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USS Mitscher Sailors Conduct Weapons Qualifications in Guantanamo Bay

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070912-16
Release Date: 9/12/2007 2:37:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kimberly Williams, Naval Station Guatanamo Bay Public Affairs

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba (NNS) -- Sailors stationed onboard USS Mitscher (DDG 57) participated in a weapons qualification range Sept. 10 at U.S. Naval Station (NAVSTA) Guantanamo Bay (GTMO).

Mitscher is currently deployed in support of Partnership of the Americas (POA) 2007 in the Caribbean.

The Arleigh Burke class destroyer pulled into GTMO Sept. 9 and thanks to communication with officials from NAVSTA GTMO, was able to take part in the base's weapons qualification range.

"Qualifying in Cuba will save us time in homeport and allow our Sailors the opportunity to spend more time with their families instead of spending time in homeport re-qualifying on these weapons," said Lt. Todd Edwards, assistant operations officer.

Range safety officers from the NAVSTA weapons and security departments tested each Sailor's ability to correctly handle and operate an M-9, M-16, shotgun, and .50-cal weapons.

"My role for today's range is to provide safety and accountability," said Gunner's Mate 2nd Class Gary Jones, NAVSTA Windward range safety officer. "It's good that the Sailors from the Mitscher have the opportunity to qualify on land versus on the ship because it provides them with alternate shooting environments which will enable them to be more effective in various operational situations," said Jones.

"I thought I did pretty well today on the range," said Cryptologic Technician (Technical) 3rd Class Terry Ungerank. "It was good to shoot in the GTMO range. You do not rock back and fourth while you shoot like on the ship."

Upon completion of the range, crew members from Mitscher expressed their gratitude for the hospitality and accommodations NAVSTA GTMO provided for their visit.

"We appreciate the stellar support of the Sailors here in GTMO and their assistance with our effort to make life after deployment easier for our Sailors and their families," said Edwards.

Mitscher will complete its deployment Sept. 18 and head back to its homeport Norfolk.

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