Combat arms training
By Airman 1st Class Sergio A. Gamboa, 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 03, 2015
TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The Air Force is a profession of Arms. No matter the day-to-day job, Airmen are required to maintain a skillset to defend our county at a moment's notice.
Combat Arms Training and Maintenance is vital to the mission of the Department of Defense in providing the military forces needed to deter war and to protect the security of our country.
The 325th Security Forces Squadron CATM unit ensures that Air Force personnel are trained, qualified and certified on the weapon system(s) they are issued or will be issued and maintaining and ensuring all small arms are serviceable.
"Combat arms is important because it allows Airmen and civilians to train utilizing live munitions," said Staff Sgt. Vianney Hocog, 325th SFS CATM assistant NCO in-charge. "It's also where we conduct marksmanship training to prepare all Air Force personnel for home station and deployment operations."
With five to eight classes per week, each lasting five to 48 hours depending on the weapon system, the unit trains approximately 4,000 Airmen annually for deployments, permanent change of station and force protection duties, using more than 300,000 rounds of ammunition for eight different weapons systems: the M9 pistol, M11 pistol, M16 rifle, M4 rifle, M870 shotgun, M203 grenade launcher, M249 automatic rifle and M240B machine Gun.
"The training is beneficial for preparing Airmen who may not have much experience working with CATM," said Senior Airman Joshua Jones, 337th Air Control Squadron command and control battle management operator and recent student of the course. "For me having a lot of past experience with weapons, it was easy going through the training, but it is very helpful for someone who is not familiar with weapons."
For those who find it hard getting familiar with live weapons, CATM also provides the Fire Arms Training Simulator, which enhances an individual's ability to act and react to any giving situation with different weapons.
"This simulator can be used as a training tool to help individuals who need a little more help when it comes to firing," said Hocog. "We have just about all of the different weapons systems that can be attached to the system. We can also train security forces personnel on shoot/no shoot scenarios."
During the training, Airmen are shown the basics of weapon safety, reloading, targeting and shooting to help familiarize them if something were to arise.
"A firefight is already a worst case scenario situation and not knowing what to do with your weapon does not make it better," said Hocog. "It's not our job to take in to account the likelihood of personnel that would come in contact with enemy fire; it's our job to help prepare them in the event they do come in contact with enemy fire and teaching them the skills that can potentially save their lives."
The unit consists of eight personnel, including two Airmen from the security forces armory.
"The main purpose of why we have an armory is so that we have a place to store our weapons and ammunition," said Staff Sgt. Lolita Aguon, 325th SFS armory NCO in-charge. "Our mission is to provide safe issue and turn in of all arms, ammunitions, explosives and equipment to all security forces personnel."
Armorers ensure the safe issue and return of all arms, ammunition and equipment and must always maintain 100 percent accountability of all assets. Additionally, the armorers provide customer service for those wanting to store personally owned weapons and also provide storage for different agencies across the base, Aguon said.
"We serve in order to get defenders mission ready," she added. "The start and end of the day for security forces, is arming up for duty and de-arming to go home."
If any unit wants to get familiarized on how to properly utilize weapons via the F.A.T.S., call CATM at (850) 283-2732.