Combat Arms Training and Maintenance
By Airman 1st Class Hailey Bivens, 366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published May 10, 2019
MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- Well trained Airmen reduce the risk of safety mishaps in the field and increases accuracy and lethality when firing a weapon is necessary.
To ensure Gunfighters are ready to deploy at any moment, Mountain Home Air Force Base conducts Combat Arms Training and Maintenance (CATM) classes throughout the year.
Most Airmen are trained on two main weapons at CATM: the M4 carbine and M9 pistol.
“Whether it’s because they’re deploying or making a permanent change of station, they come to CATM for their small arms training,” said Staff Sgt. Corey Martin, 366th Security Forces Squadron Combat Arms instructor.
Gunfighter CATM instructors train Airmen on a multitude of topics that pertain to their safety in a deployed environment.
They start off in the classroom to learn basic firearm safety, how the weapon works, and how to preform immediate actions in the event their weapon is not firing correctly.
After the classroom portion of the course, Airmen are taken to the firing range to put the techniques they learned to the test.
Tech Sgt. Joshua Armstrong, 366th Operations Support Squadron air traffic controller says the training reminds him of the techniques he’s learned in the past when attending other CATM classes.
“Different careers in the Air Force have different objectives so it’s always good to have a refresher on how to properly operate these weapons.” Said Armstrong.
The instructors intently watch their students as they fire weapons during qualification to ensure they maintain safety standards.
“It’s very important for Airmen to retain information and remain safe when firing their weapons,” Martin said. “A negligent discharge could end someone’s life.”
When firing is done the shooters return to the classroom to disassemble and clean their weapons before putting the weapon back together with guidance from instructors.
“We go over operator level maintenance so they can identify problems inside the weapon itself,” Martin said. “If a bolt breaks it shouldn’t take a Combat Arms Airman to inspect it for cracks and imperfections. If the person is qualified they should be able to grab a new bolt and put it back together.”