Marine Corps Stories: Her Sights
A Marine enters a sniper rifle competition.
American pith helmets cropped up as the various branches of the United States military vied for top position on the sniper rifle range. A chill enveloped the crowd of service-members on this late autumn day in December. The main draw of the entire proceedings remained Sergeant Kinyetta “Down Range” Barkin. She was a 5’5” goddess with a gun. She boasted soft features and long hair that her donut bun belied. Her skin was the color of black diamonds and pearls and she possessed a shapely figure that her cammies also hid.
“She’s a regular Annie Oak–” Corporal Ben Chan said. Corporal Reynaldo Rodriguez interrupted.
“No, no, no. Don’t let anyone hear you say that. Mrs. Butler shot playing cards, dimes, and cigarettes. Sar’gent Barkin is closing in on the Corps’ record for most kills by a sniper.”
“You don’t say,” Chan said.
“I do say,” Corporal Rodriguez said. “It was like tearing flesh from her face trying to get her to compete. She said that her work is for combat. They finally got her to get down here, though."
The two watched as Kinyetta reloaded her weapon with quick, precise motions. Her discipline and agility afforded her the chance to move fast but still be controlled in her actions. She loaded the rounds in the firearm and trained it on the next target. She adjusted her sights. After knocking down that last black disc about fifteen hundred yards away, she just achieved a possible. This feat was made when all of the rounds hit the black without one veering off of the targets.
“Goddamn,” Chan said.
“I told you,” Rodriquez said.
The "One" Gunnery Sergeant Gannon Menlow, the Marine in the tower overlooking the rifle range, sipped from his coffee like a businessman at his desk. He peered at the score sheet.
“Jesus,” he whispered with astonishment. He picked up his cover and moved down to the field where Kinyetta gathered her gear and headed towards the booth where marksmanship instructors tallied scores.
“Let me see that goddamn report,” Army Sergeant First Class Trask Halden rushed over to the scoring table. His jaw quavered then dropped.
“I’ve got to see this for myself,” Coast Guardsman Chief Petty Officer Olive Varney strolled with the other E-7 military personnel.
Kinyetta moved confidently like a puma roaming the land, free and clear. Once she reached the booth, congratulations poured on her from the One. Halden and Varney kept silent. Disdain darkened their eyes. The One was ebullient. “It was beautiful Barkin. We haven’t beat these two in years. Now, with your prowess on the range, you can be a PMI and have a billet.”
“Thanks, Gunny, but I respectfully decline. I need to be out in the field with my brothers and sisters. I need to be alone and once again experience the moment with the pink mist. It would be an honor to don the American pith helmet, but my business is out there with the bad guys, knocking them down instead of a few targets for sport.”
The One nodded his head. “I’m proud of you Barkin. Err.”
“Thanks, Gunny. I didn’t think I would be involved in this kind of activity in the first place, but I can’t lie. It was fun. Rah.”
Varney and Halden fumed. “Let’s run that back. We’ve got a possible cheater on our hands,” Halden said.
“Cheater?!” Gunny Menlow asked incredulously. “What the hell do you mean cheater?”
“She’s got an advantage because she’s got increased eye vision from a robotic limb,” Varney said. “That eye’s not natural.”
The One became incensed. “She lost that left eye in combat and her right eye is what she uses to attack. She even requested for diamonds to be set in the left prosthetic from her wedding band. Her marriage didn’t last but she’s still here with one eye peering through the sights.”
Varney and Halden retreated a bit. “Well, we’ve been reluctant to congratulate Sergeant Barkin because of her alleged advantage. I didn’t even know you can still be in uniform with a missing eye,” Halden said.
“All that you need is one eye closed to hit the baddies,” the One said.
The three of them conferred about the scoring and finally awarded Kenyetta with the Best Marksman Award. Her thrill lasted only momentarily as she knew that she’d either be in the mountaintops or the sandbox again. She anticipated the day when she would not have to go to combat. Until that day, she stayed ready.