Truman Sailors Fire Their Guns

Story Number: NNS080717-08Release Date: 7/17/2008 10:06:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jared Hall

USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Harry S. Truman's (CVN 75) Weapons Department, G-2 division conducted a gun shoot on aircraft elevator four July 16.

The shoot featured the firing of two different machine guns and a pistol qualification course. The exercise trained Truman's security force on proper weapons handling and aimed to keep the Sailors' skills sharp.

"We have a gun shoot for people in security to give them experience on how to shoot the weapons," said Gunner's Mate 2nd Class Mervin Pile, one of the weapon's technicians overseeing the gun shoot.

"That way, they can be more proficient when the situation calls for it and they need to fire the weapon."

Approximately 50 Sailors had the opportunity to fire a number of weapons. Two machine guns, the .50-caliber machine gun and M-240 machine gun, were set up on the fantail, and a 9mm pistol qualification course took place on aircraft elevator four.

The 9mm pistol is the Navy's primary sidearm. It is worn in a holster on the hip and carried by the ship's security personnel.

"It is one of the safest weapons the Navy has," said Pile.

To train the security personnel, G-2 set up a complete 9mm qualifying course on elevator four. Sailors fired at targets and had the opportunity to be scored on their performance. Pile said participants needed to score at least a 190, or they would have to repeat the course until they qualified.

Safety is of considerable importance when dealing with live weapons, and G-2 made sure to keep plenty of personnel on hand to ensure participants of the gun shoot were not in danger at any time.

"The most important thing is safety -- making sure at the end of the day that everybody's safe, nobody's hurt and everybody's trained," said Gunner's Mate 2nd Class (SW) Jason Harden, a range safety instructor. "We make sure everybody went to the training the day before. We make sure they went to the safety brief, so they know what to do and what not to do and what to expect and how to react in certain situations."

Harden holds a special Navy Enlisted Classification (NEC), which qualifies him as a small arms marksman instructor. He said all of the gunner's mates at the evolution were trained to step in and stop any unsafe practices.

"My role as the range safety officer is to make sure the whole evolution is being run safely. Even though I'm the main safety person, everybody's [responsible for] safety. If something is not safe, they can stop the evolution at anytime."

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