November 15, 2011
M1 for Vets is a unique and brilliant idea. From personal experience the project has aided my recovery tremendously. I was injured in Afghanistan in 2007. Specifically, the trigger finger of my shooting hand was blown off due to an ammunition explosion. Therapy and surgery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center gave me the use of my hand again... and the first weapon I fired was an M1 Garand through M1 for Vets!
M1 for Vets reinstalled my confidence that I could resume service to my country. An M1 Garand is much more than a historical battle rifle. It was a bridge from patriotic riflemen to carry me over troubled waters and in doing so a tremendous aid in my recovery as a soldier and as a responsible citizen.
I have completed 2 tours or overseas combat duty since my involvement in M1 for Vets. Each day I pick up my duty rifle I owe a measure of gratitude to M1 for Vets for getting my sights back behind the trigger. Whether on patrol in hostile environs or at home on the KD range, M1 for Vets has made a positive mark on the recovery of our wounded men and women in uniform.
Hitting your mark brings satisfaction to any shooter of any ability. M1 for Vets makes this a possibility for our wounded warriors with conviction, support, and pride. I am honored to be counted among the recipients of the program, and honored to continue my service to our nation.
SFC Ceamus McDermott
C 1/20 SFG (A)
De Opresso Liber
August 8, 2008
In case LTC(R) Don Merritt in Owensville, MO, didn't tell you, I made it
back to Iraq. I am sitting in my office in Balad right now typing this.
Although I still can't shoot a rifle worth a crud, I qualified with my
M9 9mm pistol and am doing just fine.
I have noticed it is a lot quieter this time around.
I can't give enough thanks to everyone that helped me get back to doing
some of the things I love and are a part of me. All the way from the ER
docs and nurses in Balad when I first showed up, to the ENTIRE crew at
WRAMC, Cindy with OSC, you all with M1 for Vets, and even Camp Hope in
Thanks for letting a blind man see the target again.
Joseph C. Bogart
M-1 for Vets has been an awesome life experience. I’ve been honored to be both a shooter and a coach for various wounded warrior shoots.
I started my career as a sniper and got involved with doing competitive shooting but as the war progressed as did my deployment schedule shooting fell to the way side. In 2006 I was wounded in Afghanistan and spent a few months recovering my injuries. I left the fleet in order to recoup and get back into things. During this time is where I found my way into M-1 for Vets. Not only did this experience get me back into shooting but more importantly for me it allowed me to get around guys who have been in my same situation. The most meaning part of the entire program is hanging out with the group who all our just good people.
To date the best part of this has been coaching a wounded hero with no legs, a TBI or other injuries behind my rifle I received as a way to give back. To me, helping using my M-1 and knowing how I felt the first time I got back into shooting is what these guys feel also is priceless. Going out to the range and just getting away from it all for a little bit is what makes it all worth it as does belonging to the program. The entire experience of a day or weekend spent with the program is never a disappointment. You can imagine how sitting around a sharing this experience with those who have been injured can help in their recover process both physically and even more import….mentally!
Of course none of this could be possible if it wasn’t for JJ and the guys who volunteer their time to come out and assist and bring all their stories with them too which is fun to just sit back and listen. I always look forward to an M-1 for Vets event and look to try and see when I can help out as well.
Respectfully,Gunner David Tomlinson
Cpl Neil Frustaglio USMC/RET
Neil served with 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, Lima Company in Iraq in 2005. He was wounded in an IED blast, resulting in the loss of both of his legs above the knee and 3rd degree burns. He became involved with M1 for Vets early on, as one of the first team members to go to Camp Perry in 2006. Since then he has enjoyed much more of what the shooting sports have to offer him as a wounded veteran. Neil also serves as a Veterans Representative for Homes For Our Troops, and is a VFW, DAV, and NRA life member.
The 2012 Camp Perry trip meant so much to me. I hadn't been around a rifle or gun since I had left the military in 2008 because of the bad memories that it had left me with. The smell of the gun powder alone sent me back to Iraq and gave me horrible thoughts. But I was at ease at Camp Perry with my fellow veterans and I found that I enjoyed shooting just as much as I did when I was in. And I especially liked that I got to try a wide variety of new rifles that I would probably never shoot because I had been hiding from it and continue to hide if it were not for this program.
"Don't let what you can't do stop you from doing what you can do"
I have been fortunate enough to be a member of the M1 for Vets Rifle Team since 2009. The benefits that I have because of the catharsis of the shooting sports are immeasurable. When I received my M1 it changed my life. To know that someone cared enough to recognize me made a world of difference in my outlook. I have come from the edge of catastrophe in my life to a fulfillment and happiness that I could not imagine having just a few short years ago. The sacrifices and contributions made in order to support me and my fellow teammates allow us to enjoy the company of fellow combat veterans for a very special week during the year. Many of us see it as a deeply therapeutic experience and I for one am grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of such a special group of men and women. Over the past few years since being a part of the team I have been able to change my life considerably by going to college and becoming a better person after my experiences and difficulties after combat and being wounded.
Camp Perry is a place that has special meaning for people and I am no different. Having been injured in Iraq in 2007 and then retired in 2009, my way of life was suddenly turned upside down. Camp Perry has the ability to give a small piece of that life back. It makes you realize there are many individuals that have some of the same issues, going about life and enjoying every moment. It allows you to renew old friendships and make new life long ones. It has allowed me to find enjoyment where mental and physical pain once resided. On a warm summer day with hundreds of competitors on line, the crack of the rifles, the smell of gunpowder, and the breeze off the lake, I am at peace with myself. It has allowed me put a piece of my soul back together after being lost. It’s a place of healing and with every shooter holding a piece of our history it allows me to say thanks to those that came before, those that I have served, and a special thanks to all our personnel that paid the ultimate price.
I've been involved with M1 for VETS for several years now and every year it becomes a bigger and more important part of my physical and emotional rehabilitation as well as my life. I lost my right hand in Iraq in 2007 while serving with the United States Army as an Infantryman with the 3rd Infantry Division. M1 for VETS has provided me with an opportunity to not only compete in competitive marksmanship, but to compete with myself. To find the best way possible for me to adapt to my injuries, push through them and overcome my adversity. The National Matches at Camp Perry, OH is the high point of my year. I look forward to it all year and train hard to perform at my best. 2012 was the best yet for me as I earned my first EIC points. But it's not just the shooting at Camp Perry that makes it mean so very much to me. It's the opportunity to meet new people in the shooting community and meet my fellow wounded Brothers and Sisters that really makes the experience what it is. It's more than just a Rifle Match, it's the best phycological and physical therapy session i could ever hope to find. I've met people that I will call friend the rest of my life. Individuals, groups and organizations I never would have had the pleasure to meet if it weren't for M1 for VETS and had I not been provided the opportunity and had the honor to attend. I am extraordinarily grateful for the chance to shoot at Camp Perry with M1 for VETS. I cannot thank each and every person that has made this possible and helped us along the way enough. It's your support to M1 for VETS and M1 for VETS dedication to the Wounded Veteran that has gotten me to a place no doctor, therapy or medication ever could, to instill a sense of pride in self I haven't felt since my injury and its For these reasons, I am eternally grateful.
SGT Robert Evans
U.S. Army (RET)