Reservists bring out the big guns

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Shayna Hodge
  • 512th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Reservists assigned to the 512th Airlift Wing’s Security Forces Squadron completed heavy weapons qualification training May 7 at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, to ensure proficiency on three heavy weapons.

Over 20 defenders participated in the weeklong training, which included classroom and hands-on training in weapon function and safety, and day and nighttime weapons firing.

“A core task for security forces is to maintain heavy weapons qualification proficiency,” said Master Sgt. Gregory Gresham, the 512th AW security forces programs and readiness superintendent. “Making sure we meet annual qualification requirements ensures we are 

prepared to deploy.”

The team trained on M240B machine guns, M429 automatic rifles and a M203 40mm grenade launcher at the Quantico shooting range. The training coordination was a joint effort between Gresham, other SFS members, the 436th Medical Group and a reserve support unit at Quantico that facilitates training for every branch of the U.S. military. 

Maj. Chris Yancey, the 512th SFS commander, emphasized the importance of the training to the Reserve defenders. 

“Our Airmen have families and full-time jobs we’re considerate of,” said Yancey. “So, when we train, we have to be as efficient as possible to ensure they’re mission ready.”

The defenders received guidance from combat arms instructors who ensured proper weapons’ handling; and, they fired 40,000 rounds of ammunition over the course of the training. They also wore night vision goggles during nighttime training.

“The training was great,” said Airman 1st Class Breeanna Aseng, a 512th SFS defender who had never handled heavy weapons. “I wasn’t nervous when I fired the weapons. I stayed calm, blocked everything out and focused.”

Master Sgt. David Ybarra, one of the combat arms instructors during firing, explained how he and the other instructors helped to decrease the risk of weapons malfunctions during night fire.

“Weapons can become finicky after multiple uses, and it can be difficult to detect issues when using them in the dark,” he said. “A seasoned combat arms instructor knows how to identify those issues.”

Yancey said the squadron appreciates the support from the Quantico Marines who assisted with the training and looks forward to additional weapons training. 

“There’s no such thing as too much weapons training,” he said. “Feeling weapons and seeing what they do can only happen on the range. The more we train and become comfortable with our weapons, the more capable we are of doing our jobs.”