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Old 09-03-2014, 06:58 PM
CMPMikeD CMPMikeD is offline
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 211
Default Who Got You Started?

This is the start of my first local school year since getting out of the Army and starting my job with the CMP. It can definitely seem chaotic from the outside, but Sarah Hall and I just started working with The Donoho School Rifle Team, and it has reminded me of my high school days and some of the people in my life then and now. Jacqueline Gaines, a parent and administrator at The Donoho School here in Calhoun County has taken every extra step possible to ensure the successful start of their school's first ever rifle program. A few of her students could possibly one day earn college rifle scholarships if they decided to pursue shooting even further and maybe one of them is a future Olympian, but not without Mrs. Gaines' help in taking the first step. So, I decided to write a quick blog on that and it will end with a similar question to all of you. I'll share my story of the very first time I ever fired a gun on a future post, this is really about getting started in competitive shooting.

I got started in Junior ROTC at Carroll High School in Ozark, AL in 2001. I remember filling out my schedule in 8th grade and seeing "rifle" on the schedule. When I asked if that was the "sport where you twirl the gun", I was told it was an air rifle team that physically shot the gun instead. So, I filled it out and didn't think much of it. At the time, I had only hunted once thanks to Ron Goree, a then Ozark Police Officer, so guns and shooting was fairly new to me. After showing up for my first practice, I was told I could not be on the rifle team because it conflicted with band. If you knew me, my entire family had passed through that band hall and had all received scholarships, so my future was band and band only. U.S. Army First Sergeant (Retired) Jack Kehler decided to take a chance on me and allow me to continue shooting only on the days I was not practicing with the band. From there, he supported my future travels and shooting endeavors and worked tirelessly to fundraise for me to afford flights and entry fees into JROTC Nationals and Junior Olympics while I was in high school. Secondly, my mother saw the passion and discipline both JROTC but especially the rifle team instilled in me and fully allowed me to make my own decision and leave band completely. She purchased my first shooting suit and even purchased my air rifle in college which I still use today. There are a number of other people I am thankful and grateful for but Jack Kehler and my mother are responsible for getting me into the sport. To them, I cannot thank them enough.

To the parents and coaches out there; stick with your child in their endeavors, but don't force it. Allow them to make their own decisions even if it isn't what you wanted for them. If you feel unappreciated, just wait, us shooters know who is really behind us after every BORING shot that is fired out of our rifle. (Thank goodness for electronic targets!)

So, to kick off the start of another fantastic school year and shooting season, answer this question: Who is responsible for getting you started in this great sport of shooting? If you have a cool story, share it with us!

- CMP Mike D

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Old 10-26-2014, 01:40 PM
Greg Ficklin Greg Ficklin is offline
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 593

I had a .22 rifle, and shot some squirrels, and had some dove hunting experience with friends, but my first experience with the discipline of fundamental marksmanship came from USMC recruit training at Paris Island.
I decided to accept that I really knew nothing, and trusted the instruction my PMI was teaching. The recruits that thought they knew what they were doing didn't apply what the PMI taught because their so called "experience" in the woods of West Virginia, and shooting off the hoods of pick-up trucks gave them confidence in doing it their way. In snap-in week they were bored, and boasted that they would win the polished brass trophy our senior DI had for the best shooter. Because I had listened, and applied everything I learned, I won the trophy, and the award for the best shooter in the four platoon series. After my enlistment, the enjoyment of shooting was just something in my past until I saw a DCM clinic flyer, at a gun store from a DCM affiliated gun club. It had a picture of a Garand on the top, and I recognized it as the same rifle I had seen the Silent Drill Platoon use in the recruitment materials, and my rank insignias. It went on to say that this clinic was a first step in obtaining one of these rifles from the government, and described the course of fire of standing, sitting, and prone with rapid fire stages. I was so excited. I showed it to my friends saying " I can do this....I know all about this... This is the same as my USMC rifle qualification !" I went to the clinic and won the match. I was stoked. Back then you needed 150 rounds to satisfy the DCM participation requirement, so I found another clinic at Fort Jackson, SC. It was full distance, and I won the 600 yard match. I had Garand fever in a bad way. I joined the club as it was a requirement, rounded up all the other stuff like finger prints, and match bulletins and stuff and sent it away to the DCM. It took a year or so to finally get my one and only DCM rifle allowed. It was a Winchester service grade with an LMR barrel. That was twenty-four years ago. The DCM requirements to obtain an M1 from the government started the process that made me what I am today; a Distinguished Rifleman, NRA Endowment Life member, CMP GSMM Master Instructor, and match director of clinic matches at the same club I started with. It was that stack of flyers, and fundamentals I learned as a Marine recruit that stated it all.
Distinguished Rifleman #2198
NRA HP XTC High Master (service rifle)
NRA Patron Life member
PCGC Junior Team coach
CMP GSM Master Inst.

Last edited by Greg Ficklin; 10-26-2014 at 01:42 PM.
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Old 10-29-2014, 10:06 AM
CMPMikeD CMPMikeD is offline
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 211

Thank you for sharing!

I cross-posted your reply on our CMP South facebook page.
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Old 06-19-2017, 09:23 PM
carrollms carrollms is offline
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Beattyville, Kentucky
Posts: 24

As a youngster (about 10) in 1960, I attended a YMCA camp. We used bolt action 22s in the NRA youth shooting program.
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