Itasca Gun Club D Day Match

On June 2, 2024, Itasca Gun Club hosted its annual D Day Match. This was held on a Sunday so the match could be on a weekend.  This match is a few years old and was started up and is run by club volunteers.  It’s one good way to commemorate D Day and those who fought.  Details about the courses of fire are on our calendar (offhand, sitting, kneeling, prone). 

This is a sociable match that runs from about 10 AM – 4 PM.  The morning match is for people (owning or borrowing) period bolt action rifles, and the afternoon match is for period autoloading rifles.  (Any wood stock bolt action military rifles pre-1950, or any wood stock autoloading military rifle.) 

People with WWII equipment usually bring some of it for display.  This year one member wore an example of the full kit used by his dad when he jumped over Normandy just after midnight June 6, 1944.  Walter Mainerich Sr. was in the 101st US Airborne Paratroopers (Screaming Eagles), 501st Regiment.  This year, Walter Mainerich Jr. wore the jumpsuit and some of the equipment used by paratroopers, right down to the clicker used for recognition signals by the 101st and the Mohawk haircut chosen by a lot of the troopers for the jump.  He also brought a map that Walter Sr. drew of his jump area, including the flight path of his plane, locations where some others of his stick of ~20 troopers landed and the cow he avoided landing on. 

Walter Sr. was his squad’s grenadier and demolitions man.  He was so overloaded with explosives that he packed his rifle in an equipment bundle, and after landing, had to retrieve his rifle from the bundle that landed near him. He used an M1903 bolt action rifle, because each squad needed some rifle grenadiers, and the Army had not yet started seriously producing a grenade launcher kit for the M1 Garand.  After D Day Walter transitioned to the M1919 .30 cal. machine gun.  Walter “Chetnik” Mainerich (PFC) made it home in late 1945 and made it over 70 more years, dying in 2017 at 95 years old.  One photo shows him when he was Grand Marshal of the 2016 Moonlight Graham Days Parade in Chisholm, and one photo shows him holding a photo of himself, holding a photo of himself, holding a photo of himself in his official service photo.

We invite all Gun Club members, their friends and the public to think about attending this D Day commemorative event in 2025, or any of our shooting events. The D Day match will go on the calendar in early spring, and the public is always welcome.  We'll send out an email to members before the next events occur.  This is an example of how Itasca Gun Club puts on programs and events.  A volunteer will set up an event (in this case Mark Irving), recruit some help and get it on the calendar.  People like Walter help make history come alive. Mark also runs a Battle of the Bulge commemorative event in December, and typically a lever action event and a muzzleloader event in the summer.  If you see an event you are interested in, just show up to observe, participate, or call the contact person listed in the calendar and volunteer to help set up, organize/run the event and clean up afterwards. If you’re a Certified Range Safety Officer, volunteer to help oversee the firing line.

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Mailing Address - PO Box 201, Grand Rapids, MN 55744

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