Friday, June 29, 2012

Week 7 at Mount Rushmore

Taking a break on the LE
patrol motorcycle.
I cannot believe my time at Mount Rushmore has gone by so quickly!  This past week I was able to stand by for firearms qualifications of our Chief Ranger Don Hart and the newest permanent here, Megan Kinkade.  Megan Kinkade happens to be from the San Antonio ProRanger Program and it has been great to be able to share experiences with her!  As a bit of a refresher, Kinkade worked on some basics of drawing her weapon and marksmanship close range to get a feel for her handgun.  She and Chief Hart then went through the firearms qualification, shooting at the three, seven, fifteen, and twenty-five yard line.  In order to pass you must make at least 21 out of the 30 rounds within the scoring area; both passed with flying colors!  After qualifying on handguns I watched Chief Hart qualify on his shotgun and AR 15 rifle.  When qualifying with the rifle, you must shoot in a few different positions including prone, sitting, kneeling, and standing.  Qualifying with a handgun includes shooting with non-dominant hand, standing, and kneeling.  Being able to watch these qualifications allowed me to get some tips on hand grip as well as certain things to focus on while shooting such as keeping your wrist steady and sticking to the fundamentals.  
Kinkade shooting her handgun.

Kinkade shooting the shotgun.

Chief Hart shooting AR 15
rifle in the kneeling position.

Kinkade and myself also went through taser training and are both now certified.  We learned the ins and outs of taser usage and the proper way to carry and handle them and the cartridges.  When using a taser, you are to aim below the chest trying to split the hemisphere (one probe above and below the waistline) in order to achieve neuromuscular incapacitation.  After taking the written tests, we then practiced spark testing, drawing, and shooting blank cartridges.  Once we felt comfortable we then took turns shooting two sets of live cartridges; one set using the laser site and one set without.  It is great to have this certification prior to the academy because it gives me a little better sense of what to expect when it comes to taser training. 
Removing the probes being sure to
pull straight back and keeping part of
the line attached to the cartridge.
Another duty that needed completed this week was to re-flag the trail hiking up to Mount Baldy.  There had been a recent medical rescue in which the trail to the top had been difficult to follow which had proposed the idea of re-flagging the trail.  Ranger Oestmann, Kinkade, and I hiked from the East Boundary of the park, up to Baldy, and then down to the West Boundary flagging our path with yellow tape on trees.  Later in the week I did a solo back country patrol following our trail to make sure it was navigable.  I believe it is safe to say that Mount Baldy will be much easier to find for the casual hiker!  

While on foot patrol in the developed area with Ranger Dave Woodcock we received a report of a man walking around handing people rocks and making gorilla noises.  We copied the description of the man and along with Rangers Todd Van Alstyne and Kinkade were able to locate the man.  After Van Alstyne interviewed him, we learned that he was not a threat to himself or others and was just a bit eccentric.  He was informed that he could not collect rocks while in the park and that he should perhaps be more aware of his surroundings. 

It has been a very fun week and I cannot believe I only have four more left! I hope everyone is still having a great time and learning a lot!!
ProRanger Erin Langeheine       

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