I do not fly as well as I used to. I beat sunrise this morning by several hours in Florida to make my plane to Las Vegas for the 2022 SHOT Show with a two-hour layover in Louisville that turned into three with a delay. I finally arrived at McCarran Airport just as the Sun was beginning to set over the mountains. The Airport is named for Democrat Senator Pat McCarran who pulled a lot of money out of DC to help develop Las Vegas in the 1950s. Now the airport is being renamed Harry Reid International after it was suddenly discovered that McCarran was an avowed racist, anti-Semitic xenophobe. We can probably expect that in fifty to sixty years, they will suddenly discover that Harry was also a really bad guy too and they will rename the airport yet again.
Thankfully the airport itself is pretty free of any detectable traces of racism, anti-Semitism, or xenophobia and I’m surprised McCarran’s accusers haven’t demanded the entire place be rebuilt because it carries the taint of such things in its past naming.
The Hitman On The Run Room With A View
Anyway, I arrived at the Tropicana Hotel which is a throwback to the heyday of 1960s Las Vegas. Elvis Presley filmed part of “Viva Law Vegas” at the hotel. James Bond stayed at the Tropicana in “Diamonds Are Forever” and the casino scenes in the first two God Father Movies were both filmed at the hotel as well. It still has some of that charm leftover despite numerous renovations and being a Hilton property. So it was with a certain irony that I noted that the view from my room looks what you would get as a mafia hitman hiding out until things cool down.
After I dumped my gear and had a drink I headed over to the Venetian where just a day before SHOT the convention center rooms appeared to be nowhere near showroom ready, and I just know there will be people working all night to make it so. There are millions of dollars in firearms at this event and security has to be a nightmare to keep all those firearms secure.
I had already gotten my show credentials at the airport, but not the lanyard and cover which were at the Venetian, God knows why. Except they only had lanyards and not covers(insert COVID and supply-chain excuse here).
Las Vegas is open for business or trying to be amid ridiculous mask rules that the enforcers at the hotels seem almost embarrassed to enforce, so you walk wearing a mask and then sit down at the slots, doff the mask and have a drink and light an Arturo Fuente Special four feet away from the people walking by wearing masks. It’s all like believing in the Tooth Fairy at this point, it’s stupid and we all know it makes no sense, but we just go along with it anyway.
A Benefit For A Worthy Charity
By 7 pm I was at a charity benefit for SOC-F or the Special Operations Care Fund, a fine charity doing great work for wounded Special Operations Veterans, so if you have a couple of bucks to spare, help them out. Rather than being a swanky gala with black ties and limos, this fundraiser was held at The Leatherneck Club in the Korea Town section of the city a couple of miles off the strip. Right across from the Leatherneck Club was an Asian massage parlor and it had us all wondering, which came first?
The Most Marine Corps Dedicated Garage Bar in the Whole World
Try to imagine the most Marine Corps dedicated garage bar in the whole world and you are just getting an idea of this place. It is a bar, a restaurant, a museum, and a shrine to fallen Marines. On the wall hung several photos of Marine Commandants with handwritten inscriptions, so this place has more than just a local following. Given that the Marine Corps itself was created in a tavern, it all seems very fitting that this place exists, just not in Las Vegas, but then it is Las Vegas and every impossibly, contradictory thing you can imagine is here.
Want to see a Tribute to the Beatles performed by trained Beagles? They are booked for March.
I arrived just after 7 pm, fashionably late and the place was just starting to fill up. Within an hour, there were more beards in that joint than an Amish wedding. I made the rounds and shook hands with enough people that my hand started to hurt a bit, military guys all tend to have pretty firm handshakes as rule.
The party was presented by Sons of Liberty Gun Works (SOLGW), BE Meyers, Big Tex Ordnance, & Presscheck Consulting. Ticketing was by Soldier Systems Daily.
Bringing Home The Thirteen Fallen Service Members From The Kabul Airport Bombing.
I had several very interesting conversations with various attendees but one really stood out. Joe Nassetta was a tall guy with a mustache like an Old West gunfighter. He’s a firearms instructor at Gunsite Academy in Paulden Arizona, one of the oldest private pistol and rifle instruction ranges in the county. It was founded by legendary gun expert Jeff Cooper in 1976. His courses were so good, you got college credit for them at the University of Phoenix. Gunsite has had students like the King of Jordan and the head of the NRA among their alumni, so these guys are the pros when it comes to the art of handling a pistol or rifle. As for Joe himself, he enlisted in the army at 17, went to college, and then became an officer and F-16 pilot in the National Guard. He spent 18 years flying for them deploying to Iraq several times and now yanks the stick on a Boeing 747 running cargo. Joe and his crew flew in during the recent evacuation of Kabul and ended up bringing back to Dover Air Force base the remains of the thirteen Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines killed at the suicide bombing at the airport that also killed some 160 civilians.
He said it was the proudest moment of his flying career. In his time away from his main job, he works as an instructor for Gunsite in Arizona. As if flying cargo all over the world isn’t demanding enough.
Anyway, you get to meet some pretty interesting people at SHOT Show and we’ll have more coming. If you haven’t checked out our social media pages like Instagram, we have some stuff there for you to look at.
And stay tuned, we have a very special interview planned while we are here as well.
If you enjoyed this article, please consider supporting our Veteran Editorial by becoming a SOFREP subscriber. Click here to join SOFREP now for just $0.50/week.