S.T.A.R.T. center at Mingo Junction hosts third-annual Warrior Shoot
June 14, 2015
By MARK J. MILLER – Staff writer
MINGO JUNCTION – The third-annual Warrior Shoot at the shooting range on the Special Tactics and Rescue Training grounds Saturday was a chance for veterans and their families to socialize, learn about firearms safety and history and witness some of the newest, cutting-edge weaponry in action.
The event, hosted by the Fort Pitt Chapter of the Association of the United States Army, included members of the Amvets Post 275; representatives from the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh; FNH-USA, a gun manufacturer; and firearms instructors from S.T.A.R.T. The event was a time for veterans to enjoy each other’s company, shoot a wide variety of weapons and watch demonstrations of everything ranging from flintlocks and non-lethal weapons to some of the newest high-tech weaponry, according to Carlos Carmona, AUSA Pittsburgh chapter president.
“(Our coverage area) includes veterans from all of western Pennsylvania into Ohio and West Virginia,” said Carmona, adding roughly 100 to 125 veterans from every branch of the service and their families were attending the event. “We have folks here from Cleveland and Akron. This is an event for comraderie and fellowship. That’s what the warrior community is all about.”
ON THE RANGE— Andy Masich, president and chief executive officer of the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, left, learns some of the finer points in shooting a non-lethal weapon from Jamie Bear, firearms instructor for the Special Tactics and Rescue Training at the business’ shooting range Saturday in Mingo Junction. — Mark Miller
Carmona said the warrior community includes veterans’ families, and the event was attended by veterans ranking from foot soldiers to generals. The idea was simple, he said – maintain the friendship and “esprit de corps” among all veterans, regardless of branch of service or rank.
“The Pitt Chapter (of the AUSA) is the fourth-largest in America,” Carmona continued, adding the organization represents and welcomes veterans of all branches of service. “We’re focused on getting all the (armed forces) community together.”
Carmona said FNH-USA, the largest manufacturer of small arms in Europe and owner of Winchester and Browning, donated all the ammunition for the shoot as well as several unique arms, including new weaponry used by the nation’s military. Safety with firearms was a big part of the event as well, he added.
“The whole event begins with a safety (course),” said Carmona, adding experienced and certified instructors demonstrated the proper ways to handle and shoot firearms.
Carmona said veterans with disabilities were welcome to participate. Those shooting were required to wear wrist bands noting their skill level, he said.
Andy Masich, president and chief executive officer of the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, said the museum had been reaching out to the large veteran community for the past several years.
“We’ve been collaborating with Carlos Carmona,” said Masich, adding the museum has several exhibits where local veterans are the subject.
Masich said he brought along flintlock long-barreled guns and even a Civil War-era cannon for demonstrations during the shoot.
“(The cannon) fires a 12-pound iron ball,” said Masich, adding the cannon is made of bronze. “It also fires canister rounds containing 148 0.69-caliber musket balls. It’s like a machine gun, only faster. (Participants) can learn about guns lock, stock and barrel.”
Frank Hoagland, co-owner of S.T.A.R.T. with his wife Darla, said he was delighted to co-host the event and bond with his brothers-in-arms.
“We stay focused on ‘People Helping People,'” said Hoagland, a former Navy Seal. “Anything we can do for the brotherhood, we will do.”
For information, go to www.ausa.org.
(Miller can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)