USS Lassen Conducts Live-Fire Exercise

Story Number: NNS070426-05Release Date: 4/26/2007 12:08:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Gabriel S. Weber, Fleet Public Affairs Center Detachment Japan

USS LASSEN, at sea (NNS) -- The crew of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82) conducted a live-fire exercise while underway April 16.

The exercise, which included the Mark 38 25mm chain gun, M2 .50-caliber and M60 machine guns, was aimed at qualifying the personnel operating the weapons that are a part of the ship's small craft action team (SCAT).

With Lassen continuing to make ports of call in different regions of the world, this kind of force protection training is important, according Gunner's Mate 1st Class (SW) Matthew Kelly, combat guns division leading petty officer.

"For the SCAT mounts, it helps in-port watch duty sections so we can keep up our force protection standards," said Kelly.

Those who participated in the shoot familiarized themselves with the weapons by shooting numerous rounds and learning the basic operation of each gun.

"One of the main features is that when you do run out of ammo, you have to be able to load it," said Kelly.

Beyond pulling the trigger, however, SCAT personnel must also be familiar with other aspects of the weapons' operations.

"You're going to have to know how to take it apart, put it back together, and feel confident about what you're doing," said Gunner's Mate 2nd Class (SW) Errol Dow, small weapons facilitator.

In addition to the training the participants received, the exercise also provided the opportunity to have some fun and unwind.

"Most people find it very therapeutic," said Kelly, "to actually get to pull the trigger and watch that [round] go downrange."

"I volunteered for SCAT," said Electronics Technician 3rd Class Salvador Angel, member of SCAT. "I'll be doing something cool, and at the same time, helping out the ship."

Those involved in the exercise seemed to thoroughly enjoy the adrenaline rush that accompanied the real-world training they received.

"They had fun," said Kelly. "They definitely walked away with a smile on their face."

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