Arrays Of Infliction…………..#78 (the 50’s)

Basic Training troop transportation, always available but seldom used

Basic Training troop transportation, always available but seldom used

     Alleviation is unattainable, suspension of consciousness arriving thru the days energy consummation with the nocturnal refrain of taps in the distance signaling lights-out, day is done.   The metal bunk beds dressed at attention, their presence attempting to satisfy the soldiers charge, a welcomed symbol empowering his retirement with solace about to ascend.  Basic Training is haste,  reveille,  formation,  mess,  formation,  training,  constant,  uninterrupted,  cigarettes, light’ em up, put’em out,  double time, fall in,  fallout,  at ease,  never-ending,  but encompassed with meaningful sparks to ignite engrossment and acquisition, the summation from all the exertion, a soldier.   Gary discovering supposition in acquainting the instruments of war and was not alone in this inquisitiveness.   It wasn’t surprising, the other members of the platoon displayed an interest in the variety of weapons,  even demonstrating an aptitude for the applicability.  Once on the firing line, the command load and lock was given, preparations required to fire an M1 Garand rifle. After an ammunition clip was loaded into the rifle the bolt automatically moved forward in order to “lock” a round into the chamber.  The next command, ready on the left, ready on the right, the firing line is ready being giving before firing the weapon.  Besides the issued M1 Garand the Company was instructed in the firing of a Browning Automatic Rifle,  (BAR),  the M1918A2, a 19 lb. 30 caliber (30.06) 20 round clip fed selective fire weapon,  its firepower utilized by the number 11 and number 2 man of the infantry 12 member squad.  Also the Company Squads were familiarized with the M1919A4 32lb.  30 caliber (30.06) 250 round belt fed light machine gun, the cadre noting that when firing, the barrel had a tendency to move up and to the right, so you might want to compensate for this.  The most impressive machine gun firepower was demonstrated by cadre, it being the M2 water-cooled 50 caliber machine gun known as Mr Duece, variation of this masterful weapon found in all branches of the service.

Every squad member esperiencing the BAR

Every squad member experiencing the BAR

Every squad member experiencing the BAR

The A4 light 30 caliber machine gun

        The Company once again in the realm of the East Range, this time an instructional course with live grenades.  A concrete barrier wall with six dividing concrete section, each section with a cadre instructor.  Gary having completed the instructional lessons with a dummy grenade now was prompted to the wall.  The stations NCO  reviewing the procedure instructions one more time, Gary gripping the grenade in his right hand, noticing a ten inch hole in the concrete floor.  The Sergeant supplying an answer to the unasked question, that if someone drop a grenade after pulling the pin, the concrete hole was an emergency detonation place.   Upon direction he pulled the pin latching the handle and in one motion slung the grenade over the concrete wall.  Seconds later it wasn’t the sound of the grenade exploding that impressed Gary, but the resounding concussion he could feel behind the concrete barrier.  The grenade instruction continued, after experiencing a live grenade the recruit was thankful the instructional class for the  M1’s  grenade launcher utilized dummy grenades.  A realization of todays activities having a positive effect,  cementing a purpose for the unit.   The recruit could apprehend that the platoon leaders were accomplishing their mission both physical and mental.

A learning experience

A learning experience

The M1 Garand granade launcher

The M1 Garand grenade launcher

    The nocturnal march from the company area was a first and the young soldier found the darken night difficult when the platoon traversed off a sufficiently defined path onto an unrecognizable course.  The soldiers consolation was occupying the fourth squad, not the vanguard, although he suspected  flashlights were in use at the head of the column to penetrate the total darkness.  Arriving at their objective, discovering additional company units on site participating in a night firing exercises.  It was an another first  for the platoon and an aura of anticipation radiated amongst the troops, Gary too was awestruck with the sight.  Tracers brandishing an illumination,  accessing their paths filling the azure with trailing plumes, streaking to the raised targets.   Gary recognized the affectation of the flaring specter was non confrontational, the inert targets mundane but in a affronting circumstance.  The kindled showering missiles honing in on the targets, giving a presence of baneful array’s of infliction. The night-time display exacting a scene of allurement and destruction to a foe  but on the firing range there was no adversary save the conviction of fulfillment.

The night sky lit up

The night sky lit up

     It wasn’t scuttlebutt, anyone volunteering to stay and pull targets for the remaining units would receive indemnification, in place of the long march home, mobile transportation back to the barracks area by truck.  Gary weighing the Company’s trek back against a ride, knowing better than to volunteer, but deciding to invest in this new experience.  Entering the concrete bunker,  the odor of burnt pulverulence  from expended munitions permeated the environment.   The new addition was instructed to mount and augment the targets with intention and dispatch.   During the firing display , the target amending group would  sanction  to the rear of the bunker,  avoiding contact with stray ricocheted  missiles.    Gary ascertaining immediately that  safety was a concern as a 30.6 projectile came  to rest at his feet.  He was quick to study, after  burning his fingers, learning not to  grasp the hot lead munition, defaulting to a sense of character,  continuing with his task,  but staying vigilant.  Fulfilling his commitment,  the nights convention coming to a close and another experience indelibly inscribed with purpose

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