The inevitable hazard of doing combat marksmanship ranges every other week is the ever-present danger of catching someone else’s brass down your neck. For those of you that aren’t familiar with this awful experience, let me elaborate:
When a rifle fires a round, it ejects the spent round (known as “brass”) out of the chamber and sends it flying out the right side. This brass is hot, hot enough to burn flesh, and typically does if it catches someone just right. I don’t know how many of these things I’ve caught down my flak, but I promise you it was awful every time.
This happens frequently on these ranges because everyone stands in very close proximity to each other, so the person to your left will be flinging brass your way and the person to your right will be catching yours. There’s not really any way out of it. If you hang back too far you risk flagging your fellow Marines, if you move up too far forward you risk getting shot. I always detested doing combat ranges for this reason alone, because I knew I would end up with a smoldering hot piece of metal launched into my neck at least once.
But alas, all infantry Marines know this dance.
This is the dance of our people.
In unrelated news, I caught some awful stomach bug that’s kept me within shouting distance of my toilet all day today. You probably could have gone the rest of your day without knowing that, but what fun would that be?