SEAL’s death prompts look at shoot houses

  • Thread starter Boondocksaint375
  • Start date
B

Boondocksaint375

Guest
SEAL’s death prompts look at shoot houses
By Gidget Fuentes - Staff writer
Posted : Sunday Mar 1, 2009 9:10:27 EST

SAN DIEGO — Investigators faulted lax range safety oversight that contributed to the shooting death of a Navy SEAL during live-fire training, according to a report.

Special Warfare Operator 1st Class (SEAL) Shapoor “Alex” Ghane, 22, was shot in the upper left corner of his protective vest after a bullet pushed its way through a ballistic wall of gravel beds and plastic retainer walls Jan. 30, 2008.

It was a fatal blow to the Coronado, Calif.-based SEAL Team 5 member. The SEALs would later find out that the ballistic walls lacked the steel plates required in similar Navy live-fire training houses.

Few knew that just two days earlier, during another training run, a SEAL suspected that a round had gone through an interior ballistic wall of the same shoot house. The SEALs were training at the Mid-South Institute of Self Defense Shooting in Mississippi.

A Navy investigation into Ghane’s death found the ballistic wall was defective and poorly designed, with “an insufficiently thick gravel wall, exposure of the interior gravel to changing weather conditions and the lack of a ballistic steel plate within the wall.”

Navy Times received a redacted copy of the investigation through a Freedom of Information Act request. Officials blacked out any mention of the type of ammunition the SEALs used that day. A representative for Mid-South did not return calls seeking comment.

‘Inadequate’ setup

The lead investigator questioned the integrity of the exposed ballistic walls in the uncovered area of the shooting house, designed “ad hoc” by the general manager. The area had been pounded with heavy rains the night before Ghane’s death.

The facility’s “inadequate” maintenance “focused more on the appearance of the wall exterior and tops than the condition of the contents inside the walls that stop bullet penetration,” he wrote. Ballistic testing done six years earlier was “inadequate.”

The investigating officer, whose name was removed from the report, criticized the Navy and his own command.

“While multiple factors, including the weather, ammunition and tactics may have played a role, Naval Special Warfare’s inability to detect that the ballistic shoot house was not designed, built, maintained or tested based on formal objective standards was a systematic and critical failure,” the investigator wrote.

The private range facility never was formally inspected for safety or certified by the Navy.

“As such, Naval Special Warfare shares a collective responsibility,” the investigator wrote.

He recommended that the command establish written instructions and new checklists “so component commands have consistent guidance to inspect and ensure safety of private ranges.” He suggested a formal inspection program with Naval Facilities Engineering Command to inspect all Naval Special Warfare ranges.

Capt. Thomas Brown, Naval Special Warfare Group 1 commodore, agreed with the investigation and ordered a new range inspection process at the group level.

Since Ghane’s death, Naval Special Warfare Command banned the use of standard ammunition at Mid-South’s close-quarters-combat course, but chalk or plastic rounds are allowed. The same rules apply at civilian close-quarters ranges, unless they are inspected and authorized to be used for live training, spokesman Cmdr. Greg Geisen said.

http://www.navytimes.com/news/2009/02/navy_sealshooting_022609/
 
L

Looon

Guest
blah, blah, blah:rolleyes:

It sucks ass that he was killed:(,
but it goes with the job. It CAN happen with such realistic training.:2c:

Im sure there are a few of us on this board that know someone that was killed during a live fire. It's a fucking damn tragic loss, but that realistic training in necessary to be the most effective.
 

pardus

Verified Military
Joined
Sep 7, 2006
Messages
10,162
While I agree with the sentiment Luna, that people die in live fire, particularly shoot houses, it doesn't apply in this case.
This was caused by incompetence and cutting corners, someone died because contractors and the Navy were too lazy/cheap to do the correct thing and a man died as a result.

Negligent manslaughter...

The investigator has balls, I bet his career isn't going to be helped by his report, but good on him, he did the right thing.
 

Ex3

Bionic SSSO1 plank owner
Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2006
Messages
1,468
Location
Manhattan
While I agree with the sentiment Luna, that people die in live fire, particularly shoot houses, it doesn't apply in this case.
This was caused by incompetence and cutting corners, someone died because contractors and the Navy were too lazy/cheap to do the correct thing and a man died as a result.

Negligent manslaughter...

The investigator has balls, I bet his career isn't going to be helped by his report, but good on him, he did the right thing.

x2. PO Ghane's death was totally preventable. :mad:

May he rest in peace.
 

RustyShackleford

Ranger
Verified SOF
Joined
Aug 14, 2006
Messages
1,221
blah, blah, blah:rolleyes:

It sucks ass that he was killed:(,
but it goes with the job. It CAN happen with such realistic training.:2c:

Im sure there are a few of us on this board that know someone that was killed during a live fire. It's a fucking damn tragic loss, but that realistic training in necessary to be the most effective.

You can't seriously sit there and say "shit happens" when it was a totally preventable death due to faulty construction.
 

Tyrant

Special Forces/ Ranger
Verified SOF
Joined
Dec 22, 2008
Messages
168
Location
between wars...
You can't seriously sit there and say "shit happens" when it was a totally preventable death due to faulty construction.

Damn. This is horrible. To die in a hail of enemy gunfire is one thing but to die during a training mission where the training aids were not IAW safety regs is unjustifiable. This is a civilian ran organization, and it wasn't the first iteration that a DoD organization has utilized Mid South, I guess thats the scary part.
 
L

Looon

Guest
You can't seriously sit there and say "shit happens" when it was a totally preventable death due to faulty construction.
That's wasn't my intent. Im just saying that death is always a POSSIBILITY when engaging in such realistic training.

There's enough blame to go around, to include the Navy.
 

Trip_Wire

Special Forces
Rest In Peace
Joined
Jul 16, 2008
Messages
1,560
Location
Seattle, Puget Sound — PNW
I tend to think like Luna, having known warriors killed or injured during livefire exercises and other realistic combat training.

That said, when one reads this part of the article.: Quote:

"A Navy investigation into Ghane’s death found the ballistic wall was defective and poorly designed, with “an insufficiently thick gravel wall, exposure of the interior gravel to changing weather conditions and the lack of a ballistic steel plate within the wall.”

One must put the blame on the designer, contractor and the Navy for accepting such a poor facility. :2c:

RIP Operator 1st Class (SEAL) Shapoor “Alex” Ghane
 

18C4V

Special Forces
Verified SOF
Joined
Sep 23, 2006
Messages
281
Location
California
This happened before at MIDSOUTH. A SEAL was shot and killed on the outside of the house waiting for his run in the shoot house.

I went through a shoot house certification course by Viking Tactics, and since then, my safety plan has changed. Now, for my team, regardless if we're shooting frangible or standard ammo, bullet traps or not, US built or foreign, my guys are always in a safe place when the shoot house is live. I use the analogy that the shoot house was built by the lowest bidder
 

HoosierAnnie

Under deadline
Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2008
Messages
993
Location
The Crossroads of America
This was caused by incompetence and cutting corners, someone died because contractors and the Navy were too lazy/cheap to do the correct thing and a man died as a result. Negligent manslaughter...

Oh yeah!! Accidents do happen but this sort of thing is completely UNFORGIVABLE. To have one our best killed by something so preventable. . . there aren't enough acusatory words
 

Brooklynben

LSHD
Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2007
Messages
229
Location
Brooklyn, NY
x3. When operators are killed on a mission, life sucks. When training results in a death, there is absolutely no fucking excuse.

Fair winds, SO1.
I don't think there's any way to make dangerous training totally safe 100% of the time. Hell, I know of guys getting killed while training with blanks! Murphy is always with us. While I fully agree that this tragedy should have been prevented, I also think Luna's view is one closer to the reality I've seen.
 

Ajax

WWJCVDD?
Verified SOF
Joined
May 6, 2008
Messages
297
Location
Pac NW
Plenty of teams, both green and blue, go to Midsouth every year. Why is this the first time an issue with the stucture of the shoothouse has been raised? I am certainly not doubting the investigators results; however, it is hard for me to believe that all the charlies and bravos flowing through these rooms, many of whom have experience building shoothouses downrange, wouldn't notice any shortcomings.

Additionally, I want to point out that there are no shoothouse standards when doing this for real. If this had happened downrange, the bullet still would have gone through the wall and struck Ghane. I'm sure his team mates have already taken this into consideration, but this needs to be a lesson-learned for the rest of us: know your backstop and beyond.

I'm not playing devil's advocate. Just raising some other issues.

Rest in peace Alex.
 

Ajax

WWJCVDD?
Verified SOF
Joined
May 6, 2008
Messages
297
Location
Pac NW
This happened before at MIDSOUTH. A SEAL was shot and killed on the outside of the house waiting for his run in the shoot house.

I went through a shoot house certification course by Viking Tactics, and since then, my safety plan has changed. Now, for my team, regardless if we're shooting frangible or standard ammo, bullet traps or not, US built or foreign, my guys are always in a safe place when the shoot house is live. I use the analogy that the shoot house was built by the lowest bidder

Good advice bro. If you have a conop for that Viking Tactics course handy, will you PM me?
 
Top