News>Feature - Combat Arms Airmen prepare others for deployment
Staff Sgt. Nicholas Niles, 2nd Security Forces Squadron Combat Arms instructor, looks though the site of an M-4 carbine rifle during a combat training simulation at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Jan. 30. The simulator gives users several different scenarios in which deadly force may or may not be required. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Micaiah Anthony)(RELEASED)
Staff Sgt. Chad Bogaczyk, 2nd Security Forces Squadron Combat Arms instructor, watches a group approaching his post during a combat training simulation at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Jan. 30. The combat training simulator allows instructors to help Airmen with their shooting techniques and prepares them for real-world scenarios. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Micaiah Anthony)(RELEASED)
Staff Sgt. Nicholas Niles, 2nd Security Forces Squadron Combat Arms instructor, listens to a pre-mission brief for a combat training simulator at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Jan. 30. The combat simulator is capable of supporting various weapon systems such as the M-9 Beretta, M-4 carbine rifle, M-16A2 rifle and the M-249B light machine gun. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Micaiah Anthony)(RELEASED)
An M-4 carbine rifle connected to a training simulator rests on sandbags at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Jan. 30. Training weapons connected to the computer use sensors to track where the user is aiming and uses carbon dioxide to simulate the weapon firing and recoiling. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Micaiah Anthony)(RELEASED)
Staff Sgt. Nicholas Niles, 2nd Security Forces Squadron Combat Arms instructor, turns off a projector connected to a combat training simulator at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Jan. 30. The combat simulator allows users to train without using live ammunition and paper targets which helps the Air Force save money and resources. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Micaiah Anthony)(RELEASED)
by Airman 1st Class Andrea F. Liechti
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs
2/3/2012 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- The room is dark; it's easy to feel the small breeze of air pass by as Airmen from the 2nd Security Forces Squadron Combat Arms team prepare for various war scenarios. As the entire wall in front of them lights up with graphics, shots are fired. Thirty-two rounds later, four terrorists are dead.
Welcome to the Engagement Skills Trainer. The EST is a computer-based system simulating real-life scenarios deployed military members may face in the field. Weapons, including the M-9, M-4, M-16 and M-240B, are connected to the computer system and bursts of air are used to simulate live weapons firing.
"We use the system to train other Airmen, soldiers and sailors on base," said Staff Sgt. Nick Niles, 2 SFS Combat Arms instructor. "The system can replay any scenario. In replay mode, it shows where the shots went. This helps us train others how to shoot on target and how to prepare for various war-time scenarios."
The combat arms team of six spends their weekdays and weekends training others for deployment. They take pride in their work and do whatever they can to ensure those they train are knowledgeable and capable of protecting themselves and their comrades in any situation.
"A lot of people think training here is just another appointment where they need to make an appearance," Niles said. "We want them to understand how important it is to be prepared for a deployment by attending our training sessions. Our goal is to provide those we train with as much information as possible so they can protect themselves and the people they are deployed with. We train to kill."
Everything the combat arms team teaches not only protects deployed Airmen, soldiers and sailors from various scenarios they'll encounter overseas, but it also provides them with knowledge they may need someday to simply protect their families.
"We teach our students to aim for the medulla oblongata," said Staff Sgt. Jorge Ortega, 2 SFS Combat Arms instructor. "To do this they need to shoot just above the top lip and under the nose. When the medulla is hit, the enemy loses control and is unable to fight back. It's especially beneficial to be aware of this area when the enemy has a bullet-proof vest on."
Correct shooting isn't the only focus of their training. More importantly is their lesson on how to defend their actions. The last thing they want is to kill a non-combatant and have to deal with the repercussions of their decision.
In addition to the physical training, 2 SFS Combat Arms provides, the team fills its days with more than 40 additional duties, a lot of which is paperwork. It is very important they update all records, because not having an updated qualifying score on the shooting range could stop someone from deploying and completing the Air Force mission.
The team also enjoys spending free time at the gym. They stressed how important it is to be physically fit for any missions brought their way.
From the weight-lifting perspective of Staff Sgt. Chad Bogaczyk, 2 SFS Combat Arms instructor, if the bar isn't bending, quit pretending.