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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • VINTAGE CHRISTMAS ART

Victory Corps: 1942

Victory Corps: 1942

August 1942. "Training in marksmanship helps girls at Roosevelt High School in Los Angeles develop into responsible women. Part of Victory Corps activities there, rifle practice encourages girls to be accurate in handling firearms. Practicing on the rifle range in the school's basement." Large format acetate negative by Alfred Palmer for the Office of War Information. View full size.

 

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Sure had no lockers like that in my parents' basement

But otherwise the shooting range my Dad set up for me when I was ten or so served a similar purpose. Our house had a 90-foot long basement so my Stevens pump action rifle and the .22 short rounds he restricted me to worked OK. At the far end was a thick block of wood, probably two feet square and eight inches thick, backed by a steel plate angled down from the top with the bottom of the plate far to the rear. This was to deflect rounds downward if necessary.

Well, eventually I shot the center of the block out and one day wondered what else would make a nice target in the basement. Over to my right was my Mom's pantry, loaded with shelves of canned goods. Even a .22 short can go all the way through a can of beans if you're close enough. What I viewed as a relatively small number of punctured cans marked the parental closing of my personal shooting range. My time wasn't all lost; not too many years later the shooting skill that basement helped me begin to develop got me an Expert Marksman medal in my army basic training at Ft. Knox. The beans' sacrifice was not in vain.

Still no eye or ear protection afforded

At Scout Camp in the mid-50's, even the pallets look the same!

Re: Very Brave

No eye or ear protection because they didn't concern themselves with things like that during the war. These guns were only .22 rifles; with minimal chance of a gun blowback and no loud retort. The local gun club I belong to has a tremendous youth/junior shooter program; the protective gear we require the competitors to wear, is mostly due to what we've learned over the last 70+ years since this photo was taken.

"Attention students"

The track team is needed in the basement for short sprints.

Enduring Hair Styles

Mom, who is a contemporary of these young ladies, continued to wear variants of these two hairstyles up until the early 1980s.

I should also mention how photos like these impacted her. She realized that there were new roles for women, and she hoped to be a fighter pilot. (She loved airplanes, and she still has a lot of drawings she did at the time.) While that particular dream did not materialize, it was at least a dream she was allowed to have, unlike my grandmothers' contemporaries.

Very Brave

No hearing protection, no eye protection. At least it was bolt action so hot brass didn't end up somewhere very uncomfortable.

M2 Springfield

That's a M2 Springfield .22 caliber "training rifle", manufactured by the U.S. Government at Springfield Arsenal. It was designed as a miniature version of the M1903 .30 caliber Springfield, which was used a combat rifle in both World Wars. The M2 was and is a beautifully made rifle, superbly accurate, and often fetching well north of $1000 apiece in today's market. More here.

It Came From The Home-Ec Room

This picture lacks only cheerleaders and vampires. Or zombies.

Your papers are not in order!

Hall Pass enforcement was rather stringent back then.

Tough School

Cover me while I make a dash for math class!

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