Infantry: Turning Sailors Into Street Fighters


January 8, 2008: The U.S. Navy has ordered all sailors assigned to shore billets (jobs on land) in Iraq (lasting more than 30 days), to take a three week "combat skills" course. Naval basic training used to provide some basics of ground combat, but that has been phased out over the years. That training was there because, for centuries, it was common to occasionally arm a portion of the crew and send them ashore, under the supervision of a few marines, to take care of business. That sort of thing faded away in the first half of the 20th century, and a little later, disappeared from sailor training as well.

But now thousands of sailors are serving ashore in Iraq, and sometimes find themselves in combat situations. So the three weeks of training will get sailors up to speed on handling weapons, giving first aid and conducting convoy operations in a hostile environment. Sailors are also taught on how to handle army communications equipment, and how to speak (or at least understand) army combat lingo.


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