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Poor Marksmanship training

3797 Views 17 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  IC2(SS)19Z50C5
To preface this, I don't mean to speak ill or offend the CATM members on here but this is something that truly bothers me from what I've seen at all the CATM shops I've been too.

It pains me in the Air Force to see other cops barely qualifying. I've been raised shooting all my life so it's alien to me the thought that some haven't touched a firearm until they joined the military.

With that said, it seems the Air Force has no marksmanship training what so ever (save for ADM, CPEC, CQB/Active shooter etc...). Even in tech school it was basically how to operate the weapon but no indepth marksmanship training. The last time I went to qualify during a break period I asked everyone else with us who knew the proper way to use a sling. The only answer I got was a cocky new Airman who snapped off with, "duh, it's for carrying this POS around". Absolutely no one in the class knew, neither did the CATM instructor. After I showed them how to use an issue USGI sling as a hasty sling with the (I used a Viking Tactical Long Range Sling with a buckle Bicep cuff at the time, replaced for reasons I'll get into) half the group went from barely qualifying to earning Marksman just from something that simple.

After that I've been taking every new troop we get to the range and coaching them at my own cost. I've even got my NRA Range Safety Officer certification and have been trying to get additional NRA certifications to better train new troops. I originally joined Security Forces for the reason of working my way into CATM (more so for the Maintenance side than for the training side) but after seeing the level of training that's given to the students I don't think I could do it.

As for why I no longer have my VTAC on my M4, PACAF now has a list of manditory items to be mounted on all the M4's. We have flashlight (useful, can't disagree with that move), T handles (I hate them with a passion, they get it the way and inhibit proper prone position firing), PAQ-4's (they're not zeroed in nor do they ever get sighted in. Not to mention they mounted all of them on the top rail so my forward mounted Aimpoint I setup so I could mount my NVG's behind was moved back throwing my zero off immensely) and worse of all they issued single point slings that are now all that is authorized.

Anywho, time to end my rant and get off my soapbox. If any CATM instructors on here could explain to me why Air Force Marksmanship training, or lack there of, is the way it is right now I would greatly appreciate it greatly.
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Most CATM guys that I ever ran into acted like they were inconvenienced any time they were instrucing. I don't know if they just get jaded from all the airmen that could care less about marksmanship or what. I know exactly what you mean. I have seen some CATM guys give some pretty good marksmanship tips once in a while but most of them act like they know more than you and could care less about training. I'm sure there are some great ones out there but this has been my experience. I think the AF should put more of a priority on this training if not just to remind some airmen that they ARE in the military
 

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It's sad to hear that. I have a friend that was security forces in the '80's and he told me all kinds of stories about the high speed marksmanship training they got. It wouldn't surprise me if the AF was purposely neglecting marksmanship training so that airmen don't get tasked out to do Army stuff overseas.
 

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You are absolutely correct on so many fronts. Once upon a time a large majority of our citizens were taught by their fathers and mothers at a young age how to shoot. The branches honed those skills as needed. The answer is APPLESEED! They instruct to SDM standards. Locally we have both Army and Air Force, not requiring but strongly suggesting their troops attend an Appleseed shoot. Many of our instructors are active duty with many more ex/retired. I know of one PD that's requireing their officers to attend a seed before they are allowed to carry their M4's in their patrol cars. Yes....The services have dropped their marksmanship standards. Many of the troops won't do any more then necessary to get by. They will regret that when and if the need is there and they don't posess the skills. Solid fundamentals are essential and those are sorely lacking.....O.L.
 

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I understand that the Air Force is part of our military, but how often do they actually "need" their rifles?
agreed. I always had treated the situation like this: "I maintained F-16s that go out and do more damage than any small arm will ever do." However, some marksmanship training would be appropriate aswell. I wasn't allowed to work on fighter jets without any formal training, why should firearms use be any different?
 

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M_anstrom

Here is my opinion based on 35 years of USAF (30 active duty and 5 yrs as a civil servant assigned to a CATM shop). The answer to your question boils down to money and available manpower. We do not have enough of either to expand the program.

CATM guys like in any profession are made up of different folks who have various levels of passion for there trade. I have worked and do work around some exceptional and some marginal instructors. If you are interested in becoming a CATM instructor, I would encourage you to talk to your squadron chief or ops supt and let them know you are interested in the duty and see if you can be attached to your CATM shop for a couple weeks (not during the holidays). You will find that they have a demanding job and are, in most part, doing the best they can under the AFI requirements they have to operate under.

The new course of fire that was just released is a step in the right direction but it doesn't come close to meeting the needs of Airmen who are performing "outside the wire" missions. It does however, train the average Airmen (aircraft maintenance, engineer, services troop, etc) to be more proficient with their assigned weapon.

It's sounds as if you have taken the steps to provide the most valuable training available and that's the one one one or fire team leader led training on tactics, techniques and procedures as it relates to your trade. Remember CATM guys focus on the fundamentals. It is up to NCOs and leaders to develop those skills as it relates to the performing the mission.

Dienekes

The average Airman assigned to launching and recovering our aircraft only needs basic marksmanship. We do however need professional riflemen on and outside our perimeters to protect our force. If you've been on/through any one of our air bases in the AOR you were protected by USAF Security Forces on and outside the perimter.

Hope this helps.

Jet
 

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I understand that the Air Force is part of our military, but how often do they actually "need" their rifles?
Probably not often but when they do, they need to be trained. While I was in Afghanistan, we often had to take C-130's everywhere we went because we were hauling crates of weapons. Sometimes those C-130's would have to land on dirt runways in not so safe airfields. Those air crews would have some security force guys that would dismount the aircraft and pull security while we helped the load master get our cargo on. I don't know why they didn't help the load master and let us pull security but whatever. In any event, we never got attacked loading cargo but if we had, I sure hoped those guys knew what they were doing with those carbines.
 

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When I enlisted in the USAF in 1975, I was told that in basic training at Lackland AFB we would be "familiarized" once with the M16.

I never found out personally, as I failed my final physical due to a bleeding ulcer on the day I was to ship out and was discharged with an Honorable Discharge. (which I felt was ridiculous as I never did actually serve)
 

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Lots of AF-bashing recently... :) In Basic in 1968, we "familiarized" with the M1 Carbine. :)

Then, on my way to Germany in 1977, I "familiarized" with the S&W .38 Special.

That was it... for 22 years.

So.... what's changed...? Every generation has their own version of how things "should" be. When I left the USAF in 1990, I was fed up with all the PC officers even then.

I spent a lot of time on SAC bases, and the SPs there "hopefully" had a little more "familiarization" than did I.

But face it, MOST of the USAF folks don't Need to shoot small arms. They drop really BIG bombs! :)

And MOST AF bases have really NICE golf courses. :)

JWB
 

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Hi, new to the forums here and after reading this I had some things to say.

With the downsizing of the military there are more and more convoy duty deployments and training deployments coming to the non Security Forces Airmen. I work maintenance and know quite a few people who have been assigned year long convoy duties and these people hadn't shot m16/m4 in a while, and they were very bad shots.

I personally don't understand how some people just can't hit the target, heck the last time I shot I missed marksman by 1, and that was after getting hit by a car earlier that morning.

Another thing is the time between when non Security Forces are supposed to shoot. For the maintenance careers, we shoot at minimum 1 time every 2 years, but it can go longer. We basically only shoot before we deploy if we are overdue.

I really wish CATM was more than 1 day, so we could have a chance to learn more things, so if we are tasked with a job that requires us to actually use the M4 we will be able to use it if needed.
 

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Lackland 1969 – One day dry fire and one day fire for record. I had to requalify once more two and a half years later before going to Alaska. On the requal they let us fire a whole 10 rounds with the happy switch of our M-16s on full-auto! I milked those 10 rounds into several (maybe four) short bursts. Others just let em rip! Whoo-hoo!

If you were assigned to SEA (South East Asia - usually Nam) then you got two weeks "survival" training in which you were introduced to other weapons.

I was in weather and assigned to 5th Weather Wing, which supported TAC and the Army. Many of our guys went to support the Army in Nam when they went overseas and often forward arty fire bases. I bet they appreciated those two weeks!

CX
 

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I understand that the Air Force is part of our military, but how often do they actually "need" their rifles?
Most jobs no... not really but other jobs like Supply, Trans, SecFo, ect. really do need too. At my base and in my job, that really isnt combat related, if you are a NCO deploying to Afghan, you will be running convoys. I am sure the Army would appreciated it if those guys going over there from here would be a little more effecient with their rifles. Heck, if I dont cross train by June, I will most likely going for convoy duty and the last time I fired my M16 was over 3 years ago. So when it is time to go, they will cram a day of shooting in to see if I qual. If I do, they give me my orders, of to CST for a couple months, and then away I go.

In away I see where the original OP is coming from but at the same time I kind can see why we dont push marksman that hard. MOST AF jobs dont really need an indepth training. For jobs that are getting into the convoy roll... Heck yes. For SecFo... most definitely.
 

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Its the job of Security Forces in the AF to provide base Security, they cant secure a base if they shoot so poorly they cant hit the enemy

Just remember as recently as 'Nam Air Bases even in the rear were subject to attack
 

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Catm + sp???

From my perspective and seeing CATM in action first hand.

My Ex was a CATM Instructor, as a senior TSgt she went through the first class of FY-98 , when CATM and SP were combined into the same AFSC. This was about the same time the Navy and Army were also “Dumbing Themselves Down” by combining ratings and MOS’s. When CATM was pure Marksmanship, you had a qualify force. Now it appears as “not so much”. It all boils down to a Leadership thing and what is important. Since most senior officers and PC oriented NCOs are more caught up with implementing “social issues” like the doing away with “don’t ask don’t tell”, well what is to be expected!! Shooting/Marksmanship is performance oriented, it takes time, personal effort and a will to help others do better. Combining a skill set like Marksmanship Training with military LE duties, well the LE duties interests will always prevail.

Ahh for the days of General Curtis E. LeMay and his knowledge, caring, and command emphasis/support of marksmanship training in the Air Force..
 

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Mindfield

Our bases in Afghanistan are under constant insurgent attacks (mostly indirect fire). Last year both Kandahar and Bagram Airfileds had massive ground attacks on them (largest since Vietnam). Our Security Forces either killed or repelled all attackers. At Bagram it took three days to clear all the dead bodies off the perimeter (EOD blowing them in place). We didn't loose a single Airman in either attack.

On average our guys may never be able to compete at Camp Perry but when called upon they are killing the skinnies that are threatening the force.

Jet
 

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Well, I hear we are trying to get on the bus with what an Airman is likely to face, at least up here in Minot. They're still teaching 4 position (standing, sitting, prone supt, prone unsupt) but they're adding in fire and movement, bounding and the like. I've yet to see the new program in action so I have reservations but I guess we'll see what comes of it.

Probably will go away quickly when the budget hammer hits...back to the days of shooting a week before deployments
 

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Mindfield.... On average our guys when called upon, they are killing the skinnies that are threatening the force.
Jet
Last year both Kandahar and Bagram Airfields had massive ground attacks on them (largest since Vietnam).
GREAT!!!!... BRAVO ZULU to all of them.. I'm glad to hear that!!!

Funny how we never hear about such incidents as mentioned above in our day to day media...RNGR4

 
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