First CAFB Airman selected for sniper school

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jessica Haynie
  • 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Tarriq Releford, 14th Security Forces Squadron, installation entry controller, was one of four Airmen chosen to represent the USAF at the highly selective, United States Army Sniper School, Apr. 17, 2022, at Fort Benning, Ga.

Releford is the only Airman from Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, selected to attend the course. The Airman is no stranger to working with snipers, as he has experience from a prior base.

“Releford was chosen because of his prior tactical experience, and for his weapons skills,” said Technical Sgt. Tanner Barber, 14th Security Forces Squadron non-commissioned officer in charge, antiterrorism section. “He continually strives to make the entire organization a better place with his positive, happy-go-lucky attitude and his willingness to train fellow airman on tactics that he has learned in other courses.”

U.S. Army Sniper School only allots a small percentage of their class slots to separate branches, so at any given time an Airman could find themselves being the only one there.

“Going into it I was super nervous,” said Releford. “Out of the 51 guys there, only four of us were Air Force. It was very humbling because you realize you aren’t the best. Everyone there had the skills it took to get selected.”

The 53 day course trains selected members with the sniper skills necessary to deliver long range precision fire and the collection of battlefield information. Day one, members complete the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), and must qualify as “expert” during a weapons qualification test with the M4 Rifle.

“You are about 50 meters away, shooting an M4 with iron sights,” said Releford. “You have to shoot 5 rounds and group them together within an inch and a half. You will shoot 25 rounds all together in groups of 5 and 3 out of the 5 groupings must be perfect. The first day 17 people were dropped from the course.”

The course is designed to ensure all selectees gain familiarity with all Sniper Weapons System characteristics, components and functions.

“This course has made me a better Airman because if, or when, the occasion arises that a sniper is needed to complete the mission, I will be ready,” said Releford. “Now that I have sniper capabilities, I can go on sniper missions to reconnaissance and take out the bad guys from distances with accuracy and precision.”

Upon graduation each student has gained experience in planning and executing without compromise, mission context problem solving and can demonstrate a higher understanding of commander’s informational needs during planning and action phases. Releford successful graduated the Basic Sniper Course, Jun. 3, 2022.

“Our goal is to always promote an environment for development and enrichment,” said Barber. “Releford has been equipped with a skill-set that most Defenders do not get the opportunity to attain. The expectation is for him to pass along his experience gained during the class to fortify the marksmanship of all unit members, and offer the Wing a long-range standoff capability that did not exist prior to his attendance.”