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    Calif. cadets learn basic rifle safety, marksmanship

    May 3, 2010


    Dave Premetz, a certified NRA instructor, helps Cadet Staff Sgt.  Anna Boop of Skyhawks Composite Squadron 47
    prepare her target. 

    Cadet Chief Master Sgts. Noah Chun and Ruby Rosado gauge the results ofChun’s first practice round.

    Cadet Airman 1st Class (left) Sean Wollaston and Cadet Tech. Sgt. Nicholas Chun, both members of Skyhawks Composite Squadron 47, check cadets’ accuracy during a practice round. 

    Cadet Staff Sgt. Molly Boop seems happy with her practice round results.

    The participants and instructors.

    Photos by Capt. Audrey DiGiantomasso

    Capt. Audrey DiGiantomasso
    Public Affairs Officer
    Skyhawks Composite Squadron 47
    California Wing

    CALIFORNIA — Seventeen cadets from four Group 7 squadrons took aim at meeting the National Rifle Association’s shooting standards one recent weekend, participating in a rifle and marksmanship training session hosted by Skyhawk Composite Squadron 47 at a rural Escondido Fish and Game camp. 
    The cadets — from the Skyhawks unit, Saddleback Composite Squadron 68, Escondido Cadet Squadron 144 and San Diego Cadet Squadron 47 — participated in a 14-hour course dealing with the basic knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for safe use of a rifle in target shooting. The fee for the course included the “Basics of Rifle Shooting" textbook, the NRA Gun Safety Rules pamphlet, firearms use, ammunition and an NRA course completion certificate.

    Two certified NRA instructors taught the course — Maj. Robert Calderone, Skyhawks Composite commander, and Dave Premetz

    The Basic Rifle Course focuses on four elements: rifle knowledge and safe gun handling, ammunition knowledge and fundamentals of rifle shooting, firing the first shots, and learning how to safely shoot from various positions.

    During the morning classroom session, participants learned about the principal parts of a rifle, action types and how they function. The NRA rules for safe gun handling were explained as well.

    The classroom instruction included an explanation of the different components of a rifle cartridge and their intended use, and the five fundamentals of shooting a rifle. Students also learned to safely shoot from bench rest, standing, prone, kneeling and sitting rifle positions. 

    Finally, safe handling of rifles was demonstrated, along with rifle maintenance and cleaning.

    In addition, the mental aspect of safe rifle use — the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to safely shoot on the range--were stressed throughout the course.

    The cadets listened attentively and participated actively in discussions. Once it was clear they had learned the information, they proceeded to the firing range.

    Before they fired from the sitting position, safety rules and firing range procedures were reviewed, teams were created and ammunition distributed. 

    The first cadets to fire were very excited but cautious at first. Soon, though, their faces reflected the fun they were having practicing new skills.

    Finally, the time for the test to qualify for the first level of NRA riflery arrived.  The cadets all took it very seriously, as everyone wanted to qualify — and everyone did, shooting accurately enough to qualify for that part of basic riflery qualification.

    After those who had completed their qualification round picked up their targets amid much discussion of what they had just done, the second group of cadets stepped up to the firing line. 

    Once again a practice round followed, and then the qualification round began.  Everyone in the second group passed as well.

    Then came another important part of riflery: Cleaning and caring for the weapon.  The cadets took the rifles back to the classroom and spent the rest of the afternoon carefully cleaning them. The following day would bring the written test. 

    On Sunday, after a review of the materials, the written exam was administered.  Again, everyone passed.

    The course received rave reviews. Another such session is scheduled for this month, and everything points to more in the future.

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