When I went through basic training in 1965, they gave us ear plugs. But I discovered that if I used them, I couldn't hear range commands. So I didn't use them. Later I took artillery training and I'm sure they issued ear plugs because the style was to wear them under your shoulder strap on your field jacket (this would have been November-December). They came in a little plastic container with a chain loop. I don't remember if I wore them or not but I don't think the sound of a 105mm howitizer was any worse than an M14, provided you were directly behind the gun. Other large weapons were very bad.
I also remember taking a hearing test in basic. You sat in this booth with ear phones on and you were supposed to press a button when you heard a sound. But the sounds, as I recall, were pretty much like a ringing in your ears. It didn't seem like a very good test to me.
Shoot low, sheriff. They're riding Shetlands!
Underneath the starry flag, civilize 'em with a Krag,
and return us to our own beloved homes!
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