Guests and Celebrities Give Reviews of CMP’s Talladega Marksmanship Park
June 17, 2015Civilian Marksmanship Program▸The First Shot▸Guests and Celebrities Give Reviews of CMP’s Talladega Marksmanship Park
By Ashley Brugnone, CMP Writer
TALLADEGA, AL – On June 6, the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) held its Inaugural D-Day John C. Garand Match, along with EIC pistol and rifle matches the following day, at its new Talladega Marksmanship Park. The event served as a first look at the facility many had anticipated but had never seen. After guests had the opportunity to explore the grounds, a host of encouraging reviews flooded the CMP staff.
“This place is like a country club,” said one woman, while others around her agreed. Other spectators could only react with a single word: “Wow.”
Behind the firing line, spectators roamed the 13,000 square feet of floor space within the Club House – gazing upon the beautifully stained floors, grand fireplace and even following the action down below on the 600-yard range from within the facility via large monitors displaying live scores.
Outside the back doors of the Club House, visitors were able to enjoy lunch on the patio at one of the many picnic tables and chairs or survey the breathtaking mountain views surrounding the park.
CMP chief operating officer Mark Johnson was pleased with the turnout of guests and competitors during the inaugural matches, saying, “I think the weekend went well. We have a great CMP staff that make all things under their charge operate flawlessly. Our CMP staff is our most valuable asset.”
He added, “We are still learning, and electronic target presentation will become even more refined as we move forward. The CMP Talladega Marksmanship Park is the beginning – it is part of the ‘process.’”
John Stastny, 19, had driven to CMP’s South Store in Anniston to buy an M1 Garand and heard about the new marksmanship park in Talladega. Since he had made the drive from Johns Creek, GA, after being home from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT, he thought he may as well drive a little farther down the road to see what everyone was talking about.
“This is amazing. It’s really new – really big. We didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “I’ve never been to a range like this before, and it’s pretty impressive . . . I’ll definitely have to come back.”
“Gunny” R. Lee Ermey, famous for his role in “Full Metal Jacket” and being an avid supporter of marksmanship and the CMP, also visited the new range in Talladega over the weekend. Known for his straight-forward, no-mercy Marine Corps roots, the Gunny actually had nothing but positive feedback about the CMP’s latest installment.
“This range is just about perfect,” he said. “I am one of the older guys. I’m a whiner, I’m a knit-picker, I’m a bellyacher – if there’s a problem, I’ll find it. And I haven’t really found it yet here,” he said. ”I am very pleased with the way the range turned out. There’s no doubt that CMP went the extra mile.”
Some of the many things he praised the new facility for included the real-time shot monitors, the quickness and accuracy the targets allow during matches as well as the ability to stay in one place the entire match.
“You start out on the firing line right here, and you end right here – the targets move, not you. It’s a beautiful thing,” he said. “A lot of old guys aren’t shooting anymore because they can’t make the walk to the firing lines during the matches, dragging that equipment – it’s exhausting. So it’s a lovely thing when you can stay on that firing line and shoot the entire course.”
With an unfortunate hip problem at the moment, the Gunny was unable to fire on the new range over the weekend. But, like any good Marine, he’s not going to let any problem stop him for good.
“I’ll be back,” he said. “I’d like to see every range in America move to this program. It’s a beautiful program.”
Open to the public, all are welcome to visit Wednesday-Saturday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. More information on Talladega Marksmanship Park, including a facility map, can be found at https://thecmp.org/competitions/talladega-marksmanship-park/.
Thank you to our many wonderful sponsors who helped to make this event possible. If anyone is interested in joining us in our efforts as a sponsor at the most advanced marksmanship facility in the United States, please contact Jim Townsend at 256-835-8455 or email him at email@example.com.
For a complete list of results of the pistol and rifle matches, visit http://ct.thecmp.org/app/v1/index.php?do=match&task=edit&match=12214.
To view photos of the inaugural event, log on to http://cmp1.zenfolio.com/.