Killer Tomatoes and Target Practice Safety

Target practice is a staple of the military training regime. After all, practicing with their state-of-the-art weapons will ensure the ship is safe from any potential attacks. But, how does the Navy practice hitting targets during deployment? The Navy employees the use of a red square affectionately called the Killer Tomato by sailors. The Killer Tomato serves as a short range target for sailors who are qualifying in the use of their fifty caliber gun which is a part of the defenses on all naval vessels. Sailors are to aim towards the Killer Tomato, but often they don’t actually hit it. But, while some sailors are qualifying on the flight decks of a carrier, the rest of them are observing patiently from the hangar bay, questioning why nobody has hit the oversized red square floating in the middle of the ocean.

Scuttlebutt amongst the crew is that sailors aren’t actively aiming at the Killer Tomato. Their objective is actually to aim close to the Killer Tomato, but not actually hit it furthermore their job is to actually learn timing their shots as the carrier does not stop moving as they shoot. Only a certain percentage of the crew specializes in weapons usage, and the majority of the sailors are only M16 and M9 qualified. Ships have various departments that specialize in the defense of the ship, and overall keep the peace amongst the crew. The Navy also does various security drills which present different types of scenarios that might ever happen in the middle of the ocean. Yet, the most important aspect of all of this is the safety of everyone involved in the drills.

The Navy takes serious precautions when employing the use of any type of weapon at sea. Sailors will not be able to exit into the catwalks or any of the outer barriers without the proper authorization. Hearing and eye protection is mandatory for all personnel in the area to prevent hearing loss and potential bullet casings to the eyes. These dangers are uncommon, but as anyone with experience in a gun range can confirm, bullet casings leave guns at high temperatures and can leave a nasty burn if they land on a sensitive area. Animals are strictly forbidden from being shot and if a member decides to go rogue and shoot one they will certainly face judicial punishment. Members in the area will also wear float coats to prevent any incidents which might involve falling overboard. Years of experience has taught the Navy the importance of maintaining all of these methods as a crucial part of their training procedures.

Training is an important part of any military organization. Weapons training and target practice is always going to be a part of the military tradition, but it’s evolved over the years to prevent any friendly casualties that might happen. It’s important to recognize the dangers that weapons present in any environment, but also to respect nature and the inhabitants of the sea. All of these guidelines are in place to protect those who serve, but thankfully also the environment.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.


Emmanuel "Dash the Bomber" Barbosa

Emmanuel Barbosa, AKA Dash The Bomber, is currently serving in the 7th fleet, and has over 8 years of experience in the military. A writer with a penchant for the humorous and informative, he loves to share his stories with those who would be willing to listen. Having served in deployments that have taken him around the world, Dash has seen and heard about many things that would be hard to believe. A loving father and a faithful husband, he is dedicated to protecting his family and country. For fun he enjoys cosplaying, videogames, and writing for online magazines.

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