Active, Guard Airmen work together to gain weapons training

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  • 127th Security Forces Squadron
The Combat Arms Instructors assigned to the 127th Security Forces Squadron at Selfridge Air National Guard Base recently received some weapons certification of their own. After the squadron was assigned with new mission responsibilities involving a new weapon system, the M2 50-caliber machine gun, the 127th SFS found itself with no way to qualify it's new heavy machine gun teams to support the various missions overseas. Before these teams can be trained, the Combat Arms Instructors needed to become qualified and proficient first.

Instead of waiting for an opportunity, the 127th Security Forces Squadron went out and created it. The 127th SFS has a strong Combat Arms Training & Maintenance (CATM) section, but since the 127th has never had M2 heavy machine gun teams before, none of the 127th CATM instructors were qualified to teach and qualify the teams.

With the chance of future deployments nearing and no way to bring our teams up to speed, the CATM section did something Security Forces are well known for: thinking outside the box. By networking with the active duty 88th SFS CATM Section at Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton, Ohio, the 127th was able to create a workable plan. Two 88th SFS Airmen traveled to Selfridge as a kind of mobile training team. After completing classroom training on the weapon system, the instructors and 127th CATM members traveled to Camp Grayling, a Michigan Army National Guard facility in northern Michigan, to use the weapons ranges there.

While new to the 127th, the M2 or "Ma Deuce" as it is affectionately called by those who have to employ it, has a long history of service in the U.S. military. The heavy-barreled machine gun has not had a significant change to its design since it was introduced to the military during the outbreak of the Second World War. As a large belt-fed machine gun, it is effective against infantry, lightly armored vehicles, fortifications and low-flying aircraft. The M2 machine gun has been in military use longer than any other machine gun.

Tech. Sgt. Stephen Herrington, 88th SFS, said the training put together for the Selfridge team allowed the 127th Airmen to receive more hands-on time and be able to fire more rounds in different situations, than might otherwise have been the case.

SSgt Jeremy Defour, 127th SFS, said this was some of the best training he has been involved in his whole career as a CATM instructor. 

Capt. Christopher Platz, 127th SFS commander, expressed his gratitude and admiration for the CATM troops to work together and solve this problem locally. He called their efforts a "true example of total force partnership between the Guard and active duty which benefits both organizations."

The 127th CATM Section can now start training the Michigan Air National Guardsmen who will serve in these machine gun teams.

About the 127th Wing
Comprised of approximately 1,700 personnel and flying both the A-10 Thunderbolt II and the KC-135 Stratotanker, the 127th Wing supports Air Mobility Command, Air Combat Command and Air Force Special Operation Command by providing highly-skilled Airmen to missions domestically and overseas. The 127th Wing is the host unit at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, which marks its 97th year of continuous military air operations in 2014.