Shooting through restrictions
By Maj. Denise Hauser, 940th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 31, 2020
BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, California --
The 940th Security Forces Squadron holds weapons qualification classes every reserve weekend.
Even in a COVID-19 restricted environment, the training must go on.
Security forces specialist Tech. Sgt. John Ferguson said there are some challenges involved trying to train and qualify in a limited environment where safety, as well as strict health guidelines, now have to be followed.
“Training is harder to complete,” said Ferguson. “We now have to spend more time in preparation for a class and clean up afterwards. In addition to cleaning the weapons the way we normally do, we now have to make sure they are wiped down with COVID cleaning supplies, as well as any other equipment we use such as tables and chairs. This gives us less time in a day to complete our requirements.”
He explained how they now have to teach two or three classes at the same time and they must be outside.
“This impacts the workload greatly. We have to have two instructors per class and with only six instructors assigned, it leaves us little room to work with.”
Ferguson said before COVID, they used to teach the classroom portion of the training indoors with 28 students. Now the class has to be split into groups of 10 and six-feet social distancing must be maintained at all times.
Despite the challenges, limited time and resources, and the new guidelines to follow, Ferguson says they are making it work with what they have.
“We train like we fight,” he said. “We have to be ready to go anywhere in the world within 72 hours. It’s my job to make sure myself, my troops, as well the units are qualified and ready to go. We have adapted and we will adjust to this new way. Even if it becomes the permanent way, we will be ready.”