FORT WAYNE. Ind., October 16, 2015 — Becoming a skilled marksman involves the culmination of numerous skills, including discipline, patience and a keen attention to detail. Becoming an effective manager requires a similar set of skills.
Air Force Master Sgt. Brandon Herber, unit training manager for the Indiana Air National Guard’s 122nd Security Forces Squadron here, is a skilled sniper who credits his effectiveness as a training manager to his skills on the battlefield and in various competitions.
“When I go to a particular school or training experience, as the training manager, I like to pass that experience and training on to other troops, because if I don’t do that, then I’m failing at my job,” said Herber, who competed in the International Sniper Competition at Fort Benning, Georgia, four years ago.
Coming into the competition, Herber said, he brought with him a rare combination of experience, having previously completed the Air Force Close Precision Engagement Course, the Army Pathfinder School and the Army Sniper School.
“I doubt you will find anyone who has been to the Air Force and Army sniper courses and the International Sniper Competition and gained the level of knowledge I have,” he said. “I want to take that knowledge forward and employ it the best I can.”
The competition, hailed as the pinnacle of sniper competitions, included multiple stress shoots, timed night shoots engaging targets out to 600 meters, unknown distance shoots and an event in which participants dragged a weighted sled 200 meters down a dirt road to simulate a battlefield casualty, all while having very little sleep.
By no means was the competition easy, Herber said, as it required not only sharp skills on the part of the shooter, but also his spotter’s part. The spotter was responsible for supplying Herber with guidance on dialing in his scope accuracy.
Experience Benefits Current Job
Herber has been through three deployments and has served as an instructor for various military and civilian courses. He said his experiences allow him to bring back a vast level of knowledge to his squadron and to build up its quality and effectiveness.
“In my opinion, training will make or break a unit,” he said, “and by having good hands-on ballistic training, you’re going to increase unit morale and member confidence in them doing their job.”
Herber said his long-term goal is to modernize and update the Air National Guard’s inventory of equipment, techniques, tactics and procedures the Air National Guard uses to ensure members are provided with thorough and efficient training.