Ready, aim, fire!

The gun crews of CGC Halibut pose for a photo prior to the exercise near San Clemente Island. Photo by Lt j.g. Ryan Fox

The gun crews of CGC Halibut pose for a photo prior to the exercise near San Clemente Island. Photo by Lt j.g. Ryan Fox

Story by Lt. j.g Ryan Fox 

It’s not often that Coasties have an opportunity to fire deck-mounted machine guns on land, but that’s exactly what the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Halibut did in late January during their semi-annual gunnery exercise. Finding unique opportunities to test their marksmanship not only bolstered the gun crew’s confidence but also greatly increased morale.

 “The training was unique because the Coast Guard has not done [this] sort of thing since Vietnam and Korea,” said Machinery Technician Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan D’Arcy.

 The crew’s accuracy was put to the test during a joint-training exercise with the crews of the other two Sector LA-LB patrol boats. The training, which was intended to simulate stopping a non-compliant vessel using surface “use of force” techniques, consisted of a live-fire against a towed panga-style vessel that had been seized previously. Halibut crewmembers Seaman Jon Kimmel and Fireman Charles Eberly proved to be incredibly accurate with the M-16 assault rifle and the M-870 riot shotgun, respectively. USCGC_final logo

 “Being able to fire at something, whether it was the panga engines or the metal targets provided us with real-life training,” said Boatswain’s Mate Petty Officer 2nd Class Mike Walker.

 Though Halibut has yet to fire warning shots or disabling fire, the crew was critical in several narcotics interdiction cases this year. Most recently, Halibut’s crew participated in an interdiction involving Coast Guard Cutters Blackfin and Steadfast, and Coast Guard Stations Channel Islands and LA-LB, which resulted in the apprehension of three suspected narcotics traffickers and more than 2,000 pounds of marijuana. 

 

 

 

 

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