MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Alabama —
Members of the 908th Security Forces Squadron traveled to Fort Rucker, Alabama on Aug. 6, 2022, to receive their heavy weapons training and qualifications. Before they could take the road to Fort Rucker, the defenders had to receive safety and handling briefings at the unit’s July training assembly.
“They have this course for a lot of reasons,” said Master Sgt. Taylor Clark, 908 SFS Combat Arms Training and Maintenance Instructor. “These reasons are: it is required by [Air Force Instruction 36-2654 and AFI 36-2655]for general familiarization with the weapon and for safety reasons before going out on the range.
In class, they focused specifically on the M240B machine gun and the M249 light machine gun. They covered disassembly, reassembly, use, maintenance, caliber, and the situations in which they would be used.
“The M249 is more of a single person automatic rifle whereas the M240B is a crew service weapon where there is a gunner and an assistant gunner,” Tech said. sergeant. Joy White, 908 SFS CATM instructor. “The M240B is usually mounted in a tower or on a turret. When deployed, people usually carry an M249 when they go outside the perimeter.
Senior Airman Zachary Foster, advocate for the 908 SFS, added that the M249 fires 5.56 caliber rounds; which is one caliber smaller than the 7.62 caliber rounds of the M240B. He also said that a 7.62 caliber cartridge would most likely be used for large trucks or air targets.
With the classroom portion out of the way, the CATM instructors and their students spent a long day on the ranges of Fort Rucker with the M240B machine gun, M249 light machine gun, and M203 grenade launcher.
“Fort Rucker is great because they have different ranges that give our Airmen and also NCOs a different view to see outside of Maxwell’s base range,” Staff Sgt. Herman Cleveland, defender of the 908 SFS.
Fort Rucker’s range operations branch controls more than 44,000 acres of training grounds and nearly 14,000 acres of impact area. This includes 20 live firing ranges, two tactical training bases, two urban operations sites, two leadership response courses, a CBRN training facility, three land navigation courses, the Aviation Gunnery Range complex and various training sites. bivouac and field training exercises. The Aviation Gunnery Range complex has 31 hover firing ranges and three close combat attack and dive firing lanes.
Being able to utilize Fort Rucker’s outdoor firing ranges is another way the 908 AW continues to partner with military instillations in the surrounding region, creating a relationship that prepares members for joint force interoperability.
Now that the Defenders have been forged by the scorching southern sun, they are trained, skilled, and capable of providing more lethal force whenever called upon to serve at home or abroad.