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Sailors Take Aim At Center for Security Forces
by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Jeremy Starr -  January 13, 2016

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NORFOLK, Va. - The muffled noise of gunfire can be heard as you approach the gun range at the Center for Security Forces (CENSECFOR). A row of Sailors lay in prone position, guns aimed down range, eyes on their targets.

These Sailors are enrolled at CENSECFOR's Crew-Served Weapons Instructor Course, using innovative training rounds at a new gun range on Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story.

December 18, 2015 - All Hands Magazine graphic for CENSECFOR crew-served weapons instructor course. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Jeremy Starr)
December 18, 2015 - All Hands Magazine graphic for CENSECFOR crew-served weapons instructor course. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Jeremy Starr)

The course trains Sailors how to use several different crew served weapons, such as the .50-caliber, MK48 and M240L machine guns.They will also learn how to facilitate the training they learn here when they return to their parent commands.

“Once they get here, they learn to effectively train fleet Sailors on how to operate, maintain and employ these weapon systems,” said Chief Master-at-Arms Thomas Pruter, course manager for CENSECFOR Operation and Maintenance for the course. “The course is open to pretty much anybody, as long as they have all of the prerequisites for the class. Though, it's usually someone who's confident with weapons.”

This new range location enables students the opportunity to shoot targets at a shorter range and allows for the use of new, non-aerodynamic short-range training ammunition (SRTA) that forces Sailors to shoot with greater precision.

“[The range] is a great tool for us,” said Pruter. “We don't have to drive all the way to Quantico, we can just come out here and shoot.”

The class aims to prevent deficiency in weapons knowledge that could render ships inadequate to defend themselves.

“Once I get back to my ship, I'm going to be the only crew-served weapons instructor there,” said Gunner's Mate 2nd Class Patrick Ramos, attached to the Nimitz class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). “I'm going to be able to go back to my ship and teach everyone how to use these guns the right way, from the master-at-arms to security to everyone standing watches with these machine guns.”

The course begins with Sailors spending two weeks learning basic gun operation, such as how to disassemble and assemble their weapons, condition codes and preliminary aspects of gun use. Sailors spend the third and fourth week using the guns at the ranges, learning how to properly aim and troubleshoot the weapons.

“It's awesome; I like the way the instructors teach the course material,” said Ramos. “At times, it's a lot to take in, but they put it in a way that you can retain it.”

CENSECFOR's Crew-Served Weapons Instructor Course draws in over 200 students per year, training a high volume of Sailors to operate small weapons both aboard ships and ashore. Sailors who complete the course earn the navy enlisted classification of crew-served weapons instructor (NEC 0814) and the responsibility of teaching Sailors in the fleet how to use some of its most common weapons within four weeks.

By U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Jeremy Starr
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2016

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