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Combat Arms Training and Maintenance: Airmen, weapons mission ready

Airmen assigned to the 19th Airlift Wing fired 556 mm frangible rounds during a Combat Arms Training and Maintenance session Dec. 14, 2016, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. Each Airman was issued 196 rounds to fire.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kevin Sommer Giron

Airmen assigned to the 19th Airlift Wing fired 556 mm frangible rounds during a Combat Arms Training and Maintenance session Dec. 14, 2016, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. Each Airman was issued 196 rounds to fire. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kevin Sommer Giron

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman James Pritt, 19th Maintenance Squadron aircraft fuel systems journeyman, fires a M4 assault rifle during a Combat Arms Training and Maintenance session Dec. 14, 2016, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. CATM ensures Air Force personnel are trained in the proper use of weapons and maintenance prior to deploying or changing duty stations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kevin Sommer Giron)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman James Pritt, 19th Maintenance Squadron aircraft fuel systems journeyman, fires a M4 assault rifle during a Combat Arms Training and Maintenance session Dec. 14, 2016, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. CATM ensures Air Force personnel are trained in the proper use of weapons and maintenance prior to deploying or changing duty stations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kevin Sommer Giron)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Jourdan Chaney, 19th Operations Support Squadron airfield management journeyman, aims an M4 assault rifle toward a target during a Combat Arms Training and Maintenance session Dec. 14, 2016, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. CATM instructors teach the proper use of a variety of weapons, including the M4 assault rifle, M9 pistol and the M107 sniper rifle. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kevin Sommer Giron)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Jourdan Chaney, 19th Operations Support Squadron airfield management journeyman, aims an M4 assault rifle toward a target during a Combat Arms Training and Maintenance session Dec. 14, 2016, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. CATM instructors teach the proper use of a variety of weapons, including the M4 assault rifle, M9 pistol and the M107 sniper rifle. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kevin Sommer Giron)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Shelby Bibb, 19th Security Forces Squadron combat arms instructor, reviews a target to determine firing accuracy during a Combat Arms Training and Maintenance session Dec. 14, 2016, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. The 19th SFS CATM instructor team consists of seven Airmen who work together to train more than 600 Airmen annually. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kevin Sommer Giron)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Shelby Bibb, 19th Security Forces Squadron combat arms instructor, reviews a target to determine firing accuracy during a Combat Arms Training and Maintenance session Dec. 14, 2016, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. The 19th SFS CATM instructor team consists of seven Airmen who work together to train more than 600 Airmen annually. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kevin Sommer Giron)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Nicholas Sands, 19th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter, makes sight adjustments to his M4 assault rifle during a Combat Arms Training and Maintenance session Dec.14, 2016, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. CATM instructors reviewed Sands’ target in order to assess that the M4 assault rifle qualifications were met. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kevin Sommer Giron)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Nicholas Sands, 19th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter, makes sight adjustments to his M4 assault rifle during a Combat Arms Training and Maintenance session Dec.14, 2016, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. CATM instructors reviewed Sands’ target in order to assess that the M4 assault rifle qualifications were met. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kevin Sommer Giron)

Airmen from the 19th Airlift Wing fire M4 assault rifles during a Combat Arms Training and Maintenance session Dec. 14, 2016, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. The 19th Security Forces Squadron CATM flight taught weapons safety and accountability to more than 650 people last year at Little Rock AFB.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kevin Sommer Giron)

Airmen from the 19th Airlift Wing fire M4 assault rifles during a Combat Arms Training and Maintenance session Dec. 14, 2016, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. The 19th Security Forces Squadron CATM flight taught weapons safety and accountability to more than 650 people last year at Little Rock AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kevin Sommer Giron)

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. --

Airmen lay in the prone position awaiting commands from the Combat Arms instructor before firing their M4 assault rifle. They control their breathing and push their cheeks against the cold metal while aligning their sight during a Combat Arms Training and Maintenance qualification class.

Line is ready. Fire!

Live rounds are fired at their prospective targets as empty casings spill across the concrete.

The smell of spent brass fills the air.  

The timer sounds, indicating the end of a firing session.

Cease fire! Cease fire!

Instructors accompany students to their targets in order to advise them on sight adjustments and shooting techniques.

The military and weapons go hand in hand. For some Airmen, their first experience holding one is at basic military training. Yet, weapon training doesn’t end there.

CATM is a qualification course that provides training in the safe handling of weapons, to arm Airmen with knowledge for downrange operations as part of Little Rock Air Force Base’s rapid global mobility mission.

“The goal is to have every Airmen know their weapon like the back of their hand,” said U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Wayne Richard, 19th Security Force Squadron Combat Arms NCO in charge. “We have an extensive lesson plan in the classroom that leads to the shooting range where they can see everything they were taught be put into place.”

CATM instructors are charged with the responsibilities of training Team Little Rock Airmen with weapon safety and shooting procedures.

“If they don’t meet the standards, then we bring them back for a one-on-one session that allows us to break it down even further,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Trenton Lloyd, 19th SFS Combat Arms instructor.

The CATM flight trained approximately 650 Airmen how to safely fire and maintain a weapon last year, preparing them to protect and defend themselves and their wingmen.

 “We’re all responsible for defending wherever we are,” Richard said. “At any time you can get called to pull a weapon system from the armory and man the gate or a defensive fighting position. This training could save their life or others.”