Atterbury cadets build training rifles

The cadets of the Atterbury Battalion of the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps recently completed a workshop project designed to teach the cadets how to build and maintain a firearm.

That resulted in the unit building four training rifles with the help of two area businesses.

These rifles will be used in training exercises with SIRT laser bolts and adapted for live fire trainings throughout the yearly training schedule of the battalion.

The Atterbury Battalion, based at Camp Atterbury near Edinburgh, is a unit in the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps, which is a congressionally chartered national youth program that provides programs for America’s youth that instill the values of teamwork, discipline, camaraderie and service through an all-volunteer force and partnerships with the U.S. Armed Services.

The U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps, Sea Cadets for short, is open to young men and women ages 13 through 17. The U.S. Navy League Cadet Corps is a sibling program serving ages 10 through 13.

The Atterbury Battalion has 26 cadets: 20 Sea Cadets and six League Cadets, who come from all over south-central Indiana, including Bartholomew, Jackson, Jennings and Brown counties.

The cadets completed the project through the assistance of a grant from the National Rifle Association Foundation and donations from Bite the Bullet in Seymour and Accuracy Unlimited in Jennings County.

The NRA Foundation provided nearly $5,000. Mark Hopkins of Bite the Bullet donated four lower receivers to start the project. Accuracy Unlimited provided package deals to ensure that the cost of the project remained within the donated amount from the NRA Foundation. Alex Nelson of Accuracy Unlimited donated parts and his time to attend the drill weekend to teach the cadets how to build the rifles.

Nelson included the cadets in the building process, allowing them to have the hands-on experience of building the firearms. Cadets were taught how to properly break down the rifles after they were built in order to clean and maintain them.

Cadets in the Atterbury Battalion have had opportunities this past year to learn a variety of skills, including building rifles, scuba diving, flying, medical treatment, search and rescue, robotics, welding and construction.

Atterbury cadets volunteer with Indy Honor Flight and participate in community events. The Atterbury Battalion will march in the 2018 Seymour Oktoberfest parade Oct. 6.