USRA BOOT CAMP 2013
AFTER ACTION REPORT
I arrived in Osage Beach on Friday afternoon in order to confirm the layout, take care of last minute items, and get squared away before everyone started rolling in.
While walking around the property, we made up a list of chores that needed addressing on Saturday. Trees needed to be limbed, cut, and hauled to the fire ring, brush piles burned, stairs repaired, lights hung, etc.
I figured we would have plenty of willing help because that’s how this organization was formed. I wasn’t wrong. Saturday, everyone pitched in with whatever skills, experience, tools, or strong backs they had and by mid-afternoon we had blown through the “to do” list like Derek through a full mag of .223.
Later, some took advantage of the open range time to warm up the pistols and rifles while others chose to sit back and take in the glorious view the changing colors of the trees offered.
Sunday, more campers arrived and the place started to come together. Canopies and tents sprung up, trailers leveled, kitchen equipment set up, gear situated, and re-acquainting with friends went into full swing.
Darrin, our pig roaster, arrived on schedule and the pig roast was on! He was amazed, once again, with how much food this group can put away. While we had roughly 35 partaking in the feast, he cooked for 42. We only had about 1 ½ pans of pork left over and all the sides were devoured. Pappy and Terry welcomed the left overs and had a plan to work them into the next day’s food.
At our annual meeting, Justin Anderson was elected as President and John Morton was re-elected as Secretary. Justin has been very active in USRA here in Illinois and I’m sure he will do a fantastic job. He has other capable officers and the finest group of Americans I’ve known backing him. He will take the reins on January 1, 2014.
We started off each day with a hearty breakfast. With full bellies, we made our way to the fire ring to raise the flag, say the Pledge of Allegiance, and have a muster so everyone was up-to-speed on the day’s activities.
Monday was Introduction to Defensive Handgun on the pistol range and American Marksman on the 25M range. After dinner, Pappy put on an excellent clinic on how to strip the M1 / M14, do some maintenance, lube it, and most importantly, re-assemble it! He then transitioned right into the AR15 family of rifles. Knowing how much and where to put what type of lube can be very important to keeping these guns running.
Tuesday was a repeat of Monday, thus giving everyone an opportunity to take both classes. The distance range was opened up to 300 yards for those that had their rifles dialed in and needed to dope them at actual yardage. The after dinner clinic was a “High Power” orientation. We learned the basics on gear, target reading, scoring, pit duty, etc. Hopefully, we can get a few more USRA members to make the trip to Camp Perry and compete next year.
Wednesday was “Competition Day”. A day designed to put our shooters thru the paces with their rifles and handguns. Nothing like a little pressure due to friendly competitive trash talk and a few bucks on the line to amp up the adrenaline and give you a good case of the jitters. This gives you a whole new perspective on how good you think you can shoot vs. how you actually do under stress.
Wednesday was also our day for One Shepherd. Ten or so guys (and Viper) strapped on the M.I.L.E.S. gear, grabbed a laser fitted AR carbine and a few mags of blanks and headed out for some force-on-force gaming. All I saw was smiles when they returned. Chris lowered the price for the Tru-Combat gaming for our guys. This is a direct result of us helping tear down the tents last year at the close of Boot Camp. One organization helping out another like-minded organization. Doesn’t get any better than that!
I encourage you to look into the One Shepherd organization. They are on the web and Facebook. A good group of guys teaching leadership skills, organizational skills, map and compass work, and other useful knowledge.
Thursday was another awesome day! Derek had been working on the Introduction to Tactical Carbine class for over a year. The class was great! His course of fire flowed nicely. It followed a logical progression from understanding the operation of your AR15, to shooting it quickly and accurately from various positions, to reloading, to clearing the inevitable malfunctions, and more. The round count was kept to an acceptable number.
Later, Mike brought out the bowling ball mortar. To say we were all impressed would be the understatement of Boot Camp. That thing was awesome! Even the video Erik posted doesn’t do it justice! Thanks Mike for sharing your “toy”.
After an outstanding pork steak dinner, we made our way out for the night shoot exhibition. A head count was taken to insure safety. We tried out several options in night vision, tracers, thermal imaging, flash hiders, and more. Hitting targets at 400 yards in pitch darkness was exhilarating!
Friday was an open range day. An RSO was assigned for each range and our shooters made their way to whatever range they needed work on.
At 1:00 p.m., George put on quite an informative shotgun demonstration. Nothing at all like what we’ve all seen come out of Hollywood. Slugs, 00 Buck, 4 Buck and birdshot were compared at various ranges from various barrels. The shotgun can be an important tool, but you have to know its pattern, capability, and limitations.
In the afternoon, we dispatched 2 of our guys to help the neighbor change out his well pump. We had been tapping off his well and the pump finally gave out. He didn’t ask, we didn’t offer. We just did the neighborly thing and did what needed doing. Family, Friends, Community. The basis of USRA.
Saturday, Boot Camp was winding down. Around a dozen or so of us tore down the tents again. Many hands make light work. They were all down by 11:00. Chris and Jason made sure everything got stowed where the critters can’t chew on them over the winter. Chris assured me that the tents would be up again and available to us for the Boot Camp in 2014.
You think you got it all? Not hardly! Pappy and Terry put on outstanding meals each and every day. The mess tent was up and running each morning bright and early. Hot coffee, BACON, spuds, eggs, biscuits and more greeted us as we crawled out of our sleeping bags. Dinners were top rate. No skimping here either. Salads, garlic bread, veggies, and more to go with the main course. Many, many thanks to all the hard work and preparation these 2 guys put into making this happen. It was very well received as no one had to worry about packing 6-7 days’ worth of food, keeping it cold, bringing pans and stoves, cooking it up, and maintaining a clean work area. These guys planned and shopped so well, I think we will be able to offer all 3 meals next year!
So now you think you got it all? Not even close! Too much happened to put it all here. Things like: Extrapolate, visual acuity, inclination, brush pile (again), “I’m so disappointed”, “arwy”, jitney, camp fires that burned 24/7 from Saturday to Saturday, camp fire talks that lasted almost that long, dog attacks, our mascot “Donkey”, and so much more.
I want to thank each and every one of you that came, participated, contributed, learned, taught, shared, laughed, and worked. YOU are the reason USRA exists. YOU are what makes Boot Camp happen.
Mark your calendar now for the 2014 Boot Camp: Oct 18-25
Bill “EEL” Essling
P.S.S. If you have pictures, get them to Dale so he can upload them.