Mustangs, Wolfpack Defenders sharpen skills through iron sights

by Airman 1st Class Gwendalyn Smith and Airman Daniel Garcia`, 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Stripes Korea

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Members from the 51st and 8th Fighter Wing Security Forces Squadrons participated in weapons training at Camp Rodriguez, Republic of Korea, May 23-24, 2017, ensuring the Defenders are vigilant and ready to Fight Tonight.

During the training, Defenders qualified on the MK-19 grenade launcher, M2 machine gun and the M24 sniper rifle.

“We’re doing this training because the base relies on us to defend it at all costs,” said Staff Sgt. Jeremy Rhodes, 51st Security Forces Squadron Combat Arms NCO in charge. “These weapons would be used in defense of the base. We [would] need to be able to be out there at a moment’s notice to cover any dead space and to neutralize any threat that could come into the installation.”

Because of the possible need to defend the installation at any given moment, Defenders must be knowledgeable and ready to operate these weapons systems.

“The biggest take away from this training was ensuring Airmen were able to get live trigger time,” said Capt. Katie Thalhamer, 51st Security Forces Squadron section commander. “This gets them not only familiar with the weapons, but comfortable with them. That’s one thing we are always concerned about. If you’ve never fired a weapon and you have to employ it, are you going to know how? Being able to identify a problem specific to these weapon systems, fix the problem and eliminate the threat is vital.”

Previously, the Defenders would only be able to get this training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. Because the 51st SFS has initiated this quarterly qualification at Camp Rodriguez, this saves the Air Force time and money, and ensures personnel are utilizing resources available to them.

“We’re just trying to make sure we get our weapons qualifications [as efficiently as possible], that way whenever it’s time, we can defend the base to make sure all the men and women at Osan are safe,” said Rhodes.

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