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SCUBAPRO Sunday – Snorkels

Sunday, September 23rd, 2018

As far back as 3000 B.C.E, (5000 years) people were going after natural sponges off the coast of Crete and breathing through the world’s first snorkel tube that they made from hollow reeds. Aristotle, the Greek philosopher, recalled instances of divers breathing through a device similar to the trunk of an elephant.

In later years, the Assyrians developed an alternative snorkel device. They filled animal skins with air to breathe from when they were under water. Aristotle wrote about divers who used a tube that led from the surface to the divers below.  The consummate Renaissance Man, Leonardo Da Vinci had many designs that he called diving or underwater apparatuses. He designed a self-contained dive suit and even sketched diving gloves with webbed fingers. Technically, they could be considered the fist fins.

The development of the diving bell which contained air bubbles for divers to inhale while underwater was overseen by Alexander the Great.

• 900 B.C.E- Assyrian divers used animal skins filled with air in order to lengthen the time they could spend below the surface of the water.

• 333 B.C.E Alexander the Great encourages divers to develop and use the first diving bell — a large bell-shaped object that trapped air in the top of the bell (and a person) to submerge and maintain the ability to breathe.

• 1538- Greeks in Spain (Toledo) submerge themselves in large diving bell-like contraption to the bottom of the Tagus River only to emerge later with dry clothes and a still burning candle.

The same concept allows modern-day snorkelers to breathe air from the surface with their face submerged. Modern rubber and plastics make equipment durable and comfortable while offering maximum safety. With the advances in rubber and plastic composite materials, snorkels have significantly improved their function and use. The most popular snorkels is the J-shaped plastic tubes connected by a flexible strap or clip assembly to the diver’s mask.

Snorkels for diving

The snorkel makes it possible to breathe safely on the surface without using the air in your tanks. When choosing a snorkel, think first what you want to use it for and how you will use it the most. The diameter is important because it minimizes your effort while using it. Most snorkels are brightly colored so dive boats can easily spot them and more importantly you.

Free-diving Snorkels

Free-diving snorkels are often the simplest models. They are made without a complex purging system and without valves to limit breathing noise, those snorkels are also shorter to easily expel water from the tube and are easily tuck away. They usually have a slightly larger diameter to properly ventilate between two dive immersions. They are one of the best for Combat swimmer to use, as they are small and can be packed away easily and mostly come in dark colors.

Types of Snorkels

There are four common types of snorkels and each has their advantages and disadvantages.

Classic

The classic snorkel, also called a J-style snorkel, is a plastic tube with a mouthpiece attached. This snorkel is usually slightly bent, but it can also be made to fit a more specific shape. The SCUBAPRO Apnea snorkel can be rolled up and easily stored in a pocket or attached to the sides or bottom of a Rebreather. This is the one best suited for combat swimmer operations.

Flexible Snorkel

The flexible snorkel has a purge valve. This snorkel has a flexible portion and a rigid portion, as well as a one-way valve located at the bottom that makes it easier to expel any water that may get into the snorkel. The added flexibility allows divers to fit the snorkel better around their masks and faces. The purge valve at the bottom of the mouthpiece helps ensure uninterrupted breathing as it flushes water out every time you exhale.

Semi-Dry

The semi-dry snorkel is a mix of a classic and dry snorkel. The top features a splashguard, and sometimes even a flexible tube and a purge valve. The splashguard at the top helps to prevent splashes or sprays of water from easily entering the tube. It doesn’t prevent all the water from entering, especially if you fully submerge yourself underwater or if water covers the top like in a high wave.

Dry

The dry snorkel has a valve at the top of the snorkel. The valve blocks water and air when the snorkel is submerged—and a purge valve at the bottom. They are great for snorkeling on the surface and occasionally dive without having to worry about constantly clearing water out of the tube. When used for diving, the advantage is that divers don’t have to clear them of water when they reach the surface.

As with semi-dry snorkels, the one-way purge valve at the bottom allows the user to easily flush water out with a few quick exhalations. While the dry snorkel is more convenient and efficient to use, it can also has its drawbacks. The valve at the top of the snorkel can sometimes become blocked. The dry snorkel may also be more buoyant underwater.

SCUBAPRO.com

MCTSSA Personnel Welcomes Vietnam Veterans, Share Legacy

Saturday, September 22nd, 2018

Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif.— Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity welcomed Vietnam veterans from Marine Air Support Squadron 3 to MCTSSA’s headquarters aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton this summer.

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Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity personnel hosted U.S. Marine Corps veterans who served with Marine Air Support Squadron 3 in Vietnam and their family members, as part of a 50th reunion tour this summer aboard MCB Camp Pendleton. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sky M. Laron)

MCTSSA hosted the veterans and their family members, who hail from all over the country, as part of a 50th reunion tour that took them to various units across base.

As a Vietnam-era tactical technology support organization, MCTSSA has served the Marine Corps for nearly five decades and shares an aviation support-related background with the veterans.

Established in 1970, MCTSSA was formed around the nucleus of Marine Air Control Squadron 3, with its organic Tactical Computer Programming Section, which was recognized as the first computer automation effort by the Marine Corps.

Veterans who served at various times in the Marine Air Command and Control Systems, or MACCS, in Vietnam between 1966 and 1971 primarily supported close air support of fixed wing and helicopter aircraft in either the Direct Air Support Center or Air Support Radar Team.

MCTSSA Marines and civilians spoke with these battle-tested veterans about the past, present and future of radar and overall support of operating forces.

“This tour brought back memories of the radars we used in the Marine Air Control Squadrons in the 60s and 70s,” said retired Lt. Col. Charles Manazir, former MASS-3 air support officer and participating veteran, adding that he enjoyed the tour and thought it was very informative.

Manazir had high praise for the MCTSSA Marines who briefed the group of veterans.

“The Corps is still in good hands,” said Manazir. “You are carrying on our proud Marine Corps tradition, and we salute you.”

Another veteran who attended the event was retired Col. Ken Brown. Brown served with MASS-3 in Vietnam from February 1970 until June 1971, and holds the distinction of serving as MCTSSA’s commanding officer from 1990 to 1993.

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Then 1st Lt. Ken Brown poses in front of his unit in Danang, South Vietnam in 1970. Brown, a retired Marine Colonel and former Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity commanding officer, was part of a group of Vietnam veterans from Marine Air Support Squadron 3 that toured MCTSSA’s headquarters aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton this summer. (Courtesy photo)

Brown said he felt proud and privileged to have been one of the “caretakers” of the MCTSSA legacy.

“MCTSSA has some of the smartest people, both Marines and civilians, in the entire Marine Corps,” said Brown. “MCTSSA is a very unique and valuable asset, capable of being a key component for ensuring our Marines continue to receive the technology and systems needed on future battlefields.”

Full-scale use of electronic data in military conflict has come a long way since Vietnam and has fundamentally changed the nature, timeliness and availability of battlefield information, with MCTSSA being a key enabler along the way.

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Staff Sgt. Jedidiah Seiler, Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity radar staff noncommissioned-officer-in-charge, discusses air search radar capabilities during a Vietnam veterans’ tour of MCTSSA this summer. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sky M. Laron)

This quantum leap in technology is even more significant, considering the state of electronic and computing technology during the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Marine Corps’ version of a standard Navy tactical computer – known as the CP-808 – was about the size of a refrigerator; radar “graphic” displays located in a Tactical Air Operations Center were enormous, immobile cathode ray tubes that presented data as simple alpha-numeric blips on the screen; and the world’s first eight-bit microprocessor – the catalyst in opening the door to the powerful, inexpensive personal computers commonly used throughout the Marine Corps today – had just been invented.

Whether providing close air support fifty years ago or enabling successful deployment of today’s command and control gear, Marines past and present deliver.

“These Marines fought for their country from Da Nang to Khe Sahn and many points in between giving the operating forces the eyes they needed to put steel on target,” said Col. Robert Bailey, MCTSSA commanding officer. “They were operating the most sophisticated military equipment of that time and five decades later, Marines are continuing to operate the most advanced systems to win the day.”

The event concluded with a group photo and many handshakes to go around.

“Thank you very much for the time you spent sharing the now and the future of Marine Corps radar advancements,” said Bruce Meachim, a participating veteran who was a sergeant during his time with MASS-3. “I was and always will be a 5961 TPQ-10 radar tech, oh yeah, and a rifleman.”

MCTSSA, the only elite full-scale laboratory facility operated by the Marine Corps, is a subordinate command of Marine Corps Systems Command. MCTSSA provides test and evaluation, engineering, and deployed technical support for Marine Corps and joint service command, control, computer, communications and intelligence systems throughout all acquisition life-cycle phases.

By Sky M. Laron, Public Affairs Officer, MCTSSA

High Angle Solutions – Brigantes Presents – Tactical Grivel G12 Crampon  

Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

Who would of thought it?  Yellow isn’t a tactical colour!  This poses a small problem for Grivel who use yellow on the majority of their products and specifically on the balling plates and straps for their crampons.  Thankfully this has been an easy problem to fix and they have produced all black versions of their key crampons including the G12.  This is the primary crampon used by UK specialist mountain troops.

Designed for use with a B2/B3 boot, like the La Sportive Karakorum or Scarpa Manta Pro, the G12 is a 12-point crampon designed for general mountaineering, glaciers or easy ice.  The four points that are perpendicular to the crampon rails, prevent shearing in soft snow and improve security while descending (facing outward).  The crampons are fully adjustable by hand, without tools. G12 is easily folded for transportation.  The crampon comes with a variety of attachment options.  This can either be classic or use a new-matic system which provides fast easy on and off for moving quickly across mixed terrain.

The G12 is complemented by an all black Monte Rosa 10 point crampon to be used by normal mountain troops.  This is a great quality walking crampon designed to work with a B1 rated boot.

For more information get in touch by email on international@brigantes.com or for UK customers warrior@brigantes.com.  www.brigantes.com

Max Talk Monday – Survive a Gunfight: Use of Cover

Monday, September 17th, 2018

This is the fifth installment of ‘Max Talk Monday’ which shares select episodes from a series of instructional videos. Max Velocity Tactical (MVT) has established a reputation on the leading edge of tactical live fire and force on force training. MVT is dedicated to developing and training tactical excellence at the individual and team level.

An instructional session on the use of cover, taking and breaking cover, followed by a live fire demo of assault drills at the prone / crawl. This is a follow up to the “How to React to Enemy Contact’ and the two ‘Why the Lone Wolf Operator will Die’  Max Talk Videos. This video is followed in series by two demo videos on buddy pair fire and movement.

Max is a tactical trainer and author, a lifelong professional soldier with extensive military experience. He served with British Special Operations Forces, both enlisted and as a commissioned officer; a graduate of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Max served on numerous operational deployments, and also served as a recruit instructor. Max spent five years serving as a paramilitary contractor in both Iraq and Afghanistan; the latter two years working for the British Government in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. 

Website: Max Velocity Tactical

YouTube: Max Velocity Tactical

Spartanat- Now New: Camouflage Systems With Nonvide

Sunday, September 16th, 2018

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Have you seen everything? That’s not possible at all. These guys are so well camouflaged that you can’t see them. Only we can see them – and introduce them to you: NONVIDE is the name of the new name, specializing in the best camouflage. So, what you should be able to see …

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NONVIDE comes from Berlin and the makers have been seen before. It’s the people behind TACTICALTRIM, too. On board: CONCAMO, the new German camouflage pattern, developed by Matthias Bürgin. The picture shows the Leo Köhler KSK set, which we had already introduced in the review, which fits quite well where it is right now. It’s also an open secret that authority is CONCAMO’s target group. We wouldn’t be surprised if we heard good news soon. HERE the interview with the developer about CONCAMO.

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Brand new and fresh and hardly visible – unless you put it on a white background – is the Ultra-Light Basic quick camouflage poncho presented by NONVIDE . Here we see CONCAMO in a second application, after the first uniform of Leo Köhler. HERE you can find all information about this new product.

And if we take a look at the description, we can also see that CONCAMO will soon be split into four different patterns on certain dates:

o Concamo® Green (available)
o Concamo® Fall (from Q4/2018)
o Concamo® WinterForest (from Q4/2018)
o Concamo® Urban (from Q1/2019)

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CONCAMO at the machine grenade launcher in action, the man is very hard on it. And look at his feet: it is trench warfare …

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A quick look into the tent shows: NONVIDE has a lot to show on a currently running symposium at Calw, which doesn’t want to be named: all camouflage stuff. And let’s call it „KSK Symposion“. HERE you can get NONVIDE fresh on Facebook. Give them a Like!

NONVIDE: www.nonvide.com
SPARTANAT: www.spartanat.com

This story was provided to us by our friends at the German language website Spartanat. It has been translated from the original German to English.

SCUBAPRO Sunday – Drysuits

Sunday, September 16th, 2018

A drysuit is a significant investment and requires periodic servicing, but a well maintained, quality suit can last for years. Here are some tips to keep your drysuit at its best.

Cleaning Your Drysuit

Wash your drysuit after every use to remove skin oils and chemicals (like sunblock and insect repellent) from the gaskets. Clean inside with clean, fresh water, or SCUBAPRO disinfectant solution (P/N 41 050 034) to prevent bacterial development.

It is especially important to wash the suit after using it in salt water, as salt residues will degrade the latex.

To maximize the life of the gaskets, drysuits must be protected from sunlight and ozone. Never wash a drysuit in a washing machine or dry it in a clothes dryer. Any of these can severely damage the zippers and/or gaskets. If the suit is exposed to oil or grease, clean with a mild grease-cutting detergent and a soft brush. Rinse with clean, fresh water.

The inside and outside of a drysuit must be washed in separate steps. Wash the outside first, then turn it inside-out and wash the inside. Open all zippers and use a soft brush to remove any grit from the teeth.

Hang the Dry suit inside-out on a SCUBAPRO dry suit hanger (P/N 51 076 000) to dry indoors. Do not use a wire hanger, and don’t hang it outside where it will be exposed to sunlight. When the inside is completely dry, turn it right-side-out and allow the outside to air dry. Treat the latex gaskets with unscented talcum powder. Dust wrist and neck seals with talcum powder before pulling them over your hands and head. Talcum powder eliminates virtually all resistance between skin and seals, allowing them to slip on without stressing the rubber.

Apply zipper wax before zipping up the waterproof zipper. Use only the manufacturer’s wax that’s specifically formulated for your drysuit zipper. Apply the wax only on the outside of the teeth so as not to interfere with the zipper’s inner sealing surfaces.

If it’s a fabric suit, wipe down the outside with a microfiber towel and install the protective cap on the inlet valve to avoid corrosion building up inside the valve, which can cause a stuck inflator button. If it’s a neoprene suit, pat it down lightly, cap the valve, unzip and climb out.

Rinse off the inside. This is easier for drysuits with soft socks that can be turned inside out. Suits with attached boots can be difficult, but get them turned inside out as much as you can. Keep in mind that the insides of the boots are going to take longer to dry. You can add newspaper in there to help dry it. Make sure they are completely dry before putting the suit into storage.

Storing Your Drysuit

Store drysuits in a cool, dark place. Most clothes closets are fine but avoid attics and garages, any place that gets really hot.

Treat the gaskets with unscented talcum powder.

Hang the drysuit on a wide suit hanger. Because of their length, make sure the legs are off the floor, you can drape them over the shoulders of the suit if needed.

Zipper Care

Keep the zippers clean. Dirt and grit will make them difficult to operate and can even degrade their water tightness. When cleaning the suit, use a brush to remove dirt and grit from the zippers.

If metal zippers are stiff, rub them with beeswax or a block of paraffin wax. Do not wax plastic zippers.

Folding or over-bending can create a kink that will ruin the zipper. See the above video for tips on storing and packing your drysuit for travel, to learn how to avoid this type of damage.

Professional, commercial, rescue and military divers who may be forced to dive in contaminated conditions must identify the contaminant and take appropriate steps to remove the contaminant from the suit before it can be used again.

Storage & Transport

Dry suits are best stored on the SCUBAPRO dry suit hanger (P/N 51 076 000) that hangs the suit upside down by the feet with the zipper open. Keep in a cool dry place out of the sun. Keep copper away from the latex seals.

For longer-term storage, (make sure it is dry first) you can store it in a large Zip-Loc clothing storage bags and hang in your locker or closet

For travel, fold the suit loosely, avoiding over-bending or kinking the zippers, you can use round foam pool noodles to help with this. Then you can store it in a plastic box.

Bag

Each SCUBAPRO dry suit is supplied in a carrying bag. The flat design with perimeter zipper allows the bag to fold open for use as a dressing mat to keep your feet clean while getting in and out of the suit. Inside the bag is permanently attached pouches where the repair kit, zipper lubricant, and seal talc are conveniently stored.

Troubleshooting

Divers exposed to chemicals or contaminated water must take extra care cleansing & rinsing the suit after each exposure. Some chemicals can degrade or delaminate the suit materials to the point of failure

Leaks

Zipper

• Slider not closed all the way. Have your buddy check for full closure.

• Zip has failed – inspect for split in closed teeth.

• Zipper material failed – can either be punctured or damaged by abrasion.

• Foreign material caught in teeth – dirt, sand, debris, or the dry suit undergarment is frequently the trouble.

• The zipper is old, worn out, or damaged in some other way – have it replaced.

Valves

• Installation has loosened. Check back plate screw for tightness. Neoprene suits can see this, as the neoprene may continue to compress over time. Tighten if needed.

• The exhaust valve may be improperly adjusted, or there may be debris (sand, hair, etc.) under the seal.

• Valve parts may need servicing or replacement due to use and wear.

Seals

Seals leak for two reasons, damage or interference..

• Check the seals for holes or tears caused by sharp objects, wear & tear, or chemical damage.

• Check that there are no foreign objects such as hair, sections of undergarment.

• Check for over trimming. Make sure when you trim your seals you do it by putting a can or something round in the wrists or neck and trim around it. If you pinch the seals and cut them it will leave little “v” where you started and ended your cut and that will tear at some point.

• Check they adjusted properly and do not have folds that can create leaking channels, especially around the tendons in wrists.

Leak Testing Your Suit

Your dry suit can be tested for leaks by plugging the wrist and neck seals with objects of suitable size, closing the zipper and using the low-pressure inflation hose attached to the inflate valve to inflate the suit. Wrap an elastic band around the seal to help the plug stay in place under pressure. Start with the adjustable exhaust valve set at the lowest release pressure, and gradually increase until the suit is firm, but not hard. This way you will not stress the seals, fabric or seams of the suit. Once the suit is inflated, submerge it a section at a time in the bathtub, and inspect for leaks. Small bubbles will appear if a leak is present. Alternately, lay the inflated suit down outside, and slowly pour warm soapy water over the suspected areas. The soap solution will blow small bubbles, or create fine foam over the leak.

Once the leaks are located, mark the area, rinse and dry the suit thoroughly, and follow the repair kit instructions.

A dry suit is a complex piece of equipment designed to keep a diver comfortable in extreme conditions. Treat your drysuit as a piece of life support equipment, maintain it properly, and inspect it for wear and damage before and after each dive.

International Security Expo

Saturday, September 15th, 2018

Keeping up with the changing face of security

By Philip Ingram MBE

We have been lucky in 2018 after the terror that tore across Europe and the UK in 2016 – 2017 with vehicle, knife and bomb attacks happening in Nice, London Bridge, Westminster, Manchester and Barcelona. These are just a few of the places left reeling from a wave of extremism targeting people going about their normal lives and enjoying themselves.  The often crudeness of the weaponry used belies the sophistication of many of the attacks.

2018 has been successful for the security services with a number of attacks being stopped, but the UK Counter Terror Police continue to remind everyone that they have approximately 600 active investigations going on with over 3000 people of immediate concern and another 20,000 on their radar!

2017 was marked by some of the most virulent global cyber-attacks with Wannacry infecting more than 230,000 computers in over 150 countries disabling parts of the UK’s health care in the NHS, the Spanish Telecoms giant, Telefonica and FedEx.  North Korea was blamed for this incident.

In another state blamed attack, Russia was blamed for unleashing the NotPetya attack on the globe which hit many government systems in the Ukraine and elsewhere but had a massive impact on global logistics with the shipping giant Maersk falling victim and having to shut down its terminals in 4 different countries for a number of weeks costing the company an estimated $200 million in losses.

2018 has seen a development of the threat environment with the introduction of the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) meaning that data breaches could well have huge implications for companies that suffer them with a €20 Million or 4% or global annual turnover fine brining additional focus to the cyber security environment.

In addition, whilst not a terror attack, we saw the first use of the colourless, odourless, virtually undetectable nerve agent Novichok, used on the streets of the small, sleepy English city of Salisbury. The attack, against a former Russian intelligence officer who defected to the West, Sergei Skripal, resulted in 7 people being contaminated and one dying.  The British government quickly blamed the Russians and the international community followed suit.

At the same time, ISIS and Al Qaeda terror videos and propaganda are advocating the use of drones against crowded places, during the FIFA World Cup in Russia an ISIS propaganda video was released in which the terrorist group claim that they would attack with drone bombs. The recipe and design for chemical weapons and chemical dispersion devices is freely available in the extremist circles according to Aimen Dean, a former MI6 spy inside Al Qaeda in his book ‘Nine Lives.’

Andrew Parker the Director General of MI5 said in May this year that, “Europe faces an intense, unrelenting and multidimensional international terrorist threat. Daesh continues to pose the most acute threat, but Al-Qaeda and other Islamist terrorist groups haven’ gone away.”

Keeping abreast of the threats, the countermeasures, the developing technologies, having a platform to discuss and share best practice is always a challenge for the security community.  This is where Peter Jones, the CEO of Nineteen Events comes in.  He recently said in a blog, “all I want to do, with my team, is something to help make it a little less chaotic and bring the chance of a little more safety and security. If I can do that, then it is all worth it and will leave the world a little better for my loved ones!”  This is his mantra behind the International Security Expo.

What many don’t realise is a big part of his team consists of 40 Advisory Council members who come from all aspects of the security community including Government, Industry & Academia, all at senior levels and they assist in the development of International Security Expo and help shape the content to attract the highest calibre visitors.

That content is delivered in 12 free to attend conferences held over the 2 days and these conferences include: Retail, Hotel, Education, Maritime and Transport, CNI, Crisis Response and Business Continuity, Protecting Crowded Places, Night-time economy, Designing Out Terrorism, Cyber, Data and Information Security, Aviation and Border security and finally Facilities Management security.  Some of the speakers come from the Advisory Council but many are industry leaders in these spheres and are not generally on many conference circuits.

The International Security Expo provides a unique platform for the entire security industry to come together to source products, share experience and gain the knowledge needed to address current and emerging security challenges. It and all of the conferences are free-to-attend and unite the entire security community allowing shared learning and collaboration from Government, CNI, Law Enforcement, Military, Major Events, Transport & Borders, Cyber Security, Facilities and Public and Private sectors.

A key theme running through the two days of the expo is that of innovation and many new technologies will be on display, ranging from a cost effective British built drone with thermal and optical zoom cameras that has a flight time of an hour, to the Protecting Urban Spaces feature.  This new immersive demonstration area will showcase physical products, technologies and have live scenarios to illustrate how urban spaces can be protected from mass casualty terrorist attacks.

Given its ambition, the UK Government has come on board in strength and forms the core of the Government Agency and Department zone. The USA, Canada, China and the EU all have their own zones but it is expected that representatives from over 50 countries across the globe will attend the event. In fact, over 12,500 are confidently expected to attend over the 2 days, the networking alone will be amazing.

With the rapidly changing threat landscape the one place to come for 2 days to be brought up to speed with everything that is needed, is the International Security Expo. This is one not to miss. Visit internationalsecurityexpo.com for further details and register to attend the free conference series.

Air Force Shooters Get Schooled

Thursday, September 13th, 2018

SMOKY HILL AIR NATIONAL GUARD RANGE, Kan. — Teams of Airmen move in and out of cover while under fire. Less than 15 feet from the enemy, one of the Airman’s primary weapons jams. Without hesitation, in one fluid motion, he slings his rifle, draws his pistol and quickly eliminates the threat.

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Airmen from various career fields within the 93d Air Ground Operations (AGOW) traveled to Smoky Hill Air National Guard Range, Kan., to participate in a course that made techniques like this second nature.

The gun course was held Aug. 26-31, which incorporated their specific duties as tactical air control party (TACP) members and security forces personnel and built on their gunfighting skills.

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“The full spectrum operator course bridges the gap between the traditional combat arms instructor training (CATM) and what they’re going to face downrange facing off with enemy combatants,” said Master Sgt. Joe Aton, 93d AGOW joint terminal attack controller (JTAC) program superintendent. “Traditional CATM shooting is shooting at paper (from various positions) while this course will prepare guys for what they’re going to see in real combat.”

Fast transitions to their side arm, organizing their gear so it didn’t hinder their ability to aim or reload their weapons and practicing proper form when firing were all lessons hit hard during the first few days of the course.

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A mix of veterans, guard and reserve members whom have varying levels of combat experience run the course, hoping to impart their knowledge to today’s warfighters.

“The mission is to save lives,” said Brian Hartman, chief instructor. “It’s all about the troops that are downrange … there’s rarely a week that goes by that we don’t receive communication from folks who are using material that we’ve given them and it’s helped them gain or maintain the edge in an encounter.

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“That’s the greatest feeling in the world; there’s no better job satisfaction than that, but we want to share the wealth,” Hartman added. “It’s about getting that information pushed out there and getting everybody back home safe to see their kids grow up.”

Various air support operations squadrons chose one experienced and new JTAC to participate, while the 820th Base Defense Group chose a new defender and a fire team leader.

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While the course primarily focused on gunfight techniques, it also incorporated exercises that challenged specific job skills. Airmen were challenged on their mindset of the feel and look of a “real-world” gunfight.

“One of the most challenging things we impart to people will be mindset,” said Hartman. “In a real environment a small mistake can magnify massively into a huge mistake which can have severe consequences to you, your teammate and can have a ripple effect on down the line.

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“That shift in mindset to make everybody treat every single bullet as though it’s a gift,” Hartman added. “Every single minute; every second they step out onto the range should be treated as though they’re in the real environment and could have to use these skills tomorrow. If we knew we’d have to do it tomorrow it might change the way we approach training today.”

Throughout the course, Airmen moved tactically through dangerous crossings where they had to return fire and call in close air support, all while being held accountable for every mistake.

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“I think the biggest challenge is breaking bad habits,” said 1st Lt. Andrew Janosick, 20th Air Support Operations Squadron joint terminal attack controller (JTAC). “We haven’t had a lot of dynamic weapons training so breaking out of our comfort zone, learning these dynamic movements and being comfortable behind the weapon (is great).

In addition to revamping the way they shoot during the course, Airmen were encouraged to take the techniques and knowledge back to their squadron and incorporate it.

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“I’m hoping to take back as much information from this course (as I can),” said Tech. Sgt. James Estep, 822d Base Defense Squadron fire team leader. “(Especially) ways to think outside of the box when it comes to shooting and honing your skills. It’s really nice having a wide variety of career fields out here. You’re either learning new things from them or they’re learning from you so it shines a new light on things.”

Like any skill, if you don’t use it, you lose it; which is why Aton also hopes to incorporate this course into the current training AGOW Airmen receive.

“I think this is something that should become one of the foundations for our guys as far as gunfighting which is a basic skill everybody should have,” said Aton. “It’s also a perishable skill so it should be something we do annually.”

Story and photos by Senior Airman Janiqua P. Robinson, 23d Wing Public Affairs