Move over, Navy! Army Mariners train for lethality on the open ocean

Move over, Navy! Army Mariners train for lethality on the open ocean

by Staff Sgt. Justin Silvers
U.S. Army

PEARL HARBOR -- Soldiers with the 605th Transportation Detachment, 8th Special Troops Battalion, 8th Theater Sustainment Command unleashed a barrage of bullets into the Pacific Ocean during a waterborne range training, Oct. 4, 2017, approximately 40 miles south of Pearl Harbor.

The training took place on the 8th Theater Sustainment Command's Logistic Support Vessel CW3 Harold C. Clinger (LSV- 2), one of eight LSVs in service across the entire Army.

The LSV-2 is one of the Pacific's Army watercraft assets providing over-the-water transportation of equipment and personnel to increase maneuverability and readiness throughout the region.

The training helped familiarize Soldiers with the Common Remotely Operated Weapons Station, or CROWS, mounted with a M2 .50 caliber machine gun, as well as other weapon systems such as the M249, the M2 .50 caliber machine gun, shotgun, and a M320 grenade launcher.

The CROWS system allows Soldiers the ability to remotely operate weapons systems and engage targets while they are protected inside a vehicle.

Sgt. 1st Class Donald Dinsmore, detachment sergeant for the 605th Transportation Detachment and the LSV-2, described the vessel's mission while in Oahu.

"While we are out here in Oahu we travel back and forth from Oahu to the big island of Hawaii delivering training equipment," said Dinsmore. "We will transport anyone's equipment who requests it. We mainly work with Army and the Marines, but if a Navy unit requested it (through the customer process) we would support them."

Dinsmore also spoke on the significance of Soldiers training on the waterborne range.

"When we are in Hawaii we're in safe waters, but any time we can be called to go to a foreign country and we have to be able to defend ourselves," said Dinsmore. "There are threats all throughout the world and we have to be able to react to save the vessel and the crew."

The LSV itself is a unique, self-sustaining vessel with a shallow draft enabling it to dock at almost any shore. The vessel's cargo deck is designed to hold any vehicle in the U.S. Army inventory, and able to carry up to 2,000 short tons of cargo during operations.

During the training, Soldiers honed their skills firing the various weapon systems at "tomatoes," inflatable targets released from the LSV-2.

For Pvt. Alec Salazar, a watercraft operator with the 605th Transportation Detachment, this was his second waterborne range, but the first time firing the M249 on an LSV.

"It's definitely different, when we're shooting on land we're in the prone position," said Salazar. "When you're on the boat it's mounted, and if you're a tall guy you have to slump over it to make sure you get a good sight picture. The water is also going back and forth; it's definitely more of a challenge."

Salazar, who has been with the crew approximately five months, said of the weapon systems he fired, the M2 .50 caliber machine gun mounted to the CROW system was easiest.

Rebecca Sheriff, a watercraft operator with the 605th Transportation Detachment, also enjoyed using the CROWS.

"When using the M2 .50 caliber on the vessel when it's not mounted to the crow, it's a lot harder, you see your target directly, you walk your weapon up to the target," said Sheriff. "Where the CROWS is very accurate, it locks on to the target and holds it, even though the boat can be rocking, it still holds on to your target so when you fire it's more accurate."

Sheriff said she is already looking forward to the next waterborne range.

"I love to fire; knowing that I'm accurate and proficient, I like that," said Sheriff. "I'm always looking for a range, they're long days, but I'll take it."

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