The president of Big Rack Trophy Club in Littleton, North Carolina, hosted a duck hunt with Freedom Alliance for service members. Greg, a retired firefighter from Camp Lejeune, is donating five hunts this year and this was the first.
It was a diverse gathering of hunters: three Marines—one active duty, another from the Wounded Warrior Battalion, and the third medically retired; two Special Forces soldiers; and two college ROTC cadets, who will be commissioned in May.
Kevin is recently retired from the Marine Corps after an explosive device wrecked the vehicle he was in while deployed. He brought along his new black Labrador Retriever, Hannah, and a fellow Marine named Mike, who works the rifle range at Camp Lejeune.
Mike joined the service in the 1990s, then rejoined during the War on Terror, making him older than most Marines of his rank; thus he’s come by the affectionate nickname of “Grandpa.”
Marine Staff Sergeant Joe is being treated at the Wounded Warrior Battalion for a traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, and back injuries resulting from four combat deployments.
Joe experienced some anxiety about attending the hunt, since he’s not gone anywhere without his family in nearly a year. At the conclusion of the weekend, however, he was keen, saying, “I’m really glad I came out here.”
Special Forces soldiers Matt and Jim each have over 20 years of service in Special Operations.
Captain and commanding officer of a National Guard Special Forces unit based out of Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, Matt has been deployed three times; during a night operation in Afghanistan, he fell 20 feet off the side of a steep mountain.
Matt’s friend Chief Warrant Officer Jim is stationed at Fort Bragg’s JFK Special Warfare Center. He is a Silver Star recipient for actions in 2006 while deployed to Iraq.
In addition to Jim, Matt, who is a big believer in the importance of mentoring, brought with him two avid duck hunters and ROTC cadets from NC State.
This was the company that rose before dawn on Saturday morning to arrive at two separate hunting sites—a duck impoundment on a farm and a spacious swamp location—by 5:30. After hunting under the light of a full moon and into the early sunrise, the gang took a break back at the clubhouse.
While Big Rack Trophy Club members prepared lunch, Greg presented the hunters with gifts from Rig ’Em Right Waterfowl—packages valued at more than $100 each, including hats, floating gun cases, and decoy bags.
In the afternoon, the hunting party headed back out to the swamp, where our guide, Marine veteran Bob, navigated the canoe to ideal positions. Small flocks of ducks and geese flew over, much to the delight of our service members.
Once the hunters ran out of daylight, Freedom Alliance took everybody to a local steakhouse for dinner to conclude this thrilling weekend hunt.
Thanks to Greg and Big Rack Trophy Club members, who donated their time, ammunition, and food, these service members (and eager retriever Hannah!) enjoyed an ideal duck hunt with lots of perks.