Rifle training course returns to EWU


Caitlin Kenney

Dan Nield of the 56th Medical Group out of Luke Air Force Base aims his airsoft rifle down the range at the Air Force Wounded Warrior Adaptive Sports Camp in 2013. EWU’s rifle training course will be offered this spring as a military science class.

By Nicolas Zerbe, Reporter

The ROTC is bringing the basic rifle marksmanship class back to EWU.

The class, which will take place in Cadet Hall this spring, is back from hiatus thanks to Sgt. David Ratliff of EWU’s ROTC.

The course is open to all students, not just those in the ROTC program, and is listed as a military science course for those wanting to register.

Students registered will be practicing their rifle skills using a Crosman CH2009 CO2 rifle, which is provided by the ROTC.

The current iteration of the course is new, though EWU has had marksmanship classes in the past. The school was also host to a shooting team, which it hopes to bring back, according to Lt. Col. Jonathan C. Stafford.

“Our shooting team has historically been very good here,” said Stafford. “We had two Olympic medalists that came out of the ROTC program here.”

The new course will cover three-position shooting, meaning students will be practicing firing a rifle from the prone, kneeling and standing positions.

There is currently a cap of 20 students in the course.

Training will take place in Cadet Hall’s indoor range, which features a 10-meter firing line, the distance that those wanting to compete in EWU’s shooting team, which will begin the following quarter, will need to be proficient in.

The shooting team will compete in postal matches, meaning they will shoot for competitions at EWU and send their targets to be graded elsewhere.

Before getting their hands on the CO2 rifles, however, students will need to complete five weeks of coursework, taught by Ratliff.

This training will include instructions on safety, the three positions of shooting, as well as a written exam.

It’s only then that students can handle the guns themselves.

“They’ll take what they learned in the classroom and start applying it,” said Ratliff. “They’ll get used to the three positions, how to sight the rifles in, how to fire, how to utilize all the fundamentals and then apply it to shooting.”

Ratliff, the course instructor, has a storied history in competition shooting, having competed with success during his time in his high school ROTC program. There, Ratliff took first place in not only his region and home state of Tennessee, but all the eastern U.S., and finally took third in the entire country.

Those interested in the one-credit class can find it listed as MLSC 288 when registering.