AAR: Patrol Class, Jan 18-20, 2014, Eddie
Everyone else has covered the class in very well written AAR’s. I’m going to say that Max outdid himself on this one. If you’ve been to CRCD and were impressed… then hurry up and lock in your spot for the next Patrol class!! To the other 8 and JC, it was an honor to meet and train with each of you, I commend you each for your dedication and willingness to come out in January when you knew the temp wasn’t going above freezing until the 3rd day of class and train with the dedication and enthusiasm that you each displayed! JC’s ruck in was pretty impressive, for an old man.
Saturday was cold enough to freeze the balls of the old brass monkey, and the temp was still dropping when we left the parking lot. We covered safety briefing and moved right into new drills, center peel (a contact front option for a larger group, such as a squad), then combined two break contact drills (contact front & contact left) into one drill and ran that (simulating contact from two direction simultaneously, such as an L-shaped ambush. Moving things on a step from CRCD). This was as close as we came to reviewing the basics of CRCD for the weekend. Max quickly got everyone squared away and we took off into all new information. Gear review of what to pack for rucking in to patrol base and several other drills to include the removal of a dead tree for Max V, no charge Max. (Yes, Eddie pulled down one of my trees, I’m charging him for it)
We broke for the evening and most everyone met for dinner which was great camaraderie as usual, and Max even showed up to join us.
Sunday, we covered new drills, reviewed the gear we were all packing in (more on that in a minute), put up tarps and then rucked in to set up our patrol base. If you’ve never tried to sleep in a nylon bag, in a nylon bivvy, on a thermo-rest, then you need to try it. After setting up the patrol base we reported to HQ and were briefed on and then executed two separate recce patrols, departing at 8pm with a 4 hour deadline for return to HQ. Each was done by a 4 person fire team under the leadership of their team leaders who both did a great job. One team, we’ll call them the wanna-be mountain goats, picked a route as a team that would indicate that though we were spot on in our reckoning and feature navigation, we should have brushed up on our ability to count how many contour lines really can be squeezed into ¼ inch on a topo map…. We had fun, we successfully recconed our target and we had 15 minutes to spare when we returned to HQ, 2 hours after the other team and yes, we did update our return route to take the “easy” way home. KUDO’s to Doc & Stuart who both did a great job on those bluffs (no Max, they are not called hills, those were vertical bluffs) (you can only blame yourselves….sympathy is found between shit and syphilis in the dictionary).
After the recee’s we all returned to patrol base and tried to get some sleep, between the 2 rotations that most had to pull on sentry duty. I will commend every man and woman there, not a single one even considered not getting up to pull their stints on sentry and it was COLD!!
As was covered in earlier AAR’s, safety was never a concern. Max did a great job of making clear what the expectations where and when anyone approached a violation they were quickly reminded. Everyone marked an empty mag with special tape, had it and the rifle inspected as it was inserted into the rifle. These mags remained in the rifle from Sunday before the ruck march until Stand-To at 07:00 Monday morning when given the order to load and make ready. I think this was a great call by Max to assure 100% safety during the ruck march and the night time activities.
Monday morning following Stand-To we moved directly into more drills which eventually led to an ambush and then the class was closed with a full on 8-man attack on an encampment of enemy Ivan targets. One team provided covering fire while the other team attacked from a flank. Again, safety was never an issue as Max and JC did a great job of assuring that the covering team had shifted their fire to “shift” targets approximately 40 degrees off the encampment that was being assaulted, before the assaulters moved from cover.
I have no previous military service but have been studying this stuff for years and in my opinion there is no one in the US who is providing anything above this level of training to any civilian student. There may be two or three who’re doing similar courses but none that are better or more realistic. If you’re adamantly apposed to ever being in front of someone who’s shooting past you, at a militarily approved angle of fire than this class may not be for you. BUT, if that’s the case I truly hope and pray that you never consider yourself ready for combat in protecting your family, friends, neighborhood and Country. Training HAS to be realistic, safe YES! But, realistic and Max has done a great job of allowing enough realism while maintaining exceptionally high levels of safety.
Equipment, I speak as one who has been known to fall for gadgets and being a gear hoarder. If you can live without it LEAVE IT AT HOME!!! Here’s MY new take on gear:
Fighting belt: 6-10 mags, knife, 1 qt water, IFAC with tourniquet (SOF-T or CAT), dump pouch (that will keep your empty mags from bouncing out), water tablets &/or life straw, compass, whistle, lighter, 1000 calories in power bars, 2 trioxane bars, pistol with 1 spare mag, PVS14, FLIR, very small cleaning kit.
Day pack(small): 1qt water (bottle or bladder but the keyboard ninjas need to be aware that bladder tubes FREEZE very quickly when the high for the day was 23F, it doesn’t get that cold in momma’s basement and rarely on the 25M square range), extra socks, extra gloves, warm hat,1 extra fleece top(wrapped around water bottle to keep it from freezing), red head lamp, foot powder, boo boo kit, aleve, extra ammo (at least 360 rounds in combination with belt), 1000 calories in power bar type foods, helmet for PVS14’s if they’re on your belt. As weather warms, trade extra clothing for more water.
Large ruck with 1qt water, tarp, sleeping bag, bivvy sack, way to heat water (LIGHTWEIGHT), coffee/ hot chocolate, 3000 calories of food – drier is better, mre’s are HEAVY and suck beside hot LRP or Mtn House rations. My day pack will fit inside my large ruck easily now for a simple quick load out that I’m estimating to be about 30lbs less than I toted up the mountain on Sunday afternoon.
I also want to address Max and JC’s commitment to our Great Country and passing on their training and experience to you. How often do you see two guys, who’ve only known each other for 5 months, who are direct competitors within 45 miles of each other to come out and assist each other with a project, regardless of the nature of the business? JC came and helped Max for 3 very long, hard & COLD days because he wants to get the training out to as many Americans as he can. Yes, they are both trying to make a profit in this business, as a business owner I can tell you that they won’t be doing it long if they don’t turn a profit so don’t begrudge them for that, especially if you’re just too damn lazy to come to one of their classes and use that fact as an excuse on your internet postings. Pathetic!! They have to feed their kids the same as you and I.
If you have not been to one of Max or JC’s courses, or some other similar training then I personally don’t care what you think about gear or commando tactics. Yes, you have to have gear to do this but you need to get over the idea that “this” or “that” smock or holster or belt or pack will make you a better prepared Patriot. IT WILL NOT!!! Training is the only thing that will matter when the shit DOES hit the fan. Don’t ask me what coat, smock, hat, this or that I was using. Odds are I don’t even know the name and I assure you I don’t care. But if you want to know how to do a center peel break contact, I can show you. It was a coat, and I had a hat, the same ones I wore to work Tuesday morning, I had boots and I think they’re rocky’s but don’t ask what model. Did I mention that I can teach you how to set an ambush now? It doesn’t matter if your rifle is gas or piston driven or if it cost $800 or $3,000. Your rifle doesn’t need to shoot ¼moa groups because I’ll bet you $1000 you can’t shoot a ¼moa group anyway, when you’re leaning over a log preparing to spring an ambush or returning fire in a “contact front” drill. Buy quality gear but don’t get hung up on gear. Can you plan a route with nothing but a compass and topo map? Buy a good rifle, great optic (Aimpoint), and get most of your gear off of ebay or from clearance sales and spend what you saved on training and ammo. Remember, gear color doesn’t matter, Krylon has green, brown and black spray paint. Your rifle is camo’ed,,, isn’t it????
Just remember, T R A I N I N G is what matters!! GET SOME!!
(Ahhh…all those things I’ve been wanting to say but was holding back….thanks Eddie!)