Photo Information

Jim Russel, a member of the board for the Cal-Diego chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America, reviews his target face after completing the 25-yard slow-fire portion of the orginations 2nd annual pistol competition in Highland, Calif., April 13.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Ryan A. Rholes

Miramar Marines help coach the old breed

24 Apr 2009 | Lance Cpl. Ryan A. Rholes

Seven Marines who work at the Carlos Hathcock Range aboard East Miramar volunteered April 13, to help the Cal-Diego chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America conduct the organization’s 2nd annual pistol match, hosted at the Inland Fish and Game shooting range here.

The match was part of the Cal-Diego chapter’s 21st trap shooting competition. Marines instructed the competitors on safety, basic  shooting fundamentals, weapons conditions and the course of fire.

“We host these events because we want to get these guys out into the world,” said Jim Russel, who serves on the PVA’s board of directors. “A lot of these guys are energetic and when your legs stop working, it’s hard to accept. We want to show them life isn’t over.”

The PVA hosted last year’s tournament aboard East Miramar. Impressed by the range facilities and personnel, the competitors requested to use the range this year, but could not because Miramar’s shotgun range is temporarily closed. However, the competitors were still able to enjoy at least part of what made last year’s competition enjoyable.

“Having these Marines out here means the world to these guys,” said Andy MacDonald, the shooting sports director for the PVA. “When we called and told Master Sgt. Duncan we had to cancel the shoot at Miramar, he immediately offered for the Marines to come to us. Their knowledge and professionalism made it great.”

Although the veterans shooting in the competition enjoyed the help they received from the Marines, they were not the only ones who took something away from the competition.

“These guys are living history,” said Sgt. Laurel Golley, a combat marksmanship coach at the range. “It’s humbling to hear them thank us. They lived through the toughest wars this country has ever faced, and were injured doing it. We are glad to be here — they deserve us to be here.”

The top three competitors each received a certificate, which they can exchange for a pistol manufactured by Glock. They fired using the National Rifle Association’s standard pistol competition rules.

The U.S. Congress charged the Veteran’s Association with creating the PVA during the end of WWII. Founded in Chicago in 1946, the non-profit organization serves as a corner stone for vets suffering from spinal cord injuries and diseases.

The PVA conducts a three-day inspection of all spinal cord injury treatment centers located in VA hospitals each year, and reports those findings to the VA’s president.

For more information on the PVA, visit their Web site at