95th SFS sergeant ‘aims’ to compete as rifleman

Staff Sgt. Herman Gabaldon, a 95th Security Forces Squadron installation patrolman dry fires with a National Match AR-15. Sergeant Gabaldon is a member of the Air Force Power Rifle Team. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Richard Coleman)

Staff Sgt. Herman Gabaldon, a 95th Security Forces Squadron installation patrolman dry fires with a National Match AR-15. Sergeant Gabaldon is a member of the Air Force Power Rifle Team. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Richard Coleman)

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Ready, aim, fire. Staff Sgt. Herman Gabaldon, a 95th Security Forces Squadron installation patrolman, hears this before beginning a rifle competition. 

Sergeant Gabaldon's primary job at Edwards is to actively patrol the base and enforce local and federal traffic regulations, but on his off-duty time, he is an active member of the Air Force Power Rifle team. 

Since 2006, Sergeant Gabaldon has won more than 10 awards, including the Nevada Regional Championship for marksman class and the Arizona Regional Champion for marksman class, which earned him a Sharpshooter Classification Card. 

"Sergeant Gabaldon has been a great representative for the unit and the wing during each of these competitions," said Maj. Roy Collins, 95th Security Forces Squadron commander. "I am proud to have him in the unit and look forward to seeing him do well in future competitions." 

Sergeant Gabaldon took the Arizona state rifle championship title for individual 200-yard slow rifle prone sharpshooter class as well as placed second in the "Shots for Tots" annual fundraiser, where he was the only Air Force servicemember to compete. 

"The roughest thing about these competitions is proving ourselves to the other military services we compete against," Sergeant Gabaldon said. "They don't realize we do other things than just fly aircraft. Once they see what we do, their perception of us really changes." 

Sergeant Gabaldon started competing in his high school Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program with the small rifle team. 

"I get personal pride out of competing," Sergeant Gabaldon said. "I get to represent the security forces squadron. I am the only cop on the Air Force team." 

Although manning over the last couple of years has been tough for the 95th SFS, troops continue to find ways to be involved in other activities like the Air Force rifle team, which allows them time to unwind and get away from their job, Major Collins said. It is very important as it allows for some balance in their lives. 

"Sergeant Gabaldon is one of the many defenders in the 95th Security Forces Squadron that, regardless of the manpower challenges and the increased deployments, continue to find ways to positively represent the unit and wing," Major Collins said. 

In April, Sergeant Gabaldon will be competing in the All Navy Pacific Fleet Matches, as well as the California State Service Rifle Championships.