Wednesday, November 11, 2009

SBT 20 Conducts Training at MCAS Cherry Point

A Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewman (SWCC) assigned to Special Boat Team (SBT) 20 navigates the MARK V Special Operations Craft for a scene in the upcoming Bandito Brothers production ¨I Am That Man", due in theaters in 2010. SWCC operate and maintain the Navy's inventory of state of the art, high-speed boats in support of special operations missions worldwide. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Kathryn Whittenberger/Released)

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist Kathryn Whittenberger, Naval Special Warfare Group 4

CHERRY POINT, N. C (NNS) -- Detachments from Special Boat Team (SBT) 20, stationed on Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Va., spent Nov. 2-6 running through complex training scenarios designed to serve as a pre-deployment assessment.

"The ranges at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point are the best in the U.S. when it comes to small boat tactics," said Master Chief Special Warfare Boat Operator (SWCC) David Schweiger, boat troop command master chief for SEAL Team 18. "We need to train in environments that simulate as closely as possible the conditions we encounter down range."

The three SBT's are the maritime mobility experts for U.S. Special Operations Command. SBT 20 and SBT 12, located on the East and West Coast respectively, conduct littoral missions, while SBT 22 is a specialized riverine unit.

SBT 20 operates the MK-V Special Operations and the Naval Special Warfare rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RHIB). For this evolution, RHIB detachments trained at multiple locations on and around MCAS Cherry Point.

"These ranges have the highest number, quality and availability of ranges, as well as a greater availability of air assets than any live-fire range on the East or West Coast," said SBT 20 Training Department Leading Chief Petty Officer Special Warfare Boat Operator (SWCC) Dave McClain. "Here, we can conduct multiple dynamic training events and complex scenarios, and integrate unmanned aerial vehicles, helicopter operations and the insertion and extraction of SEAL and other special operations forces into our training missions."

For this particular training event, operators from SEAL Team 18 joined in, serving as opposing forces and conducting requalifications.

"Integration with the active duty SWCC is essential to maintaining our capabilities to conduct our mission sets as well as supporting the active component in their real-world operations," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 (SWCC) Brett Anderson, Naval Special Warfare Group 11 training officer.

Adding to the realism of the scenarios, aircraft from the base Marine aircraft squadrons, as well as Navy aircraft units from Norfolk, Va., served as both over-watch, and as a platform for recovery and fast-rope insertion.

"Conducting joint training is essential. The battlefield is now joint, and the interoperability established here saves lives forward," said McClain. "Working with our Reserve counterparts builds relationships and ensures that we are all ready to deploy at the same level of readiness."

This weeklong training involved numerous base camps and tent cities, as well as more than 100 personnel and repeated live-fire training evolutions.

"The base support to our training was crucial," said Senior Chief Brian Main, who was the exercise coordinator. "Range control was extremely helpful. The logistics for an evolution like this are immense and Cherry Point was always ready to lend a hand."