I won't go into the details, but the week after getting back from the last trip was a bit stressful. I was getting increasingly irritable and short-tempered, readily snarling at people for things that would've usually earned them a good-humored ribbing from me. Clearly, it was time for me to find some sort of therapy.
Fortunately, treatment for such an affliction in Afghanistan is readily available in the form of ammunition. Better still, my good friend (and driver) Greg is very adept at finding ammunition for us to take to the firing range and he jumps at every opportunity to go out and shoot things. After the week I'd had I couldn't appreciate him more.
Here's the lot of us from the Regional Outreach office on the range:
The bulk of the office got together along with a couple of Marines who are new in theater and went to the range. We got there with our personal rifles and pistols, many thousand rounds of ammunition, and a variety of junk that would show adequately satisfying battle damage when it was hit. Ostensibly we were there to make sure that our weapons were still properly calibrated so I started out with carefully aimed shooting:
It took me ten rounds to feel confident that my sights were aiming where the bullets were landing. At 30meters I was able to put six of those rounds through a target about the size of a quarter. I wasn't shooting great, but I wasn't doing too bad either. After my ten carefully aimed rounds to zero my sights, the rest of the day was spent just shooting for fun.
I only put about 600 rounds through my M16:
That was okay though, because then I got to melt through a full ammo box on the C9, the Canadian version of our 5.56mm, belt-fed machine gun (called a Squad Automatic Weapon or SAW for short):
I was all over the place with this thing. I fired it prone and kneeling and standing and from the hip. I'd be amazed if two out of five rounds landed anywhere near where I was aiming. Still, I'm pretty confident that if there was someone on the other end of the range headed my way with ill intent, at least a handful of the 220 rounds I fired in the first four minutes probably would've hit him.
After the SAW, I used up a quick 180 or so rounds with my 9mm pistol. I'm a fan of the pistol too. I need to get me one of those.
Someone also left a piece of laminated "bullet-resistant" glass out on the range, so we decided to test it out. Here's Greg dumping a few rounds into it (the glass is the light-colored area at the base of the glass powder cloud):
He was very proud of himself:
When we were done, the glass had not fared well:
In defense of the properties of this piece of "bulletproof" glass, we did manage to put well over 500 rounds into it and less than six managed to penetrate all the way through.
Anyway, as is his way Major Brinkman had to pose for pictures everywhere we went. So here's a shot of him looking tough in front of a mountain while wearing his ninja turtle costume:
Major Brinkman also decided he needed a shot of himself in front of a bunch of old bombed-out buildings and shattered Soviet Tanks. He kept talking about how the perfect caption for these pics would be "the Brink of Destruction." Okay...
Since the basic concept wasn't silly enough already, I decided to take one of these pics a step further and turn him into Andrew Brinkman, Infantryman of the Apocalypse:
Goofy as all of that was, I couldn't resist the urge to get a similar shot of myself:
It was a good day and did manage to lift my spirits a bit. Of course, anything beats sitting around in the office and waiting for something unpleasant to do.
Stay tuned, more shenanigans already scheduled...