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Training long-range for downrange: 28th SFS conducts sniper training

The Advanced Designated Marksmen Course, a two week long training course at Fort Bliss, TX., qualifies security forces snipers to be part of Close Precision Engagement Teams, or Counter Sniper Teams, who are charged with protecting flightines and other sensitive areas.

Airmen 1st Class Hayden Wilson, a response force leader assigned to the 28th Security Forces Squadron, adjusts the sights on is rifle during sniper training in the Black Hills, S.D., Jan. 23, 2018. The Advanced Designated Marksmen Course, a two week long training course at Fort Bliss, TX., qualifies security forces snipers to be part of Close Precision Engagement Teams, or Counter Sniper Teams, who are charged with protecting flightines and other sensitive areas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Donald C. Knechtel)

The Advanced Designated Marksmen Course, a two week long training course at Fort Bliss, TX., qualifies security forces snipers to be part of Close Precision Engagement Teams, or Counter Sniper Teams, who are charged with protecting flightines and other sensitive areas.

Airmen 1st Class Hayden Wilson, a response force leader assigned to the 28th Security Forces Squadron, acquires his target in the Black Hills, S.D., Jan. 23, 2018. The process for an Airman to become a certified Air Force sniper begins with the Advanced Designated Marksman course, a two week long training course at Fort Bliss, TX., that familiarizes the Airmen with the M-24 weapon system. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Donald C. Knechtel)

The Advanced Designated Marksmen Course, a two week long training course at Fort Bliss, TX., qualifies security forces snipers to be part of Close Precision Engagement Teams, or Counter Sniper Teams, who are charged with protecting flightines and other sensitive areas.

Airmen 1st Class Hayden Wilson, left, and Senior Airman Mathew Gatton, response force members assigned to the 28th Security Forces Squadron, perform sniper training in the Black Hills, S.D., Jan. 23, 2018. The Advanced Designated Marksman course is a challenging two-week course that teaches advanced marksmanship and military scouting skills to Air Force security forces members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Donald C. Knechtel)

The Advanced Designated Marksmen Course, a two week long training course at Fort Bliss, TX., qualifies security forces snipers to be part of Close Precision Engagement Teams, or Counter Sniper Teams, who are charged with protecting flightines and other sensitive areas.

Airmen with the 28th Security Forces Squadron perform sniper training in the Black Hills, S.D., Jan. 23, 2018. Each Close Precision Engagement Team is composed of two individuals, a sniper and a spotter. The spotter identifies targets, gathers range and wind adjustments and relays this information to the sniper. The sniper makes the adjustments on the M-24 and fires on the target (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Donald C. Knechtel)

The Advanced Designated Marksmen Course, a two week long training course at Fort Bliss, TX., qualifies security forces snipers to be part of Close Precision Engagement Teams, or Counter Sniper Teams, who are charged with protecting flightines and other sensitive areas.

Airmen 1st Class Hayden Wilson, left, and Staff Sgt. Michael Miller, response force members assigned to the 28th Security Forces Squadron, conduct sniper training in the Black Hills, S.D., Jan. 23, 2018. During the Advanced Designated Marksman course, all counter snipers use the M-24 weapons system. It is composed of an M-24 rifle with an M-3A telescopic sight. It fires the standard 173 grain NATO 7.62 round with a five round magazine and is bolt operated. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Donald C. Knechtel)

The Advanced Designated Marksmen Course, a two week long training course at Fort Bliss, TX., qualifies security forces snipers to be part of Close Precision Engagement Teams, or Counter Sniper Teams, who are charged with protecting flightines and other sensitive areas.

Airmen with the 28th Security Forces Squadron set up for target practice in the Black Hills, S.D., Jan. 23, 2018. Close Precision Engagement Teams, or Counter Sniper Teams, are charged with protecting fightlines and other sensitive places by removing the threat of snipers that could damage or destroy aircraft and prevent air missions from being conducted. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Donald C. Knechtel)

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. – -- Members of the 28th Security Forces Squadron conducted sniper training on an off-base shooting range in the Black Hills, South Dakota. , Jan. 23, 2018, to prepare for the Advanced Designated Marksman course at Fort Bliss, TX., in February.

 

This Air Force training qualifies Airmen to be part of Close Precision Engagement Teams, or Counter Sniper Teams, who are charged with protecting flight lines and other sensitive areas. They are trained to remove threats that could damage or destroy aircraft and prevent air missions from being conducted. 

Each Close Precision Engagement Team is composed of two individuals, a sniper and spotter. The spotter identifies targets, gathers range and wind adjustments and relays this information to the sniper. The sniper makes the adjustments on their rifle and fires on the target.

“The weapon we use in the course is the M-24 rifle with an M-3A telescopic sight,” said Airman 1st Class Hayden Wilson, a response force leader assigned to the 28th SFS. “It fires the standard 173 grain NATO 7.62 round with a five round magazine. The Airmen will be expected to shoot targets at 600 meters and moving targets.”

The course is more than just firing a weapon. Physical training drills are conducted every day to place the student under extreme stress during which, memory tests are given by the instructors to insure they can operate in stressful situations in the field. 

“When we are downrange, we are more along the lines of defense, fitting the whole core concept of Security Forces,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Miller, a security forces evaluator assigned to the 28th SFS. “We are a force multiplier to deter terrorist attacks. On top of that, we set up listening and observation posts to collect intelligence and route it up, as well as provide over watch which is a deterrent across the station.”

In 2001 with Operation Enduring Freedom currently in Afghanistan, Air Force Security Forces leadership recognized the need for a specialized team to assist in exterior base reconnaissance and support for Security Forces personnel outside the base perimeter, thus the ADM course was born.

“A lot of people think getting behind a rifle is a relatively simple task, but precision and accurate rifle fire, especially when it comes to eliminating a target or taking a life, is something that you need to maintain,” Miller explained. “It’s easily perishable. This is why we train in this course, to get our Airmen to that level and keep them proficient.” 

CPE Teams have been deployed in both Afghanistan and Iraq in support of Air Force missions. These teams are an essential part of the overall base defense plan. 

“This training is very unique, not everyone in the Air Force gets to experience it,” Wilson said. “It’s something that I absolutely love, getting behind the rifle and throwing lead down range.”


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