MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan --
Robert M. Casey Medical and Dental Clinic sailors recently completed their pistol qualification at the Indoor Small Arms Range here April 27-29.
The sailors qualified with the M9 service pistol at distances of 3-, 5- and 7- yard line.
Pistol qualification for naval personnel is not required.
“As Marines, we take marksmanship for granted,” said Sgt. Daniel M. de Carvalho, ISAR operations chief. “Qualifications for sailors are a little bit different. I had to qualify them according to their guidelines.”
Operational Navy instruction 3591.1E has differing guidelines dealing specifically with small arms qualification for sailors.
According to the instruction, Naval personnel are given three days to qualify.
The need for the sailors being qualified was not merely for the sake of being qualified.
“In the event of an emergency, they can help in the situation,” said de Carvalho.
Certain participants already had experience firing with a sidearm.
Navy Lt. Andreas Stiller, a Branch Health Clinic nurse, had prior experience with a pistol during his 10-year stint in the Army.
“Basically, it’s the same as Marines,” said Stiller. “There’s a quick draw and reload. The only big difference is that there’s a kneeling portion in the qualification.”
The pistol qualification takes on particular significance and a serious tone during a combat tour.
Not all who are overseas are trained on a pistol as on a rifle. “I’ve never handled a pistol,” said Navy Lt. Beverly J. Torres, BHC staff nurse. “I’ve always wanted to qualify just in case I ever deploy. Besides the medical aspect of our jobs, we want to be able to lend combat support in case the need arises.”
The number of sailors present to participate in the qualification was drastically smaller than first anticipated.
“We try to disseminate to the sailors through the various chief petty officers on station,” said de Carvalho. “We’re trying to get as many as 35 to qualify the next time we have an event such as this.”
For those who were not able to attend this pistol qualification, there will be another held sometime within the coming year.