By Staff Sgt. Matthew Coleman-Foster | 50th Space Wing Public Affairs
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The 50th Security Forces Squadron Combat Arms Training and Maintenance section at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, is a mobility and readiness unit responsible for providing in garrison weapons qualification, deployment and proficiency training requirements ensuring Airmen are prepared to handle weapons systems utilized in their duties.
Staff Sgt. Garett Brew, 50th Security Force Squadron combat arms noncommissioned officer in charge said his section’s role is to make sure personnel are comfortable with both overseas and stateside weapons systems.
“We make certain the 50th SFS and 50th Space Wing’s mobility stance is at an all-time high when it comes to weapons, so if we are tasked to deploy we can be out the door at a moment’s notice,” Brew said.
CATM instructors are selected from the Security Forces career field and attend an eight-week training program.
“Even though we are Security Forces, the weapons training is broken down to the most basic components, so we receive the starting knowledge on how to work the various weapon systems and diagnose problems,” Staff Sgt. Caleb Bunton, 50th Security Forces Squadron combat arms instructor said. “There’s also a portion for teaching us to provide instruction. You have to be capable of showing the students how to work the weapons, walk them through the process, and have the students show what they learned.”
Brew said his section is the first line in the arming requirement for Defenders.
“The Defenders people see at the gate every day, who have their pistols on them, are not even allowed to be armed unless they go through our section on an annual basis,” he said. “Still, we are cops, and we sometimes have to respond to certain things where our lives will be in danger. We have to be prepared for it.”
Due to the Year of the Defender initiative, Brew said the squadron is ramping up their mobility and readiness
“Originally, initial qualification and semi-annual sustainment requirements were needed, now we also have proficiency requirements added over the next three quarters,” he said. “Because of this, there is more involvement with CATM. We have to make sure our Defenders are provided with the approved courses of fire, ultimately making them better responders, better shooters, and more effective as a Defender.”
Bunton added because of the uptick in requirements, Defenders must fire more rounds of ammo than before.
“Right now each Defender fires hundreds of rounds between their M4 Carbine and M9 Berretta, with the addition of the quarterly firing, that number is doubled annually,” he said. “That doesn’t even include what we have to allocate for deployment requirements.”
According to Bunton, the CATM section works with outside agencies to support the 50th SFS.
“On a weekly basis, we work with 10th Logistics Readiness Squadron for our ammunition, we work with medical to ensure we are up to date as instructors on our occupational health requirements, and we have four Air Force Office of Special Investigation detachments we do qualifications for. Relationship building is probably one of the biggest parts of our mission.”
Brew said the section helps the 50th SFS and 50th SW innovatively execute today’s operations by being the heart of base defense.
“Without us you don’t have weapons to guard the base,” Brew said. “Our Defenders wouldn’t be proficient in handling weapons to respond to a threat without us. CATM and the training flight are at the core of how important 50th SFS is to the base.”
Brew said the most rewarding part of working in the CATM section is seeing the finished product.
“It’s the one person who was nervous to qualify and you get them up to speed, the next thing you know they are shooting expert,” he said. “It gives me satisfaction knowing I did something to help someone improve.”
This article is the ninth part of a series highlighting the 50th Security Forces Squadron flights. See future issues of the Schriever Sentinel for more coverage of Year of the Defender.