Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Appleseed. I need the reminder.

Lately, I have been quietly depressed regarding the path our nation is following.   Yes, there are good points aplenty.... but somehow the less than good outweighs them, and I am concerned about the world my children will live in.

I need a boost in attitude, and that means spending time around people who care about our children's future.... and are doing something about it.

I'll be signing up for the March Appleseed clinic in our area.  I need a few days immersed with those good people to renew my faith in humanity.  I'll take the instruction seriously, as I need a brush up on my skills.... but that's not the main reason I'm going. I'm going because I need to witness good people, doing good things, for good reasons.

Oh... I'll also be dragging along #2 son, who needs a good beating about the head with a smart stick.

Follows, a repost regarding my first time at an Appleseed (April, 2012)  ...... 

The Appleseed Project. What is it... and what is it all about?

The 'Ol Fat Man just got done a weekend Appleseed rifleman clinic, and is now happy to report out for the folks here on Carteach0.

Copied in whole from the Appleseed web site:
"The Revolutionary War Veterans Association is committed to renewing civic virtue - prioritizing civic responsibility over personal interests and indulgence. We are wholly comprised of volunteers who commit time, resources and passion toward achieving the RWVA mission. As a 501(c)3 organization, we promote civic responsibility through the teaching of colonial history and the American tradition of rifle marksmanship in a safe, non-partisan environment."

From my experience this weekend, that is exactly what Appleseed does. It's an effort to ignite the hearts and minds of Americans through the teaching of history, and basic marksmanship skills. At the time of the American Revolution, the people of this nation were unique in the world, and part of that was wrapped up in the way we fought the war... as individual soldiers, each tasked as a 'rifleman', and each tasked to use their ingenuity and skills to bring down the enemies of their homeland. Actual 'rifles' saw very little use in the Revolution, but the skills involved in being an individual marksman certainly did.

Where just about every other nation in the world treated their soldiers as automatons to be directed in every action, en-masse, the fledgling United States depended on it's citizen soldiers to act with individual intelligence, and an understanding and belief of what they were doing and why. This meant one man.... one lone elderly American....
with no orders and no help, could harry, harass, and slow an entire column of British troops . Before the British troops could be formed into ranks as ordered, present arms as ordered, and fire as ordered.... that American militiaman had fired on the column, downed several enemy soldiers, and ridden away to wait around another bend in the road.

This very act set the United States apart from all others. The idea that every man and woman was an individual thinking intelligent citizen and could decide for themselves the best course of action against an aggressor... this idea was foreign to every major nation at the time.

It's this uniquely American attitude and tradition which Appleseed reminds us of.

Each Appleseed event is part history, and part rifleman instruction. Invaluable skills are taught to shooters both young and old, with rest breaks involving stories and lessons from history, all centered around a particular date. April 19th... the day of 'Paul Revere's Ride', and what it means to us as Americans.

The instructors at every Appleseed event are volunteers. They don't spring forth from the ground in shooting jackets, patches, and red hats.... they have to train and earn the instructor hats they wear. An Appleseed seminar is not a walk in the park... it's hard work, and doubly so for the instructors. Still, they give their time, effort, and skill.... in the tradition begun by Americas first citizen soldiers and militia.... as individuals doing what they believe is right.

Now... follow along in images as we walk through 'Ol Carteach's weekend at Appleseed!

Most of the history taught at Appleseed comes from this heavily documented book, Paul Revere's Ride . Based on first hand primary sources from the time, it's a riveting story taken from the inception of our nation.

A goal for every participant, The Rifleman Patch. There are several variations, and some of the various Appleseed branches have their own, but the rules are the same. Firing 40 rounds from positions, a score of at least 210/250 on a special course of fire called an 'AQT' will earn a shooter the treasured Rifleman Patch. The skills taught by the Appleseed instructors go straight towards earning this honor, but it's entirely up to the skill and dedication of the shooter after that.

The Red Coat target..... the first target fired at days beginning, and the last at days end. All fired prone, the sillouette represents an enemy soldier at ranges from 100 yards to 400 yards... with a special tiny square to represent 'The Bucket'. The bucket, or a wooden board of the same size, was the marksmanship test used as a gateway for a soldier to join 'Daniel Morgan’s Rifles'. The target (often a bucket the size of a mans head) was placed 250 yards away. The soldier had one shot, cold, to hit that bucket. If he did, he earned the right to join Morgan's Rifles, and march 600 miles from home and engage in battle with the British. At the time, British soldiers were considered accurate in fire out to 50 yards, and relied on en-masse volley fire past that.

The Red Coat target honors that history, and serves to judge an Appleseed participants increase in skill as training progresses.

Basic marksmanship skills are the very foundation of being a rifleman. Appleseed starts from square one, and reviews the skills in detail.

Gary Ritter (Roverace on the Appleseed forum) and Michael-Angelo Laffredo (MAL) instruct the group in basic skills, working as a team to demonstrate proper positions.

Zeroing a rifle, done in a logical and scientific manner. Each tiny square represents one MOA, or roughly one inch at 100 yards. Since Appleseed is taught at 25 meters (pretty much 25 yards), the lesson directly translates into shooting at longer ranges.

Every detail useful to both new and experienced shooter is pointed out, taught, and later drilled in live fire practice. Three basic positions are taught... off-hand, seated/kneeling, and prone. In each position, sling use, natural point of aim, breathing control, and sighting are all brought into play. The basic skills of a rifleman.

Appleseed is a wonderful event for families. Fathers, mothers, grandparents, and kids... they all work together and learn together. Even an old Marine, having world class training in his past, benefits from the refresher course. For young people fairly new to shooting, building this foundation now before poor habits set in.... invaluable.

These young men received special awards, and applause from the group. Both were marked by burns from hot shell casings landing on them, yet each maintained perfect composure and muzzle discipline. The young man to the right has (for the next few days anyway) a perfectly recognizable shape of a 5.56 casing on his arm. I have never envied anyone a burn before, and should I ever get a tattoo.... it would be of that mark. Well Done young men, well done!

Range Boss Greg Harbaugh, having driven for hours just to volunteer at the shoot... took special pains to enliven the historical aspects of the Appleseed event. He brought with him a Pennsylvania Long Rifle, and donned some costume to go with it. Using the students attention, he explain the differences between rifle and musket, and what it meant to the American militia.

Then... he loaded and fired that flintlock smoke pole, and invited others to try it as well. Yes... the 'Ol Fat man happily lined up with the kids for this one! I'm proud to report... a big cloud of smoke and one less Red Coat soldier.

Bragging time.... the image above is Greg awarding my rifleman's patch. The first AQT (Army Qualification Target) of the second day, I scored high enough to win the patch. Yes.... that is me smiling. Don't get all excited, it doesn't happen often.

And..... as Michael-Angelo Laffredo demonstrates.... there apparently is some weird tradition in Appleseed. If a shooter scores rifleman with exactly '210', he is baptized with water from The North Bridge, a central part of the history of April 19th. It's at the North Bridge where a group of American Militia routed an entire company of British soldiers, simply by employing their marksmanship skills.

Above, we see Mal inundating... er... 'annointing' 'Ol Carteach with said water, which bore a striking resemblance to freezing cold ice water straight from the cooler.

That's Appleseed. Do it.... you won't be sorry. Carteach's word on that.


Earl said...

Found the link on Facebook to this post, nice to be reminded of what has value. Two Appleseed events down this month, but for selfish reasons, a years worth ahead to make our people stronger and the country better and for the same pay as last year, smiles of accomplishment, what could be better? See you on the trail.

Anonymous said...

Carteach0, great to have you and your son back on the AS trail. Saving America one Rifleman at a time.

Corvette (Ohio SB)