Robert Shainline
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Saturday January 29, 2011

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I live fairly close to the Rotonda Golf & Country Club in Rotonda... 
and it is normally a very quiet area at 7:30 in the morning.  But this day...
I woke up abruptly to what sounded like 50 caliber machine gun fire and some small explosions that sounded very much like hand grenades. 
I knew that it only meant the wounded warrior project was commencing at the Rotonda Hills Country Club because I was planning to photograph it... but I'm sure it was a very upsetting sound to my neighbor who came out of his house ducking down to the loud automatic rat-tat-tat... ra-tat-tat as he peeked up the street around the corner of his garage.

In the distance I recognize this hot air balloon as a recon lookout searching the area for the enemy...

And a few minutes later I get this really overwhelming feeling as I photograph this Classic Army plane as it approached the balloon...

And I get this horrible FLASHBACK to September 11, 2001... 
as the hair on my arms and the back of my neck stood up... 
and I felt the urge to cry.


September 11, 2001

And suddenly I realized the true nature of this
and how important it is to have our guys out there fighting on their ground... rather than waiting for them to attack us here. 

And how important it is that we support these men and women
that have given up a nice secure"normal"  life... for something quite different... just to protect us.

The NJROTC Color guard performed the opening ceremonies

This 1966 fully loaded and ready for combat Jeep was the hit of the party...  and included rifles and grenades attached to the dashboard.
(that'd be a nice option for the 2012 models too... don't you think?  :)

But it was this 50 caliber machine gun mounted on the top that really made it stand out.  And even though it was not really shooting bullets... the sound that it made would rival reality. 
It actually had a propane and oxygen injection system that made it 
sound very real without disbursing any lead into the neighborhood :)

But this day was also about golf... and Greg Rineer, the chairman for this project got things rolling with a very appropriate... Shotgun Start


Explosives were being set off around the course all day long... 
This one just happened to leave a very distinct circle of smoke in he sky

The #1 tee was set up in a jungle of plants 
just to make things interesting

The grass still covered with dew at 8:30 am on a beautiful sunny day

The games went on and I drove my cart around the course 
looking for some interesting photographs to share with you

The Hills Course is one of the most beautiful courses in the area

Further down the course I found this young lady serving up some Screwballs for the players to try.  Actually a brass screw in the ball that can make it quite uncontrollable if not hit perfectly straight

Beer, wine and other refreshments were set up all around the course... for a small donation to help this project raise some money for our troops

About 11 a.m. some planes showed up and flew over the Hills 
and the Palms courses many times as a show of dedication


This make-shift mine field on #2 made things more interesting...

Fishnets and chicken wire and bags of sand blocked the hole from 
almost every direction and made it seem more like a miniature golf course

The wounded Warriors
looked on...


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Not sure how the WWII German Colonal fit into this theme... 
but he came fully dressed and ready to fight for our side

Explosives going off anywhere... anytime... kept you remembering 

Some of the wildlife you might encounter on the Rotonda Golf Courses... 

Back at the club house the ROTC girls were setting up for a light lunch

From there I decided to go over to the Palms Course 
and see what activities they had going

First group I came upon were these fighting soldiers 
performing near one of the greens. 

Fully decked out and firing real, but blank cartridges

Hiding at the edge of the green was this gas powered 30 cal. machine gun waiting for some unsuspecting golfers.. while others did some reenactments of some real battle situations


Had some fun with this guy in a gas mask... as they set off a multitude of
smoke grenades so that I could 
get a more interesting picture

In the end I think this was the best shot

They even allowed me to try out that 30 caliber machine gun... 
And play with a few of these not-so-real hand grenades...
which reminded me of nother interesting FLASHBACK in my life. 

Back in the 70's I was quite a wheeler dealer and used to 
buy and sell all kinds of things...
and I was once offered a case of real hand grenades 
packed in straw in a wooden box for $1500. 

Looking back I kinda wish I would have purchased them... 
as I can think of more than a few times in the past 40 years 
where I really, really, really could have used one :) 
How about you?

Hindsight  20/20  :)  Right?

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I found this group interestingly different.  Asked them if they were 
playing golf or duck hunting :)  I did like their camo shirts 

A few of the folks on the Palms Course that were working 
their tails off offering refreshments to the players

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Meanwhile... back at the Hills Course they were serving lunch

This nurse says she worked hard to earn her wings :)

And the NCO Club was open for business
Interesting paper weight don't you think?

Gotta love those girls in uniform


Four paratroopers fell from the sky about 2 in the afternoon

After the paratroopers landed,  there was a skirmish over by the #1 tee...
German forces tried approaching from the north...
But the US forces held them back and 
advanced through the smoke of the battle

And you know what that means !

The only survivor...  Smart kid I presume.


50/50 tickets help to raise more $$$ for the cause that benefits the severely injured service men and women returning from the current military conflicts abroad

A few casual portraits


Special thanks to Dave Kelly, General manager of the 
Rotonda Golf  & Country Club

Also Special Thanks to the Lemon Bay High School NJROTC
for all their assistance in this project

Closing ceremonies were by the 
Florida Brass Alumni Drum & Bugle Corps
out of Lakeland Florida.  Very entertaining group.





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In conclusion I'd like to take a moment to remind everyone that there are millions of people in the world who wake up to the sound of gunfire and explosions every single day... only with real bullets... and real explosives. And they have no way to even protect themselves.

While I was at this event, I spoke to a Charlotte County Police Officer and jokingly said "I guess you got a lot of calls today about gunfire and such"... and he laughed and said.  "Yeah... hundreds"

And it made me realize how insecure most American's are these days.
We have one security blanket over another and another and don't give a darn about anything because we expect our governments to protect us.

We'll just call the cops.  We'll just report you to the home owners association... and have everything cozy and secure with one phone call.

Personally... I think they should drive this Jeep and fire this 50 caliber gun in every neighborhood in the US so that people can at least understand that if it weren't for our troops out there fighting on foreign soil... it would only be a matter of time till we were fighting on ours... and hearing this gun going off   rat-tat-tat   rat-tat-tat-tat... and feeling the power it unleashes might help them to realize the situation that we and our military are in. 

Please support our troops.

Your grand children are depending on them !

Thanks to everyone that participated.

Robert Shainline  CTR-3 
USN  - Vietnam Era

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