Cadets practice air rifle shooting

Submitted
Posted 3/24/21

Air Rifle shooting is not an exact science, but it is an activity that is about concentration, precision, determination, and practice. In this COVID era, cadets in AL-935 are trying to maintain some …

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Cadets practice air rifle shooting

Posted

Air Rifle shooting is not an exact science, but it is an activity that is about concentration, precision, determination, and practice. In this COVID era, cadets in AL-935 are trying to maintain some sense of “normalcy”. Air Rifle practice is one of those ways.

After moving to a bigger classroom this school year, one of the added side benefits was to be able to practice shooting Air Rifle inside the classroom. Air Rifle shooting requires 10 meters to targets with a bit more space behind the firing line for mats for the prone position. Our new classroom is perfect. We protect the windows with Kevlar curtains and shoot at target boxes in front of Kevlar backstops. We stress safety at all times and have never had a problem with errant shots. Cadets get to practice more often now, and the practice is more efficient without having to put up and take down equipment each practice.

The Senior Aerospace Science Instructor, Lt. Col. Doug Goodlin, ret., said, “We were spending up to an hour each practice last year in just managing the set up and take down of our rifle range over in Trojan Hall. This year, it’s taking us probably 20 minutes.” The added benefit is our gear can be stored right in a closet inside the classroom so it’s easy to get out and put back. We use Air Rifle safes to lock the rifles up in between practices and matches.

This team has made a lot of progress and has had some setbacks as well. Last year, we had our unit’s best shooter, former Cadet Jackson Dunn, who scored a 250 out of 300 possible points at an Air Rifle shooting competition last school year. He graduated and is now a freshman at the United States Military Academy at West Point. We did get a transfer student this school year, Spanish Fort 11th grade cadet Cameron Wallender, who came from another unit which had a very good Air Rifle program. He is currently our new number one shooter.

Teams consist of five shooters who shoot in three positions, the prone or lying down position, the standing position and the kneeling position. Each target has 10 small bullseyes to shoot for a possible maximum score of 100 points per position if all bullseyes are hit.

“Our top shooters typically score in the 220 range, says Goodlin. We currently maintain two teams with two alternates. We have a competition coming up at Robertsdale in three weeks to see which JROTC school in the county can have bragging rights as the best JROTC shooters in Baldwin County. The county JROTC programs started Air Rifle shooting about three years ago, competing against each other every fall and spring. “Our school started out with three wins in a row, then fell to Baldwin County a couple of times, then got the trophy back, only to lose it to Robertsdale last school year. They are tough to beat, but our cadets will try their best which is really what I’m hoping for,” says Goodlin.

If you have an 8th grader coming up to 9th grade in Daphne or Spanish Fort next school year, he or she may be interested in joining our award-winning program. They can contact their 9th grade counselor, Sara Parker at Daphne or Zach McCraw at Spanish Fort for more information on signing up for AF JROTC next school year. Who knows, they may be the next top shooter on our team of the future!