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908th Combat Arms instructors are driven to teaching Airmen

Technical Sgt. Marcus Johnson, 908th Security Forces Squadron defender, shoots his M4 carbine with night vision optics Nov. 2, 2019, in the firing bay at Maxwell AFB, Alabama. The SFS defenders train for multiple types of scenarios so that they are prepared to fight in any type of situation and anywhere at a moment’s notice. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Shelby S. Thurman)

Technical Sgt. Marcus Johnson, 908th Security Forces Squadron defender, shoots his M4 carbine with night vision optics Nov. 2, 2019, in the firing bay at Maxwell AFB, Alabama. The SFS defenders train for multiple types of scenarios so that they are prepared to fight in any type of situation and anywhere at a moment’s notice. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Shelby S. Thurman)

From left, Senior Airman Emilio San Miguel, Master Sgt. Henry Relf and Tech. Sgt. Shannon Jones, 908th Security Forces Squadron Combat Arms instructors, stand in front of the targets, Nov. 2, 2019, in the firing bay at Maxwell AFB, Alabama. After every round of firing, the instructors secure the lanes so that they can review each target in order to instruct Airmen on how to improve. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Shelby S. Thurman)

From left, Senior Airman Emilio San Miguel, Master Sgt. Henry Relf and Tech. Sgt. Shannon Jones, 908th Security Forces Squadron Combat Arms instructors, stand in front of the targets, Nov. 2, 2019, in the firing bay at Maxwell AFB, Alabama. After every round of firing, the instructors secure the lanes so that they can review each target in order to instruct Airmen on how to improve. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Shelby S. Thurman)

908th Security Forces Squadron defenders, approach the firing line in formation Nov. 2, 2019, in the firing bay at Maxwell AFB, Alabama. SFS practiced multiple formations and drills as a team in order to maintain operational readiness and build teamwork. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Shelby S. Thurman)

908th Security Forces Squadron defenders, approach the firing line in formation Nov. 2, 2019, in the firing bay at Maxwell AFB, Alabama. SFS practiced multiple formations and drills as a team in order to maintain operational readiness and build teamwork. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Shelby S. Thurman)

Staff Sgt. Jonathan Pilgrim, 908th Security Forces Squadron Combat Arms instructor, laughs inside the firing bay at Maxwell AFB, Alabama. Pilgrim has been a CA instructor since first joining the U.S. Air Force in 2011. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Shelby S. Thurman)

Staff Sgt. Jonathan Pilgrim, 908th Security Forces Squadron Combat Arms instructor, laughs inside the firing bay at Maxwell AFB, Alabama. Pilgrim has been a CA instructor since first joining the U.S. Air Force in 2011. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Shelby S. Thurman)

From left, Master Sgt. Henry Relf, Tech. Sgt. Shannon Jones and Staff Sgt. Jonathan Pilgrim, 908th Security Forces Squadron Combat Arms instructors, review targets Nov. 2, 2019, in the firing bay at Maxwell AFB, Alabama. Every year, the SFS defenders have to score high enough to re-qualify with both the M4 carbine and the M9. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Shelby S. Thurman)

From left, Master Sgt. Henry Relf, Tech. Sgt. Shannon Jones and Staff Sgt. Jonathan Pilgrim, 908th Security Forces Squadron Combat Arms instructors, review targets Nov. 2, 2019, in the firing bay at Maxwell AFB, Alabama. Every year, the SFS defenders have to score high enough to re-qualify with both the M4 carbine and the M9. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Shelby S. Thurman)

Staff Sgt. Jacob Williams, 908th Security Forces Squadron defender, aims his M4 carbine Nov. 2, 2019, in a classroom at Maxwell AFB, Alabama. Airmen are required to have hours of classroom instruction by Combat Arms instructors before they can use their weapons at the firing range. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Shelby S. Thurman)

Staff Sgt. Jacob Williams, 908th Security Forces Squadron defender, aims his M4 carbine Nov. 2, 2019, in a classroom at Maxwell AFB, Alabama. Airmen are required to have hours of classroom instruction by Combat Arms instructors before they can use their weapons at the firing range. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Shelby S. Thurman)

Empty 9 mm shell casings litter the floor around 908th Security Forces Squadron defenders, Nov. 2, 2019, in the firing bay at Maxwell AFB, Alabama. SFS Airmen have to annually requalify with the M9, M16 and other various weapon systems. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Shelby S. Thurman)

Empty 9 mm shell casings litter the floor around 908th Security Forces Squadron defenders, Nov. 2, 2019, in the firing bay at Maxwell AFB, Alabama. SFS Airmen have to annually requalify with the M9, M16 and other various weapon systems. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Shelby S. Thurman)

The red flag flies at the firing range, Nov. 2, 2019, at Maxwell AFB, Alabama. The red flag being flown as a range safety regulation indicates live firing is in progress. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Shelby S. Thurman)

The red flag flies at the firing range, Nov. 2, 2019, at Maxwell AFB, Alabama. The red flag being flown as a range safety regulation indicates live firing is in progress. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Shelby S. Thurman)

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. --

The sun will not be up for hours but the 908th Security Forces Squadron Combat Arms instructors are already at Maxwell’s Firing Range, preparing for their class’ arrival Nov. 2, 2019, for the 908th SFS’ annual qualifying test.

During the November Unit Training Assembly, all 908th SFS had to conduct their annual qualifications course and the junior enlisted had to receive additional training.

Everything is pre-set the night before so in the morning they can, “Hit the ground running,” said Master Sgt. Henry Relf, 908th SFS CA instructor.

Even though the students have a full day of training and qualifying, the instructors’ days are even longer, said Tech Sgt. James Kuehne, 908th SFS CA instructor.

The instructors prove their dedication both in front of and behind the scenes by working long after everyone else has come and gone for the day.

“[We] go out at [3 a.m.] or [4 a.m.] and we’re out there until [5 p.m.] or [6 p.m.],” said Relf.

Regardless of there being a lot of work to do, it is all accomplished by the seven-person team.

Since the team is this size and spending long days together, they have become close, said Staff Sgt. James Pilgrim, 908th SFS CA instructor.

“We are a little family,” said Relf.

Working with other instructors that care about each other and their students makes the long hours feel worth it to them.

“Proficiently training these airmen is our reward,” said Pilgrim.

It is necessary for them to stay focused every time they teach because of the job’s demands.

“You have to have that passion and dedication or else you’ll become an ineffective instructor,” said Pilgrim.

Knowing that they are doing their part as instructors helps keep them motivated to continue to work hard for these Airmen.

Relf describes their role as crucial due to them wanting everyone to be trained and certified because, “They may be the person that saves somebody you love.”

The CA instructors’ desire for teaching is obvious in how they conduct themselves every day. They are a vital part of the 908th who ensure Alabama’s reserve citizen Airmen are ready to fight anywhere at a moment’s notice.