News: Airmen draw a bead with CATM
Story by Staff Sgt. Christopher Willis
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - For today’s battlefield airmen, just being qualified on your weapon will not prepare you for one of the greatest threats downrange, the “insider threat.”
Members of the 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Group Combat Arms Training and Maintenance train deployed airmen on the needed skills to react to a possible active shooter on the base.
“We are basically schooling [the airmen] up on the process on how to react to an insider threat,” said Tech. Sgt. Steven Ely, CATM instructor. “The goal is to get them familiar with firing from different positions in a high-stress scenario.”
During the course airmen are told to fire starting from a seated position and also while moving towards the target. On the command of “active shooter,” all the trainees repeat the command and then engage the target together. They are also directed to run in place to get their heart rate up before they are allowed to shoot at the target.
These training tactics are not used for qualification or a marksman medal. The airmen are being trained on situational awareness and how to engage an enemy.
“The airmen need to be either shooting or reloading and not waiting to be targets,” said Staff Sgt. Zachary Regan, CATM instructor. “We want the airmen to be more proactive as opposed to reactive.”
The violence on U.S. troops from outside forces, also called “blue on green,” is always a possibility and a constant reminder of the danger one faces in a deployed environment.
Master Sgt. Michael Jones, from the 455th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, can see the necessity for the advanced training. He talked about how the pressure the CATM instructors place on the trainees is important because that sense of rush and increased adrenalin is what one would feel if they were in an actual active shooter scenario.
“This is important training in this combat area of responsibility,” he said. “You get issued a weapon, you need to know how to handle it safely and effectively.”