>MUNRO Ship’s Journal – CAPT Lloyd, Commanding Officer


If we wait to operate in the Bering Sea when conditions are delightful, we will be waiting a LONG time to get much of our work done if it involves being outside. So, when the weather is decent (by our standards) we get going. Today was gun-shoot day. Munro has a proud history of keeping our weapons systems working that resulted in the team winning the PACAREA Gunnery Award last year. We plan on winning again this year.

In order to conduct a gun shoot, there is plenty of planning that must take place and steps carefully followed leading to putting bullets out the barrel (aka B.O.B.) including radio call outs to advise fishing boats well in advance of what we will be doing and where. We also have a Dedicated Wildlife Observer (DWO) whose sole job is to survey the firing zone for any wildlife prior to and during the gun shoot. If the DWO sees any wildlife, we halt firing until the wildlife has moved (then wait another 30 minutes just to make sure) or else, if the wildlife doesn't move, we call a cease fire, and actually move the ship to another area.
I'm pretty sure the whales were here first!

The planning takes place well before the weather predictions come out and today was the day for a gun shoot of our 25 mm and .50 caliber machine guns. If the weather was awful to the point of unsafe, we cancel and start over. However, today was occasionally sunny but cold with a wind chill around 20 below zero and, as we've seen just about every day since arriving in the Bering, an occasional snow squall that blows through. The gun crews need to be ready to operate in all conditions so they covered all skin and commenced pre-fire checks on the weapons. We also do Operational Risk Management before every evolution including boat operations, launching the helo, and, of course, gun shoots to check the team's opinion of the environment, supervision, crew fitness, event evolution complexity, and more. If the team evaluates the evolution as too risky, we look at mitigating factors and how important it is to do whatever we are about to do. As the Captain, I get the final say and have called off evolutions because of input I receive. There's a lot of responsibility with this job and breaking my ship or the people entrusted to me isn't one of my goals.

We had safety supervisors and Gunner's Mates on deck training and ensuring the gun shoot went without a hitch while XO, Weps, Gunno and I watched from the Bridge wing. Dressing for success in the Bering is a whole lot different than our patrols off Central America. No wildlife showed up during the shoot, all the bullets went were they were supposed to, and the Gunner's Mates and gun crews performed flawlessly.

We also ran a Rescue and Assistance Drill where a members of our Damage Control Training Team, simulate calling over the radio from a fishing vessel that is flooding. So the Bridge Personnel piped "Set the Rescue and Assistance Detail" and everyone kicked it into high gear, carefully being observed by training team members to ensure all safety precautions are being followed (like no running, one hand for the ship-one hand for yourself, wearing the correct Personnel Protective Equipment, etc.). Just as had been planned, one crewmember simulated falling and breaking their leg right in the middle of things – we have a really opportunistic Medical Training Team. I'm glad.

Another good day…