CATM: wearing many hats to ensure mission execution

F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE – No matter what job an Airman holds, they are required to maintain a skillset to defend this country and its allies at a moment’s notice.

Combat Arms Training and Maintenance is a vital component to keeping our Airmen trained and qualified on the weapon systems they are issued when providing security on home station or deployed.

CATM instructors train military and civilian personnel to be proficient with whichever weapon they will be carrying. The members qualifying at CATM often have an upcoming deployment, permanent change of station or are up for requalification per duty requirements.

“We are in the profession of arms, and it is vital that everyone understands the basics of how to operate a firearm,” said Staff Sgt. Jonathan Rowe, 90th Security Support Squadron CATM instructor. “It is our job to ensure everyone who comes through our doors is qualified on any weapon they are issued.”

The CATM range on F.E. Warren Air Force Base ensures the proficiency and qualification of all Airmen, both on the range and in the classroom.

“Achieving proficiency for your weapon system ensures seamless task execution during an encounter, and allows an Airman to apply more focus on their decision-making process and surrounding environment versus weapon operation,” said Chief Master Sgt. Brian Lewis, 90th Security Forces Group chief enlisted manager. “Competent weapon operations must be an involuntary action...much like breathing.”

Recently Senior Airman Alyssa Riehl, 90th Security Support Squadron defender qualified on the M-9 Beretta. Security Forces members have to complete sustainment firing, such as Shoot Move Communicate, as a job requirement.

“It is important that we remain trained and comfortable with our weapons, so we are prepared to use them at a moment’s notice,” said Riehl. “Dedicating a facility and instructors to weapons qualification creates a higher quality training for all Airmen. If we didn’t have this, the quality of training would be drastically reduced.”

On top of teaching and qualifying non-security Airmen, CATM also helps missile security forces and base security forces personnel requalify on the weapons they use in their everyday job.

“Our combat arms Airmen have the responsibility to lay the foundational skills for all Airmen, regardless of Air Force specialty,” said Lewis. “From their professionalism as classroom instructors, to coaching tactics on weapons firing and ultimately being able to provide critical inspections and maintenance across the spectrum of weapons we maintain, combat arms Airmen wear many hats to ensure mission execution.”            

Security may not be the job of everyone while deployed, but it is vital for all Airmen to know how to defend themselves, their team and the mission they are supporting down range.

© 2019-Cheyenne Minuteman

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