Story by Lance Cpl. Megan E. Sindelar
Photo by Lance Cpl. Jesse Leger
USS NEW ORLEANS, At Sea – With all of the advancements made towards improving the quality of life while under way, it is also important to remember to create better training tools.
The New Orleans is the first commissioned, San Antonio Class ship to include the Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainer system (ISMT). The ISMT system aboard USS New Orleans, run by the ship’s combat cargo section, consists of two screens with eight different weapon systems ranging from small arms to heavy machine guns. The ISMT is being used for the Navy weapon’s qualifications as well as Marine Corps training while at sea.
It can be difficult to maintain basic rifleman skills, but the ISMT, in addition to training conducted throughout the deployment, only increases the opportunities to build on those skills while aboard ship for months at a time.
Not many have used the program so far because the ship is still in its early stages of deployment and everyone is still settling down, but eventually Marines and sailors will start using the ISMT as the deployment goes on, said Gunnery Sgt. Ty W. Jones, the senior combat cargo assistant for USS New Orleans.
Due to weather, flight operations and the sea state, it can be a challenge to find opportunities to fire weapons.
“While at sea, it is hard to conduct live fire exercises,” explained Staff Sgt. Tony Serrano, a combat cargo assistant with USS New Orleans. “This system will allow for real-life combat scenarios and familiarization with the weapons—it is practice that can only help and benefit Marines [and sailors].”
“I think it’s a good thing to have aboard,” said Lance Cpl. Greg E. Lane, a rifleman with Company A, Battalion Landing Team 1/1. “There’s a wide variety of weapons to shoot—I’m enthusiastic about it.”
By having the ISMT aboard, USS New Orleans is setting the footprints for the San Antonio Class, modern day ships.
“This [training] can save lives,” said Serrano.