6/11/07, Albuquerque, NM—The New Mexico National Guard tapped a former Marine and police officer to improve its weapons skills.
In late May, New Mexico hosted the 40-hour Gunfighter Course taught by Pat Rogers. Each Soldier or Airman fired about 2,500 rounds – more in a week than some fire during a six-year enlistment.
Guard members – most of them cadre from the state’s Combat Arms Training Company (CATC) – are expected to share their knowledge like a benevolent virus. “We take what we learn here back to CATC and teach advanced weapons training,” said MAJ Frank Oliveira, CATC commander.
The Guard used an Albuquerque Police Department range and invited Border Patrol, police, corrections officers and other colleagues for the course that ended June 1. Of the 40 students, about 25 were Guard members.
“We all need to work on the same page,” SFC Manny Bustillos Jr. said of the joint training environment. The New Mexico Air National Guard loaned the weapons, and the state provided the ammunition.
Designed for people with intermediate to advanced skills, the course has become a New Mexico annual tradition. “Shooting is a perishable skill,” said SFC Bustillos, attending his third Gunfighter Course. “If you don’t do it often, you lose it.”