NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — When Airmen deploy, an essential part of being able to accomplish the mission is being trained and prepared for what lies ahead.
Combat Arms Training and Maintenance at Nellis Air Force Base teaches the proper use of the weapons Airmen use while deployed, permanently changing station, or fulfilling annual requirements.
“CATM’s mission is preparing deployers and PCSers in case they ever need to draw a weapon,” said Staff Sgt. Mathew Konkel, 99th Security Forces Squadron assistant NCO in-charge of combat arms. “The biggest thing we do is train Airmen. Getting them out to the range so that if they ever need to use that weapon, they know how to use it properly.”
The 99th SFS CATM offers a wide variety of weapons classes, to prepare deploying Airmen for whatever real world scenario that may be ahead of them.
“We have all the basic Air Force weapons classes offered: M4 carbine, M9 pistol, M203 grenade launcher, M249 SAW, and then the M240 bravo medium machine gun,” said Konkel. “Then on top of those classes, we offer a M870 shotgun class. The majority of people who take that class are Airmen who are using the shotgun to do pest control on base.”
While CATM classes are most associated with the opportunity to go the range and enhance skills with a weapon, the course curriculum encompasses much more.
“A CATM class starts with a use-of-force briefing, and then arms, ammunition and explosive training,” said Staff Sgt. Kade Vincent, 99th SFS combat arms instructor. “After that, we cover the details and characteristics of the weapon, and from there how to operate the weapon. Once we cover those things, we talk about basic marksmanship, before moving out to the range.”
Once at the range, Airmen are given the opportunity to fire their weapon and familiarize themselves with the tools they will interact with daily while deployed.
“Firing a weapon gives Airmen confidence,” said Vincent. “When they are hitting the target at 300 meters pretty consistently, and if they do get into a firefight they have that confidence.”
Overall, CATM provides Airmen with the skills and confidence that will serve them throughout their deployment and beyond.