Boy (or girl), do I remember this:
Many years later, I’m 22 and I’m in the U.S. Army at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri in basic training. We were at the armory and had just finished watching a film on the care of our weapon, the M-16, and were being issued the weapon we would have all through training. Now remember, a lot of the girls there were barely 18, had never touched a gun in their lives, and all of them had just watched a film about “Joe” mishandling his weapon and then it blowing up in his face when he went to fire it. Now imagine some of them being handed their M-16 and majorly freaking.
I was 18 when I hit Fort Lost-in-the-Woods, but I can assure you, we had some guys freaking out at their first contact with Uncle Sam’s Plastic-ish Rifle.
And this is somehow reassuring:
Weeks later, Sergeant Walters placed a bet with the three other drill sergeants in the company that I could out shoot their guys. I won that bet for Sergeant Walters and he gave me an extra turn firing the LAW.
We didn’t get a whole lot of time to play with the LAW, and I wasn’t among the best shooters in the company — I was among the better wielders of the Unholy Hand Grenade — but we got to the point where we really enjoyed taking out whatever targets were presented to us. Which, you have to admit, is a useful characteristic for a soldier.