SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. --
The 4th Security Forces Squadron Combat Arms Training and Maintenance shop prepare Airmen for deployments.
At Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, the CATM trainers are dedicated to teaching Airmen, how to fire weapons and hit targets as efficient as possible.
“The mission for CATM is to supply the wing with mission readiness, and to make sure Airmen are ready to deploy at any given moment,” said Staff Sgt. James Campbell, 4th SFS CATM instructor. “Some Airmen have never touched a weapon until they come and sit through our class. We provide the tools and mechanics they need to actually operate the weapon so they will be able to defend themselves and everyone around them.”
Two-day classes of 14 Airmen occur continuously throughout the year. Depending on the weapon system used during the training class, each day consists of up to eight hours of instruction. During the class, Airmen learn fundamentals, battle drills, and the mechanics of the weapon.
“The next day is more hands on,” said Campbell. “Airmen will shoot practice rounds in order to get acclimated with firing the weapon, and then do qualifying rounds. They will shoot a combined 196 rounds between the practice and qualifying.”
Airmen must qualify in every portion before they can be certified and be released for deployment, Campbell said.
Tech. Sgt. Andre Tondreau, 4th Component Maintenance Squadron aerospace propulsion technician, attended the CATM training class prior to deploying.
“I feel CATM absolutely does help,” Tondreau said. “Not everybody has the chance to fire a weapon every day. It’s definitely good, especially in an instance where you have to carry, fix, or even fire a weapon.”
CATM instructors’ focus isn’t solely on teaching classes, they have several other areas to monitor ensuring successful completion of each training class.
“We also have to make sure scheduling and programs are up to date, (inspecting the ammunition inventory), as well as making sure the weapon is up to par,” said Campbell.
Weapon maintenance, according to Campbell, is the most critical responsibility. Following each day’s events, instructors disengage weapons, inspect them and ensure firearms are in proper working condition for the next training day.
“It brings me so much comfort that I can actually help people improve their skills for deployment,” Campbell said. “A lot of people just think that we shoot, play with the guns and go home. There’s a lot more involved. Without us, the mission itself wouldn’t be possible.”