Navy completes acquisition of land for riverine training

Published 7:01 pm Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Navy said Tuesday it has acquired the land it needs near the John C. Stennis Space Center for elite fighting units to practice with live ammunition and hone their jungle fighting skills.

The land will be used mainly by Special Boat Team 22, a Navy boat team that works with SEAL commandos. The team is a unit of Naval Special Warfare Group 4, which is based in Norfolk, Va.

Live fire training will not start right away, said Cmdr. James A. Emmert, commander of SBT-22.

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Over the next few months the Navy will complete a range management plan, certify the range for use, Emmert said.

The navy also will conduct public outreach to educate the local residents about the range, safety controls, training schedules and possible recreational use by the public when training allows, he said.

The SBT-22 is already based at the Space Center and has been training in the area for nearly 30 years. They are already using the property for firing practice, but they are using blanks because of safety considerations.

The property is in the buffer zone of the Space Center. It’s near the Pearl and Mikes rivers.

SBT-22 specializes in taking SEALs by way of armored boats behind enemy lines and then getting them out again. It specializes in river operations.

The property attracted the Navy’s interest because of its access to two rivers, its usability for jungle training and its nearness to the location of the boat unit.