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Monday, September 8th, 2008
By Nancy Allen
Navy Reserve to hold training
Residents should not be concerned with machine gun fire at Windy Point
  Resident's shouldn't be concerned when they hear machine gun fire on Grand Lake on Oct. 3 and 4.
It will be members of a U.S. Navy Reserve unit from Columbus conducting training at Windy Point, said Brian Miller, assistant manager of Grand Lake St. Marys State Park. Ohio Division of Watercraft boats and personnel also will participate in the exercise.
Miller said he is trying to get the word out so people aren't alarmed when they hear the rata-tat-tat of the guns come October.
He also wants to reduce calls to local law enforcement and state park officials wondering what's going on.
"I don't know how much gunfire to expect, but there will be some and people are going to see reservists on the pier," Miller said. "We just want people to be aware."
Miller said blank rounds will be used, and state park officials will shut off Windy Point north of the boat ramp while the training is going on.
Area residents are encouraged to observe, but must remain at least 500 yards away from the pier to avoid interfering with the training, a news release from the commander in charge states.
The reserves will set up a machine gun station on the long Windy Point rock pier. It will be a mock scenario where the pier is a ship and the reservists have to protect it, Miller said.
The division of watercraft will use at least two of its boats and act as a "threat" to the ship as they try to approach the pier, he added.
There also will be Navy reservists on the watercraft boats.
Navy Reserve Commander James Black, the officer in charge of the training exercise, said roughly 100 Navy personnel will take part in the training, including five women.
Black this morning described the training as a "standard assessment" that reservists must go through to determine readiness and improve on shortcomings.
"This (training) does not have to be in preparation for a (specific) deployment, but it could launch us to being deployed," he said. "We are a fairly inexperienced unit and we will try to prove we can train ourselves and maintain our operational readiness."
There will be Navy active duty and reserve personnel there evaluating Black's 75-person unit, he said. The training will be 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Oct. 3 and noon-8 p.m. Oct. 4.
Black's unit - Maritime Expeditionary Security Detachment 823 - is a subordinate unit of the Navy Expeditionary Combat and is attached to Maritime Expeditionary Squadron 8 out of Newport, R.I. The detachment's mission is to provide light, mobile, short-term point defense for U.S. Navy ships, military sealift command ships, aircraft at unsecure airfields and other department of defense high value assets against terrorist attacks in locations where U.S. shore infrastructures do not exist, a release from Black says.
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