JOHN C. STENNIS SPACE CENTER– The U.S. Navy’s new live-fire range in the northwest corner of the John C. Stennis Space Center (SSC) acoustic buffer zone has been certified for use of 5.6mm, 7.62mm and .50 caliber short-range training ammunition (SRTA) by Naval Facilities Command. SRTA has a maximum range of 700 meters.
The range will be managed and operated by Special Boat Team 22 (SBT-22) located at SSC. SBT-22 is the only command in the Department of Defense specifically designated to conduct special operations in riverine environments.
“Conducting live-fire on this range is essential. The unique tropical conditions in Stennis, with shallow waterways and heavy vegetation, provide conditions similar to environments in which Special Operations Forces could be required to conduct real world operations,” said Commander Naval Special Warfare Group 4 Capt. Evin H. Thompson. “As special operations forces continue to transform to meet new world threats, Naval Special Warfare must ensure its personnel receive the necessary realistic, specialized training required to successfully carry out the Global War on Terrorism.”
SBT-22 is also educating the public on the upcoming live-fire training. The Team is preparing to conduct community outreach tours of the new live-fire riverine training range May 14 and 15. This is an effort to explain to the community around Stennis Space Center both the importance of live fire training for SBT-22 and the safety measures in place.
The May 14 event includes neighboring property owners who would like to see what type of training SBT-22 conducts in their backyards. On May 15, local civic groups have been invited to help the Navy spread it’s message of “safety first.”
“SBT-22 would like to thank the local community for all of their support to this point. This community outreach is our way of giving back,” said SBT-22 Commanding Officer Cmdr. James A. Emmert. “We want to be able to physically show the local citizens that developing this live fire training range is vital to improving the capabilities that SBT-22 brings to our national defense, and that safety for both service members and civilians is one of our top priorities.”
SBT-22 will continue to conduct both day and night training missions on the now expanded range. These missions include riverine patrol and interdiction, insertion and extraction of Special Operations Forces, watercraft concealment and evasion tactics and surveillance on enemy-held waterways. The range is also capable of supporting the use of maritime unmanned aerial vehicles, helicopter insertion and extractions; and interoperability training between SBT-22, SEAL platoons and other special operations forces.
Organizations or neighboring property owners who would like to attend the event should contact Chief Petty Officer Katt Whittenberger at (757) 493-1434.
MCC (SW/AW) Katt Whittenberger