Tuesday, January 10, 2017

TOP STORY >> Combat training

19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Airmen lay in the prone position, awaiting commands from the Combat Arms instructor before firing their M4 assault rifle. They control their breathing and push their cheeks against the cold metal while aligning their sight during a Combat Arms Training and Maintenance qualification class.

Line is ready. Fire!

Live rounds are fired at targets as empty casings spill across the concrete.

The smell of spent brass fills the air.

The timer sounds, indicating the end of a firing session.

Cease fire! Cease fire!

Instructors accompany students to their targets to advise them on sight adjustments and shooting techniques.

The military and weapons go hand in hand. For some airmen, their first experience holding one is at basic military training. Yet, weapons training doesn’t end there.

CATM is a qualification course that provides training in the safe handling of weapons and to arm airmen with knowledge for downrange operations as part of Little Rock Air Force Base’s rapid global-mobility mission.

“The goal is to have every airmen know their weapon like the back of their hand,” said Air Force Tech Sgt. Wayne Richard, 19th Security Force Squadron Combat Arms NCO in charge. “We have an extensive lesson plan in the classroom that leads to the shooting range, where they can see everything they were taught be put into place,” he said.

CATM instructors are charged with the responsibilities of training Team Little Rock airmen with weapon safety and shooting procedures.

“If they don’t meet the standards, then we bring them back for a one-on-one session that allows us to break it down even further,” said Air Force Senior Airman Trenton Lloyd, a 19th Security Force Squadron Combat Arms instructor.

The CATM flight trained approximately 650 airmen how to safely fire and maintain a weapon last year, preparing them to protect and defend themselves and their wingmen.

“We’re all responsible for defending wherever we are,” Richard said. “At any time you can get called to pull a weapon system from the armory and man the gate or a defensive fighting position. This training could save their life or others.”