came in handy overnight, as two of us stayed.
Everyone left but K-Log and myself, who spent a night of
unmeasurable luxury in the warmth and comfort of what he jokingly calls the "Waldorf
Hotel." The night passed without incident, except for what may have been a lunatic
wild turkey gobbling in circles around the tent.(I had no clue that they were that
loud...). We also learned about wood stoves, kerosene heaters, and oil lamps. Good stuff,
We wanted to roll out Sunday, while the ground was still frozen, but not before another rifle got a quick function test. Whoo-ha! Militia happiness...
Those Macomb guys got a pretty decent group of folks, and we look forward to training with them more in the future.
Thanks to everyone who came, thanks to Lou and Ken for the rides, and thanks to Frank L for the chicken, and for starting the fire. Thanks to MMCW-Macomb County for running a tight ship, and thanks to Mike for the kerosene heater. And big thanks always to Frank Stasa for letting us come out and train...
We will see you all out there next time.