By: Mark Sowinski ’14
Last weekend after the first round of the Marine Corps Intercollegiate Golf Tournament at Camp Lejeune, my teammates and I had the opportunity to visit the indoor shooting simulator our Marines use for training. There are several simulators like the one we were at across the base, and in total they save the Marine Corps $16 million a month in ammunition. Like a cross between a golf simulator and Call of Duty, targets were projected onto screens for target practice and scenarios were run in which the enemy was attacking. The weapons included grenade launchers, 50caliber machine guns, M-16s, and pistols. They were perfect replicas; the recoil and sound were very similar to reality. The shooting competitions between teammates and competitors in the tournament were lots of fun.
Participating in the Marine Corps tournament and going on this excursion gave me a greater appreciation for our troops and the sacrifices they make. Each pairing of the tournament included a retired Marine and getting to talk with them was very interesting and revealing. The sacrifices our troops and their families go through on a regular basis are remarkable. Meeting a man who spoke about serving multiple tours of duty in Vietnam and how he has PTSD as a result was very moving. This tournament, more than any other, put life in perspective. This tournament reminded me how privileged we are to represent W&L athletically, especially when considering the sacrifices that have been made to secure our freedom.