Becoming part of the ‘One Shot Brotherhood’

  • Published
  • By Airman Evan Carter
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
For a security forces member in the Air Force, getting the chance to be a member of the “One Shot Brotherhood” is in itself a dream come true, but more so an honor to be held in the highest regard.

Senior Airman Darryl Thompson and Airman 1st Class Leonard Pritchett, 36th Security Forces Squadron, were recently selected by their leadership to attend the Close Precision Engagement Course (sharpshooter school) at Camp Robinson, Ark.

Air Force CPEC certified members are basically sharpshooters or ‘snipers.’ Sharpshooters in the Air Force always work in pairs and can basically be described as skilled marksmen detailed to a specific location to eliminate the enemy from a concealed location, but there is much more to the job than the obvious. “CPEC certified members are an extremely valuable asset to their squadron or units especially during forward deployments. They can provide invaluable field observation and intelligence reconnaissance, acting as the commander’s eyes and ears outside the wire enabling them to make educated wartime decisions,” said Master Sgt. John Jackson, 36th SFS NCOIC of training and resources.

Both Airmen volunteered, along with several others from their squadron. Criteria for selection included psychological evaluation, a physical test, and M-4 qualification before leadership made a final decision on who would be selected to attend the course.

Prior to attending the course at Camp Robinson, the Airmen were tasked with completing a well-planned four-week preparation course developed by Staff Sgt. William Passmore, a 36th SFS member who is CPEC certified.

“The preparation course is equal to or harder in most cases than the CPEC course at Camp Robinson,” said Sergeant Passmore. “I believe the course is above and beyond what is needed for these guys to be successful.”

Sergeant Passmore’s preparation course and the CPEC course at Camp Robinson consist of a wide range of training engagements such as target detection, stalking, range estimation, observation, memory games, physical training and firing.

Being a “One Shot Brother” is something both Airmen had dreamed of and awaited for, and planned to make the best of their opportunity.

“The job has always fascinated me,” said Airman Thompson. “When we’re in the field, it’s just the two of us and working together is all we have.”

Getting selected was only the first of many bricks in the wall, explained Airman Pritchett.

“We’re very lucky to have been selected for the course, but that was only the first step, we have to get through the preparation course and pass the real course in Camp Robinson before we can be a member of the brotherhood. That means we must stay focused and always stay in a positive bubble no matter what the situation may be.”

On April 17, Airmen Pritchett and Thompson left for Camp Robinson on a 19-day mission to complete the CPEC course and come home as CPEC certified members.

Becoming certified is not as easy as it sounds and is not your average walk in the park by no means. Members were required to pass every qualification with at least a 70 percent. Airmen Thompson and Pritchett were paired together at the course.

More than 14 days into the course Airman Thompson failed to qualify the unknown distance firing by a mere two points. Until that point he had exceeded all the qualifications and physical standards while enduring five hours of sleep in a 51-hour period during the final field training exercise. He was personally invited back by the Camp Robinson Cadre.

After 19 grueling days of sleep deprivation (18-hour days), and endless training exercises combined with high stress, Airman Pritchett completed the course and joined the likes of only 270 others in the Air Force as a member of the “one shot brotherhood.”

The CPEC class started with 26 members and finished with 15 making for a 42 percent wash-out rate.

“The darkest times in our lives are usually the times when we learn just what were capable of achieving,” said Airman Pritchett. “Our own expectations can actually be limitations, making us believe the possible is impossible. We are all capable of doing more than we would ever believe. No matter what the situation or obstacle, sharpshooters never quit.” (Courtesy of Pacific Air Forces)