Gunnery Sergeant Michael Berryhill, the Assistant Marine Officer Instructor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, contacted me recently regarding an inability to secure rimfire training ammo for his midshipmen at the UI.
He asked if Guns Save Life could help. I told him I thought our members could probably secure him ammo where retailers could not at this time and possibly provide funding for future years’ ammo as well.
Sgt. Berryhill describes himself as “a Marine for over 15 years now and I have been blessed with the opportunity to train, evaluate, and shape young aspiring Navy and Marine Corps Officers here with the NROTC unit.”
His father-in-law referred him to GSL as part of his increasingly desperate search for ammo for “training Midshipmen on safe handling and use of weapons for marksmanship in order to prepare them for follow on training when they become active duty service members.”
“I’m willing to spend my own money for ammo, but there’s just nothing out there.”
He explained that they have exhausted their supply of rimfire ammo for their training. The Navy no longer provides ammo and their government training system isn’t allowed to purchase it either. He doesn’t want to pause or cancel the live-fire shooting program as it give valuable live-fire gun-handling experience to the young folks in the program. Furthermore, he believes in the program enough that he has been willing to buy ammo with his personal funds, but there’s no ammo availability right now.
As it is right now, he needs about 6,000-8,000 rounds per year. I suspect they would shoot even more if it was available. He admitted that he missed the Friends of NRA grant window, but it wouldn’t have mattered as there were few Friends of NRA dinners last year and hence, very little Friends of NRA monies to grant.
To get him over the immediate crisis, I donated 2,100 rounds of my own .22s. I’m asking my fellow Guns Save Life members if they would be willing to donate a brick or more .22 ammo to the UIUC Navy/Marine Corps shooting program to help tomorrow’s military officers. It does not have to be match grade or premium ammo. ‘Value pack’ rimfire ammo works just fine for their purposes.
If you have some rimfire ammo you could donate, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or bring it to upcoming GSL meetings. Gunnery Sergeant Berryhill will serve as our featured speaker at the April GSL meeting in Rantoul if you would like to meet him or drop it off to him in person.
He will be unavailable this summer due to a temporary duty assignment but we’ll likely invite him to appear at Charleston or other regional meetings this fall to give an update.
For GSL members in other regions, bring your extra .22s to your nearest meeting and leave it with myself or the regional director. We’ll make sure the ROTC peeps get it.