Lee Pardi

Memories of the Corps Squad Pistol Team.

In retrospect I often wondered how I could have possibly qualified for admission to West Point, though fairly strong academically my high school sports participation consisted of playing ping-pong or pool in the student lounge. Needless to say one of many big surprises we all encountered within hours of admission was the fact that, well , to put it mildly, food was a tool to be used for behavior modification.

Perhaps because growing up as a child in Italy during World War II, I genetically appreciated a good meal and already knew what starvation was all about I rapidly came to the conclusion that since Corps Squad members were fed I would find a sport to get me in the chow line.

The only sport I felt remotely capable of achieving any level of proficiency on short notice was pistol. Perhaps in my family’s distant past was a mafioso who took pleasure in making little round holes in objects and eating 3 square meals a day.

In any event I soon found myself in the company of Chuck Swick and Ray Pendleton both of whom could knock the eye out of a gnat at 50 feet. Competition against other service academies and especially the New York office of the FBI were high points.

Those were the days before OSHA and we all breathed in more than our share of lead aerosol from the thousands of rounds fired and dust swept up at the end of the practice sessions. There was usually a shortage of effective hearing protection so many used rolled gun barrel patches or spent cartridge cases. Despite this it was truly a valuable experience that would bear fruit during my tour as an infantry battalion advisor in RVN, but that’s another story.

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