212. Range 8

212. Range 8: Training to Defend (1 minute and 30 seconds)
Patricia Clark-Gray, District Interpretive Specialist 

This area was formerly Range 8, a “KnownDistanceRange,” meaning the distance from the firing position to the target was set. The beach ranges were first laid out in 1940, shortly after the outbreak of World War II. Range 8 became the largest and most heavily used.

Before ever stepping foot on the range, the new trainee received preliminary instructions on the use of his or her rifle. Trainees learned rifle cleaning and maintenance, the basic firing positions, and use of sights on the rifle. Finally, the trainee was taken out to a range.

The first phase was on the 1,000 inch range where principles taught in the classroom were applied in the field with live ammunition. The next phase was on a range like this one where all the previous training in breathing, trigger squeeze, positioning, and sighting were applied. The trainee then qualified for record at distances of 200, 300, and 500 yards. Under the qualification system, there were three categories (in order of proficiency):

  • Marksman
  • Sharpshooter
  • Expert

The Expert category was the top honor for a rifleman, and was highly prized by those who earned it. It also came with extra pay.