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
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.