News: Turning sea-going sailors into land warriors
Story by Petty Officer 1st Class Leslie Long
NORFOLK, Va. - When sailors assigned to Naval Special Warfare (NSW) as support technicians check on-board they often arrive with limited experience in expeditionary warfare.
New NSW support technicians are offered the Level I Basic Soldiering Skills Course which provides them the training required to perform their jobs and, when needed, deliver tactical support to their team in a war zone.
The two week course takes Sailors who are predominately in sea going ratings and prepares them for the expeditionary environment. Participants receive training in the use of force, weapons operations, marksmanship, improvised explosive device awareness, tactical gear setup and High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle familiarization.
“The course is designed to meet requirements for NSW deployments. We have two levels of instruction, Level I and Level II,” said Chief Master-at-Arms Michael Minotto, the Basic Soldiering Skills Course Manager.
“Level I is designed to ensure proper weapons safety and function as well as the basics of operating a tactical vehicle,” said Minotto. “Level II builds on Level I, by putting students in scenario-based training as well as providing instruction on all machine guns organic to NSW.”
In Level I training students receive classroom training on the components and operation of the SigSauer P226, MK 25 pistol and the Colt M4A1 rifle, said Minotto. This training covers the assembly and disassembly of the weapons, normal weapon operations, immediate and remedial actions in the case of a misfire or ammunition misfeed and the fundamentals of marksmanship.
In addition to weapons familiarization, students earn their HMMWV license and receive a brief on IED types.
“Upon completion of the classroom training, students move to the range for pistol and rifle qualifications,” Minotto added. “When using live ammunition safety is paramount. Focus is added to the safety of the students and everything they could encounter.”
The range training evolution starts with the MK 25 pistol and covers range safety and reload and target acquisition drills. The pistol portion wraps up with students completing the Navy pistol qualification course.
Once qualified with the pistol, students move on to M4A1 rifle training, said Minotto. Students first sight in their rifles then spend several days shooting and perform various drills to complete the Navy rifle qualification course.
“Live fire, in my opinion, is an extremely important part of training,” said Minotto. “Weapons will malfunction, break, so shooters will [be required to] induce their own malfunctions and work through gear issues.”
The course culminates with students performing a practical weapons course with the pistol. Students graduate from the course after their weapons are cleaned and turned in.
“Preparing NSW support personnel for the possible threats of deployment is personally rewarding. The final evolution provides an opportunity they now can reference to keep them in the fight and focus on the mission or task,” said Minotto.