Few sentence summary of Combat Patrol: It was worth every penny. It left me feeling both more confident and at the same time that I have a lot to learn and practice.
Background – I attended Combat Team Tactics (CTT) almost exactly a year ago (back then called “CRCD”) and got a really great base for the CP class. The CTT class takes you out of the static/square range mindset and raises a whole new level of awareness and tactics. Prior to attending CTT, I have had many years of rifle/pistol shooting and a few other classes on square ranges, shoot and move, etc, but nothing like the pop-up Ivans and small team tactics training from the class.
The class structure…
Day 1: Meet up and start learning. Lots of theory, explanation of things you should have read in “Contact!” Lots of learning here, but useful, and comes into play in the later evolutions. Per Chris, we had ~$1M worth of college education sitting there (doctors, IT guys, various Type A professionals), but we managed to take “simple” and make it complicated via asking questions and looking for absolutes. Lessons learned on Day 1 – lots of great background info, terms, things to do, etc, but also, KISS (keep it simple, stupid), and everything is “situation dependent.”
Day 2: Things started to get more involved on Day 2. We started with a squad attack on some bunkers while practicing patrolling tactics (spacing, quite, herringbone, etc). After lunch, the tactical portion of things began. This involved setting up patrol base (MVT Shields for those that had them) and a bit of rest prior to planning for the night adventure and the night mission itself. Next was planning, then the actual night mission (think recce patrol, leave no evidence of your having been there). Mission debrief/AAR, then finished up with light sleep if possible, combined with sentry rotation.
Day 3: Wake early, stand-to, and get the day going…more fun things on the day, including ambush/RAID, then a final debrief, request for input, etc.
Having been once (CRCD, now CTT) before, I know Max’s style of teaching – to the point, then crawl, walk, run. It was more of this type of training…there was some apprehension as to being thrown into the dark without proper info, but that was without warrant. Everything was briefed, explained, rehearsed before execution. Max is an excellent trainer/instructor – he (almost) never makes you feel like a dumbass, even when you do dumbass things. C
hris was a new addition from my last visit, but as assumed, if Max chose him, he is GTG. He brings yet another huge knowledge-base of experience from the US/Ranger side of things. He too is a wealth of knowledge and always willing to share info and provide positive feedback on how to improve (vs. negative feedback). Both guys are excellent and will not even try to smoke you even if you are lagging in the rear of the column (inside joke).
– Make sure you are in shape. The hills of WV are unforgiving. By my own thickheadedness and/or desire to push myself or maintain something close to realism, I wore plates, a chest rig and battle belt for all evolutions. By day three, I was feeling all of it, despite training at home regularly with a similar setup.
– Make sure you are in shape.
– Make sure you are in shape. This is not JUST for the class, but as a mindset and a way of life. Maintain the ability to grab your stuff and hit the road if necessary.
– Make sure you know how to run your gear, where everything is, and have some muscle memory so you can get to it in the dark if you need to.
– LISTEN and follow instructions. There are reasons for everything you are told.
– There are NO absolutes, but basics and concepts. Apply what is taught at the concept level based on the terrain, personnel, and situation. DON’T try to mimic or mirror what was drawn on the board and the exact spacing of people, position of people. Take the concepts and apply to the situation. This did not really hit me until about 15 minutes before leaving the training area.
– Everyone at the training, including the instructors, are like-minded patriots. I never felt unsafe, uneasy, or concerned in any way. In fact, I felt like, for once, not one of the few people “in the room” concerned about the future of our country! Safety was clearly a top priority as was making sure everyone understood the concepts and was able to execute what was requested.
– If you are on the fence about it, don’t hesitate to sign up!