MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
Nearly 40 shotgun-toting competitors vied for top honors at the Cherry Point Skeet Club’s annual spring fun shoot April 21.
Shooters earned a combined score on three different ranges. The wobble, a three-tiered tower, jettisoned clay pigeon targets at various heights and speeds. On the skeet shoot, competitors took aim at dual discs projected in intersecting directions. Lastly, shooters on the trap stood in a firing line formation and blasted targets as they faded into the distance.
Chuck Passwaters won the competition, scoring 67 of 75 possible points.
“The skeet club gives us something to do. It’s an inexpensive, fun, friendly environment and completely family oriented,” said Staff Sgt. James Rust, an intelligence specialist with Marine Aircraft Group 14 and spring fun shoot competitor. “Most of these guys out here are retired Marines and Vietnam vets and provide a wealth of knowledge for all Marines. I usually try to get my Marines out here with me, and if we run out of ammo, someone will pass out a box of shells.”
The Cherry Point Skeet Club began in 2006 when retired Col. Lee Buland, an avid shotgun enthusiast and then the air station commanding officer, found that interest for a shotgun range and skeet club was on the rise. Camp Lejeune was the first area installation to have a skeet range, but when it shut down for renovations, Buland decided it was time for Cherry Point to have its own.
Membership numbers grew exponentially.
“When we started, we had 36 in the club,” said Buland, who is now the club’s director. “Within months, we had more than 350.”
At first, the range offered only the skeet shoot. It now has the trap, wobble and hosts professional military education classes for units aboard Cherry Point. The club provides range safety officers and shotguns for these events.
As membership continues to expand, more competitors come to each event with their sights fixed on first place. The grand prize is little more than pocket change, but the bragging rights of being the best of the bunch lasts a lifetime.
“It’s a different style of shooting with different techniques,” said Buland. “It all translates to speeds and angles, but still ties into the warrior skills. Firearms and Marines are always a good thing.”