Surfing for Dolphins


Work has been keeping me busy, and I have been remiss in my posts.

So here is a quick story for you.

In Quantico, armpit of the marine corps, there is a range called Range-15. Each year there is a big dog & pony show done by so show off to the friends and families of congressional aids, so that they will tell the congressional aids to tell the congressional critters not to cut the corps budget.

On this range there are premade reinforced fighting positions. Imagine a proper firing hole, with wood planks along the sides so it doesn’t cave in each time it rains.

I could go into lots of details, but that only distracts from the main story here.

We were practicing for this big finally event. AAVs would drive around the crowd and unload marines, helicopters would fly over and marines would fast rope out, we would all start firing downrange. Missiles and rockets would be fired, an air asset would fly over and fire some ordinance as well. A big show of a mock fight.

I was in the AAVs. I made sure I was the first one out. I would ride the rear hatch as it opened, hop out and run into that nearest fighting position so I could start firing at the cyclic rate.

So, of course, we practice this something like 100 times to make sure we can manage getting out of a vehicle and hopping in some holes.

It is probably good we did, because I learned a painful lesson in these dry runs.

See, I had a M16A2 service rifle. This rifle has a fixed front and rear sight that protrude 2ish inches above the barrel.

We do a run, I hop out of the AAV and hop in a fighting hole. The front sight base on my rifle catches the lip of the fighting hole keeping my rifle from entering the firing position. As I am falling into this fighting hole, the rifle now is static, braced against the ground.

Hmm, maybe a diagram would help explain.

My rifle and I were entering the fighting position (hole in the ground). The rifle hit the edge of the fighting position, and stays in place. My body, head included, continue their movement into the fighting position. Now imagine what would happen if the figure above moved straight down, while the rifle would stay in place.

Yeah, I buttstroked the shit out of my head.

That hurt. A little dazed, I didn’t hesitate to get into firing position and continue as if we were live firing.

I decide I would make sure that I would always clear the front sight base in the opening of the fighting position as I hopped in.

Yeah. Well the carry handle sticks out also. We do this next dry training run and I hop in this fighting position making sure that the front sight base clears the edge of the hole.

But the carry handle didn’t clear the reinforced edge of the fighting position. As I was holding the pistol grip, the rifle tilted pushing the handguards right between my legs, striking me right in the groin as I fell into this fighting position.

Yeah, I was not so quick to recover from that one.

You really have to be careful with equipment when you are trying to move fast in tight spaces. I’ve seen a few times where someone would get their gear/rifle caught on the hell hole in a CH46.

Fortunately the other 98 or so dry practice runs, and our live demonstration went fine.

I have other stories from this event I’ll share, but this is it for this one.


  1. Wouldn’t have happened if you had been using the traditional stocked (and thus low sighted) M14. Finest battle implement ever created. That poodle shooter almost got you killed in training let alone combat.

    Snickering as I type by the way.
    So don’t kill me. Couldn’t resist haha

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