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CATM instructors prepare Airmen for deployment
Staff Sgt. Derek Fox, 375th Security Forces Squadron combat arms training and maintenance instructor, shows a proper prone shooting position while teaching a class March 3, 2011, at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. Scott AFB's combat arms training and maintenance instructors with the 375th Security Forces Squadron train more the 1,500 Airmen a quarter in weapons training. (U.S Air Force Photo/Airman 1st Class Divine Cox)
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Combat arms instructors prepare Airmen for deployment

Posted 3/9/2011   Updated 3/9/2011 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class Divine Cox
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

3/9/2011 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill.  -- Combat Arms Training and Maintenance instructors are not here to set you up for failure.

They're here to help you.

The instructors at Scott train more than 1,500 Airmen a quarter. Staff Sgt. Richard Barber, 375th Security Forces Squadron CATM instructor, said, "I love my job. I love seeing Airmen get expert, and I like that I get to see Airmen from different AFSCs qualify on a weapon."

Safety is the No. 1 priority while at CATM. Not only does an Airman have to qualify on a specific weapon, but if they are not handling the weapon safely, they can fail the course. At Scott, CATM instructors train on 11 different types of weapons.

They train on the M-9, M-11 used by Office of Special Investigation, M-14 carbine, M-16, M-203 grenade launcher, M-870 and M-500 shotguns, Mark19, and the .24, .249, and .50 caliber machine guns. An AFSC will determine the passing score for an individual.

AFSC's are categorized in two groups: Arms group A needs to hit the target 32 out of 50 to qualify while Arms group B only needs to hit the target 25 out of 50 times. To get expert, the shooter must hit the target 43 out of 50 times. Even though the class is taught at a pace where most can grasp the concepts, enabling them to pass, sometimes Airmen don't get it on their first try.

"If an Airman does not pass, they are required to go to remedial fire," said Sergeant Barber. "Remedial fire is held on the last day of the month the Airman failed. The Airman is also required to re-accomplish computer based training on the weapon which they failed and bring in the certificate. "If an Airman continues to fail, they can be dropped from a deployment or PCS orders can be dropped," added the sergeant.

Besides weapons training, the instructors are responsible for assisting unit deployment managers with scheduling, performing weapons inspections, as well as joint fire tasking. In order to become a CATM instructor, security force members have to apply for it.

There is a separate technical school called Combat Arms Apprentice Course at Lackland AFB, Texas.

"It is an eight weeks course" said Sergeant Barber. "So its kind of like a cross training, but you are still in the security forces career field." Not only do the instructors train active duty members, but also Guardsmen and Reservists as well. The instructors support 70 units around Scott.

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