Project Appleseed returns to Cordova

Project Appleseed, a non-profit organization that teaches rifle marksmanship skills that date back hundreds of years, came to the area for training from Oct. 8-9.

Mike Schilbach, shoot boss and instructor with Project Appleseed, traveled to Cordova from Kodiak for the two-day range event and talked with Eric McCabe, shoot boss and master instructor. Schilbach and company are volunteers, and the passion for the project is palpable.

“We love this. It’s about our country. It’s about liberty. We want to reignite the passions for liberty that we feel is being lost today, American traditions like rifle marksmanship. Those kinds of things are being lost, and we want to reignite that spirit, Schilbach said. “Rifle marksmanship is how we get you here to talk about liberty.”

Schilbach, a retiree from the fire department and guide, has been participating in the project for several years.

“We want to do what we can to save this country. I read about this (Project Appleseed) and put my truck on the ferry, and I drove to Anchorage and attended one of these shoots,” said Schilbach.

The clinic consists of attendees shooting with a sling (for better rifle handling) and hopes to teach each rifleman the skills needed to be accurate out to 500 yards, what they call the “Rifleman’s Quarter Mile.” When shooting at a specific target, 13 rounds are utilized to represent the original 13 colonies in the United States. A history lesson is sprinkled throughout the clinic, taking attendees back to April 19, 1775, with detailed accounts of that day.


Project Appleseed is taught throughout the United States and Canada. In Alaska, it’s taught in Kodiak, Homer, Kenai, Talkeetna, Birchwood and Cordova.

According to their website, Project Appleseed is a non-partisan group of men and women committed to upholding the values and principles of America’s founding fathers. They use rifle marksmanship instruction to help bring the nation’s history to life and show that many of the values of the founding fathers are in demand today.

“Through clinics and events, we teach rifle marksmanship and early American heritage to introduce individuals of all skill levels to the knowledge that was so crucial to the success of our nation’s founders. Aside from the fun and camaraderie of these events, the designed takeaway is a renewed sense of civic responsibility that each attendee can then implement in his or her own community. If we can reconnect enough people with the selfless civic virtue of our forefathers, we as a nation will all be better off,” read an excerpt from the website.

For more information, visit their website at

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Amanda Williams is a freelance reporter for The Cordova Times. She is also Aquatics Resource Management Assistant for Copper River Watershed Project. Williams is a Navy veteran who served during Operation Iraqi Freedom. She has worked for a variety of newspapers in the Lower 48. She first came to Cordova as a VetsWork intern working for the Forest Service as a public outreach specialist on the Cordova Ranger District.