Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"President Roosevelt made his plea for training the youth of the country in the use of firearms..."


   Seattle is probably the first city in the country to take up President Roosevelt's suggestion to teach th[e] young men and school boys of the country how to shoot so that they will be prepared in case of war, says the Seattle Times. Two days after the president had made the suggestion in his annual message to congress, Captain Frank H. Lord, curator of grounds and buildings at the University of Washington, began the organization of a rifle club at the institution.

   The enrollment has already reache[d] 132 members. Among those who have joined are Merle Thorpe, instructor in journalism, and Henry L. Bowlby, instructor in civil engineering. Bowlby is a former student at West Point. Lieutenant E. C. Hanford, has agreed to take charge of the organization, which is to be formed into a battalion. Hanford is a graduate of West Point and is now a resident of Seattle.

   Captain Lord has sent an application to the secretary of war for guns and ammunition with which to equip the men. No further progress in this organization can be made until a reply is received. In view of the president's attitude in the matter, it is believed the request will be granted.

   Col. T. C. Woodbury, commander at Fort Lawton, has offered to detail a couple of the officers of the Third infantry to give the men instruction in the use of the army rifles. It is also thought the war department will give the university students permission to practice on the new target range at Fort Lawton, which, when completed, will be one of the finest on the coast. It is thought the work will be finished by next March, and in the meantime the students may make use of the p[r]esent 300-yard range on the beach below the post.

   President Ro[o]sevelt made his plea for training the youth of the country in the use of firearms because of the fact that American boys, owing to the growth of the cities, do not get the experience in shooting that they formerly did, and require training in that direction. He mentioned this fact after stating that the regular army is so small that the country must depend upon its volunteer troops to do most of the fighting in case of war, and that the men who will compose these volunteer military organizations should be given as much preliminary training as possible.

   Brig. Gen. D. H. Brush, commander of the Department of the Columbia, advocated the same plan when he recently visited Seattle.
[The Wenatchee Daily World, Wenatchee, Washington, Thursday, December 24, 1908. Vol. No. 149. Pg. 8]

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