Training for the Marine Corps


"All I wanted to do was qualify."

"Your primary rifle was what we called an M-1. And you had to qualify with all of these, and the M-1 was a real major factor. You had to qualify 500 yards, 300 yards, 200 yards. Prone position, kneeling position, and standing. And the last day that you were there, all of the qualifications went through. And there was no second chance – no try – you can't try again. And they would frighten the heck out of us, because if you don't qualify, you wound up on guard duty somewhere. Or you wound up on mess duty. In those days, every branch of service had its own cooks on mess duty. So who wanted to do that till the war ended, and we didn't know how long? So everybody was trying their best to qualify. To qualify, you had to shoot what we call a 280. Expert then was 290. 287 was a sharpshooter. For sharpshooter, you would get $10 a month extra for one year. For expert you would get $15 extra. To heck with all of that. All I wanted to do was qualify. And I had a good day. And I lacked two points shooting expert, but I was glad I just – I qualified."


Alton Cadenhead (back row second from right) as part of a plumbing and maintenance crew in the Marine Corps, ca 1943pdf / 159.67 kB Download