CVS-20 PISTOL TEAM
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USS Bennington Pistol Team
Tue, 13 May 2008 01:41:40 -0400
I was just browsing through the "Time Line Crew Stories" and thought that you might want to add an article about the ship's pistol team.
The team was formed by Lt. O. E. Boling, V-6 Division Electronics, while we were in the yards at Bremerton during the period September 1962 to March 1963.
I qualified for the team during tryouts and competed for the duration of the overhaul.
I always smile when I remember the tryouts.
I have a stiff joint on my right index finger due to a childhood accident that prevents me from curling my finger around the trigger.
Lt. Boling noticed and said "I don't think you will be able to shoot competitively with that finger".
I persevered because I loved guns and had grown up hunting all kinds of game in south Louisiana.
The smile comes when I remember out-shooting Lt. Boling on a number of occasions during practice and competition.
The Marine barracks on the Bremerton Naval Station had a shooting range in the attic.
All pistol teams located at the base could use the range for target practice.
We used to go over at noon during weekdays to practice.
We all made a pistol box out of 3/4-inch plywood and the ship provided a spotting scope for each member that qualified.
The ship had some .22 cal. target pistols for use if team members did not own a pistol.
I purchased a Ruger Model Mark 1 .22 cal. target pistol at the Navy Exchange that I still have to this day.
We kept our pistols in the ship's armory and had to check them in and out as we left the ship to practice or compete.
We were issued a special ID card authorizing carrying weapons on and off the Naval Station.
I still remember the "strange" looks from the Marine guards at the gate as they looked over my pistol box.
The Bremerton YMCA had a target range in the basement of the building that was used for practice and competitions.
The attached picture shows articles about the competitions.
These articles were given to me by one of the local "yardbirds" working on electrical equipment on the ship.
I remember our last completion was scheduled after we left the Bremerton shipyard.
We were up in Puget Sound at an ammunition facility taking on armaments after leaving Bremerton on that date.
The pistol team was driven back to Bremerton on a bus for the final competition.
I mentioned Lt. O. E. Boling but there was also a Chief J. Davis who was an experienced shooter and helped direct the team.
I think he was a machinist's mate but I am not sure about that.
Sorry that I don't remember all the team members' names.
I was the only one from E-Division as I recall.
USS Bennington CVS-20
105 Nathaniel Court
Cary, NC 27511