National Firearms Museum's WWII display.
On the morning of June 6, 1944, more than 170,000 Allied soldiers crossed the English Channel for a descent upon the sands of Normandy, France. With assaults set for beachheads designated as Gold, Sword, Omaha, Juno, Pointe du Hoc, and Utah, it was the courage, tenacity and ingenuity of the commanders and their men that allowed the Allies to secure a foothold in Europe.
As they rallied for departure, Allied Supreme Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower addressed the crowd:
Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force! You are about to embark upon a great crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers in arms on other fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.
This week in 2010, Jan Raab, then the National Manager of NRA's High Power Rifle Programs, sent NRAblog the following on Quantico's Remembering the Brave rifle match:
Quantico, Virginia -
The First Eastern Armed Forces Memorial Match is being hosted by the Quantico Shooting Club Memorial Day weekend. Each year, 14 military service members who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country will be honored at this match. The trophies will bear the names of the service members and the winner of each match. All match entry fees are donated to the Remembering the Brave Foundation, which was founded by Stephen Beck. Steve was a Casualty Assistance Officer in the Marine Corps and is a high power shooter. This match was his idea as a way to remember our fallen heroes.
Fairfax, Virginia - We first celebrated Memorial Day after the American Civil War. Communities would gather in the local cemeteries to place flowers and decorations at the graves of fallen soldiers — hence the early designation of Decoration Day.
Fast forward a hundred years or so, 1967 to be specific, and Memorial Day was officially a holiday. A year later, federal law changed the date of recognition from May 30 to the last Monday in May — that's how we managed this three-day weekend.
To all those who have fought for our country, and all who have fallen for our country, we extend our gratitude.
A group of around 20 combat wounded veterans from Project Enduring Pride visited NRA Headquarters and, along with friends and family, were treated to a tour of the National Firearms Museum as well as a chance to get some target practice in at the NRA Range.
Donated from the museum's collection and generous volunteers, there was a wide variety of firearms at every lane. A MAC-10, M-4 Carbine, SOCOM-16, Ruger Mini-14, FN SCAR, Browning Automatic Rifle, SIG P230 and H&K UMP were just some of the available guns these brave men and women could try out.
NRA Life of Duty's takes a look at the actions of a then nineteen year old Ed Eaton. Volunteering for active duty, a somewhat rare occurrence during Vietnam, Eaton ultimately achieved the designation of Scout Sniper. Those skills came into play one night as two groups of Viet Cong swarmed the downed helicopter that carried Eaton, his Captain and his team.
To hear the full story, visit the NRA Life of Duty website now.
Wounded Veterans spend a day firing SIGs, Colts and more
Fairfax, Virginia -
When twenty disabled veterans from Project Enduring Pride visited NRA Headquarters last month they were treated to more than just a guided tour of the National Firearms Museum. After gazing at 600 years of firearms history, the vets joined friends and family at the NRA Range for a hands-on experience with some of the same guns they were just ogling.
Project Enduring Pride helps combat-wounded servicemen and women in the Baltimore, Washington D.C. and Richmond areas transition from military to civilian life. Thinking veterans would enjoy getting behind the sights again, the NRA Range spent more than two months organizing sponsors and volunteers before inviting Enduring Pride for its afternoon of fun.
This past January a group from the Enduring Pride Project were invited to NRA Headquarters by the NRA Range. Here, they were treated to lunch at the NRA Cafe, a guided tour of our National Firearms Museum and the opportunity to squeeze off a few rounds down at the range.
The program had such a good time at NRA they wanted to come back in the future and the the NRA Range's Debbie Crews was more than happy to plan their next visit. After a couple months of getting some great sponsors and volunteer Range Officers, Enduring Pride showed up on Tuesday with a group of over 20 combat disabled veterans accompanied by friends and family. There were a lot of new faces and a couple old ones, but you can always learn something new at the museum and target shooting never gets old, right?
Helping wounded warriors upon their arrival back home
Fairfax, Virginia - Disabled soldiers from Project Enduring Pride stopped by NRA Headquarters earlier this year for a tour of the NRA National Firearms Museum and a trip to the Range. Apparently the group had a whale of a time because they're on their way back for more.
Led by Director Ken Strafer, Project Enduring Pride assists the men and women who were wounded in the service of our country with the sometimes difficult transition from military to civilian life. Started out of what we all remember as the Walter Reed Army Medical in Bethesda, Maryland, the group does it's best to help our wounded warriors in the Washington, Richmond and Baltimore metro centers.
Kyle is down at Fort Benning in Georgia right now covering the 2012 NRA Collegiate Championships, hosted by the United States Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU). But other exciting news has just come from the USAMU, making history for both disabled shooting and the Army. At the center of this news is National Matches competitor Sgt. 1st Class Josh Olson, a combat-wounded veteran who will be competing at the Summer Olympic Games in London. Here's what the USAMU has to say about their latest news:
Sgt. 1st Class Josh Olson of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit is the first Active Duty Soldier nominated to the U.S. Paralympic Team. (Photo by Michael Molinaro, USAMU PAO)
FORT BENNING, Georgia — The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit is proud to announce its historic expansion with the creation of a Marksmanship Instructor Group and Paralympic Section, the first-ever Army units designed specifically for wounded warriors deemed able to continue to serve on active duty. Approved by the Army this week, this historic first is part of the Army Chief of Staff’s initiative supporting Wounded Warriors.
For these Soldiers, serving in the USAMU will involve raising Army combat readiness by providing the absolute best shooting instruction for all Army units. They will also showcase the Army by competing at a world-class level in national and international competition as part of the USAMU's efforts to connect the Army to the nation's citizens. Sgt. 1st Class Josh Olson, Operation Iraqi Freedom combat-wounded veteran and USAMU Paralympian, is the first Active Duty Soldier to be nominated to the U.S. Paralympic Team and will compete in London this summer.
This ground-breaking approach inspires wounded combat veterans to remain on active duty, enhances combat readiness, and highlights ability rather than disability. "Despite their injuries, these Soldiers are stronger for serving and continuing to serve; now they will make the Army even stronger,” said Lt. Col. Daniel Hodne, commander, USAMU.
Congratulations to SFC Olson and to all of our friends at the USAMU. We look forward seeing how this will revolutionize the shooting sports and increase opportunities for both combat-wounded and disabled shooters.
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