Weapons Training for Deployment


08/26/2011: During the visit to CRW, the need for providing for security for the insertion force was highlighted.  In this posting, the weapon training for personnel was highlighted.  The presentation was made by Sgt. Barden who also discussed the Haiti operation.In a later posting, the basic approach to providing security for the deployed force was highlighted.

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Photo Credit: SLD 2011

Sgt. Barden: Right now, the Airmen going over the fundamentals.  A lot of these guys come from career fields where they don’t necessarily handle weapons all that often. Some people when they came here said that it had been years and years since they had actually touched a firearm while they were doing the aircrew work.  So, right now, we are just trying to build up some of that muscle memory, by teaching them some of the fundamentals.

Right now, the drill that they’re going over is when you’re at extremely short-range like this where the target’s on the wall that you don’t actually have to use all the fundamentals that you normally use for shooting.  You don’t have to close one eye, you don’t have to hold your breath, you don’t have to lightly squeeze the trigger until it surprises you.  You’re able to just be aiming a little low, looking over the top of your sights, assessing the situation.We’re building up to a FTX, we’re going to go out and it’s going to be like a night time ops. Guys are a little more likely to get closer to you.

SLD: You were involved in the Haiti operation?

Barden: Yes.  The major security challenge was detaining a lot of people for various reasons to determine what was required. Some people were just looking for jobs, some were looking for supplies or water or a flight out.

SLD: But humanitarian operations have a good quality but during the deployment the problem is that people don’t identify who they are, the good guys from the bad.

Barden: Right.

SLD: They don’t have little sweatshirts on that say ‘friendly’.

Barden: Every day was different. I don’t know if you have seen pictures of the area at the time.  But if you came in and turned right, you went into all the aid camps, and there was a lot of tents and everything set up there.  And if you turned right, then you went toward the flight line.If you get through the ECP with certain credentials, they had to go right to the aid camp.  If you went left, then you hit another ECP with a drop-arm, and then you’d be led onto the flight line.  And that was really the best we could do.  Twenty-six guys securing a six-mile perimeter till everyone showed up.I was proud of our guys for doing a tough job like that.

SLD: The challenge of managing a fluid situation was tough for security.

Barden: Things changed quickly.  At one moment, you would have to indicate that no more press was allowed on certain areas.  You tell everyone they have to leave, and then six hours later, you can tell them they’re okay to be on the airfield.  Things were very fluid.

SLD: But without security you can’t operate; not everyone appreciates that.