Coast Guard Getting the Lead Out

by Petty Officer Michael De Nyse

Honolulu – Shots rang out and bullets flew at Coast Guard Integrated Support Command (ISC), Honolulu, May 21, 2008, during the dedication ceremony for the Coast Guard’s new Dexter Small Arms Firing Range.

“The Dexter Small Arms Firing Range will ensure units in the Fourteenth District continue to maintain the expected high level of readiness,” said Lt. Cmdr. Scott Washburn, stationed at ISC’s Engineering Department.

The range is a first for the Coast Guard. It is a prototype that uses reduced hazard ammunition (RHA) and is safer for personnel and the environment.

“Firing lead ammunition represents a threat to human health and the environment that is undeniable but preventable,” said Capt. John Hickey, commanding officer of the ISC.

“This ammo is ideal for indoor ranges since it disintegrates upon impact and therefore does not ricochet,” said Chief Petty Officer Eirik Hauge, supervisor of the Coast Guard Pacific Area Armory Detachment Honolulu.

The range was constructed at a cost of $2.3 million and is equipped with eight firing lanes that are able to accommodate all of the small arms in the Coast Guard inventory.

The dedication ceremony concluded with members of the official party firing a ceremonial first shot to commemorate the range. The official party included: Vice Adm. Charles Wurster, commander of the Coast Guard’s Pacific Area; Rear Adm. Sally Brice-O’Hara, commander of the Fourteenth Coast Guard District; Rear Adm. Manson Brown, the incoming commander of the Fourteenth Coast Guard District; and Jerry Johnson, the executive director of the Coast Guard’s Facilities Design and Construction Center, Pacific.

The range is named for Coast Guard Rear Adm. Dwight Dexter, who was in charge of small boat operations during the Battle of Guadalcanal during World War II. Dexter also played an integral role in the Coast Guard’s competitive shooting program during the 1930s.

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