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There is no deal at the goose…

So, unless you have your head under a rock, you probably know big box sporting goods dealer Gander Mountain is on the ropes and on Friday announced a liquidation sale at all of their stores.

How many stores?

This many (126):

So I visited my local Gander to see if there were, in fact, any deals to be had.

While the apparel, fishing, and camping gear was marked down 10-30 percent, there was no mark down on their already high (close to if not exceeding MSRP) prices on new guns and ammo.

Talk about a bummer.

Speaking to the gun guys in the back, I was told that sometime next week after inventory they may start marking down guns and ammo. I would imagine a big FFL would come in and offer one price for the whole lot across 126 stores, which, if you imagine there are a good 500~ or so guns at each location, would be on the order of 60,000~ guns, which is likely the purpose of the very specific gun and ammo inventory and no mark down. Of course, that is just my speculation, and if I see/hear otherwise, I will pass it on.

In the meantime, it is not hard to see why they went belly up by perusing their used gun section.

They had a Yugo SKS for $499, a sporterized (!) Enfield .303 for $399, a VZ 52– with the really bad Century black paint coating they used to cover up just how bad the wood was on import — for $599, and a rack of Swiss K31s with dark bores for $499. Friggen yikes.

Sorry in advance for the crappy phone pics.

I bought several K31s for $149 when they were first imported. $499 is pretty high on these and they have several.

These weren’t even a deal a decade ago, at any price

Monte Carlo sporter stock….$399. Come on

In the end, I feel bad for Gander’s workforce. Their company let them down with a bad model and really could have done better, especially with the unprecedented gun sales of the past eight years.

Here endeth the lesson

Wentworth Military Academy and College dates back to 1880, but will not date to 2018

Administrators say a 137-year-old Missouri military academy and college will close after next month because of declining enrollment, rising costs and aging facilities.

Wentworth Military Academy and College’s board chairman and president announced the closure, effective May 31, in letters Friday to cadets, students, parents and alumni.

The letter to alumni says the site in Lexington about 50 miles east of Kansas City will pay its debts and liquidate its assets as part of “an orderly closure.”

From the school

APRIL 7, 2017 – The Board of Trustees of Wentworth Military Academy and College announces that the school will cease all educational and related operations at its campus located in Lexington, Missouri, and its learning site in Cameron, Missouri, at the end of this academic year, which falls on May 31, 2017. Key educational and school-related activities – including the Military Ball, commencement ceremonies, and the commissioning of new officers – will proceed as previously scheduled.

The closing of the school and the winding down of its operations will take place in an orderly manner, and Wentworth will make every effort to assist students and their parents in effecting the students’ smooth transition to other educational institutions.

The Board has directed the officers of the school to take all necessary and proper actions to cease all educational and related operations at the school’s Lexington campus, as well as to initiate the process of dissolving the school corporation and liquidating all corporate assets in accordance with the Bylaws of the corporation and Missouri legal requirements. The school has retained the law firm of Husch Blackwell LLP to provide legal advice and counsel with respect to the cessation of operations and pending dissolution.

There are no plans at present for the school’s facilities at the Lexington campus.

ANZAC: The first to fall, 102 years ago today

This image is available from the Collection Database of the Australian War Memorial under the ID Number: P05717.001. Caption by British and Commonwealth Forces

Group portrait of the Australian 11th (Western Australia) Battalion, 3rd Infantry Brigade, Australian Imperial Force posing on the Great Pyramid of Giza on 10 January 1915, prior to the landing at Gallipoli. In just a few months, many of these faces would be no more.

The 11th Battalion did much of their war training in Egypt and would be amongst the first to land on April 25, 1915.

In the five days following the landing, the battalion suffered 378 casualties, over one-third of its strength.


The 11th Battalion, from Western Australia, came ashore not at Anzac Cove, but on the beach beneath the slopes leading down from Ari Burnu Point and Plugge’s Plateau. Among the first to fall was Captain William Annear, 11th Battalion, of Subiaco, Western Australia. He was shot as he came up onto Plugge’s Plateau after the hard climb from the beach. Charles Bean described the scene:

The first Australians clambered out on to the small plateau … heavy fire still met the Australians appearing over the rim of the plateau, and was sufficient to force the first men to take what cover they could on the seaward edge … Captain Annear was hit through the head and lay there, the first Australian officer to be killed.

[Charles Bean, The Story of Anzac, Vol 1, ‘The Landing at Gaba Tepe’, Sydney, 1941, p.259]

Later, as the men of the 11th Battalion struggled up towards the heights of Chunuk Bair they met strong Turkish opposition around the slopes of a hill called Baby 700. Another young officer was killed there: Second Lieutenant Mordaunt Reid, of Coolgardie, Western Australia. Reid had been sent across the Nek with a small party to assist in the advance up the range:

Lieutenant Mordaunt Reid, who was carefully controlling the fire from the right of [the] line, was severely hit through the thigh. One of his men went to help him crawl to the rear, but Reid was never thereafter seen or heard of by his battalion.

[Charles Bean, The Story of Anzac, Vol 1, ‘The Landing at Gaba Tepe’, Sydney, 1941, p.290]

Remembering Turret 2


If you are near San Pedro tomorrow, stop by the museum ship USS Iowa where they will be having their annual Turret 2 Remembrance ceremony.

One of the worst peacetime accidents in modern Naval history, the turret explosion occurred in the Number Two 16-inch gun turret on 19 April 1989, claiming 47 lives. 


Michael Shannon Justice, Seaman (SN), Matewan, WV
Edward J. Kimble, Seaman (SN), Ft. Stockton, TX
Richard E. Lawrence, Gunners Mate 3rd class (GM3), Springfield, OH
Richard John Lewis, Fire Controlman, Seaman Apprentice (FCSA), Northville, MI
Jose Luis Martinez Jr., Seaman Apprentice (SA), Hidalgo, TX
Todd Christopher McMullen, Boatswains Mate 3rd class (BM3), Manheim, PA
Todd Edward Miller, Seaman Recruit (SR), Ligonier, PA
Robert Kenneth Morrison, Legalman 1st class (LN1), Jacksonville, FL
Otis Levance Moses, Seaman (SN), Bridgeport, CN
Darin Andrew Ogden, Gunners Mate 3rd class (GM3), Shelbyville, IN
Ricky Ronald Peterson, Seaman (SN), Houston, MN
Mathew Ray Price, Gunners Mate 3rd class (GM3), Burnside, PA
Harold Earl Romine Jr., Seaman Recruit (SR), Brandenton, FL
Geoffrey Scott Schelin, Gunners Mate 3rd class (GMG3), Costa Mesa, CA
Heath Eugene Stillwagon, Gunners Mate 3rd class (GM3), Connellsville, PA
Todd Thomas Tatham, Seaman Recruit (SR), Wolcott, NY
Jack Ernest Thompson, Gunners Mate 3rd class (GM3), Greeneville, TN
Stephen J. Welden, Gunners Mate 2nd class (GM2), Yukon, OK
James Darrell White, Gunners Mate 3rd class (GM3), Norwalk, CA
Rodney Maurice White, Seaman Recruit (SR), Louisville, KY
Michael Robert Williams, Boatswains Mate 2nd class (BM2), South Shore, KY
John Rodney Young, Seaman (SN), Rockhill, SC
Reginald Owen Ziegler, Senior Chief Gunners Mate (GMCS), Port Gibson, NY

A dream no more

Irish Warship L.É. AISLING, 2006 armed with Bofors L70 40mm & 20mm GAMBO's Via Shipspotting

Irish Warship L.É. AISLING, 2006 armed with Bofors L70 40mm & 20mm GAMBO’s Via Shipspotting

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Btw.

Named after a style of visionary dream poem, the former Irish Navy’s Emer-class 1,000-ton offshore patrol vessel LÉ Aisling (P23) will be put up for auction at the Carrigaline Court Hotel on March 23rd where Cork auctioneer Dominic Daly will seek to obtain the best price for the State for the ship.

One of four Irish Naval Services ships to be built at Verolme Cork Dockyard (and the last greyhull to leave that yard), LÉ Aisling commissioned in 1980 and was stricken last June after over 35 years of service.

Armed with a single 40mm Bofors L70, a couple of 20mm GAMBO cannon and some 7.62mm GPMGs, Aisling made a name for herself in a running battle with the Spanish fishing trawler Sonia (330-tons) in 1984, firing 600~ rounds in warning shots while the Spanish vessel attempted repeatedly to ram. Sonia later sank after Aisling broke contact.

The same year she captured the trawler Marita Ann, sailing with 160 guns (including some stolen M2 Brownings via National Guard armories) and 71,000 rounds of ammo aboard rumored to have been sent to the IRA by connections of Whitey Bulger.

She also responded to the Air India Flight 182 disaster and others lost at sea.

The 214-foot Aisling reportedly put in 628,856 nautical miles in her 35 years and thought was given to making her a museum ship, though that has apparently fallen through.

She is the last of her class in Ireland.

Class leader LÉ Emer (P21) commissioned into the Nigerian Navy as a training ship and renamed NNS Prosperity in 2015 after a Nigerian businessman’s scheme to use her as a personal yacht fell through. Sister LÉ Aoife (P22) was donated to Malta in 2015 to help that country pluck migrant refugees from the Med. The half-sister and prototype to the Emer-class, the one-off Deirdre (P20), was stricken in 2003 and, after a career as a yacht, was scrapped in Florida in 2014.

Somewhere, Mr. Clark is disappointed

This may surprise you, but as a kid, I was a huge Tom Clancy junkie. No, really. I really dug Clear and Present Danger in 1989, when I was just a high school freshman, and thought the international man of mystery, CIA direct action guy and former NSWG type “John Clark” was about as good as it got without going full-on Mack Bolan.

When the film came out in 1994 (which didn’t do it justice) actor Willem Dafoe played Clark, which I thought was a good choice, and when Clark got boots on the ground in the film in Colombia with that snazzy OA-93 5.56mm pistol, I thought the weapon was a great fit.

That OA-93, though.

That OA-93, though.

Manufactured by Washington-based Olympic Arms, the OA-93 was one of the first reliable AR-pattern pistols that didn’t have a huge buffer tube. It was a trendsetter

Well ladies and germs, after generations in the AR-15 and 1911 business, Olympia, Washington-based Olympic Arms announced last week they will be closing their doors next month.

“After more than 40 years of business, it is with great sorrow that we announce that February 28th, 2017 will be the last day of operation for Olympic Arms, Inc,” noted the company on social media.

The sad run down over in my column at

Museum ships don’t age well

Constructed of steel by the lowest bidder, warships have a finite lifespan, especially when semi-preserved as museum ships.

In Florida, Palm Beach County Commissioners voted to use $1 million in funds to jump-start a project to sink the Balao-class submarine USS Clamagore (SS-343) about a mile off the coast of Juno Beach. She is the only known surviving example of a GUPPY type submarine

According to the Sun Sentinel, the WWII submarine has been at Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum near Charleston, S.C. since 1981 and needs a $6 million refirb to keep her there, and annual upkeep of $250,000. Turning her into a reef is cheaper.

In South Korea, the Gearing-class destroyer ex-USS William R. Rush (DD-714), transferred in 1978 under the terms of the Security Assistance Program as ROKS Kang Won (DD-922), arrived at Busan Dadaepo port for dismantling last month after 16 years as a pier-side museum ship.


Rush, soon to be recycled.

This leaves Eversole, Everett Larson, Sarsfield, Rogers, Orleck, and J. P. Kennedy of that class still afloat.

Meanwhile, in Bremerton, the museum ship USS Turner Joy (DD-951) is set to get an $800,000 spruce up in dry dock. A Forrest Sherman-class destroyer decommissioned in 1982, Turner Joy gave a lot of hard service in Vietnam and can use the TLC. (Photo: Meegan M. Reid / Kitsap Sun)

(Photo: Meegan M. Reid / Kitsap Sun)


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