There's something exciting going on in Pearl River County, Mississippi.
The Stennis Space Center also houses The Western Maneuver Area--WMA--which is a LIVE fire riverine training range. It's in the northwest corner of the John C. Stennis Space Center. That range, which is bordered by the Pearl River and Mike River is operated by Special Boat Team 22 (SBT-22). It's the only one in all the U.S. military that conducts special ops in a riverine environment.
Today, I learned so many accronyms I'm rather hard pressed to unscramble them.
These guys specialize in extractions, insertions, personnel recovery, recon, and humanitarian extractions along rivers and streams. And I, ladies and gentlemen, (in case you can't tell from the picture above) got to go ride on one of those special boats today. Talk about a great experience!
Commander James Emerett briefed us on all the unclassified things about SBT-22.
So let me explain a bit. Right now, the SBT-22 trains in the Pearl River Basin using blank fire. The Navy has acquired more than 3,500 acres so they can now train with Live fire. Did you know that 50 caliber fire can travel about 4 miles when fired at a 45 degree angle? With the Short Range fire, it will only travel about 700 meters and the lasers they will be using are camoflaged by all the heavy vegatation. It's a jungle out there, and the good guys are training in our backyard.
I feel safe.
After talking to these guys, after seeing what they do, how they train, and knowing that most of them have had several tours in Iraq, I can't help but feel safe. They are good at what they do. You are safe.
One young lieutenant told me that they all loved what they did. I told him, "Thank you so much for standing between us and the bad guys. You'll never know how much we appreicate it because there are no words that can express it."