Special boat team gets new digs


By Andrew Scutro - Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday Feb 10, 2009 15:26:59 EST

A small but growing Navy community, Special Boat Team 22, will open a new riverine operations site Friday at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. The two-building, $9.7 million complex was built for use by the unit, which specializes in riverine missions, often in support of SEALs.

According to information from Naval Special Warfare Group 4, SBT 22 has grown in the last four years, adding 68 percent more special warfare combatant-craft crewmen. Although the current number of operators is not provided, there are 400 sailors permanently assigned to SBT 22 and a technical training school for foreign sailors at Stennis. The Mississippi-based SWCCs operate a small fleet of 30 riverine craft.

"The need for [special warfare] elements to do riverine operations has grown dramatically," said Chief Mass Communications Specialist (SW/AW) Katt Wittenberger, group public affairs officer.

In addition to a 3,800-acre Western Maneuver area training range that opened in June at Stennis, SBT 22 also uses live-fire ranges accessible from the Salt River on Fort Knox in Kentucky.

The new training range at Stennis, the technical training school and SBT 22 now fall under the newly named Naval Special Warfare Center for Maritime Training and Riverine Warfare, Wittenberger said