YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Security forces personnel have always played a vital role in Yokota's mission. However, one of the more unnoticed aspects of security forces is their commitment to ensuring that Yokota Airmen are proficient in combat arms.
Combat arms training instructors provide ground weapons training and inspections for all Air Force personnel. Yokota Air Base employs five skilled instructors who train 2,500 - 3,000 students annually.
"We are here to ensure Yokota Airmen have the ability to effectively and safely handle the weapons systems we train on," said Staff Sgt. Stephen Ceo, 374th Security Forces Squadron combat arms instructor. "Without us, service members would not deploy with the confidence and capability they need to protect resources and each other."
Combat arms instructors train Airmen on a variety of weapons to include pistols, submachine guns, shotguns, grenade launchers and rifles.
With recent changes to the qualification, students can expect to go a little more in-depth with their weapon than before.
"Recently, the Air Force has implemented new changes to the qualification process," said Senior Airman Dominique Adams, 374th Security Forces Squadron combat arms instructor. "We now instruct students on how to shoot and move quickly and effectively. Students are also required to communicate their status as they take cover, reload and conduct immediate actions," he said.
Though the job can be stressful for instructors, it still comes with many rewards.
"Watching a student who was nervous about handling weapons getting "expert" is a great feeling as an instructor," said Adams. "Knowing they accomplished something they could not have done without you is one of the reasons why I love my job."
Students can feel confident when they enter each combat arms class. Each instructor attends a ten-week course specializing in professional firearms and spends several years learning the components of a variety of weapons. Not to mention comprehensive instructing techniques to better relay information to students.
"We will ensure the best possible training for each and every person who gets on the plane heading to war from Yokota," said Ceo. "We go through rigorous training so we are able to effectively prepare service members before they go downrange."