Reveille was at 6am on the morning of April 6. Everyone crawled out of their beds and got ready for the day. Today was going to be busy & competitive. Ten shooting teams lined up at the mess hall for breakfast at 7am. Most of the teams were from Manitoba. I met my five cadets there; we all looked tired. Breakfast consisted of the usual eggs, bacon, ham, hash browns, cereal, water, juice, and milk. It’s the same menu wherever you go in cadets.
|Hangar where the competition took place.|
I spoke to the team captain about the day’s schedule. Our first timing was 8:45am for rifle zeroing. I suggested we be at least 15 minutes early for all of our competition timings. Rifle zeroing is when you shoot and make adjustments to your sights so that you have the best possible chance of hitting the targets. Where you aim is where you hit.
We arrived at the hangar at 8:30am and walked to our assigned room. The firing range was already live with cadets zeroing-in their rifles. We always had to have our safety glasses with us and on at all times. Better safe than sorry. The cadets put on their shooting jackets and got out their air rifles. We slowly made our way to our assigned shooting lanes and waited for our turn.
Our zeroing-in relay lasted 30 minutes and the cadets could shoot an unlimited number of pellets. My cadets used their time wisely, shooting, making adjustments, and then repeating the process. The SIUS targeting systems told the cadets exactly where their pellets were hitting the paper. If the corps had the money, I would buy at least one of these systems. By the end of the relay, they felt pretty confident. Our next timing wasn’t until 11:00am, so the cadets would have free time until then.
|One of my cadets decided to take|
a character poster photo of me.
Cadets who are not shooting were allowed to go back to the dormitory and hang out. Just before they left for the dormitory, I ordered my cadets to sit in a circle and form a pentagon using their right hands holding wrists. I took a picture of it and said, “You’re all a team now. Work like one and support each other.”
The hangar sat next to the tarmac. I walked through an open gate and took several pictures of the planes and control tower. There was no one around. The tarmac looks really old and cracked. A renovation/replacement is needed.
The cadets were ready and standing behind their assigned shooting lanes at 10:45am. They patiently waited as the cadet helpers changed the paper targets. It was my job to make sure my cadets had the right number of pellets in their bowls. I was also allowed to give advice during the timed relay. All three relays for Saturday would be shot prone, with each cadet required to shoot 20 times within 30 minutes.
I stood back and let the cadets follow the rules of the range. I was following them too but I didn’t want to constantly interrupt my cadets’ focus and determination. I only stepped in when I needed to. I took some photographs to be published on the corps Facebook page at a later date.
|Mess Hall & Gym|
The next relay was at 1:15pm, so the cadets decided to have lunch at the mess hall. There’s a small gym in the same building and the cadets played some basketball to pass the time. The gym is actually smaller than the gym in Arctic Bay. It didn’t matter. The cadets were just glad to have a space to run around and play some sports.
Another two prone relays followed in the afternoon. We followed a simple routine of showing up to the hangar, getting our shooting jackets & rifles, and then walking to the firing range as a team. The cadets would wait until the Range Safety Officer (RSO) begin giving instructions. When the thirty-minute relay would start, I would observe my cadets and make sure they fired all their pellets before the time ran out. The last relay of the day for my cadets was 3:30pm.
The cadets packed up their rifles and organized their shooting jackets in a neat pile after their last relay. The went over to the cadet canteen and had slushies before dinner.
|Slushies before dinner.|
The competition organizers gave the teams the option of going back to the hangar in the evening to practice shooting the SIUS targets in the standing position. The relays on Sunday were all going to be standing so any early practice would be helpful. I’m glad my cadets agreed. They went over and shot several standing relays. After that, we all went back to the dormitory for the night.
To be continued . . .