New Weapons Training for Selfridge Airmen

  • Published
  • By TSgt. Dan Heaton
  • 127th Wing Public Affairs
Selfridge Airmen who are preparing to deploy will receive additional marksmanship and familiarity with firearms under a new training program being launched by the Air Force.

The new training, which goes into effect Dec. 1, doubles the number of rounds Airmen will actually shoot during their just-in-time combat arms training and will require Airmen to fire the weapon while in full combat gear, be able to field clean their weapon and to zero-in their weapon's sites without assistance.

"The training will require people to be more familiar with their weapon and to use it under conditions they are more likely to face in the field," said Staff Sgt. Chris Campbell, a Combat Arms Training and Maintenance (CATM) instructor with the 127th Security Forces Squadron.

Since additional material is covered in the program, the new training will take considerably longer than the older training, said TSgt. Charles Cain, another CATM instructor at Selfridge.

"The new training will take 9 to 11 hours between the class and the range," he said.

Formerly, Airmen fired 100 rounds with either the M-4 rifle or 9mm pistol. With the new training requirements, Airmen will fire 196 rounds. At each stage of the training, Airmen must successfully complete their task or maintain a certain level of marksmanship or they will be disqualified from the course at that point and must begin the course over.

The new course's curriculum is the product of more than three years of extensive research, testing and feedback by Air Force CATM instructors and security forces personnel.

All Air Force personnel will be required to go through the training within 120 days of a mobilization or deployment. Airmen in certain career fields, such as Security Forces, will be required to take the training on at least an annual basis.

In addition to wearing body armor, including a helmet, during the live shooting part of the training, Airmen will be required to make a variety of tactical movements during the exercise, such as ducking behind cover while firing. Firing will take place using all four basic firing positions as well, standing, sitting, kneeling and prone.

Campbell said under the new training, fewer rounds will count when making the calculation on whether a person is able to score at the marksman level during the training, meaning it will likely become much more of a challenge for typical Airmen to qualify for the Air Force Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon.

Cain said the training regiment will be the same for both officers and enlisted personnel, with the only possible difference being that some Airmen will train with the rifle, some with the pistol and some with both weapons.