by Cpl. Robert Lin Cook
Jan 1942–Sep 1945

 I remember when I 
first shot the range,
'twas up at San Luis Obispo
and it was strange.
We had an early chow
and turned out into rain,
our ponchos on with
rifles in reverse.
It wasn’t any fun,
in fact it was a curse.

We marched up
a mountain road
a mile or two,
the rain began 
to peter out, which
didn’t make us blue.

The range it
was a sodden mess
with ground a little damp.
We laid down our ponchos
and snapped in all the day.

We took up the sitting position
with head ‘twixt our legs,
our backs were stressed
we wished we were dead.

Then came the kneeling
with the rifle held out front,
that weren’t half as bad
as sittin’ in the mud.

Next came the off hand,
standing full erect
with rifle jammed 
into my shoulder,
I was a bloomin’ wreck.

That was only a preview
of the coming infractions.

On the day before
we shot for keeps
they led us to a
small-arms range
where we tried out
on a .22 caliber,
bolt action, too.

Did I mention that
we were shooting
with .03 Springfields
left over from WWI
'cause the Army had the
M1s out on maneuvers?

Well, we shot the range
and did it with style,
every man qualified
and a few shot expert.
We felt like real Marines.
Semper Fi! Ooorah!! 

*     *     *
The author: Robert Lin Cook served with Regimental Weapons Co. (2d-2d) from 1942–44, at Guadalcanal
and Tarawa during a 33-month overseas tour.

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Shooting the Range