Author Topic: HOW THE WEST WAS ONE or Beware of good stories.  (Read 501 times)

Offline kool aid

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  • Ramseur 02-07
HOW THE WEST WAS ONE or Beware of good stories.
« on: October 19, 2010, 12:35:35 AM »
I get asked ( and if not asked, will often tell anyway) how a guy like me ended up in an outfit like this.

People enjoy the blow by blow telling of the tale, so here are a few PERSONAL recollections about what led me decide to further this program.

Backround: 100% non-military. Spent a few years in school. Graduated and went back to work building stuff instead of being a chiropractor guy. Just suits me better I guess.
Oh and the whole tool and die was a better fit for me anyway. House building. What not.

I got interested in rifles via contact with Jeff Cooper during some pistol training I received. It took me 20 years to finally begin long gun training (beyond combat shot gun).

But to say I was not fully marinated in the doctrine of the colonel would be....... a lie. True believer is more like it. And Jeff really didn't think much of me and made sure I knew it- so I kind of wanted to prove his estimation of me wrong.

So there I am, minding my own business at a rifle class at one of the "big time" gun schools out west. I say rifle class but more to the point it was more a carbine class. totally different thing than appleseed.

Lots of snap shooting. 0 to 25 meters  for 80% of the qual. It was FREEZING COLD. 30MPH winds.

I got my hot rod ar with the choice red dot optic. I got the mag pouches and the dump bags. I am set.

And here's this guy. Running a stock AR. Iron sights. No dump pouches. One mag pouch.
And he's knockin' Jim Cratchit out of the course of fire.
I mean, he's squared away bigtime.

We get to talking and he tells me about the 'old' RWVA, the  board, and a thumb nail synopsis of the program.  (this was January 2007). All I heard was rifle training for 35 bucks a day.

 So I join the board. See a shoot is going to be in Nevada the next weekend (couldn't go), one in a month not far from home.
Then I saw the Rifleman's Boot Camp offered in North Carolina the next month. And since I had a van in upstate new york that needed to get back to LA, I figured it couldn't be that much out of my way to come via North Carolina and (Ahem.....) Anniston Alabama.

So I clear the time, get plane ticket to Rochester and retrieve my van on the sunday before bootcamp and set off trying to out run a blizzard.

A few words about the Van. it's a  three quarter ton ford van with a 3500 pound hendey tool room shaper squeezed into the cargo bay. It does have overload springs and oversized tyres, but it's certainly over it's limit. In the snow. and the ice.

By the time I arrived in Ramsuer one week later, I had taken a huge detour via saint louis (don't even ask....) and on though Memphis and so on.

Ask fred to tell you what I was allegedly wearing when the good brothers of Bootcamp II first laid eyes on me. It's much funnier than the reality.

Please understand, I brought 20 years of desire for the material with me to that boot camp. I really wanted to know, because trying to figure it out on my own had driven me to distraction.

And there I stand, Late.

banjo's playing in the backround........

New guy. From California. Shooting an AR in Fred's home field.
And they ask me my name. So I tell them what I think they want to hear- the name on my drivers liscence, right?

Blank stares....
and the banjo's are still playing.....
I'm not a little bit on edge here.
And once I figure out that it's my forum name they want I tell them
"Kool Aid"
and everyone relaxes because I had blogged my progress and ordeal on the board.

So I figured I was safe until lunch at least.
Except I was 2 bucks short of the fee. Our shootboss gave the impression that I might be run out on a rail if I didn't square it by noon.


We don't shoot before church lets out sundays in Ramsuer. so we had lecture and so forth till lunch, and I am trying to sort of fade into a corner.... not very well.

And I was physically beat from my ordeal by interstate. And I had never seen a loop sling in my life, much less used one. But I did have 25 years as a pistol guy to draw on, so I wasn't a complete doofus. But I am definatly not in Kansas anymore...

And not unlike Colonel Cooper, fred really was kind of..... exasperated by me, I guess. Not a lot of sympathy for my hard times either. And nobody called me anything but kool aid for the whole week. And theatrically.

But the crew was good (the guys running the thing) and the material as good as I had ever seen, so I made up my mind it was worth it to stick around no matter what. For whatever rough side of I brought out in fred, I found it tempered by the other instuctors.

Oh yeah, about that whole name thing..........

I had to choose a forum name so I could get the info I was after. I never in a million years would have picked Kool Aid if I had known It would become this..... Handle.
I would much rather be Tanto Yooder or Raymond K Hessle or something .... cool.

But lord, what a disaster I was......

Shot 96 on my first AQT.

I ended up clawing my way up to 196 by thursday and then hit a wall.
After the end of it all, I was specifically  told to keep working on it, and that once I gave them the number,  I could put on a red hat. Simple, right?

No orange hats in those days. No Shoot boss in training. No IBC's.
Just shoot the number, teach with supervision under your more senior insructors, then get the go ahead to hit the trail.
We had so very few dudes back then, really.

One Red Hat, one Riot.

I just couldn't get the number.
And I made it my life mission to do it.

And that leaves us off at a good place for the night. I will be writing on this periodially.

Just know that I EARNED that freakin patch over the next 9 months.
and there's the next of the tale......

Take a moment and remember the kind of man you chose to be when you got yourself out of that last scrape. Maybe you prayed that you would be different if he delivered you. Maybe you found hope here you thought unreachable. Do not concern yourself with anything 'els THAT. Make the mission first.