MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. --
Members of the 908th Security Forces Squadron traveled to Fort Rucker, Alabama, Aug. 6, 2022, to receive their heavy weapons training and qualifications. Before they could hit the road to Fort Rucker, the defenders had to receive safety and handling briefings during the July Unit Training Assembly.
“They are having this class for many reasons,” said Staff Sgt. Taylor Clark, 908 SFS combat arms training and maintenance instructor. “Those reasons are: it is required by [Air Force Instruction 36-2654 and AFI 36-2655], for overall familiarization of the weapon, and for safety purposes prior to getting out on the range.”
In the classroom they focused specifically on the M240B machine gun and the M249 light machine gun. They covered the disassembly, reassembly, usage, care, caliber, and situations in which they would be used.
“The M249 is more of a single person automatic rifle whereas the M240B is a crew-serve weapon where there is a gunner and an assistant gunner,” said Tech. Sgt. Joy White, 908 SFS CATM instructor. “The M240B is usually mounted in a tower or on a turret. On a deployment people will usually carry an M249 when they go outside the wire.”
Senior Airman Zachary Foster, 908 SFS defender, added that the M249 fires 5.56-caliber rounds; which is a smaller caliber than the M240B’s 7.62-caliber rounds. He also said that a 7.62-caliber round will most likely be used for big trucks or aerial targets.
With the classroom portion out of the way, the CATM instructors and their students had a long day at Fort Rucker’s ranges with the M240B machine gun, the M249 light machine gun, and the M203 grenade launcher.
“Fort Rucker is great because they have different ranges that give our Airmen and also the NCOs a different sight to see outside of just Maxwell’s base range,” said Staff Sgt. Herman Cleveland, 908 SFS defender.
Fort Rucker’s Range Operations Branch controls over 44,000 acres of training lands and nearly 14,000 acres of impact area. This includes 20 live fire ranges, two tactical training bases, two urban operations sites, two leadership reaction courses, a CBRN training facility, three land navigation courses, the Aviation Gunnery Range Complex, and various bivouac and field training exercise sites. The Aviation Gunnery Range Complex has 31 hover fire pads and three close combat attack run and dive firing lanes.
Being able to use Fort Rucker’s outdoor ranges is another way that the 908 AW continues to partner with the surrounding area’s military instillations, creating a relationship that prepares members for joint force interoperability.
Now that the defenders have been forged by the scorching southern sun, they are trained, qualified, and able to provide more lethal force whenever called upon to serve at home or abroad.