Thursday, September 17, 2015

Home on the firing range

So I moved from MCBH Hawaii to Fort Sam Houston, Texas in late August to go to Navy C-School - Bio Med - which is basically medical equipment repair.  This is great, because I can come home every weekend to visit my hometown.  On Labor Day weekend, I drove home from Fort Sam Houston to my parents house to help them tear down an old cow fence.  On Sunday while working on the fence, I heard multiple strings of rifle fire.  Didn't bother me since we live in hillbilly country so people are always shooting guns.  I have no problem with people shooting safely on their own property - we have our own 30-40 yard range with a backstop that's in the side of a hill.  We are so confident in that backstop we have a herd of valuable Mouflon sheep behind it.

I heard a burst of shots ring out followed immediately by whizzing and ricocheting noises, and dirt and rocks getting kicked up around me.  My spidey senses FMTB training kicked in and I instinctively hit the deck as soon as I realized me and my dad were being fired upon.  The volley lasted about ten shots, after which I got up and yelled "STOP SHOOTING ASSHOLE," probably the loudest I've ever yelled before.  None of us were hit by the bullets but we called the sheriff because of how stupid-dangerous it is to be shooting like that.

We weren't sure where the shots came from.  The deputy came and drove through the driveway across the street and our neighbor's.  He talked to some people but no one heard anything.  We originally thought the bullets came from across the street and that the projectiles traveled through the woods in the front of our property, but now we suspect that it was probably our neighbor's neighbor, or two houses down.

The gas company owns an unused, grassy lane that runs through our property.  There lies a hill between our property and the house that's two doors down.  We can see the top of their house from where we were working.  We suspect they were using that grassy lane as their own personal shooting gallery, shooting at cans at the top of the small hill.  Hopefully the shooters heard me, saw the Sheriff car and learned the error of their ways, but somehow I doubt it.

The next morning, Labor Day, I woke up with severe chest pain and difficulty breathing.  At first I thought it was pneumonia or some kind of reaction from breathing in rust or poison ivy or maybe it was really bad food poisoning from dinner last night.  I thought it would go away and I said I didn't need to see a doctor.  My parents dropped me off at my barracks later that day.  As I walked up the stairs to my room, I realized how short of breath I was and started feeling nauseous.  That's when I checked into the emergency room at Brooke Army Medical Center.  They told me it was a tension pneumothorax due to a collapsed right lung.

They inserted what seemed like a one inch tube through my ribs.  The medic inserting the tube was really leaning and putting her weight into it, trying to get it through.  It was the most painful thing ever even with morphine and local anesthesia.  The sound of watermelon being penetrated by a knife let me know it was finally in.  At least I was able to breathe better.

I spent about eight days total in the hospital.  The doc said the collapsed lung was spontaneous with no reason or any apparent trauma, but I still think it could have been an indirect result of the idiots shooting at me.  I can't do any PT or farm work.  I ended up missing the advancement exam and I missed my scheduled start date for my C-School.  The good news is the Navy gave me two weeks of free convalescent leave so I can just stay home and study for the late exam, and I can start class later.

I also have some spare time to start preliminary work on some of my super secret projects (a mystery vehicle-mounted, crew-served weapon, a SMLE No4 MK I restoration, and an AR-8mm Mauser project I like to refer to as the "Poorman's Colt LE900").  Might have to set up an ipCam to catch them shooting again, because I can still hear close range rifle fire once in a while, and it makes me nervous as hell just walking up my own damn driveway.

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