ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- A loud bang echoes throughout the room, sparks ignite at the end of a barrell, a hot shell rings as it bounces off the concrete floor, paper rips as a bullet travels through a target downrange: this is a normal environment for a Combat Arms instructor.
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Chance Dority, 97th Security Forces Squadron Combat Arms assistant NCO in charge, plays a large role in training exceptional mobility Airmen at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, by enhancing deployment readiness and ensuring the safety of the base for law enforcers.
“I really enjoy my job because we don't just support one thing, we support everybody, and I get to see so many people from all different aspects of the Air Force,” said Dority.
Working at CATM consists of many detail oriented tasks throughout the day, from continuously inspecting and repairing weapons to counting every bullet used.
“Our main goal here is training the whole wing. That includes personnel deploying down range, personnel fixing or meeting a qualification period,” said Dority. “Our day-to-day operations, we run multiple programs, upkeep and range maintenance, and ensure all our weapons are serviceable.”
A co-worker of Dority is Staff Sgt. Zachary Pierce, 97th Security Forces Squadron CATM instructor, and looks up to him as a leader and an expert in their career field.
“I have yet to come to him with a question that he can't answer or doesn’t know who to talk to,” said Pierce. “Outside of work, he is someone that I can go and talk to. If I need anything, he is one of the people that I can call on and can count on to be one hundred percent there when I need him.”
Airmen are constantly deploying, returning, or entering CATM with a different weapon skill level therefore Dority has to be able to explain every part of handling a weapon to Airmen.
“There's so much to keep up with, like teaching somebody that's never touched a weapon. Everything about it and how to effectively use it within a one or two day class,” said Dority. “So, it's a perishable skill with so many different weapon systems and keeping track of every little detail. But to me it’s like riding a bicycle, you always remember it.”
Dority went on to explain the importance of Combat Arms is vital to mission success because sending qualified personnel downrange can potentially save lives.
Next time at CATM do not forget to thank the Combat Arms instructors for their dedication to mission readiness and base security.