The Reconstruction of Range 3 at Camp Smith
by Julian Alfonso

The construction started in the later part of the 1994 shooting season. For several years we had been repairing the deck with band-aids and spit as it was rotting away and had collapsed a few times. We had requested that the deck be replaced because of its condition but that never happened. Finally, I was informed by Range Control that they were thinking of closing the range before someone got hurt. There was no money for repairs and no priority for it as the Army wasn’t shooting “KD” — Known Distance — anymore. I made them an offer that if the Camp would supply the material, I might be able to assemble a work party of volunteers to do the labor. Much to my surprise, the offer was accepted.

I wrote a letter to all the shooters I knew, explained what we wanted to do, set a schedule for removal of the old deck and construction of the new deck, made arrangements to borrow some equipment like a back-hoe and dump truck and some other stuff and we started.

After the last league match in September 1994, the following weekend approximately fifty volunteers showed up and we demolished and removed the old deck. The carrier frames on points 1 thru 13 needed the footings replaced so we removed the frames out of the way and tried to repair the footings. We had some problems with the available material and also the fortitude of the post engineer. It’s a long story and I probably could write a book about it but after constructing about half of the deck, we ran short of material and had several other problems. To make this long story short, the project took about three years to complete and cost the Club about $5000.00 in additional material and twenty yards of concrete for the 1-13 footings. In the spring of 1997, it was finally completed. It was a frustrating experience but it all turned out OK. We had lots of help from the shooters and the deck is a testimony to their determination to keep the range alive.

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