News: 'America’s Battalion' family members spend day at range
Story by Kristen Wong
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII - Bullet casings flew and targets fell as 30 spouses and relatives from 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment visited Kaneohe Bay Range Training Facility for a shooting experience.
During Jane Wayne Day in February, the 3/3 family members did not get a chance to shoot at the range. On March 23, they made up for it during “Range Day,” learning how to shoot M4 Carbines and M249 Squad Automatic Weapons.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 James Law, regimental gunner, 3rd Marine Regiment, gave an overview of the rifles the attendees would be using, including a background in firearms and Hawaii history.
Law also showed the participants how to put each weapon on safety, and how to properly hold, fire and examine the weapon.
“It was very exciting,” said participant Amber Bracewell. “I was very nervous, but it was nice to step into my husband’s shoes and see what he does. It was a great time. I think all the wives should have this
Bracewell is not new to shooting a firearm, however, this was the first time she had used an M4, and she was able to hit every one of her targets.
Participant Valerie Carroll has also used a firearm before, having shot a pistol while she and her husband were stationed in Norfolk, Va.
“It seens like it was a lot louder than a pistol,” Carroll said. “You have to have more control of your weapon.”
She described the first shot she took as “nervewracking,” though after firing a few more shots, she was able to get used to it. Though it was her first time using an M4, Carroll was able to hit every target in her lane. She complimented the staff for guiding her and Law for making the safety brief portion fun and educational.
“I think I’ll feel sore muscles tomorrow,” she added.
The attendees spent the beginning of the day shooting the M4 Carbines. Each participant was handed a loaded magazine, and each waited their turn at one of five stations, where Marines from 3rd
Marines were supervising.
“I love it,” said participant Cassandra Holsten. “I’ve only ever shot a BB gun, so this is a huge step up from that.”
Although Holsten has been married to a Marine for eight years, she had not been able to participate in a Jane Wayne Day or get an opportunity to shoot at the range because of other commitments. She called her first experience with the M4 “powerful.”
When the participants had their fill of the M4s, the Marines brought out the M249 SAWs on stands.
“It felt good, because now I see what my husband does,” said De’Erica Harris.
Harris was able to hit the furthest target in her lane, though it was her first time shooting an M4.
Spouses were not the only ones present at “Range Day.” Participant Lindsie Brewer brought her sister, who was visiting during Spring Break, to shoot as well. Brewer said she hears her husband talk about shooting, but now she actually has the opportunity to shoot. She said the instructors were helpful, and she will be happy to report to her husband that she was able to hit the furthest target in her lane. Brewer also commented on the pretty view of Kailua Bay.
“While our husbands are deployed, you get to know a little bit about their mindset,” Brewer said. “This is so much a part of their regular day, to be able to do it too is great.”