Gut Rumbles
 

August 11, 2005

the best shot I ever saw

My Uncle Gene was my father's younger brother. He was more than six years younger than my father and served in the 82nd Airborne in Korea. Near the end of his enlistment, he made a jump at night, got tangled up in another trooper's chute and they both fell like rocks to the ground.

My uncle managed to land on top of the guy he became tangled with. He lived, with severe injuries, but the guy he rode down with died. Gene told me that the chutes caught just enough air to keep him from bashing his brains out when they hit the ground.

He spent six months in Walter Reed hospital after that. His back and legs were never right again. But that sucker could shoot a rifle. He was the best shot I ever saw.

Gene got out of the service, bought a brand-new 1958 Chevrolet and came back to Harlan to visit when I was a boy. We went to a turkey shoot one day and the sponsor finally ran Gene off because he never missed.

We went out together one day and Gene said, "See that apple tree over yonder?" I followed his pointing finger and saw the tree, at least 100 yards away. Yep. I saw it. "Now, count up three limbs from the bottom. See that blossom hanging there?" I saw it. "Okay, watch this," he said, and picked that blossom off with one shot from a .22 rifle.

He was good.

He wasn't much like my father. He was short and stocky, like me, and his mama took him with her when her husband died and she dumped my father. Gene never spent much time around my dad unless he needed money. He was a hellion and he cut a wide swath through the wimmen, too. He had a boat called "The Blue Moon" and took me fishing many times.

I once told my mama that I thought I was more like Uncle Gene than I was my father. She agreed, but told me that THAT was nothing to be proud of.

Gene died in Las Vegas several years ago, on the run from the IRS and several ex-wives. I've got some cousins out there somewhere that I've never met. Hell, maybe even HE didn't know them.

But he was the best rifle shot I ever saw.

Comments

Sounds like my papaw. He always hunted with a single shot rifle. He said if you needed more than one shot you weren't worth a damn and should just go home.

Posted by: Assrot on August 11, 2005 06:45 PM

Only one reason to shoot at something- nuff said

Posted by: bloodnguts on August 11, 2005 07:01 PM

Apple blossom at 100 yards... which shooting position?

Offhand? Kneeling? Sitting? Prone?

I could hit it 9 times out of 10 in a solid prone, but I'd only get 1/10 in an off-hand. Too damned shakey on my feet. I could hit the tree every time, though.

I was a good shot even for the typical Marine, though.

Posted by: GORDON on August 11, 2005 11:09 PM

I went to a SPECEX at Camp Lejune in the early '60s, the Marines were demonstrating their stuff for the public.
I remember the snipers demonstrating 1000 yard shots (no typo one thousand), I got one of the target sheets, signed by the shooter.

It was one of my treasures for years.

Hugh

Posted by: Hugh on August 11, 2005 11:23 PM

ummmm, the 82nd wasn't in Korea.

Next story, please.

Posted by: Arcs on August 12, 2005 10:20 AM

Bullshit, Arcs. My uncle served in Korea and I still have the "Airborne" patch he gave me when I was a boy. Maybe he was with the 101st.

But he DID damn nearly die in a parachute jump and he WAS the best rifle shot I ever saw.

I still think he was in the 82nd.

Posted by: Acidman on August 12, 2005 06:19 PM
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