US Navy SEAL’s death prompts look at shoot houses

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

SEAL’s death prompts look at shoot houses
By Gidget Fuentes - Staff writer
Posted : Friday Mar 6, 2009 16:09:23 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.

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.
GilletteCannonSLR said:
Seems inexcusable with hindsight and a pre-warning report.

Civilian shooting houses, didn't even know they existed.

Oh well.
I doubt that they do in he UK. :)
Mostly seen in the US Navy SEALs.
I think you can join the SEALs direct from Civvie Street*, if you are that way inclinded.

Didn't you post this about a year ago Trip, either that or there has been a second malfunctioning killing house.

*Civillian Boulevard for Yanks? :D
Trip_Wire said:
GilletteCannonSLR said:
Seems inexcusable with hindsight and a pre-warning report.

Civilian shooting houses, didn't even know they existed.

Oh well.
I doubt that they do in he UK. :)
Before 1988 civis could hire the ranges at Sennybridge at weekends for about £1000 a day, my gunclub did so quite a lot, range officer provided, great fun to go storming up G range with a pump action 12 bore
Been on a few indoor ranges in the Uk that had areas that had decayed from many months of shooting. Its all about range mantainace and repairing faults quickly. Some of the indoor ranges in the old days used to have rubber sheets handing from the wall, if the rounds missed them you would get a bouncer coming back.

As for civvy ranges in the UK there are quite a few used by the military.

Similar threads

New Posts

Latest Threads