Friday, September 18, 2015

Batteries Released!

We planned to do a gunshoot earlier in the week, but got side tracked with getting somewhere. We finally got back around to it today. 12 people shot the .50 cals, and five people shot the 25 mm gun.

Our target was a pumpkin. No, really, a pumpkin -- or at least a big orange foam mooring ball that we got from a buoy grave yard in Little Creek before I got to the ship that SN RM painted a great pumpkin face on just before Halloween last year. We suspended it from the single point davit when we moored on 30 Oct and left it up for the trick-or-treaters.

The pumpkin is a great target -- bright orange is highly visible from quite a ways away. It's big enough, and it's damn near indestructible -- though it is starting to show some wear from the chunks that have been shot out of it, and the side-swipes that have left foam tatters springing out randomly.

Gunshoots are pretty awesome, usually. Though I do have some sea stories of gun shoots that were less than enjoyable. On my first 110 patrol boat, we went way offshore to do a shoot; on the way back in, our air conditioners and our sewage system both broke down. Eeew.

For the GUNEX (gunnery exercise) today, we shot the .50 cals at the same time we shot the 25 mm. The reverberations shook everything! The concussive force was something to be reckoned with, and I was very happy to have my full ear muffs for hearing protection. I've tried using just foamies before, and always had to cover my ears with my hands.

Our Weapons Officer (WEPS), ENS JW, did a great job as the Weapons Control Officer (WCO), directing each mount individually. The Officer of the Deck, BMC RV, handled all the other stuff going on about the ship during the shoot. And 1LT, ENS JB, first conned the ship around the target, then coached other/newer Conning Officers, and then took over for WEPS as WCO while WEPS took his turn on the trigger of the .50 cal.

Shooting 12 gunners through the .50 cals didn't take as long as you might think. We finished up in about 90 minutes. The guys kept things moving along on the mounts, switching out as gunners, loaders and phone talkers.

And at the end, SK2 KH, SN AT and SN NE did the *entire* bridge team a massive favor by washing, drying and folding the sweaty, nasty, fuggy flash gear.

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