Stand-Out Female: Combat Arms Instructor

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Danielle Conde
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing public affairs
"If I wasn't patient then they wouldn't have any confidence," said Staff Sgt. Demenica Vick, 6th Security Forces Squadron combat arms training and maintenance instructor.

As the only female in her combat arms shop, Vick has taken her experience as a single parent to help her better train service members in handling weapons and be prepared to go on deployments.  

Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Vick enlisted in the Air Force on Oct. 25, 2005 to have an opportunity to travel and further her education. So far in her career, she has had the chance to work within different security forces jobs, such as reports and analysis, armory duties, and law enforcement, before becoming a CATM instructor at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, in 2011.

"I didn't know how much I enjoyed handling guns until I started working in the armory," she said. "I asked myself why not do this job full time and become a combat arms training and maintenance instructor."

With wearing the red hat that reads "Combat Arms," comes the responsibility of ensuring that the service members who go through the course are qualified and confident in their ability to use a weapon, such as the M-4 carbine and M-9 Beretta pistol. 

"This is the first base where Staff Sgt. Vick has been able to fulfill the instructor role, and she enjoys it more than when she was working in armory while stationed in Korea," said Tech. Sgt. Johnny Brisco, 6th SFS NCO in charge of combat arms. "Her responsibilities as a mother have not affected her ability to be an effective part of the combat arms instructor team."

In the three years she has been teaching, Vick said that she has seen less experienced students struggle to meet the requirements to pass the course, and become frustrated. This leads to them forgetting important steps and safety procedures. As an instructor, it is Vick's job to coach the individuals and build up their confidence in handling a weapon.

In one particular instance, Vick was instructing an individual who felt defeated because she was having to firing left-handed for the first time since she was dominant in her left eye. To handle the situation properly and avoid becoming frustrated herself, Vick thought about how she would deal with a similar situation with her child. 

"Being a mom is my first job, and with that I've learned the value of being patient," she said. "The same way I tell my son that we will work through his math problems together, I let my students know that I won't let them fail."

Vick continued to coach the individual by telling her to relax, practice her fundamentals and slowly squeeze the trigger.

"I helped build this individual's confidence the same way I helped build up my son's confidence as we practiced more math problems," she said.

Although she does yell and apply some pressure while her students are out on the range to prepare them for real world situations, Vick understands that people react to stress differently. Sometimes all it takes is a little extra coaching to help an individual succeed.

Editor's note:
Staff Sgt. Demenica Vick is the fourth of five females to be selected to be featured as a stand-out female Airman at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.