Sunday, October 09, 2005

A Neat Little Anecdote

I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this or not. I'd always been planning on chronicling a lot of what happened when I was in basic training, but it seems I rarely ever get around to it.

Around our seventh week or so, if I remember correctly, we once again loaded onto the cattle trucks and were transported to the M240Bravo range. The M240B is an automatic weapon that uses 7.62 mm ammunition, and its quite a beast. I recall standing about 30 feet behind the two man team in front of me who were operating the 240. At that distance, you can still feel it rattle your teeth with each shot. A heavy but excellent weapon. Unfortunately it isnt extremely mobile, but you pick the right tool for the right job.

Backing up to the point I intended to make with this story, we had just received our briefing for that particular range, and we were moving in a single file line to receive our belt of ammunition. My senior drill sergeant was standing in full battle rattle next to a table covered in belts, and was handing them out to us in a very efficient manner. He was never really one to fiddle fart around.

He ripped another belt off of the table as if he was pulling out waist-high stems of grass, looking for some prized possession that had fallen and disappeared in the growth. The belt fell into my hands and I began to range walk (moved quickly, but not running), excited as all hell to finally have my chance to put the M240Badass to work.

Immediately behind me I heard a sharp combination between a pop and a crack, and I half turned to look over my shoulder. Drill sergeants and range cadre swarmed my drill sergeant and the private standing next to him and began to tear their gear off. The private was holding his eye, and his kevlar and body armor, followed by BDU top, were removed with an exceptional lack of gentleness. Within seconds, both were half undressed, being inspected for injuries.

The private had what I believe is called "flash burn", though I could be wrong. The drill sergeant was slightly wounded in his arm. We were all ordered to ground our ammo and move back a good 50 meters and stand by while EOD (Explosive Ordninance Disposal, or some bullshit like that) was called to attempt to determine what had happened.

At this point, it was already discovered that a round from the privates belt had fired, even though there wasnt a weapon within 50 feet, and none were loaded. It was eventually concluded that what had happened was that as the belt landed in the private's hands, one end swung around and the tip of one round hit the primer of another, causing it to explode. No one was hit by the actual round itself, and a small amount of the shell casing had hit the drill sergeant in the arm.

Later that day, we were able to continue the training. That night, as mail was being handed out, our drill sergeant cracked a joke about how it just wasn't his week. "The shit I put up with for Uncle Sam," he said in his Missouri drawl, "on top of everything else, tore my damn rotator cuff playing basketball with my wife, what the hell, gotta spend 14 weeks with you sonsa bitches, and then I get shot. You'll still see me in the morning for PT. Drive on, goddammit."

No comments: