Skip to comments.Navy sailors get Army training at Fort Jackson
Posted on 04/24/2006 8:51:41 AM PDT by freepatriot32
FORT JACKSON, S.C. - Navy sailors are trading sea legs for land combat as the U.S. Army is opening its largest training base to help them survive when sent into Afghanistan or Iraq.
The Navy is sending thousands of men and women to support Army units in those regions and wants its sailors to hone their fighting skills.
"Hit the ground and brace yourself with your weapon!" senior drill instructor Warren Brown yelled at a dozen trainees slithering across a mud-soaked field. "Look around, pick yourself up and go! You're under fire!"
After struggling up from the mud with her M-16 in hand, Petty Officer 2nd Class Jade Permenter insisted Brown's instructions to keep her head and butt down might save her life someday.
"This is excellent training, really. It will be very helpful. I'm headed to Iraq. I need this," said the 34-year-old reservist nurse from Columbus, Ohio.
So far, some 1,200 sailors have gone through an intense, two-week course crammed with the basics of basic training: learning to fire M-16 rifles, toss hand grenades and conduct house-to-house patrols while weighted down with body armor - tactics normally foreign to those accustomed to life aboard a ship.
They learn the ins-and-outs of improvised explosive devices - the roadside bombs that have been exacting a deadly toll on American servicemen and women. They learn how to take and give instructions while under fire on a convoy and how to enter a booby-trapped building.
"They are eager to learn, they are like sponges," Brown said of his trainees, many of whom are 30-or-40-something senior officers headed to staff jobs in the Middle East. "It's not about being Army or Navy anymore. The name of the game is staying alive."
Cmdr. Kevin Aandahl, spokesman for the Navy's Education and Training Command in Pensacola, Fla., said the program may train up to 10,000 sailors over the coming months.
On a visit to the training field, Fort Jackson commander Brig. Gen. James Schwitters said the course was designed to give the Navy sailors "battlefield awareness."
"It's how to survive, if they need to survive. It's knowing what to do, what action to take to support those around you and not to do things that would make a situation worse than it is," Schwitters said.
In a pouring rain, small groups of sailors, guided by a drill instructor, learned to use "Army speak" while searching a building for explosive devices.
"Stack on me!" yelled the leader as several ran up against a building, calling out a number and direction as they moved past each another. After checking the door, they swept inside as each trained their weapon on a different segment of the room.
"Huaaaahhh!" They yelled, giving the Army's rallying cry.
At Fort Jackson, the sailors spend 12 to 16 hours a day in training over the two-week period. Normal Army basic training lasts about nine weeks. Some 50,000 Army trainees go through Fort Jackson's training or advanced schools every year.
While fresh Army recruits spend two to three weeks training with their weapons, the sailors have only two to three days to acquaint themselves with the rifles. But unlike the Army recruits, the sailors are not required to pass the rigorous qualification tests before moving on to other posts. Nevertheless, it is a lot to take in, trainers say.
"It's like putting a firehouse in your mouth," said Army Lt. Col. Doug Snyder, who is in charge of the training unit. "It's remarkable what we are putting these sailors through."
The goal is not to emerge "combat ready," Snyder said. However, he said, "They could protect themselves or others. And these skills could be greatly expanded upon" once they reach their posts.
Lt. Cmdr. Ed Moninger, of Seattle, is a reservist headed to Kuwait to manage supplies. "I'm a manager for Amazon.com, so what I do in civilian life is a little like what I do for the Navy."
Moninger, 37, said the training at Fort Jackson reminded him of workouts he had at the Naval Academy. "In the Navy, we're very technical, very specialized in our jobs. But the Army is much more physical."
Petty Officer 3rd Class Sahraie Waheed, of Slate Hill, N.Y., said he volunteered for the training and is headed for Iraq. The idea of being "ground-based," is fine with the 24-year-old, since he has a lot of friends who are Marines, Waheed said. He declined to say exactly what his job was, saying it was classified.
"Personally, I was motivated by 9/11," Waheed said. "But I think we're all doing this to ensure that our fellow soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines come home safely."
The US Navy used to do this type of training themselves before the Zumwalt era. Zippy destroyed the US Navy.
But don't tell the old generals - they don't understand
Does the Army need the money or something?
The marines do not have the patience. lol
I did this type of training when Admiral Zumwalt was CNO. It was with the Marines at Camp Pendleton.
Admiral Zumwalt was an outstanding CNO.
Conventional "force on force" battles are a thing of the past.
Fighting and winning a guerilla war is our mission.
The enemy we face is the lowest form of scum, who abides by no Geneva Convention, Court of Law, International Law (whatever that is), etc...
Americans who enter the fight in the desert require training to defeat the unconventional thug and his random IEDs, RPGs and uncoordinated mortar attacks.
Survival, Escape and Resistance Training is also appropriate given the increasing Mohammedan use of hostage situations.
The marines do not have the patience. lol
That, and I suspect that the Navy would probably prefer to eat Army dirt, than to admit that they need the Maines, rather than the Marines needing them, as they like to claim.
Because the graduates of this course are going on to fill combat support billets for Army units. Most of the graduates of the two week course will do jobs inside the wire at Forward Operating Bases.
There is a separate six week course for the Navy personnel who are filling the Army Civic Affairs billets. That class is training formed units to run reconstruction teams.
Can someone please post a picture of Steve McQueen and his BAR from "The Sand Pebbles?"
If the sailors are going to be on the ground with Army units... why wouldn't they train with Army units?
This story is an excellent example of why I believe we should consolidate our entire military - just have the United States Armed Forces.
Marine DI's train the SeaBees in combat tactics.
Knowing you are going downrange encourages the will to learn.
FWIW, I know BG Schwitters. He is a good leader, an all around good guy with a good family.
Your observation on this matter is a repetition of a fallacious and oft repeated rumor. The Navy and Marines operate very well together, and while there is a friendly and sometimes rough competition between them, they respect and admire each other for their merits.
Likewise Navy Corpsmen on their way to support the Fleet Marine Forces will attend what used to be an 8-9 week Field Medical Service School where they are drilled by a Marine Drill Instructors. I suspect that the Marine Corps is stretched too thinly right now and the Army is doing this additional trainig because they have they have the personnel, facilities, etc. to accomplish it.
Arrrrmy training, SIR!