HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLBT) - The U. S. Navy uses a training facility in Mississippi to train its personnel in river warfare. As part of that facility in Hancock County, on property owned by the Stennis Space Center, the Navy also operates the Naval Small Craft Instruction and Training School.
Personnel from as many as 70 foreign countries have also been brought to Mississippi to learn river warfare and how to maintain small craft, so they can go back home and teach others.
The commander of the Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training Center is Commander Scott Lyons.
"Today on board we have 87 students, representing 15 countries" said Commander Lyons. "This is a world class training facility, given ranges, the non encroachment, and the great facilities that we have. World class first rate, you couldn't find a better one, in the United States. There is more need for defense on the rivers, you know, partly because the bad guys have found that they can do things on the rivers, that they shouldn't be doing."
In many small, third world countries, which are friendly to the United States, the rivers are the only highways of commerce. The bad guys in those countries have learned, if you disrupt river traffic, you can have a lot of control over the country.
So the United States is training it's friends to fight the bad guys on the rivers and streams providing those highways of commerce.
Only one trainer was allowed to talk to us, but we can't use his name.
"At Stennis, they come here and see a bit of America, and in turn they can develop a skill set they can take back to their countries, and in turn train their brothers and sisters at arms, and show them how things are done, they have seen here" he said.
The trainees do a lot of simulated fire fights. They use both blanks and live ammunition.
Commanders say the center is the best place for river warfare training in the country.
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