161st SFS qualifies under new weapons course
By Tech. Sgt. Susan Gladstein, 161st Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
/ Published December 06, 2011
PHOENIX SKY HARBOR AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE -- After more than three years in development, the Air Force introduced the new Rifle/Carbine Training Qualification Course beginning Dec. 1, 2011.
The 161st Security Forces Squadron did not waste any time in getting their members trained under these new requirements. From Dec. 6-8, 2011, the squadron's 72 members were split into three groups to go through the course, including classroom instruction and weapons firing at the National Guard training range in Florence, Ariz.
To qualify on this new course, Airmen must demonstrate safe weapon handling skills, the ability to operate the weapon unassisted, proper movement and use of cover, proper threat engagement techniques, achieve the minimum number of hits on the target and properly perform operator maintenance.
"The new course of fire gives Airmen more time on the range," said Master Sgt. Charles Griffin, 161st SFS Combat Arms NCO in charge. "We went from firing 120 shots to now 276 in the new course of fire. This gives more time for practice and familiarity of the weapons."
The new course combines basic firing positions with advanced tactical movements aimed at helping prepare Airmen for deployments downrange.
The course is divided into "tables" that are based on individual's deployment and professional duties. All Airmen are required to complete Tables I and II, which includes basic rifle marksmanship and short range combat training.
Table III is required for security forces, battlefield Airmen such as combat controllers and pararescue, and Airmen deploying with Army ground forces. These Airmen are trained on Night Threat Engagement Techniques, which includes shooting with night-vision scopes, flashlights and laser aiming devices.
"This new course of fire is more comprehensive and therefore more challenging," said Capt. David Foulke, 161st SFS officer in charge. "Members need to focus on all aspects of marksmanship right from the beginning of the course. Participating in this qualification made me realize that the ability to operate the M-4 rifle effectively is not only a necessary, but also a perishable skill. It is one that requires attention as part of the role of a Security Forces member due to the fact that it is our last line of defense of self and others."
Captain Foulke went on to express gratitude for the members of the 161st SFS Combat Arms Training and Maintenance section as the time required to complete the course involves an increased comittment from them to include 13- to 16-hour days, regardless of student skill level.
"The new course of fire is very challenging and it will test even the best shooters," Sergeant Griffin said. "While this course of fire is significantly different than the previous course, it will produce better-qualified Airmen, who will have the basic skills needed to protect themselves and their fellow Airmen in the event lethal force is required."