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Malmstrom's tactical defenders: Experts in precision

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Collin Schmidt
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
Editor's note: This is part one in a four-part series highlighting the Tactical Response Force on Malmstrom Air Force Base.

The skills needed to defend, deter and put a subtle fear into anyone who may want to cause harm to Malmstrom Air Force Base personnel or its assets is a highly valued commodity in the missile community. In order to protect the specialized systems Malmstrom has in place, Airmen who have mastered these skills serve as the first line of defense.

At a moment's notice, if someone were to attempt to tamper with a system or facility the base operates, those specialized skills will be exercised with swift precision.

The 341st Security Forces Group Tactical Response Force is home to a group of personnel with a very special set of abilities. These Airmen begin their training as assaulters and go on to acquire one of two additional skill sets in the fields of breaching systems or nuclear advanced designated marksmen, commonly referred to as snipers.

They work hand-in-hand with base-side and field-based security forces personnel to provide specialized protection for Malmstrom's weapons systems and facilities.

"[TRF Airmen] specialize in three main areas," said Senior Airman Matthew Dubon, 341st SFG TRF nuclear advanced designated marksman. "The first thing we become is an assaulter. Everybody that comes to TRF must attend the Assaulters Course at Camp Guernsey, Wyoming. During the four-week-long course, we learn how to respond to situations with precision and are trained in specialized areas of combat, specific to the situations we may run into on Malmstrom. Everyone in TRF is an assaulter. It's the basis of what we do and a skill set we all learn.

"From that groundwork, there are two additional specialties we train in," he continued. "Half of our personnel train as NADM snipers and the other half will train as breachers, which is a skill set that allows us to enter any facility or room in the event someone has barricaded themselves in."

In order for these Airmen to become qualified in their areas of expertise, countless hours of training and coursework come into play.

The first step TRF Airmen take in becoming a nuclear advanced designated marksmen is a three-week course, which centers around long-range engagement with a sniper weapon system. During the course, students learn how to use the environment they are in to conceal themselves from enemy forces. Some of the classes include range estimation, stalks with ghillie suits, sketch and target detection, ruck marches, and known distance and unknown distance qualification courses.

To begin training as a breacher, students attend a two-week-long course which teaches them how to properly utilize tools such as a ram for mechanical breaching, a broco torch, which is used to cut through thick steel doors and courses which demonstrate how to safely build and detonate explosives used for facility entry.

All of these skill sets combined enhance the capabilities of the team and its effectiveness.

"I believe our job is an important one," said Senior Airman Justin Korus, 341st SFG TRF breacher. "Everyone at Malmstrom plays an important role in protecting the systems we have in place. Our roles are very specific and the tools we use are very specialized, but no matter what you do on base, you play a role in the base's safety.

"Our skill sets allow us as a whole to do things that otherwise would not be possible," he continued. "We work hard at our jobs and train constantly to be ready for anything that comes up."

Throughout their careers in the Air Force, TRF Airmen will continue to train within their specialties and hone their skills as assaulters, breachers and snipers. To perfect these skills is a continuous process and the Airmen who are tasked with the mission of protecting America's largest defense system continue to strive for excellence.