As a Gunner’s Mate 3rd class in the US Navy, I didn’t just have a rifle, I had a whole armory. Between my time in Deck Department driving the ship and standing lookout watches and being a Gunner’s Mate, I went to work security. ISF, is what we called it (Inport Security Force).
As ISF, it was the Gunner’s Mate(s) job to get me loaded up. I frequently checked out an M-16 (which is a fully automatic AR-15) with about 90 rounds. In short, in the worst case scenario…such as a terror attack or mutiny…we were prepared.
After 6 months of security duty and a close call (Read When Rifles Come Out for more information), I was able to take the petty officer (E4) test and pass, making GM3. It was one of the most exciting times of my career, and I did it in just 1 1/2 years.
Once a GM3, it was then our job to man the armory. I have cleaned 1000s of weapons, and I even have experience with sprinkler systems on ordinance magazines, including ones that hold nukes. That might be classified. I don’t know anymore.
Part of my job as a Gunner’s Mate was to use our sniper rifles and a bolo to shoot the lines to the pier, and during underway replenishment. This is when a smaller ship pulls up next to the carrier and restocks us. It’s quite a sight. I’ve seen it done as Deck and Weapons.
Another thing we did was qualify people on rifle and pistol. I am an expert marksman on rifle, and an ambidextrous expert marksman on pistol. We work work the line as range officers, teach people, help them qualify, and tally their scores. Sometimes we were asked to pass them, even if they failed. I didn’t like it, but I did it anyway.
The most exciting thing we did was fire up the fully automatic 50 cals once we got out in the Atlantic ocean. I remember there were several times when we were all hanging out in the armory, and GM1 would say, “Who wants to fire up the 50s?” I always gave an enthusiastic, “Wagen, does!!!!” We’d blow through a few thousand rounds just because…Freedom.
My military experience was filled with ups and downs, but I look back favorable in my time. I was bitter for the first several years, but that bitterness fades more and more, especially as I soak up 100% disability. Maybe Big Brother doesn’t hate me.
Now there is this whole issue with buying a rifle for hunting (and in case of the zombie apocalypse).
Wagen, over and out.