I figure that the paper pictures will eventually be discarded, but the digital ones should stay on here for the kids.
The rifle range at Camp Lejuene, North Carolina in the summer of 1979. All Marines had to qualify with the rifle once a year, no matter what their MOS (military occupational speciality.) Camp Lejeune maintained the ranges used by the main base, by New River Air Station, and by Camp Geiger.
It was always hot and humid, and there was a lot of pressure. Competition among shooters to qualify as "Expert" was intense. It may give you some idea just how intense, to know that the badge for "Marksman", the lowest passing qualification, was universally known as the "toilet seat."
The rifle is the M16A1. It was a good rifle, with none of the frills they have today. But it was the precursor to all the fancy versions. I actually liked the M14 better. When I went through OCS in 1973, the M16A1 was general issue in the fleet, but the M14 was still issued at OCS (officer candidate school.)
There may have been carbine style M16's in use in the late 70's, but I never saw one. Officers and crew served weapons Marines carried the Colt M1911A1 pistol.
Infantry officers often carried the rifle as well as the pistol, since not having the rifle on the battlefield indicated to the opposition that you might be someone worth shooting.
Every Marine in those days was trained as a rifleman. Even the women qualified on the range, although they were not allowed in combat billets back then. However, there was always the possibility of being overrun, and then it's all hands to the pumps.
The range lasted two weeks. The first week was just snapping in and getting "the dope" on your rifle. That means zeroing in the weapon. To "zero " you fire a shot, adjust your sights, and repeat the process. When you are in the black, you have the dope for that rifle, for that range. You have a little book called a "range book" that you use to record your shots and your "dope." You have different sight settings for the 100, 200 and 500 yard targets. You shoot standing, sitting, kneeling and prone. In my day, only the Marine Corps trained all hands to fire out to 500 yards. The next week was shooting for qualification. You usually had to be at the range by 0600 in the morning. Shooting was over by noon. Then you went back and did your normal job. The work load did not decrease, so you stayed late, which made getting up early even harder. But that was the way it worked. I have no idea how they do it these days.
Yechon was a purely Korean AFB. No permanent U.S. personnel. We deployed for a two month exercise, and lived in a tent city. If you have never had the experience, you don't know what you are missing. Nor would you want to.
The stoves sooted up, so they had to be cleaned about every third day. This fell to the lot of the lowest on the totem pole. I can't remember the name of the blond WM (woman Marine) on the left, but she was a nice young lady. She married the Sergeant who is helping her clean the stove. He ran the risk of being reprimanded for doing that kind of work, but everyone knew he was "interested" in her and nobody rebuked him. Good thing for him the Wing Sergeant Major didn't pass by.
When I was a new Second Lieutenant, at New River waiting to go to Pensacola, I was told to take a detail out and set some tents up. There was a Corporal to actually run everything. When the men were unloading the trucks, I was embarrassed to just stand there like God Almighty with my arms folded, and I started helping unload. The Corporal told me that was not a good idea. I told him I would just help with the one truck. But before I finished, the Squadron Sergeant Major came up in his jeep with his driver.
He explained to me why that was not satisfactory. Then the Sergeant Major started to go after the Corporal for letting me do this. The Corporal said nothing but I told the Sergeant Major the Corporal had asked me to stop. So the Sergeant Major told me that the reason the Corporal was there was that he knew what he was doing and I should listen to him. The implication was both clear, and true. Forty some years later, my ears still turn red when I even think about it. But you find me a person who was a Second Lieutenant and never "stepped on his crank" and I'll show you a liar. It takes you a solid year, with good NCO's to become a good officer. Some people never do.
Two friends of mine. On the left is a WM Captain, Gloria Moyer. On the right is a Warrant Officer, Frank Foster. After I left Okinawa I never ran into either of them again, but that's how the military is.
Awards ceremony in the mud and sleet at Yechon. Life went on just like you were back at your garrison. It just wasn't as comfortable. I was in Korea in winter, and summer. Winter was cold and the wind cut right through you. Summer everything smelled like feces, because back then the Koreans put "night soil" on all their fields.
The main thing I remember about tent city in Korea is that I was hungry a lot of the time. In the Marine Corps, officers don't eat until all the enlisted men and women have eaten. Since the cooks are reprimanded for wasting food, they always erred on the side of caution when it came to how much to make. If everybody showed up for meals, and if there were transients eating in the mess tents ( like air crew, convoy personnel, etc) then the people who ate last got smaller and smaller amounts of food as the cooks stretched what they had. I wasn't married then so I only got packages from home when my mom sent them. On the other hand, there were 10 of us in a GP tent, so somebody got a package from their wife, or mom, or girl friend about every other day. Everybody shared, so you could get something to eat that way.
That's the God's Truth. The Air Force and Navy had wonderful food.
Well, no thought for the day. I have enough thoughts by looking at these old pictures. Sorry they aren't really relevant, but as I say I'm trying to have some family history here for my kids once in a while.