Young sailor handling big guns in Persian Gulf


March 31, 2003, 05:01 PM
The Bradenton Herald (Florida)

March 29, 2003 Saturday EST EDITION


LENGTH: 386 words

HEADLINE: Young sailor handling big guns in Persian Gulf

BYLINE: TIM W. McCANN; Herald Staff Writer

Jada Roberts grew up in a family that knew the dangers of a firearm.

So when Roberts was 7 years old, her family put her in a gun-safety class. Her mother, Deby Kuederle, said she wanted Roberts to learn what guns are all about, what they can do - and how dreadful accidents can occur from misuse.

Today, 25-year-old Jada handles all kinds of firepower. U.S. Navy Petty Officer Second Class Jada Roberts is a gunner's mate aboard the USS Gunston Hall. She takes care of the artillery, said Roberts' proud mom.

"She would actually shoot her .50 calibers if they were in a war situation," Kuederle said. "Right now she checks the weapons out and maintains them."

The Gunston Hall has been out to sea since January. The last time Kuederle received an e-mail from her daughter was shortly before the war started. Roberts told her not to worry, but she doubted she'd have time to write as frequently as before.

Kuederle said the ship remains in the Persian Gulf as far as she knows.

The ship itself has the population of a small city. In addition to the crew of about 240, around 500 Marines are on board. The ship also carries - and some of its crew trains - the dolphins that seek out mines in Gulf waters.

The dolphins, kept below the ship where they have plenty of swimming room, are trained to look for mines. When they spot a mine, a device attached to the dolphins marks its location. A diver deactivates the mine.

Kuederle said the crew was able to get off the ship for a day in southern Iraq. She said her daughter said the people were not hostile toward Americans, in most cases - but Iraqi women and children were not allowed on the streets after sundown.

Kuederle, a Bradenton resident and admissions director at Westminster Towers downtown, said sometimes she watches too many news reports about the war. Her daughter enlisted in the U.S. Navy after graduating from Palmetto High School and is in her last year in the military.

"It's like, gosh, she only had one more year to go! We almost made it through without a war," Kuederle said, adding that Roberts said morale among the crew has been high and the sailors appreciate the support they are getting back home.

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El Tejon
March 31, 2003, 05:13 PM
So, are the dolphins in a big swimming pool down below or have their own rooms or towed behind the ship like a fish basket???:confused: Anyone know?

March 31, 2003, 07:27 PM
.50 caliber equals artillery? Things have changed in the Navy.

April 1, 2003, 07:19 AM
i'd say they got a tank somewhere for the dolphins, probably with a beer machine and pool tables...


just another reporter trying to make a story out of nothing.

i like the part "she would ACTUALLY shoot those .50s if we were in a war situation"

whoa,,,they would let her do that??


$5 says she outshoots most of the boys...


April 1, 2003, 10:57 AM
.50 caliber equals artillery?

NGFS at its best :confused:

April 1, 2003, 02:14 PM
As a Gunner's Mate Guns, she probably takes care of everything from 50BMG on up.

April 1, 2003, 09:30 PM
ET, they said the ship carries Marines, so it probably has a well deck (a section where they keep the landing craft, that can be flooded when its time to go). Maybe they keep the dolphins down there.

El Tejon
April 1, 2003, 10:28 PM
TheLast, O.K., thanks.

April 1, 2003, 11:08 PM
yeah, it has a well deck.

I was wondering how they were coping with mine countermeasures ever since the one Iwo Jima class amphib they kept as a mine countermeasures ship threw a rod and was retired.



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