CULDROSE TOP GUN FINDS HIDDEN TALENT
A young Air Engineering Technician (AET) has discovered a winning-way on the rifle range, which has scooped him a large haul of cups and trophies at the recent Naval Air Command Operational Shooting Competition (NACOSC).
Known as “Hinder’s Haul” - AET Daniel Hinder who normally maintains Merlin helicopters on 829 Naval Air Squadron, at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose is rightly proud of his first time achievement. Moreover, even more significant as he has only ever fired a rifle once before, whilst at HMS Raleigh before joining the Culdrose shooting team.
“My mum would never let me have a gun as a kid, she didn’t like them and thought they were dangerous,” said Daniel. “I’d fired a rifle during training, but it was a simple test at 25 metres with 25 rounds. I’m absolutely gobsmacked I’ve got this hidden talent.”
The Competition held annually at the world-renowned Bisley ranges, Pirbright Barracks inSurreyis between Naval Air Command (NAC) Teams from the Naval Air Stations at Culdrose and Yeovilton and representatives from the Royal Naval Reserve Air Branch. It matches marksmanship skills at all standards, from newbie’s to the more experience sharpshooters with years of competing and range-days behind them.
All the shoots are with over 20 kgs of weighted webbing, body armour, helmet, eye protection and contact gloves plus a service rifle. As well as a physical component of moving between distances at speed and the complications of changing points of aim at different ranges, whilst accounting for environmental effects such as wind and rain.
“Having won almost everything at this event, I am looking to compete for the Queens Medal, which is the highest accolade for a Naval Shooter. I will have to compete in the Inter Services up against the best the Army, Air Force and the whole armed forces can muster,” continued Daniel. “To be honest it’s all a bit of a surprise to me, but I’m happy to see where this journey takes me.”
Remarkably, Daniel is not entitled to wear the converted ‘Marksmanship badge’, which he tried to win before the NAC competition, only failing by a couple of points to reach the qualifying level: he plans to try again next time around. “I got just below the qualifying mark for it, I then went on to win the ‘Champion at Arms Trophy’ for the best all round Shot, which people strive for years and years to win.”