By Airman 1st Class Haley N. Blevins, 460th Space Wing Public Affairs
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --The sound of gunshots echoed through the range. The smell of gunpowder filled the air. Empty shells bounced across the ground. Instructors yelled words of encouragement as the bullet hit the target.
Buckley Air Force Base opened a new indoor Combat Arms Training and Maintenance facility on base Dec. 19, 2019. The construction was a seven year project between the 460th Security Forces Squadron and the Aurora Police Department.
The previous CATM range was built in 1985. Members would have to report to the security forces building to participate in the four-hour classroom tutorial which focused on topics such as safety, parts breakdown, clearing, weapons care, firing basics, sighting and breath control. After the class, members would report to the range to participate in the live-fire qualification.
“One of the benefits of this new facility is that all Combat Arms instruction and firing can now take place at one location,” said Master Sgt. Michael Thomas, 460th SFS superintendent.
The new facility contains office space for instructors, classrooms, a weapons and range equipment maintenance area, an alarmed weapons and ammunition storage vault, a 14 position indoor firing range, space for a computerized training simulator, a cleaning and degreasing room, range supplies and equipment storage room, and a range target storage and repair room.
“The new range allows for Combat Arms personnel to train and qualify service members in an environment free of wind, rain and snow 365 days a year,” said Tech Sgt. Tanner Anderson, 460th SFS Combat Arms NCO in charge.
The purpose of the CATM range doesn’t just benefit security forces members. The range ensures members of Buckley who are deploying are mission ready.
“Buckley’s brand new $10 million range will ensure that the installation’s Combat Arms instructors will continue to provide the Air Force and its combatant commanders with highly trained personnel ready to deploy to our nation’s battlefields,” said Anderson.
The new range will also ensure the SFS, Buckley members and the Aurora Police Department are well-trained and knowledgeable in order to keep themselves and others safe while in the line of duty.
“Whether we’re teaching members preparing for deployment, Office of Special Investigations agents, defenders or just those who are getting ready to move to a new installation, none of it would have been possible without my hard-working cadre, Mr. Kelly Carney, Staff Sgt. Britton Smith and Staff Sgt. William Brown,” said Anderson. “They have all been vital to accomplishing the 460th Space Wing’s mission.”
For more information regarding the CATM range, please call them at 720-847-6317.