908th Combat Arms instructors are driven to teaching Airmen

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Shelby Thurman
  • 908th Airlift Wing

The sun will not be up for hours but the 908th Security Forces Squadron Combat Arms instructors are already at Maxwell’s Firing Range, preparing for their class’ arrival Nov. 2, 2019, for the 908th SFS’ annual qualifying test.

During the November Unit Training Assembly, all 908th SFS had to conduct their annual qualifications course and the junior enlisted had to receive additional training.

Everything is pre-set the night before so in the morning they can, “Hit the ground running,” said Master Sgt. Henry Relf, 908th SFS CA instructor.

Even though the students have a full day of training and qualifying, the instructors’ days are even longer, said Tech Sgt. James Kuehne, 908th SFS CA instructor.

The instructors prove their dedication both in front of and behind the scenes by working long after everyone else has come and gone for the day.

“[We] go out at [3 a.m.] or [4 a.m.] and we’re out there until [5 p.m.] or [6 p.m.],” said Relf.

Regardless of there being a lot of work to do, it is all accomplished by the seven-person team.

Since the team is this size and spending long days together, they have become close, said Staff Sgt. James Pilgrim, 908th SFS CA instructor.

“We are a little family,” said Relf.

Working with other instructors that care about each other and their students makes the long hours feel worth it to them.

“Proficiently training these airmen is our reward,” said Pilgrim.

It is necessary for them to stay focused every time they teach because of the job’s demands.

“You have to have that passion and dedication or else you’ll become an ineffective instructor,” said Pilgrim.

Knowing that they are doing their part as instructors helps keep them motivated to continue to work hard for these Airmen.

Relf describes their role as crucial due to them wanting everyone to be trained and certified because, “They may be the person that saves somebody you love.”

The CA instructors’ desire for teaching is obvious in how they conduct themselves every day. They are a vital part of the 908th who ensure Alabama’s reserve citizen Airmen are ready to fight anywhere at a moment’s notice.