SFS personnel hone skills at Fort Devens
By Tech. Sgt. Mark Wyatt, 157th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
/ Published April 11, 2012
FORT DEVENS, Mass. -- Eight members of the 157th Security Forces Squadron, along with three Combat Arms Training and Marksmanship (CATM) instructors, traveled from Pease Air National Guard Base to the range here to qualify on the M240B and M249 weapon systems Mar. 5.
Each squad is assigned personnel that carry an M240B and M249 as part of a unit tasking requirement. These individuals are required to qualify by a live-fire on their respective weapon once a year.
"It's critical to the quality of training that personnel are able to utilize this live-fire training range here with pop-up targets," said Staff Sgt. Brett Peterson, 157th Security Forces Squadron CATM instructor. "Each airman qualifying on the weapon is able to get a much better understanding of the full-range of capabilities each weapon system has."
In addition to the hands-on use of the weapon, the range at Fort Devens provides opportunities that are not otherwise afforded at home station.
"The pop-up targets at Fort Devens are a great way to provide immediate feedback to personnel," continued Peterson. "The range also allows airman an opportunity to utilize their sights and engage targets at varying distances."
CATM personnel not only qualified on each weapon as part of their annual training requirement, they were responsible for maintaining a safe environment.
"In addition to being proficient on the weapon to properly instruct members within the squadron, we're there to maintain range safety," added Peterson. "There are a variety of things that can go wrong, it's most important that we maintain a safe environment for personnel."
Despite the recent snow storm that dumped over a foot of snow in early March, training was not impacted by the harsh weather conditions.
"We train in all types of weather, so the snow that day had very little impact on the quality of training," Peterson said. "If anything at all, the snow made it a little more challenging to clean-up brass buried in the snow after."
CATM personnel understand well the good fortune they have in being able to train at Fort Devens.
"The training these airmen received today is invaluable. We are very lucky to be able to utilize the range here," said Peterson. "Hopefully they will use this knowledge and experience and pass it on to their peers in the squadron."