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humbled to meet Gunner Viggiani in person. He of our training courses, we kept it very professional was happy to meet us and fought back a smile, bewith lots of high energy then sprinkled with a little cause he is a serious guy and presents himself as humor. Within the first hour, we established great so. I was, of course, grinning from ear to ear to be rapport and the course materials were well received. in the presence of these prestigious Marines and With every passing hour, our relationship grew stronI reached out to give them all mama-bear hugs. ger and, before we knew it, we were at the end of a Our first order of business was to be escorted to the very successful lecture. Armory to secure the 21 firearms that we hauled to We reached a new level of anticipation as it was the base for the purpose of training. During that time to get on the range. We were escorted out to the task, we couldn’t help but notice the healthy orgarange where it was all hands on deck. We reserved nization of security bands, locks and pelican cases 8,500 rounds of ammunition that was on the pistol arranged by the Gunner, just as promised. range ready to be distributed. Everyone had a job to We were given a quick tour of Edson Range, indo as they divided up the firearms and the ammo. cluding the barracks where we would sleep and the Once the targets were placed, we listened to the townew chow hall where we would eat. As we were taker for the safety briefing, which was an epic moment. ing in the living lifestyle of our next week, it was Then it was “game on”. We rose to the challenge hard to believe that we were on base preparing for as we had two relays of about 30 Marines on each an epic event. line. This range was no ordinary square range. It When we arrived in our room, it was literally the had targets that would blade and face, controlled by bare essentials. I was so thankful we traveled with pneumatic operation from the tower. We were able more than enough gear as we pulled to control the duration of the faced apart the bunk beds to make a king bed targets and when they would rotate. then moved the desk and chest to make Drill after drill, I ran the line first then our stay as comfortable as possible. We it was Ken’s turn. It was a great time We reserved were quite cozy with most of the comteam teaching with my husband. We forts of home. While organizing our were humbled by the presence of Coloquarters, we could hear lots of chanting nel Nash, who showed up on the range in the distance. I stated to Ken “I wonto welcome us and see us at work. He der if that is going to go on all night”. It stayed for about thirty minutes and was10:00 pm and the sound of “Taps” then left after he received a pat down rang loudly through the coast air then for ammo, I was a little confused at the ammunition silence. We then knew we were in a very sight and then was told it was policy. Itdifferent place than what we were used eration after iteration and round after to when teaching civilians. Lights Out. round, the defensive shooting qualiAs the morning hours approached, our alarms fication came to an end. As the sun set, it was all were set, but we woke up well before then due to our hands on deck again, but this time it was picking excitement. At 5 am, we were greeted with the mornup the heavily littered brass left on the ground with ing wake up bugle of “Reveille”. We were up and a final pat down for everyone as we left the range. ready to roll. It was our first experience at the chow The final task before anyone was dismissed by hall for breakfast as we sat at Gunner Viggiani’s table. Gunner Viggiani was cleaning all of the Beretta The Chow hall served up delicious made-to-order M9’s prior to calling it a night. By the end of the omelets and waffles along with Starbucks coffee. We day, I had developed a high level of motherly adorawere pleasantly surprised. tion for these young Marines. The first day was in Then, the moment we had been preparing for the the books and, even though we were tired from the last three months had arrived. I walked toward the long day, we were also energized by our awesome door with butterflies in my stomach, where I knew experience. As “Taps” once again played, we knew Marines were waiting for us to teach. We walked into it was time to get to sleep. the state-of-the-art training center and were greeted After a great night of sleep, it was day two, which by about 65 young Marines as they were astutely in was less of a training load and seemed to have been their chairs, ready to learn. We began our morning perfectly placed in our schedule to help offset the preadmin then started our flagship product “Combat vious heavy day. Chow hall first then into the classCitizen Workshop” which is a multi-state conceal room once again. Marines were now on the journey carry weapons course with an additional skill deof becoming NRA certified. In planning for this trip, velopment handgun training component. We have this day was going to present a big challenge for the conducted several similar large group courses, but Marines. Because it was an NRA course, they were none with the magnitude of honor and respect of a not to use the word “weapon” to describe any fireroom full of Marines in their camo uniforms. In all arm. Gunner Viggiani and I made it clear that using

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Photo by Brian Papke.

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Profile for SURE SHOTS MAGAZINE

Sure Shots Magazine  

Sure Shots Mag Issue 15

Sure Shots Magazine  

Sure Shots Mag Issue 15