Calvin Mauser-Remington III
Arthur von Boennighausen
My new Friend and Master Carpenter Calvin Mauser-Remington III and I were getting to know one another while working together on our new home at the 1640 acre Sierra Mojada Ranch near the Village of Westcliffe, Colorado. Calvin had spent twenty-nine years in the Army as a Sniper; after being initially trained at Fort Boennig, Georgia.
Calvin had spent so many years in Vietnam looking through the telescopic sights of his special Sniper's rifle that even today, twenty-nine years later, Calvin cocks his head to the side and looks at people mostly with his right eye as if he were getting a bead on you with his rifle.
"How long were you in Vietnam?" I asked Calvin.
"Three years, two months, four days, six minutes and twelve seconds" Calvin replied quickly.
"And I understand that you were a deputy sheriff after that. How long were you a deputy sheriff?" I asked to lead Calvin into my next question.
"Twenty six years, three months, two days, twelve minutes and four seconds." Calvin instantly replied.
"And how long have you been promising us that you will finish the carpentry work on our new home?" I asked innocently.
"How would I know, I don't keep track of time like that!" Calvin gruffly replied after choking on the Pepsi Cola that he was drinking.
"Did you receive any advanced training from the Army?" I asked. "Sure, I took a class in boasting at Fort Bragg" Calvin quipped.
"I was serious, where did you Learn to shoot so well" I asked seriously.
"I Learned to shoot after I joined the Army" Calvin explained. "We were sent to Advanced Rifle Training School in Westcliffe, Colorado under the guidance of the legendary Baron Alton von Todenhaupt who was from Germany. We were told that von Todenhaupt's close Friends were invited to call him by his nickname of "Windy"; which we understood to be a reference to his natural German ability to tell tall tales."
Baron von Todenhaupt's approach to developing our skills as marksmen revolved around attempting to shoot tree squirrels while imposing more and more difficult criteria for what counted as a clean shot.
At first, it was enough for us to hunt the squirrels with a small caliber rifle; preferably a 22 rimfire made by Anschutz of Germany.... no shotguns were allowed. After a while this would seem too easy so Baron von Todenhaupt made the game more difficult by making up a rule for us that we had to kill the squirrel while it was in a tree. Then he made up a series of increasingly difficult rules where you had to use a small caliber rifle, kill the squirrel in a tree and use only one bullet.
As the training went by he just kept making up more rules to keep the game challenging. After many weeks of training; in order to get credit for killing a squirrel you had to do things like kill the squirrel in a tree with a small caliber rifle, use only one bullet and hit the squirrel while it was jumping from limb to limb.... just killing the squirrel with a single small caliber bullet in a tree was not enough to count according to Baron von Todenhaupt; the squirrel had to be jumping through the air from limb to limb.
The months went by and Baron von Todenhaupt would tell us what the latest rules were.... I remember the week when you had to kill the squirrel with a small caliber rifle while the squirrel was in a tree with one bullet while the squirrel jumped from limb to limb and you had to wait until the squirrel had a Hickory nut in it's mouth and you had to limit yourself to shooting the nut in the squirrels mouth and having the bullet explode the nut which would kill the squirrel.
One day after not seeing Baron von Todenhaupt for a few weeks we ran into him at a trailhead just as he was finishing his day of training by hunting squirrels.
"What was the criteria today for making a Good shot?" We asked Baron von Todenhaupt.
"Today, I set for myself the stiffest criteria that I could Imagine." Baron von Todenhaupt replied. "In order to be able to claim I had made a Good shot today, I had to shoot the Hickory nut in the mouth of eight squirrels while they were jumping back and forth in the limbs of a tree with a single bullet from a small caliber rifle AND I had to kill all eight squirrels with a single shot."
"Aaah....... Baron von Todenhaupt, you have gone tooooo far with your tall tales about training to be a Sniper" Calvin moaned. "No one could kill eight squirrels at once with a single shot of a 22 caliber rifle while they were jumping back and forth between the limbs of a tree by hitting the Hickory nut in their mouths."
"Sure you can Calvin" Baron von Todenhaupt replied. "You just have to wait until eight squirrels in a single tree all get nuts in their mouth to eat and start jumping back and forth among the limbs of the tree. By being patient, you time the jumping until all the nuts in the mouths of the squirrels are lined up in a row, then you shoot."
As I shook my head in dis-belief, Baron von Todenhaupt reached into his game pouch and neatly laid eight squirrels on the ground at my feet.... you could still see the pieces of Hickory nut that had exploded from the single bullet embedded in all their heads.
Calvin Mauser-Remington's story was a Good one.... the folks at Fort Bragg had taught him well..... no one could out boast or out shoot Calvin.... During the course of the day, we heard many more "Sniper" stories from Calvin Mauser-Remington III...... Some of which were even true!
Arthur von Boennighausen @ The Sierra Mojada Ranch