Airmen proficient on weapons training

MOFFETT FEDERAL AIRFIELD, Calif. -- Guardsmen from the 129th Rescue Wing are staying proficient on their weapons training. Combat arms instructors from the 129th Security Forces Squadron taught shooting fundamentals at the Metcalf Gun Range in San Jose.

"A big part of it is when you can identify a particular problem with a student, and you're able to identify it and communicate that with the student," says Staff Sgt. Mike Tjaarda, the combat arms training and maintenance instructor. "That student goes from say somebody who's not doing so well, to qualifying, in some cases, actually getting an expert rating."

The Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon is awarded to personnel for expert qualification on either the M-16 automatic rifle or a designated handgun weapon.

Qualification as expert on the pistol requires 41 hits out of 45 rounds, with 25 within a 10-inch circle on the target and six within a 6-inch circle on the target. Qualification as expert on the rifle requires 43 hits out of 50 rounds on various sized silhouettes, simulating targets at different ranges.

"So they get a little ribbon, that's always kind of nice," he said. "It puts a smile on their face, and makes us feel like we did our job."

While deployed, it's important to be able to put rounds on target. Sergeant Tjaarda says M-16 training and qualifications are as important as ever in today's Air Force.

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