To the Editor:
This past December, while on Fort Hood for my weekly rifle range practice, I was dismayed to learn the Sportsman’s range was now closed to retirees. If there were a civilian range in the area, this would be a non-issue. Fort Hood rightfully requires all firearms brought onto the Installation to be registered with the provost marshal, and proof of registration be presented at the point of entry to the post, and once again at the range.
These safety measures are reasonable and should be continued, and old soldiers should be invited back to the Sportsman Range just as they are welcome at the numerous fitness centers and other recreation facilities on post. Although I am not a hunter, I and many other “seasoned” soldiers enjoy “target shooting” with our firearms. If I was not disabled, I would prefer to play pickup basketball or ride a mountain bike on the tank trails, but age and associated physical limitations cause me to pick a more finesse outlet for my entertainment.
Now with the denial of use to the range, I and many others are once again pushed aside for some obscure reason that is an arbitrary exercise of authority. Shooting, and marksmanship is a fundamental and time honored military skill, and should be encouraged for active Soldiers and retirees who would be available to augment the military in the event of an invasion, or insurrection. Far-fetched? Of course. But, so is not allowing old soldiers access to practice our once lethal skills for recreation. Come on, Fort Hood invite us back, so we can show the present day warriors, the old guys can still cut it. “Great Place” response expected and desired.
retired command sergeant major
U.S. Army Special Forces Assn. C-77