Gunnary Practice:
It's All In How You Look At It

As told by George Edwards to Scott Moody

Forward: My father-in-law was a radio operator/navigator on a PV-1 Ventura during W.W.II. He told me the following story about one of his experiences during training. He has some very good stories.

-Scott Moody

George was 18 years old when W.W.II broke out. He joined the Navy, and was assigned to a land based medium bomber squadron. The aircraft was the Lockheed PV-1 Ventura.

There were many training sessions required before the crew was combat ready, one of which was aerial gunnery school. All crewmembers, except the pilot and co-pilot, had to qualify on the .50 caliber Browning machine gun. On qualifying day, each crewmember was given a short belt of live .50 caliber ammunition. They were to fire at a towed target and the number of rounds fired versus the number of hits on the target were recorded with their score expressed as a percentage. Due to time constraints and ammunition shortages, only one pass of the target was allowed.

George took his turn at the firing station, loaded his belt, and chambered the first round. When the target was in range he pulled the trigger. One round fired and the weapon jammed. By the time he cleared the weapon, the target was gone. But that one round hit the target, so George scored 100%.

Later that day the base commander reviewed the score sheet and saw that one sailor had scored 100%. He went ballistic! He ordered an award ceremony complete with band and parade and presented George with a certificate of merit. No one ever told the base commander that only one round was fired, and the topic was never mentioned again.

Back to the Naval & Military History Page

Copyright 2006, 2016 by George Edwards and Scott Moody. All rights reserved.