The men and women tasked with providing protection services to Air Force Base (AFB) Durban and its ancillary facilities spent time honing their musketry skills to keep them current and sharp.
Merrivale shooting range at Howick, some distance inland from the base at the former Durban International Airport, saw protection squadron personnel using the primary infantry weapon of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) – the R5 – along with the light machine gun (LMG) as well as 9 mm pistols and 12 gauge shotguns.
The shooting exercise and training was, according to Lieutenant Phuti Badimo, part of force preparation for ground-based personnel at the base and addresses operational requirements as well as ensuring, if needed for deployment, personnel power is up to standard.
“The SAAF force preparation plan stipulates protection services ought to be an enabling mechanism ensuring personnel have the required core competencies to ensure the provision of combat readiness and support to the Department of Defence (DoD). The mandate of 508 Protection Squadron is to provide effective and efficient protection services to AFB Durban as well as the SA Air Force.”
Functions include access control; perimeter control; in- and outbound VIP protection; armed vehicle escort duties; protecting SAAF resources and K9 capabilities.
“Force preparation is a significant component in serving the SANDF and as 508 Protection Squadron we consistently strive to empower and equip our members to effectively perform their duties and remain combat ready,” Squadron Officer Commanding Major ARK Jones is reported as saying.
“In this instance, members need to keep current with the utilised weapon in the squadron for operational readiness.”