31 July 2012

Tricks of the Trade, Part Two

(A couple extra rifle/carbine tips crossed my mind last night, after I submitted this article, that were not covered in the original document, or the 1980s-era update from 7th SFG(A) (more on that to follow). So, I'll add them now as a short parenthetical statement. --J.M.)

Rifle/Carbine Tips, cont'd

  1. Forget about shooting center-of-mass on a standard silhouette and for CQB. Yes, you should still shoot for the center of the largest piece of a concealed enemy that shows, but if you can see the torso, aim for the hips and the head. Bad guys (of all persuasions) wear body armor and rifle plates. A hip shot, contrary to what some instructors were once teaching, is not a fight-ender. A few rounds to the hips WILL put a dude on his ass however, severely limiting his mobility. This makes it MUCH easier to make head shots that will end the fight, right-the-fuck-now. "Hips and heads, kids. Hips and heads." Instructors that are not teaching this need to re-think their paradigms.
  2. Paint your fucking weapons! Black items stick out in pretty much every single operational environment I've ever experienced. It's not a financial investment. If it is, you're reading the wrong fucking blog and have your head in the sand. It's a fighting tool designed to help you kill bad people more efficiently (as a retired LEO said to me recently, "God created guns, because we suck at throwing bullets!"). So, let it help you kill them more efficiently by reducing the chances that it will be the thing that gets you killed. You can Dura-Coat it, or whatever. It really doesn't matter. I use Krylon. It costs a whopping $4-5 at China-Mart, and I generally use most of two cans to completely paint a rifle (I use a base coat of tan, with highlights of green, since I live in the high-desert. If I lived in a more densely forested region, I'd probably reverse that....maybe).
  3. Practice shooting while you are moving. This is an issue subject to a lot of disagreement amongst seriously professional and extremely experienced gunfighters. My take is: Inside of twenty meters with a rifle, and inside ten meters with a handgun, it is possible to get solid, well-placed aimed shots to the vital targeting areas of a moving hostile (I can make solid hits at 100+meters while moving, on a stationary, so....). If you're that close to a guy who is shooting at you, and not solidly behind cover, you BETTER be fucking moving! Past that, pause for the half-step moment it takes to plant a solid hit on the dude, then keep on moving. In the meantime though, master the ability to make solid hits to the vitals ("Hips and heads, kids! Hips and heads!"), while you are sprinting from cover to cover.
  4. In the comments on the previous article, someone asked me my thoughts on the AR platform versus the AK, since I've never hidden my preference for the AR-15/M4 family. It takes more than a paragraph to completely describe my thoughts on that, so I'll save it for a follow-on article.

Patrolling Operational Tips
(Regardless of what your SHTF scenario predictions are, the need to conduct patrolling operations, from retreat defense security reconnaissance patrols, to raiding and ambush combat patrols, will be a necessity. Thinking otherwise is foolish.)

  1. When conducting any type of foot-borne patrol, always identify and communicate to all patrol members, suitable en-route rally points. In the event the patrol is scattered, due to enemy action or simple bad luck (losing contact with the guy in front of you on a night patrol sucks), these provide a way for the members of the patrol to re-establish physical contact and continue the mission or return to friendly secured areas.
  2. Minimize the amount of map you carry by cutting off the un-necessary portions outside of your patrol zone, but don't get too carried away with it. Leave a couple of grid squares around the edges of your AOR as "running room" in case you need to move outside the boundaries of your patrol zone to escape a contact without drawing the enemy straight back to the house (Yes, we should all know every square foot of the ground around our area. Realistically though, most of us have jobs, families, and other responsibilities that preclude being able to spend adequate time learning the country as well as we would like. Then there's that old inconvenience of private property belonging to others who dislike you trespassing on it...Carry the fucking maps.)
  3. Base the amount of water carried per man on the environment. A guy in hot weather in the mountains needs more than a guy in temperate forest in the upper midwest in the autumn. A guy moving through the jungle-like wetlands of the Deep South will need more than a dude moving through the moderate farmlands of New England. Plan water re-supply points into your patrol planning. Carrying some method of water purification for day two and onward is a lot less inhibiting than carrying enough water to last a six-day patrol.
  4. Inspect patrol member's pockets as part of pre-combat inspections, to ensure no one is carrying anything that would lead a hostile force back to the house. If you get over-run, let's not make it easy for the bad guys to find out where you came from, so they can go "visit" your wife and daughters. If you are conducting vehicle-based patrol operations, strip the rig before you start running missions in it. Pull the registration, insurance, bills-of-sale, titles, and anything else that will provide even a slightly astute hostile the information to ruin your family's life.
  5. Carry a notebook and pencils, in a pocket, in a waterproof container. I don't care how cool you are with your IPad-thingy-ma-bobby, write it down in pencil too. Batteries die. Write shit down! You will forget, by day four, important details you observed on day two. Write it down, so it can get disseminated through intel networks to other friendly force elements. Use pencils instead of pens. Ink will smear and run when wet. Graphite? Not so much.
  6. Ensure that your team medic carries cough medicine and anti-histamines in the aid bag. Don't die because you couldn't stop coughing, or had to sneeze from hay fever.
  7. Keep a basic SERE kit in your pockets, separate from your first-line fighting load-out. It doesn't need to be a "kit" per se, but have a fire-starter method, some 550 cord for shelter construction, a flashlight, a knife, and some way to purify and carry water if you end up having to ditch everything in an evasion scenario (I walk around with a SERE kit in my pockets even now. If I ever have to get home without the use of the roads, I want to be healthy and able to protect my family when I do arrive. Use dummy cord to retain your critical survival gear.
  8. While the introduction of the MOLLE system has made it realistic for guys to carry every piece of gear where it suits them best, on an individual level, some items should have SOP positions on your load-bearing equipment, in your pockets, etc. Everyone on a patrol should have at least one tourniquet in the same place (I try and standardize people having one tourniquet externally attached to the war belt, and one 100-mph taped to the stock of the rifle), maps should all be carried in the same place, and any signals operating instructions (SOI) should be carried in the same place by all personnel that are carrying them. This will allow any other member of the team to get at them in a hurry, if the original carrier is dead and the element is about to be overrun.
  9. Don't smoke in the field, even during daylight. Tobacco smoke is easily identifiable, and can be smelled from much further than you would realize. Further, even when not smoking, smokers (ask any non-smoker) emit a very distinct, easily recognizable odor. Really, you shouldn't use smokeless tobacco in the field either (I chew Copenhagen snuff, FYI. Want an easy way to make me like you right off the bat? Show up at a class and hand me a roll of Copenhagen snuff....), since a well-trained and experienced tracker will use your spit stains on foliage and rocks as tracking spoor.
  10. Keep your signal mirror and patrol whistle where they can be utilized for combat communications, on the first-line fighting load. Dummy cord them (have I beat the deceased equine adequately yet?) so you don't lose them.
  11. Everyone carries a high-end SureFire or other high-output combat light, but everyone should keep a low-powered, colored lens flashlight and/or headlamp on their kit too. There will be times where a light is necessary, and spotlighting with a 200 lumen SF light is a great target indicator for hostiles (incidentally, medics need white lights instead of red or blue lens lights. Know why?).
  12. When you are on a patrol, move like you are still hunting, because you are. Stop moving and look and listen more than you move. Don't be predictable though. Instead of "walk fifty meters, stop for twenty seconds, walk for fifty meters, stop for twenty seconds," break it up randomly.
  13. Do NOT break limbs or branches on trees and bushes. Don't go bulling through brush either. Gently move foliage out of your way with your hand, step past, and replace it. Reduce the amount of spoor you create to help frustrate tracking teams.
  14. Move at night and in the early morning hours. Hole up in the daylight, but be cautious about moving at night, since NVGs are cheap and common. Even POS kiddie toy NVGs you can buy at Wal-Mart for $50 will allow a bad guy to see you before you see him if you are not using NVGs (and those really are pieces of shit. Imagine how effective a $10,000 pair of AN/PVS-23s are...).
  15. Use terrain association more than your compass when possible. Have a point man and a compass man as two separate individuals. When you have to shoot an azimuth and run it, change direction frequently, to avoid setting up an enemy ambush for yourself.
  16. Never ditch your LBE in the field, day or night, unless it's to move faster or more silently (ditching a plate carrier in the ORP so you can move more quietly during a clandestine infiltration is viable and realistic. Ditching it to run faster to evade capture is VERY realistic). If you need to put on snivel gear, have no more than 25% of your patrol changing at any given time. Do NOT wear snivel gear when moving under a load. You WILL overheat. If the patrol leader tells you to ditch your snivel gear, do so. He's probably got a better idea of the physical demands of the coming tasks than you do, no matter how well read in you are.
  17. If you have to change socks (and you should, frequently), try and wait until you are in a hide site, and NEVER take off both boots at the same time. No more than 25% of the patrol should be taking care of these needs at a time, and they should never have more than one boot off.
  18. Wear gloves. Cheap mechanics' gloves from Home Depot can be sufficient, and are inexpensive, but consider investing in Nomex flame-retardent gloves, especially if you are performing vehicle-based operations at all. Pulling an injured team member out of a burning vehicle with normal synthetic gloves on is a surefire way to ensure there are two combat-ineffective casualties for the patrol to deal with.
  19. Do not discard your batteries on patrol. Keep them with you and re-charge or dispose of them in the "rear" in a secured location. It's all about the spoor leavings.
  20. Avoid overconfidence, apathy, and laziness. Just because you haven't seen any sign of hostiles in 3-4 days of patrolling doesn't mean he's not there. He may be watching you walk into his ambush kill zone at any time. Maintain good tactical movement and security. A large percentage of small-unit patrols historically have been compromised due to a lack of proper noise discipline.
  21. Camouflage your face and exposed skin at any breaks during rural/wilderness patrols.
  22. When you stop to occupy a temporary patrol base, even for just twenty or thirty minutes, perform a security check for 50-100 meters all around the perimeter, METT-TC dependent (in much of the west, this may be necessary for out to 1000 meters or more).
  23. Avoid cooking as much as possible on small-unit patrols. In the case of a serious weather event, such as a blizzard or torrential rains, it may be possible (or even necessary if you have cold-weather casualties), to get away with it, but cookfire smoke and the odors from cooking food travel a long way and will lead the bad guys right to you.
  24. Whether you are operating at night or during daylight, urban or rural/wilderness, every man is responsible for maintaining visual and communications contact with the man to his front and rear, and ensuring that he can receive hand-and-arm signals from the patrol leader. Watch your sector of responsibility, but watch your patrol leader just as much. He should not need to wave frantically and hiss at you to get your attention. WAKE THE FUCK UP AND PAY ATTENTION!!!!
  25. Unless it is pissing rain, do not urinate on rocks, leaves, or bare dirt. Rather, dig a small hole, or look for a crevice. Wet spots, or dried up wet spots are easily identifiable, even for non-tracker personnel, and the stench of your piss travels farther if its out in the open.
  26. Master your "cross a linear danger area" battle drill! Hell, it bears repeating: Master ALL your battle drills!
  27. Don't overburden yourself with extra clothes in your ruck on patrols. One dry pair of clothes to sleep in, and two spare pairs of socks is adequate.
  28. When halting for short rest periods, do not ditch your ruck. Do the rucksack flop. Sit back and lean against the ruck, unless you are getting in the prone. Don't toss your trash on the ground. Shove it in your pocket to dispose of properly later. When moving into a RON site or ORP/MSS (Mission Support Site), don't ditch your ruck until a security sweep has been completed.
  29. While on patrol, if you hear someone speaking, try and slip close enough to understand what they are saying. Take notes as soon as it is safe to do so. The reasoning should be obvious.
  30. When conducting surveillance missions, establish your ORP/MSS a MINIMUM of one terrain feature away from the OBJ (a fucking irrigation ditch is not a god-damned terrain feature people. Hills, mountains, cliffs, and valleys are terrain features!), and let your R&S buddy teams move to the actual observation points from there. While entire six-man teams have managed to avoid enemy detection despite being within 20 meters, in flat, middle eastern deserts, two guys, ghillied up, are a lot easier to hide from roving security patrols than a full-on hide site with four or more guys, rucksacks, and everything else.
  31. Switch out your R&S teams as frequently as feasible, IAW METT-TC constraints. Sitting in a hide and looking through a spotting scope or field glasses is far more exhausting than the inexperienced would surmise. An exhausted observer will miss critical details.
    While on patrol, never take the obvious course of action, and don't set a pattern in your actions, such as always turning left when button-hooking back to lay a hasty ambush on your own back trail.
  32. A dead hostile's pocket contents and pack/load-bearing equipment will typically be as valuable, or more so, than his rifle. Unless the dude is packing an M-320 (grenade launcher currently replacing the M203), or a fucking Carl Gustav, don't worry about his weapon until you've got all his other gear disposed of/dispersed for recovery.

Patrol Base Tips

  1. Practice proper patrol base procedures whenever your team is training, even if you are just on the rifle range. Take advantage of all training opportunities to build good habits.
  2. Select a tentative patrol base site, from a map reconnaissance, at least two hours before you need to move into it.
  3. Never move straight into a patrol base. Move past it, then button-hook out and back into the patrol base site from the off-side. Any pursuit/tracker forces will be forced to move past the patrol base, allowing you the opportunity to notice them before they're crawling in your ass.
  4. Upon moving into a patrol base, the team should keep their equipment on and remain alert until a security sweep has been done and then should maintain 100% security for at least another 30 minutes, before going into patrol base activities, such as weapons maintenance, chow, or personal hygiene.
  5. When moving a small-unit UW element into a patrol base, place the designated "point man" on the side directly away from the enemy's most likely avenue of approach. This will allow him to lead the movement out of the patrol base if it is necessary to move out in a hurry.
  6. Never transmit from a patrol base via radio. If you feel it necessary to relay to others where your location is, transmit while en route, and simply tell them you will RON 1000 meters to the north/south/east/etc, of a known landmark in the area that will not be recognizable to the enemy by that name.
  7. If you do have to transmit via radio from your patrol base, ensure that you are moving the fuck out, no less than 60 seconds later, to avoid being targeted due to RDF threats.
  8. The patrol leader should, as part of his patrol base activities, personally check on every man in the element. At that time, he should specify the primary and alternate rally points in case of a contact while in the patrol base. One half of the team should have their compasses set on the primary rally point and other half on the alternate. If the enemy comes from the direction of the primary rally point, the element with with his azimuth set to the alternate rally point can lead the way out of the patrol base.
  9. Ensure that ranger buddies are next to each other in the patrol base. In the event one is wounded, his buddy should be responsible for ensuring that he is evacuated with the patrol if it is necessary to exfil the patrol base in a hurry.
  10. Your ruck should be stashed with the shoulder straps "up" so it can be slipped on in a hurry. It is permissible to sleep with the plate carrier or chest harness off, but at a minimum, the first-line gear should remain on. If all else fails, and the patrol base is being overrun before the shooter has time to kit up, at least he will have a fighting load on his person to continue killing the enemy.
  11. If a person coughs or talks in his sleep, gag him. Seriously...
  12. Don't bunch up, or sleep next to each other, but remain close enough that you can touch the other guy's shoulder without moving your body. This will facilitate communications within the patrol base.
  13. If you are conducting vehicle-borne patrolling, the same basic fundamentals apply. Don't sleep inside the vehicles, or under them. Move away from them a few meters. If the enemy hits the convoy in an attack, the vehicles will be the primary target. Leave a security team on the vehicles, but sleep away from them to avoid getting caught by the anti-vehicle weapons of the enemy.
  14. Develop your plan for the next operational phase before you rack out. Communicate it to key leaders, so they have time to develop their part of the plan.
  15. If you develop the ability to procure/manufacture early warning devices, such as tripwire-activated flares, they should be placed one at a time around the patrol base perimeter, by a two-man buddy team. One sets the device, while his buddy pulls security. Always emplace such devices where the patrol will be able to maintain visual contact with it. It doesn't do you much good to have a tripwire-activated flare if you can't shoot the dude who just walked into it.
  16. In the absence of fragmentation grenades, CS or other noxious gas grenades are your friend in patrol base security. If the team discovers an enemy patrol moving in on them, the enemy will normally be in a skirmish line type movement formation, since they don't know the exact position of the team (see FM 7-8 for the battle drill "React-to-Contact"). If pre-designated members of the patrol can lob CS grenades in the direction of the enemy, when the gas disperses, the team can withdraw. If the enemy does not have protective masks, he will tend to move away and fire his weapon blindly in a "recon by fire." If he does have a mask and puts it on, his field of vision is severely curtailed. In either case, his OODA loop is interrupted, confusion has been sown, and the team has a better than even chance of escaping.
  17. If you are in a patrol base overnight, stand-to should occur for at least 30 minutes before first light, and another security patrol should be made before early warning devices are recovered or the entire team withdraws from the patrol base.
  18. The assistant patrol leader should be the last man out of the patrol base and must make a thorough check of the site to ensure that no equipment or trash is left behind. The reason for not leaving equipment behind is obvious, but even innocuous trash like a candy bar wrapper can be of intelligence value to hostiles (let's argue that you're doing a post-SHTF security patrol and you negligently leave a Snickers bar wrapper in the patrol base. Along come some hungry, angry, armed Hells Angels types....Now they've got solid information that you have something of value--food--to make it worth their while to track you down and take your shit).
  19. Do not fall into the development of habits. Be unpredictable. Always moving into your RON site at 1945, always taking a noon break at 1230, or always moving out of the patrol base at 0600 is setting yourself up to be ambushed. Don't be stupid.

In 1988, following a lengthy series of jungle-based operations, 1/7th SFG(A) developed and wrote an update of the 1970 B-52 tips. These were entitled the B-720 Tips, and did not include some of the subjects that the B-52 Tips did, which had, by then, become doctrinal methods (such as PW snatches, and movement techniques when patrolling).

Most of all, the update was intended, like my own feeble attempt, to bring the old tips into accordance with then-current technology advances. I am including some of the relevant portions of that document (with a hale and hearty tip of the beret to Lizard Farmer for sending me a link to the B-720 tips. I had heard of them, but don't recall ever seeing an actual hard copy. It was interesting to see things as "tips" that were basically doctrine by the time I entered the SOF world), with update comments, like above, that differ from the original B-52 Tips.

Uniform/Clothing Tips

  1. When conducting rural/wilderness operations/patrolling, wear camouflage utilities, or at least different colored clothing. When wet, solid colored dark clothing, such as olive green utilities (OG-107s) will appear solid black when viewed through NVGs. Camouflage patterns, while dark, will still disrupt your silhouette.
  2. Tuck your shirt into your trousers. You can't use the lower pockets on a BDU-type blouse with LBE on anyway, and with the top tucked in, you can throw spent mags down the front of your shirt rather than fucking around with a "dump pouch" (this was doctrine at both the Ranger Regiment and Group by the time I arrived at those units. It is interesting to see that the Army finally figured the whole lower pocket thing out with the development of the ACU-pattern uniform. Too bad they fucked up the camouflage part).
  3. While luminous tape ("cat eyes") have a valid function, they glow like a fucking flashlight through NVGs, so don't become reliant on them in a world where the enemy may have even better NVGs than you do, unless you are using them specifically to allow overwatch elements to identify friend versus foe, and then be very judiscious.
  4. Sew a section of VS-17 signal panel into the inside of your patrol hat/boonie/baseball cap. While you probably won't be using it to signal recovery air assets, it can be used for visual signaling purposes between patrol elements. Sewing a small square of IR "glint tape" in the center of it can facilitate intra-patrol signaling at night, with NVGs on.
  5. If you use a solid colored rucksack (ALICE pack, some of the newer MOLLE-compatible rucks in Coyote or Ranger Green, etc), break up the silhouette of the pack with some judiciously applied Krylon (for participants in classes, has anyone ever noticed that my coyote brown warbelt and plate carrier has large swathes of dark green spraypaint applied?). Obviously, this won't necessarily apply to a covert infiltration pack, such as a civilian day pack, used in urban areas.

NVG Tips

(NVGs, or to use the older term with which I am far more comfortable, NODs, are a force multiplier of equal or greater value than two or three extra riflemen, when used properly. If you have six rifles of your own, but no NODs, you're fucking yourself and your team. Remedy the situation.)

  1. Don't try and wear your NODs 100% of the time when it's dark out. US forces have come to depend too much on their NODs, leading to over-reliance. NODs result in horrid tunnel vision, and as humans we are more comfortable relying on our sense of sight than our other senses. People tend to ignore what their other senses are telling them, if the image in their NODs doesn't say the same thing. Hiding from NODs is actually easier than hiding from naked vision in daylight, since it's monochrome.
  2. People ask me in classes a lot, what I think of the importance of helmets in UW. I think they are necessary in three situations: 1) combat in built-up areas (I've seen guys get knocked flat the fuck out when they ran headfirst into a door jam they didn't see), 2) performing mountaineering operations (I've caught more than one dislodged stone on my brain bucket when a climber above me kicked loose rocks. Without a helmet on, in several cases, I would have been dead, rather than just suffering from a bitch of a headache), and 3) when you're going to be wearing NODs a lot. The old "skullcrusher" NOD mounts sucked, and got their nickname for a reason. It's far more comfortable (which means you'll use them more), to mount them on a well-engineered helmet. Either mount your NODs on a helmet mount (Protec makes relatively inexpensive, non-ballistic helmets specifically tailored for tactical use), or keep them in a easily accessible pouch on the front of your LBE where you can get at them easily and frequently (either way, fucking dummy cord those expensive cocksuckers. How pissed off would your wife be if you told her you lost a $3000-10,000 piece of critical gear because you were too fucking stupid to bother tying it off with a $0.05 piece of cord?).
  3. Use your NODs to observe when you are in the overwatch position of a team bounding overwatch movement. When you are actually bounding, flip the NODs up out of the way, or stash them in the pouch, and rely on your night vision and other senses. When you finish your bound and move into a position to overwatch the other element, use your NODs to make visual contact with the opposite team leader and signal him that you are in position and he can begin his bound.
  4. Only every other man (or even just the team leaders) should use their NODs when moving. The buddy team member running NODs and/or the team leader, should be running tracer and ball alternating in his magazines, to identify where the non-NOD equipped shooter should direct his fires (Why, yes, Jeeves, tracers do work both ways! No one is suggesting you sit on one fucking spot and engage the enemy with a stream of tracers, you fucking ninny. Shoot a short burst to get your buddy or subordinates bringing hate on that spot, while you move one way or the other and acquire a new target to light up and identify. Is it really that hard to figure out?).
  5. NODs and Thermal Imaging Sights function differently, in different light spectrums, but they can complement each other well. If most of your team/element/crew/group has PVS-7s or -14s, consider investing in a thermal sight instead to complement them on operations (again, we're not getting into the application or counters to thermal imaging sights on an open blog on the internet. Get the fuck over it or quit reading).
  6. Do not mount your PVS-14 on your weapon unless you're in a sniper-specific duty position. It will be far more useful on your fucking face. Instead, invest a few hundred bucks on an IR aiming laser device like the DBAL. Don't just turn the IR laser and keep it on though. Instead, use it just like a white light device. Acquire a shooting position, with the weapon pointed at the enemy, flash the laser long enough to shoot the bad guy, turn the laser back off, and MOVE (see the above parenthetical comment about tracers. Lasers ARE tracers to NODs!).

Hopefully some of you will put these tips into practice in your regular individual and collective tasks training with your crews. You are actually training, right?

Nous Defions!
John Mosby
Still in the mountains.

Tricks of the Trade

(During the Vietnam War, among many other responsibilities in the SEA AOR, SF fulfilled a core mission, providing leadership cadre for indigenous ranger-type units referred to as "Mike" Forces. The project under which this was conducted was Project Delta, or B-52 (any errors in my recounting of that two sentence history are the result of OPSEC. They have nothing to do with my ongoing battle with CRS syndrome..."Can't Remember Shit"). One of the lasting legacies of Project Delta was the production of the now-famous Recon Tips of the Trade. This ongoing article series will be my feeble attempt at updating them, with modifications for irregular force partisans in a non-SEA AOR....--J.M.)

The mini-manual known as "Recon Tips of the Trade" was developed by SFOD-B 52, 5th SFG(A), with assistance of the MACV Recondo school.

General Tips of the Trade

  1. While conducting operations, minimize fatigue. A tired shooter is a careless shooter. Sleep deprivation is a well-known and common training tool in special operations, specifically because it creates extreme stress in individuals. Contrary to popular opinion, you can become accustomed to sleep deprivation, but not inured to it. On operations, it will be necessary at times, to set aside sleep in the interest of mission essential tasks and operational necessity, but this should be minimized. Considering the considerable disadvantage individual groups will face in dealing with large numbers of potentially well-equipped hostile forces, maintaining the mental equilibrium of individual shooters and leaders should be a critical element of planning and logistics. Don't skimp on sleep gear and dry clothes in an attempt to "be hard." There's a fine line between hard and stupid.
  2. Always, always, ALWAYS possess and display confidence in front of your people. If you are confident, they will feed off that confidence. False bravado is not the same thing as confidence. Confidence in the tactical arena only comes through realistic, effective training. You can't fake it. Train.
  3. Never lose your temper in the field. Not with your own personnel, not with the enemy, and certainly not with life. A temper tantrum, or rage, will have a deleterious effect on your judgment and lead to rash decisions. Plan for contingencies, and keep them in mind when shit seems to be going wrong. Don't be afraid to take solid advice from subordinates. It does NOT make you less competent.
  4. Team work is the crucial element in tactical success. It only comes through constant practice and training. You MUST practice your collective training tasks and battle drills as an element. "Chalk talks" and walk-through rehearsals have their place, but should never replace realistic field-training (including live-fire iterations!)
  5. All other considerations aside, a good PT program will lead to less health issues arising in the field. A healthy, athletic body, under combat stress WILL end up sick. An unhealthy, unathletic body, under combat stress will not have a fully functioning immune system to help resist those illnesses. Historically, illness and disease has killed and otherwise made combat-ineffective, legions more warfighters than enemy fire has.
  6. Hydration is critical, but do not overlook the replacement of electrolytes in the system. Today, under normal circumstances, the average American diet contains FAR more than enough salt and electrolytes, without supplementation. Field rations, under austere, combat conditions will require supplementation.
  7. Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing, suitable to the environment, for field operations. This does not necessarily mean the latest cool-guy ACUs in multi-cam. It does mean clothing specific to outdoor athletic activities (I've gone to the field in Levi's. I don't recommend it), whether mil-spec or outdoor sports such as mountaineering or backpacking (that having been said, if you show up to a class in climbing tights, expect me to laugh at you). Tight-fitting clothes will restrict movement, and more often than not, tear at inopportune times, in inopportune places.
  8. Develop a system of pre-mission checklists to facilitate your pre-combat inspections, in order to ensure that no patrol member is forgetting anything. Whether built around a team SOP (a good idea), or specifically developed for a given operation, this will help alleviate showing up at a breach point on a structure and going, "Who the fuck left the breaching shotgun at home?"
  9. If you need to criticize a member of your team/element/unit/crew, use tact and common courtesy when doing so. Take the man aside and do it in private (especially if he has ANY leadership authority), in order to allow him to save face and thus react positively to the criticism.
  10. Regardless of what type of radio communications devices you utilize (FRS/GMRS/Marine Band/HAM/etc), pre-set frequencies so that you can change channels in the dark, on the run.

Rifle/Carbine Specific Tips

  1. Tape or otherwise cover the muzzle of your weapon in rural/wilderness environments, to keep out water, dirt, and other debris. Condoms are, of course, a popular mainstay for this, and there are plastic caps available for AR-15 platform muzzle devices (I've always used 100-mph tape, and never had a problem. --J.M.). You can shoot through the cover when needed, with no deleterious effects on combat accuracy.
  2. If you are the only guy in your element running NODs, alternate tracer and ball ammunition in your magazines (I run a 4:1 ratio of ball:tracer. --J.M.). This will allow you to identify targets for your technologically-impaired compatriots to focus their firing on (I never bother with the whole "last three rounds are tracer" concept, because when I did, I never noticed I was dumping tracers before I hit bolt-lock anyway --J.M.).
  3. Sleep with your weapon locked and loaded, safety engaged, in case you are awakened by hostile fire and need to engage bad guys, right-the-fuck-now! In the morning, if you haven't fire it, always replace the round in the chamber (quietly, if it needs to be said...). Condensation in the chamber, combined with powder residue CAN lead to stuck cases. Further, if you are dumb enough or cheap enough to run a non-chrome-lined barrel, this will lead to a pitted chamber that will result in you dying with a fucking cleaning rod jammed down the barrel of your weapon. Even with non-corrosive powder (in plain English, get a fucking chrome-lined weapon!)
  4. Lube your weapon thoroughly, every day in the field. A wet weapon is a happy weapon (they're like women that way). A dry weapon WILL fucking choke (as I point out in classes, if I could dump a gallon of lube in my weapon and get it to stay in place, I would. You cannot, in my experience, use too much lube, especially on the AR platform). Carry a bottle of lube on your fighting load-out. The choice of lube doesn't matter in the long run. (Yes, CLP sucks. We all know it. Yet, I used CLP exclusively for almost 20 years and have NEVER had a problem, because I oil the ever-loving-shit out of them. I currently run Mil-Tech, and have heard nothing but good about Frog-Lube).
  5. Keep your fucking safety selector switch on "safe" unless you're killing someone. It will NOT make you any faster to have it already on "fire," but you WILL end up shooting your buddy, or dumping a round in the dirt on a patrol, leading to a compromise and the whole fucking element getting killed. A negligent discharge is ground for dismissal from the Ranger Regiment. I firmly believe a negligent discharge in the field should be a fucking hanging offense.
  6. Slings are to rifles what holsters are to pistols, but don't treat your sling like some sort of irreplaceable sensitive item. Outside of vehicle-based operations and MOUT, most of the time, you ought not have the fucking thing slung anyway. An M4 weighs less than seven pounds, until you start adding shit to it. If you can't carry that, all day, without a sling, do more PT.
  7. Keep your weapon as slick as possible. A light is a necessity. An optic is not a necessity, but is useful enough it ought to be considered one for most applications. A sling is generally a necessity. If you are running NODs, an IR laser is a necessity. Nothing else is a necessity. Run your gun slick (I run a vertical fore-grip much of the time, but seldom use it for anything beyond a reference point when I grab the gun. --J.M.)
  8. Your first magazine change should be a speed-reload. Do not worry about retaining or retrieval until after the fight is over. Focus on getting rounds downrange to occupy the enemy and disrupt his OODA loop. Other than that, the only time a speed reload is necessitated in a gunfight is a) when you are providing suppressive fire to protect a buddy who is still exposed to enemy fire when your rifle runs dry, or b) shooting while moving from one position of cover to the next and your weapon runs dry. B) should seldom occur, because you should be conducting reloads-with-retention while in a covered/concealed position if you know or believe you are close to running dry.
  9. Inspect and test all magazines before conducting an operation. Ensure they feed properly and inspect for bent/damaged feed lips, weak springs, etc. Mark every magazine you own and if one fails to perform in training or inspection, throw the motherfucker away. DO NOT PUT IT UP FOR SALE ON TOP OF YOUR GUNSHOW TABLE. If you do, you're a fucking scumbag, and I hope you die a slow, painful death that involves anal rape with a sharpened implement, you fucking douchebag.
  10. Never assume your weapon is clean enough on an operation. While an IG-level cleaning may lead to premature wear on some parts (still open for debate in my mind), at a minimum, wipe down the bolt-carrier group, and run a patch down the barrel.
  11. It should be self-evident, but place your magazines in the mag pouch with the feed lips pointed down, to prevent loose rounds from falling out on the ground.
  12. These rules apply, regardless of what type of weapon you carry. We all "know" AKs are impervious to abuse, can be run over by a fucking Abrams tank and still function flawlessly (I think I just threw up in my mouth a little...), but humor the Gods of War, and maintain them any-fucking-way.

Load-Bearing Equipment Tips
(My preference for modern, MOLLE/PALS-based LBE is no secret. This version of the "Tips" will focus on that system. --J.M.)
  1. Be certain that all velcro closures are closed before leaving the patrol base. Ensure all fastex buckles are snapped. Let's be real. Velcro is far from a perfect method of closure for gear that needs to be silent. However, it beats the living shit out of the old snaps that always seemed to quit staying closed about the time you exited a MC-130 at 800' AGL, at 0330, over some god-awful DZ, and then refused to work again until you went to DX the item at CIF. If you can't figure out how to be quiet while using velcro in the field, have a seamstress of equipment manufacturer replace all your velcro with fastex buckles somehow.
  2. Make sure you can get your magazines out, in a hurry. If you can't, either replace your mag pouches with something more user-friendly, modify them by cutting the edge down, or (most importantly) fucking train more.
  3. Tie off EVERYTHING attached to your LBE. Snaps fail. I've yet to have any of my MOLLE gear fall off in the field, but I've seen it happen. Forgo the expense and inconvenience, and tie everything off with an end-of-the-line bowline knot of 550 cord (honestly? This SOP used to annoy the shit out of me as a private. Everything had to be tied off, in accordance with the RSOP at Regiment. Then I lost some equipment that I hadn't tied off properly, and paid for it. Fuck that. Tie your shit off. I've NEVER lost a piece of equipment that was tied off properly).
  4. Always carry some type of knife on patrols. Quit worrying about what a bad-ass man-killing piece of weaponry it is, and focus on a functional field tool. It's one hell of a lot easier to kill a guy with a goddamned Swiss Army knife than it is to cut aiming stakes at 0200 with a fucking Gerber MKII dagger (ask me how I know...). Too many guys focus on edged weapons instead of cutting tools (seriously, I started out carrying a Gerber MKII as a private at Regiment. Then I went to an Ek Commando dagger. Then I went to a Ka-Bar for a LONG time. Then I went to a push-dagger. Finally, I figured out a small, 4-5 inch blade knife was more than adequate for a combat-utility knife. I currently run a RAT-3 on my warbelt, and a Benchmade folder in my pocket. If I need a bigger knife, such as in the rain forests of the PNW, I toss a Cold Steel kukri on my ruck).
  5. (A lot of guys ask me about machetes and hatchets and tomahawks. Here's my two cents: machetes are great in the jungle. That makes sense, they were designed for that environment. Hatchets generally suck. If I need a hatchet, I probably really need an axe, which is far too large to carry on my ruck. I have carried a tomahawk, and still have a soft spot in my heart for them. It's the whole Roger's Rangers thing. If a guy in my crew showed up to train with a 'hawk on his LBE, I'd ask him what it was for. "Bushcraft" would be an acceptable answer. "Breaching" would be a semi-acceptable answer, since I prefer other tools for breaching. "Killing the enemy" would get his ass kicked. "Bushcraft/Breaching with killing the enemy as a secondary purpose" would get him a snicker and a pat on the head for being a motivated little guerrilla. I recognize that a lot of "bushcraft" experts badmouth the tomahawk for field chores. I greatly prefer it over a hatchet though).
  6. Keep some sort of "pogey-bait" in your pockets as emergency SERE rations. Even a couple of bouillon cubes, dissolved in some water, will provide a motivated evader energy for a day or two. A couple of MRE entrees, taped together in a cargo pocket will provide a much better caloric boost, with marginal weight, while reducing the amount of effort you will need to expend gathering food when you should be running.
  7. As much as we want grenades, and as useful as they are, most of us are not going to have them, at least initially, with the possible exception of smoke grenades. Smoke grenades should be carried in your ruck, rather than on your LBE. You don't fight with smokes, and 99% of the time, if you need one, you will have time to get it out of your ruck.
  8. Every member of a patrol should carry at least one ground signaling flare, if you cannot access or manufacture thermite grenades. These will burn hot enough to allow you to functionally destroy equipment that you cannot remove from the battlefield, whether the enemy's or your own. While battlefield recovery should always be your first option, when it's not possible, at least try to fuck the enemy by not letting them use it.
  9. If you are going to carry a patrol radio, besides a small FRS/GMRS type walkie-talkie, sew or have sewn, an antennae pocket on the outside of your ruck to allow easy access to the long-whip antenna.
  10. Bug dope leaks and spills easily, and the good stuff will flat destroy any synthetics. Separate it from all other gear in your ruck, wrap it in its own plastic bags, and check it daily.
  11. In most environments, including alpine winter environments, a poncho, poncho liner, and casualty blanket, with some long underwear and maybe a fleece jacket, will be sufficient for sleeping comfortably. In deep snow, you always have the option of a snow trench or cave if necessary, to hold more body heat.
  12. Keep field glasses, cameras (for surveillance and reconnaissance operations), and other mission-essential items, in external pouches or pockets on your ruck, as possible, to facilitate easy access without having to dump your whole fucking ruck in the ORP (objective rally point).
  13. Always use the water from the Camelback on your ruck before using the water on your LBE. This ensures you will still have water if you have to dump your ruck and run.
  14. Check and double-check the shoulder straps on your ruck before a mission. Carry extra 550 cord on patrols (you should anyway) to facilitate repairs if they break (as cool as it is to carry your daypack over one shoulder around town, in the field, with a 40-80lb ruck, it gets old in about two steps).
  15. Use a waterproof bag (I still use the USGI version, but whitewater rafting wetbags are good too) to protect the items in your ruck on patrol. It sucks to hit a remain-overnight (RON) site and dig out your poncho liner, only to discover that it is a sodden mess.

More will follow. It's a long document, and longer to re-write......

Nous Defions!
John Mosby
In the mountains

25 July 2012

Stealth is Survival, or, Victory is in the Bayonet!

(I've always wanted to use that sub-title for something...It kind of fits here. Humor me. --J.M.)

My advocacy of getting inside security forces' range envelope of indirect-fire and close-air support weapons is not a secret to regular readers of the blog. The ready availability to security force elements of crew-served weapons with long-range capabilities (the doctrinal maximum effective range of the M249 SAW for a point target is 800M. It is the same for a tripod-mounted M240B), indirect-fire weapons systems organic to light-infantry companies (the M224 60mm mortar has a maximum effective range of over two miles), and on-call close-air support, in the form of everything from AH-64 Apaches to OH-58 Kiowas and MH-6/AH-6 Little Birds (not to mention fixed-wing assets and UAV threats) makes the "I've got a rifle that I can shoot out to 500 meters" foolish as a stand-alone option. While the precision rifle/SDM certainly has a role to play in the irregular force equation, it is not the panacea that too many want to make it out to be. While I certainly believe, and advise, that each of us should focus on our local area threats first, if you think the locals won't resort to phoning Big G for help, you're retarded.

It has been noted that the "average" security forces "rifleman" can use his weapon with varying degrees of effectiveness out to a maximum of 200-300 meters. This makes it apparently a no-brainer equation that irregular force partisans want to stay outside that distance. In a close-quarters fight, after all, quantity ends up having a quality all its own (to borrow a phrase. And yes, I know where it originated). Assaulting a "light" infantry element, armed with up-armored Humvees and APCs armed with .50BMG M2s and MK19s, in 4-6 man elements, inside that envelope means that there will be a lot more rounds incoming than outgoing, regardless of how quickly you can dump your first magazine accurately, into known, suspected, or likely areas of enemy concealment. Unfortunately, moving outside that envelope puts you squarely in the range envelope of all of the above-cited weapons systems, any one of which can wreak more havoc and destruction than you want to deal with (even Level IV stand-alone plates are not rated to stop 20mm...).

The historically proven alternative is to simply get close; intimately close. If you have been reading this blog from the beginning, you may remember that, from the start, I have advocated for a return to the skillset and stealth of the classic woodsman-scout. This paradigm applies whether your likely operational environment is rural alpine, dense swamp/jungle, or built-up urban areas. The ability to leverage that primitive stealth and fieldcraft, with the modern technology we have available today, can allow an irregular force fighter to get so far inside the enemy's security cordon and OODA loop, that they can never catch up. That of course, requires much more discipline, training, and physical stamina than most "militia men" can be bothered with, but it is possible.

The reality is, it is entirely possible for a small, unconventional unit to conduct successful raids on numerically superior forces, wreak havoc and despair amongst the conventional force enemy, and slip away in the resultant confusion. In order to do so however, irregular personnel and units will have to master difficult, exacting individual and collective tasks, from mastering the use of their personal weapons, camouflage and concealment, tactical movement in daylight and low-light/no-light conditions, and more.

Ultimately, the collective task must move from the doctrinal to the unconventional.

Critical Collective Task: Conduct a Night-Time Clandestine Infiltration

Conditions: Given an alert enemy force, with established security measures, including roving patrols, LP/OPs, and STANO assets; equipped with basic fighting load and personal weapons, and a mission to infiltrate the enemy position.

Standards: Infiltrate the enemy position, with no member of the patrol being detected, close enough to preclude or restrict the enemy's ability to engage the patrol with projectile weapons (due to fratricide concerns). Upon success of given operation (raid, HVT snatch, etc), exfiltrate enemy position, with no member of the patrol being killed, wounded, or captured by enemy forces.

Enabling Learning Objectives:

  • All individual patrol members must have mastered the individual task of camouflage self and equipment.
  • All individual patrol members must have mastered the individual task of move tactically in daylight and no-light conditions.
  • All individual patrol members must have mastered the individual task of analyzing terrain for movement route selection.
  • All individual patrol members must have mastered the individual task of move under direct fire.
  • Patrol sub-units (buddy teams and/or fire teams) must have mastered the collective skills task of move by buddy team bounds.
  • Patrol sub-units must have mastered the individual and collective skills task of move as part of a fire team.
  • Patrol sub-units must have mastered the collective skills task of conduct a patrol.

Performance Step:

  1. Upon receiving, or determining the necessity of, a mission to conduct a clandestine infiltration of an enemy position, the patrol element must conduct planning of the operation, including primary, secondary, and tertiary courses of action (at a minimum), infiltration routes, and actions on the objective.
  2. Patrol leaders should issue an Operations Order (modified as needed) to sub-units of the mission, to facilitate sub-unit planning and preparation.
  3. Sub-unit leaders should conduct pre-combat inspections of personnel and equipment to ensure serviceability, function, and presence of all mission-essential equipment.
  4. Patrol conducts a combat patrol to the Objective Rally Point (ORP). Patrol leader(s) conduct a leader's reconnaissance of the objective, to determine any necessary last-minute changes/modifications that may be necessary to the plan. They communicate said changes to sub-unit leaders and all patrol personnel.
  5. Patrol leader emplaces a support-by-fire element of precision riflemen (assuming other support weapons are unavailable) to overwatch the objective and the sub-units' infiltration routes, in order to provide a mechanism to allow for the sub-units to conduct a break-contact battle drill if necessary (They may also provide a suitable diversion for the assault elements during the exfiltration phase. Overwatch personnel must have adequate STANO assets to facilitate absolutely positive target identification of friendly force personnel on the objective! They must be well-trained riflemen who can make precision hits at intermediate-distance ranges, as necessary).
  6. Patrol divides into suitably small sub-units to conduct decentralized infiltration, to reduce chances of compromise. Sub-units conduct clandestine infiltration to the enemy's position, and conduct the mission. Upon completion of actions on the objective, sub-units exfiltrate under their own authority, and the patrol reconsolidates at the ORP.
  7. Patrol moves away from the objective, utilizing the principles of patrolling and sound tactical judgment, to avoid compromise from follow-on enemy forces.

Notes: At the risk of sounding like a wanna-be Rambo, who believes martial arts are some sort of panacea to firearms and violence, individual irregular force fighters will require a trained level of ability with close-quarters, silent weapons, ranging from clubs and nightsticks, to knives and axes, or bayonets. Suppressed firearms MAY provide some value in these operations, but do not overestimate their importance. In the event the patrol's sub-units is going to be compromised, during the infiltration, by a security patrol or an LP/OP, the need to prevent this will require swift, violent action. It will be absolutely necessary to prevent any gunfire from occurring, in order to prevent an early warning to the main body of enemy personnel within the installation.

Specific missions that may require clandestine infiltration methods may include a sabotage operation, assassination of key enemy personnel, the recovery of critical friendly force personnel under custody, or a simple harassment and interdiction mission, such as utilized by irregular force units historically (lobbing hand grenades, satchel charges, or improvised explosive/incendiary munitions into enemy positions has proven to have an overwhelmingly disconcerting effect on enemy morale, even if few or no casualties occur).

Try that collective task drill on for size.....

Nous Defions!
John Mosby

22 July 2012


(The following was sent to me from a reader in the military intelligence field. Like the task, conditions, and standards of other critical skills I have posted on here in the past, it is the outline of performance for ONE individual critical skill that everyone needs to know and understand, as well as being able to perform. More to follow. --J.M.)

Intelligence is an absolute requirement for the guerrilla fighter. Without intelligence, the guerrilla will never have initiative and will always be subject to lethal surprise. Intelligence begins at the most basic level of organization---the individual fighter. These SKILL LEVEL I Common Intelligence Tasks provide the individual fighter the means to effectively and simply collect and report tactical intelligence.

The student will articulate and demonstrate basic intelligence tasks required for squad sized elements in order to collect and report tactical intelligence and maintain situational awareness of the battlespace.

1-Demonstrate unaided observation techniques for day and night
2-Under field conditions, demonstrate unaided observation techniques to a Named Area of Interest
3-Compose and send a SALUTE report
4-Demonstrate OCOKA in both a map and field practical exercises
5-Prepare a simple area sketch (not to scale)



The SALUTE report is a simple means to concisely communicate information of tactical value from an observer to their unit. Usually this information is of short lived value.

The SALUTE report is commonly used to communicate intelligence to units and individual members---you will send and receive many of them and it is a basic task of all members. Remember: Intelligence without reporting is useless.

The SALUTE report is not a detailed intelligence report and should never be used as one. It's primary utility is broad, situational awareness. Do not make SALUTE reports highly detailed and do not wait for details to unfold before sending. Report information in broad strokes. It is better to be broad and accurate than specific and inaccurate. Reporting something as 'unknown' is fine and very common. Again, do not wait for events to unfold before composing and sending a SALUTE.

While it is vital to communicate information in a timely manner, it must be communicated accurately. The observer should quickly record observations in a notebook in proper format before sending. This reduces “fog of war” inaccuracies when transmitting under stress.



The number of personnel, vehicles or elements being observed. Can be approximate “about 10 personnel”, “convoy approximately 50 meters long”, “train 100 cars long”, a cluster of tents two hands wide.


What are they doing in general?
EXAMPLES: Security checkpoint, running, walking, making bivouac, flying drones. Approximately which way are they traveling (southwest), convoy north on I95.

The location of the activity, use a four digit grid or reference from some point known by all. EXAMPLES: GH4530, south base of HILL 2348, east of intersection.

Specific units identifications are not necessary. Broad descriptions will suffice. Examples: Regime Security Forces, police, civilians, unknown military unit, corporate names, unknown.

Date and time the observation is made. Use a common format such as DDMMHHMM. Be accurate within two or three minutes. EXAMPLE: For an observation made on June 21, at 1335 the common format is: 21061340.

What equipment are they carrying or centered around?
EXAMPLES: Six patrol cars, scoped rifles, backpacks, shopping bags, tire spikes. Always report specialized equipment such as electronic systems, night vision and mass effect weapons such as water cannons, aural disruptors and drones. Always report the direction specialized equipment is directed (if available).

Prepare a Simple Area Sketch (Not to Scale)
Often, the guerrilla will have to report information that can best be communicated by a drawing. This drawing, or sketch, is simple and only communicates the information as seen by the observer. An Area Sketch is not very detailed and like the SALUTE report, is broad and general. Unlike the SALUTE report, the Area Sketch is not a time sensitive reporting item.

Essential Items of the Area Sketch are: Location of observer (can be a grid or reference to a landmark) date and time of observation, north arrow (indicate if grid or magnetic), observed elements, labels and permanent terrain features as they relate to the observed elements and sufficient to act as a reference. The sketch is an observers perspective and the LPOP does not have to be on the sketch.

Remember that sketching is to communicate. Remember your audience. The sketch should be self-explanatory to another person and not require description by the observer.

For those readers that were led here from the StormFront forums.

Don't bother reading. I'm a "jew-lover, "nigger-lover," "Papist," and pretty much everything else you morons stand against. You see, I am a Special Forces soldier. I believe that what an individual DOES defines what they are, not what their ethnicity or religion is. Life is a meritocracy, or at least, it should be.

Piss off.
John Mosby

An AAR from a TC3 and SUT class participant

(I'm including this AAR at the author's request. He has participated in training from a variety of trainers, including some extremely well-known trainers in the industry. 

Folks, I'm not doing these classes to get rich, or make a living even. I'm doing it because I KNOW the shit is getting ugly, and I feel bound to help get as many good people as possible schooled on the skills they are going to need to know to protect their families and friends and communities...If you're group can get motivated to train, let's get this set up. If you don't want to train with me, get some training somewhere. It's coming, and it's coming sooner rather than later. 

Please note that I edited this solely to redact persec information for the author and his group of friends. --J.M.)

John Mosby Small-Unit Tactics and Medical Class AAR
By: --redacted--

There are two kinds of classes that I attend: those that end up not being of much value and those that get an AAR. Well damn straight this class is getting an AAR! Driving back home from this class gave me a good few hours to contemplate what I’d learned over Memorial Day weekend. Some of what I learned is still bouncing around in my head but I’ll try to put my thoughts into coherent format here.


I met John Mosby a while back and had the privilege to learn some impromptu stuff from him on subjects ranging from shooting to martial arts to literature (In the always present interest of full disclosure, I've "known" the author of this AAR for just over two years. We've "hung out" on probably a half-dozen occasions and shot together at range days on most of those occasions. ---J.M.). I . When I heard that he was starting to teach stuff to ordinary Joes like me that one couldn’t really expect to learn anywhere else then I knew I would have to make it to one of his classes. Myself and several of my friends were in search of some training above and beyond what it taught in the average “gun school”. We already knew how to shoot relatively well but there were some gaps in what we’d learned. I myself like to put myself into the shoes of those that I read about who are thrust into harsh situations and ask myself “what would I have done?” One of those situations I thought about was the assassination attempt on congresswoman Giffords in Tucson. There was a CCW holder nearby buying cigarettes when he heard the shots. He ran towards the sound of the guns to see what he could do but by the time he got there the shooter had been subdued. So what would I have done in that situation? I would have watched people bleed to death. I had been spending time, effort, and money to learn how to make bullet holes in people but I had invested virtually none in learning how to fix wounded people; a serious oversight to be sure!
I also have quite a few friends who, like me, are of the opinion that “the bad times they are a comin’“ and who want to be able to deal with whatever the future decides to throw our way. We had all read up on small-unit tactics before and understood the basic principles but reading and doing are two very different things. Additionally, having someone around who has “been there/done that” makes you feel better about the training that you’re doing…especially when he’s not yelling at you that you’d better pull your head out of your ass square yourself away if you don’t want to get wasted in a real fight. We knew that learning to work together as a team and being able to fight as one would make us far more effective in a fight than we would be on our own. John Mosby’s classes seemed to be just the ticket for filling in these gaps in our training.

Day One:
A brief introduction to TCCC (Tactical Combat Casualty Care or “Tee-See-Three” if you want to sound like you know what you’re talking about) was made. The history of how we got to where we are in the world of tactical medicine was covered and we were told that even today it is still evolving even though Ranger Regiment has the lowest rate of deaths from survivable combat wounds in it’s history, about 6-7 times better than it was in WWII.
The class began on Saturday morning in --location redacted J.M.-- A friend up there was willing to allow us to use his rather roomy house to conduct the medical portion of the class. As it turned out, the roominess of his home was an important thing for the initial part of the medical stuff since some of the first drills dealt with getting a wounded buddy off of the “X” so that better medical treatment could be administered once the fight was won. These drills were conducted in our fighting gear (tactical vests, chest rigs, etc) to teach a couple of significant lessons. First, if there is a piece of someone’s gear that can be used as a drag handle, then do so! It isn’t easy dragging someone along the ground (and we were on a smooth hardwood floor; uneven ground, grass, mud, rocks and all that other stuff that tends to be on the ground outside would have made this substantially harder) so you might as well give yourself every advantage that you can. Second, it showed us how our gear might slow down our extraction from the fight due to extra weight and snagging issues.
A recurring theme in Mosby’s class was simplicity. His material was derived from lessons that he taught to semi-literate third-worlders in his SF days. Additionally, this was all stuff that is meant to be executed while you’re either a) being shot at, b) seeing your friend badly wounded and doing whatever you can to help him, or c) both at once. Simplicity was the rule with the buddy extraction drills and a few basic techniques were taught. The one man drag and the two man drag were pretty much what they sound like and, with the exception of some brief points about how to keep your primary weapon running with the hand that isn’t dragging the wounded guy, pretty hard to screw up. The two man carry was another very simple method the required minimal instruction on how to “set it up”. One man gets on either side of the patient and sits him up. The patient’s arms are then thrown behind each man’s necks and held in place with the outside hand while the inside hand (i.e.: the hand closest to the patient) grabs the patient’s belt or under his thigh. Both men lift the patient and start moving.
Mosby doesn’t teach the classic “fireman’s carry” since it is difficult to execute and is usually finished by the carrying guy dropping his patient on the ground! Not good. Instead, Mosby teaches the saddleback (Actually, it's called the "Hawes Carry"--J.M.) carry. This was simple enough but required some instruction for me to get it. Here the patient is sat up once again and the patient’s arms are thrown over the carrier’s shoulders and held securely. The carrier then stands up (ideally with his patient’s help) and leans forward at the waist to lift the patient off of the ground. The carrier can then get moving and can straighten up at the waist or bend further to get rest if needed. It helps to strap the patient’s rifle to his back so that it isn’t digging into yours. It also helps if your patient isn’t carrying an HK91 and a vest full of loaded magazines. I need to get back to squatting…
Another common theme in Mosby’s classes was that each lesson flowed smoothly into the next. After you move your critically bleeding buddy to cover what do you do next (assuming that bad guys don’t need to be shot first)? Enter the tourniquet. The tourniquet of choice of the overwhelming majority of military medics out there is the Combat Application Tourniquet or “CAT”. Another tourniquet that is authorized for use by the U.S. military is the SOF-T. Mosby said that he doesn’t (personally --J.M.) know of a single medic in the U.S. military who prefers the SOF-T over the CAT and it was easy to see why. Someone at the class had one and the method for securing the windlass after getting it tight was a lot more finicky. Once again: simplicity is a Good Thing.
The tourniquet that I had brought was a TK4. I liked that it was compact, light, simple, and cheap. Mosby said that he had never seen one used on a patient in combat before and wasn’t completely comfortable trusting a patient’s life to the TK4 (I have huge issues trusting as tourniquet with no windlass device. --J.M.). Mosby has seen the CAT work many a time and is satisfied with his. That is a huge endorsement to me and I have decided to now keep a CAT on my gear. Field-expedient tourniquets were briefly touched on. A piece of fabric at least 2” wide should be used and anything long and strong enough to provide and withstand mechanical torque should work as a windlass (I’ve heard of pistol magazines being used before).
One important lesson from the medical class that was written plainly and in nice, big letters on the white board: “The best battlefield medicine is accurate outgoing fire.” Your buddy might have to choose between applying a tourniquet to you and shooting the enemy while you bleed…and the latter decision might very well be the right one. What this means is that you should also know how to apply a tourniquet to yourself. This was gone over as well under time pressure; you’ve got approximately 1 ½ minutes or less before critical blood loss causes you to pass out. If you can’t put on a tourniquet in that amount of time or less then you’re not going to be awake to help yourself! Everyone in the class was able to comfortably beat this time allowance, even when applying a tourniquet one-handed to the opposite arm. Tourniquets are to always be applied as high as possible to the damaged limb. This not only prevents blood from collecting in the limb and getting trapped there (where it does no good to the patient and can even cause harm over time) but ensures that the tourniquet is also placed above the wound. If the tourniquet is not between the heart and the wound then it is doing no good! Also, never put a tourniquet below the elbow or knee since the bones in the lower arm or leg surround the artery there and prevent the tourniquet from doing it’s job.
We’ve all seen/read “Black Hawk Down”, right? The part where the Ranger bleeds to death due to his severed femoral artery retracting up into his pelvis left an impression on everyone who saw it, either due to the graphic depiction of the wound and it’s attempted treatment or due to people wondering how it could have been handled better. There is now a device in use with military medics to treat just this type of wound but it is not anywhere on the civilian market that Mosby has ever seen. The alternative (just one alternative I've seen, and it was very vocally espoused by the senior Delta on my ODA. --JM.). to the device is to make a fist, place it on the patient’s femoral artery right on the hip crease at the front of the pelvis. The wrist of the arm that is making the fist is then grabbed with the other hand and the care giver then goes into a plank position (kind of like the starting point of a triangle push-up) and focuses the pressure of his fist down onto the artery. Two “volunteers” got to help with the demonstration and based on their facial expressions alone I would say that the pressure exerted had to be awfully significant. Furthermore, both “volunteers” reported a very rapid loss of circulation in the leg which is exactly the point.
While tourniquets work for wounds to the limbs they are not appropriate for torso wounds. Also, unlike wounds to the limbs where arterial bleeding is the primary short-term concern, wounds to the torso can cause tension pneumothorax, the number one cause of battlefield deaths from preventable wounds. Pneumothorax is a phenomenon where air enters the chest cavity outside of the lungs and can’t get out again on it’s own. Over time the buildup of air in the chest cavity will start to press the lungs to the side, preventing normal breathing from taking place and eventually collapsing the lungs. Also, the air pressure will eventually start pressing the lungs against the heart and cause a heart failure. The cure for a pneumothorax is to insert a 14ga. catheter needle into the second or third intercostal space and allowing the catheter to relieve the stored-up air pressure in the chest. This space is found by first finding the collar bone by feel and then going down to the first rib you can feel (this is actually the second rib from the top) and then on down to the second (actually third) rib. Push the needle in below this rib, twisting gently as you go. Keep your face near the back end of the needle and you should be able to smell, feel, and even hear the whoosh of air as it escapes. Don’t push too hard and don’t go deeper than necessary. Make sure you insert the needle on the same side of the chest as the wound is (the patient doesn’t need TWO punctured lungs!) and be sure to angle the needle away from the heart. It took Mosby about one minute to explain the procedure (using me as an example of where to find the intercostal space) and then every student went through and felt on me where the space is. Again, pretty simple.
Chest seals (purpose-built and field-expedient) were covered. These are often something as simple as a bandage packet being duct-taped over the wound to keep air from being drawn in. The purpose-built seals are simpler yet: peel off the backing and put them in the appropriate spot. Wipe as much blood off as you can first to give the tape the best chance of sticking.
Wound packing was covered for all types of penetrating wounds. Compressed gauze is simply stuffed into the hole and held there for about three minutes.  The gauze must be held in place or it may be forced out of the wound. After three minutes or so the wound should be wrapped with an “H” bandage or an IBD (Israeli Battle Dressing) or similar. Hemostatic agents such as Quickclot and Celox were discussed. Mosby is not a fan since they are difficult to apply under pressure and the exothermic ones work by burning (our friend misunderstood or misinterpreted my statements here. I like the concept, and recognize the value of the devices, if used in the current "sponge" or gauze type products. I've just heard a lot of 18Ds swear that it didn't perform any better than compressed gauze. --J.M.) This not only means that the patient gets burned as well as shot but that a gust of wind could send the granules into the medic’s eyes as well. Mosby’s opinion is that if you feel you must use a hemostatic agent then get the gauze that is impregnated with the solution in lieu of the separate granulated version.
The part of the class on airways was fascinating to me. Basically, air needs a way to get from outside the body into the lungs. If the normal ways are blocked then shortcuts (sometimes literally!) need to be taken. The nasopharyngeal airway (or NPA) is a rubber tube that is inserted into the nostril and down the throat to get around any blockages that might be there. Oro-pharyngeal airways are no longer used by the military (outside of schoolhouse trained medics), since sizing is more critical and complicated and since shoving a rubber tube down someone’s throat has a way of making them want to puke (our friend doesn't know what an oropharyngeal airway is....they're plastic not rubber, and are not tubes. --J.M.) There are three sizes of NPAs but a #28 is what most troops carry and what fits most adults. The NPA is inserted into the nostril and pushed back, not up into the body’s existing airway. A water-based lubricant will make insertion easier.  If the NPA does not want to go in then do NOT force it! Try the other nostril instead. If that doesn’t work then it’s time to get into more advanced techniques.
The surgical cricothyroidotomy (or just “cric” for short) is an operation that Mosby repeatedly insisted to the class was very easy to perform. I think he could see that the students were a little nervous at the prospect of maybe having to perform it. The cric is performed by finding the Adam’s Apple and then feeling for the next bump on the neck below that which is made by cricoid cartilage. Between the Adam’s Apple and the cartilage bump a “valley” exists where a vertical incision should be made. Make it small; you can always make it bigger if need be (a big reason to make the incision vertical instead of horizontal). Cut only the skin, not the membrane underneath. Once the skin is cut and the membrane exposed in the “valley”, the membrane must be punched through. Mosby told us that the implement for punching through the membrane is not that critical. In fact, he’s seen it done with a car key (heard of it, not seen it. --J.M.) Once the membrane is perforated you should be listening and feeling for the whoosh of escaping air. If it doesn’t occur right away then a tube insertion might be called for.
While the above procedure might sound extreme, Mosby had a story where he had to perform one for the first time: on patrol in Afghanistan an ANA soldier was struck in the face by the opening shot of an ambush. The 7.62x54mmR bullet destroyed the soldier’s jaw and lower face, leaving literally no place to insert an NPA. Mosby had never done a cric before but after making a cut in the skin of the neck and poking through the exposed membrane with his fingernail (!) the soldier was able to breathe once again. The soldier not only survived but was able to return to duty (though in Mosby’s words “he was one ugly motherfucker after that!”) before Mosby’s return stateside.
Once the airway, breathing, and circulation (ABC) were covered then it was a matter of covering the less life-threatening injuries that one might encounter: broken limbs should be splinted with a Sam Splint if available; if not then improvisation is called for. A rifle (or the upper alone if the entire rifle is too long) can work as a splint. Eye injuries should not be bandaged, per se, but should have a protective cup placed over the eye and taped in place. What to do with a patient after the fight was also covered. Basically, get them to a real doctor or other competent medical professional ASAP! Get antibiotics into them and give pain meds such as Tylenol if needed. Don’t give blood thinners such as Aspirin to someone who is or was recently bleeding. Get and keep a hypothermic victim warm by covering them with blankets and, if need be, by getting a warm body under the blankets next to them. Get a dehydration victim out of the heat if possible but don’t do anything drastic…like dumping a cooler full of ice water over the patient’s head (ask Mosby about this). What is often the way to rehydrate a patient is with an IV. Mosby showed the class how to start an IV, right up to and including demonstrating sticking a needle into my arm. Where to get stuff like IV solution was also touched upon by Mosby. Veterinary supply stores and the internet were mentioned often.
I hope that I’m not forgetting anything major; I was a doofus and didn’t bring a pen or paper and thus I’ve had to do everything from memory. The amount of information stuck in my head as I’ve written down here is a testament to not only Mosby’s skills as a teacher but also to the simplicity of the techniques taught. Anyone who can make doing surgery on someone’s throat simple is doing something right!
One point that was brought up repeatedly was that prevention is better than cure. Wear PPE (ballistic-rated lenses, body armor, gloves, etc) to keep from getting wounded in the first place. Fixing broken people is not fun and if their wounds can be prevented then they should be.
Another thing that Mosby said that really stuck with me was that if you screw up and that results in someone dying that might have otherwise lived then you will have to carry that for the rest of your life. A sobering thought indeed.

After breaking for lunch we headed down to the range to work on small-unit tactics. The weather was still incredibly foggy with less than 50 yards visibility at times! There was a bit of misty rain but not enough to totally obscure glasses or optics. The ground that we were on was in a small draw with tall-ish grass and uneven ground. Steel poppers and other targets had been placed at ranges from about 35yds out to about 200yds; the farther ones could not be seen on every drill due to the fog but we improvised and worked with what we had.
Movement techniques for use under fire were covered. Getting into the prone rapidly by falling to your knees and then bracing with your support hand as you go to the ground is the technique currently taught. The old-style technique of bracing with the butt plate of your rifle is now discouraged due to the use of tactical slings and the comparative fragility of the M4 collapsible stock. Getting out of the prone is done either from a “combat roll” or just pushing up off of the ground. The combat roll has the advantage of giving you momentum that can launch you to your feet as well as moving you away from the spot that you were just shooting from when you were prone. If the terrain allowed for it I got up from a tactical roll every time during the class.
Once basics of individual techniques were covered then advancing as a two-man team was begun. One man moves while the other covers him with accurate outgoing fire. The moving man moves for no longer than it takes to say “I’m up! He sees me! I’m down!” This cadence is begun as soon as you get off of the ground and once it’s completed you should be going to the ground fast. Just a note here: get some good knee pads for training and fighting. I’m still in my 20s and my knees hurt for days after this class was done. The grass was slick from rain (and the occasional cow pie) which helped with sliding into position. The one advantage to getting all wet that I could see.
The team mate who is shooting rather than moving should put out one round every two seconds. This can be altered to fit different situations but is a good baseline for rate of fire. If no opponents can be seen then fire should be directed at probable hiding places or firing positions.
The key to making all of this work is COMMUNICATION. You *must* let your team mate(s) know what is going on at all times. If you are clearing a malfunction or reloading then let them know that! If you spot an enemy that you think your team-mates haven’t then let them know. Mosby said that if we weren’t hoarse from yelling by the end of the weekend then we weren’t doing our part. I guess that means that I did mine! Distance and gunfire from center-fire rifles makes communication all the more difficult. If you don’t hear or understand what a team mate said then ask for clarification! On one drill I assumed that after yelling “Cover me while I move!” my team mate had replied “Gotcha covered!” I had heard my team mate speak…but he’d been trying to inform me of a weapon malfunction. Mosby punished me by informing me that I’d taken a round to the leg and that I needed to apply self-aid. Note to self: place blow-out kit where you can reach it in ALL positions!
All team drills were done first ‘dry’ (i.e.: with unloaded guns) before moving on to live fire. During the dry runs we were told to shout “Bang!” in lieu of actually shooting. This allowed our team mates to know that we were “shooting” and to allow Mosby to gauge if we were shooting at the correct rate of fire. In a way the dry runs were harder since we had to continuously be shouting “Bang!” over and over whereas with the live fire drills we could take the opportunity to catch our breath a little while covering our team mates. The flip side of this is that when firing center-fire rifles we needed to shout a lot louder to make sure that we were being heard by our team mates!
Once we had done the two-man team drills we moved on to four-man drills. These had two pairs of shooters covering each other while advancing. Once again the key here was communication but now the communication needed to be between not only team mates but between the different teams as well. To this end Team Leaders were selected to communicate between each other and to co-ordinate their teams too. Everyone took turns being Team Leader so that everyone could experience what is was like. I found that it was a little more mentally exhausting (and required a lot more yelling!) to be Team Leader but that I also had a better idea of what was going on around me because it was my responsibility to do so. Being a subordinate team member requires that you only shoot, move, and communicate as directed which is a lot simpler but can lull you into complacency.
Mosby told us that if we weren’t hopelessly outnumbered then we should press the fight and close with the enemy as quickly as possible. “If you remember nothing else from this class,” Mosby said, “remember ‘speed, surprise, and violence of action’.” Attack when the enemy doesn’t expect it, attack quickly, and attack so violently that the enemy is more concerned with if he’s going to survive or not than he is with killing you.
After doing the team drills over and over we were all starting to get what was being taught. Once ammunition started getting low, clothing started getting soaked, and knees started screaming for mercy we went back to “J’s” house (thanks again for letting us crash there “J”!) for dinner and to discuss what we’d learned that day. Mosby, with the aid of a white board, explained to us the basic concepts behind various types of ambushes and react-to-contact drills. Hasty and prepared ambushes, linear and “L” shaped were covered. The concepts of “fix ‘em, flank ‘em, and finish ‘em” were talked about in some detail since that was what we were going to move on to the next day. The basic philosophy of this is that one team is what is called a “base of fire”. This base of fire shoots steady, accurate rounds at the enemy position to keep them more interested in their own survival than figuring out what the other team, the “maneuver element” is doing. The maneuver element moves laterally away from the enemy (i.e.: neither directly towards nor away from the enemy but off of their line of fire/line of attack). Once the maneuver element is sufficiently far away from the enemy position and out of their sight they cease to move by bounds and just run as fast as they can until they are roughly parallel to the enemy’s position. Once there they will move towards the enemy position and engage them from their flank. How far away from the enemy the maneuver element needs to get will be dictated by the terrain and the situation. The maneuver element must also move very quickly because they can be sure that the enemy is going to try the same tactic against them! Once the maneuver element is prepared to fire on the enemy’s position they must somehow communicate with the base of fire to let them know to shift their fires away from the maneuver element. The purpose of shifting fires is to not only keep the base of fire from accidentally shooting up the maneuver element but also to create a beaten zone where the enemy would try to flee. This effectively traps the enemy in place and allows the maneuver element to finish them off. If a rush of the enemy position is called for then a signal must be made to the base of fire to lift fire completely.
A short introduction to John Boyd’s OODA Loop was also presented. The OODA (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) Loop is a decision making and acting process that we all go through hundreds or even thousands of times per day. When someone “gets inside your OODA Loop” then you have to start the process over again and end up hesitating. It is important to see how this effects not only you but also your opponent so that you can use the OODA loop to your advantage and minimize it’s adverse effects on you.
The lecture was finished off by a general Q&A session with Mosby. The questions were really all about minor details or clarifications since the concepts discussed (again) were very, very simple and really didn’t require much clarification. Still, if there was a topic that needed clarification then Mosby did a great job of elaborating. Day one ended with all of us being far more knowledgeable than when the day had started.

Day Two:

The --location redacted-- weather decided to be a little different the next day and started out quite clear and sunny. We proceeded directly to the range but went to a different spot than the day before. The --redacted-- contingent was formed into “Charlie Team” and the --redacted-- crew formed up “Whiskey Team”. We launched directly into the team drills again but this time we got right into six- and eight-man drills (i.e.: two teams of either three or four) which increased the responsibilities (and the yelling) of the team leaders by a considerable margin. In spite of that I found that the movement and firing was already feeling more natural and somehow simpler than it had been even the day before. The wind and sun had dried out the grass where we’d decided to go that day and it made going to ground abruptly a bit more taxing. The slickness of wet grass really does seem to be an advantage here. Then again, perhaps I was just feeling more tired!
After a quick warm-up with the bounding drills we started the outflanking drills. As with the day before, we did these dry first and then proceeded on to live-fire. Since I have --redacted-- at one time or another I was moved from team to team as needed to fill in gaps. It was emphasized that the maneuver element needed to get into a flanking position as quickly as possible but that surprising the enemy was also desirable if possible. Mosby let the maneuver element that they had been spotted by the enemy by firing off a string of rounds from his rifle down range. While there was never any danger of his rounds heading our way, the sound of staccato gunfire nearby gave a greater sense of urgency to get on the ground than a verbal warning would have! Charlie Team and Whiskey Team took turns being the base of fire and the maneuver element. Members within the teams took turns being Team Leader. This way things were kept fresh and there was little redundancy even when drills were repeated.
The maneuver element bounded towards patches of trees and somewhat dense brush before running around the patch and then bounding through it towards the enemy’s flank. The dense brush made for awkward shooting positions and easily getting tangled up in the branches. Loose straps, PALS webbing, and anything else that possibly could get caught on branches DID get caught on branches! Trying to bull through the brush worked as often as not but when it didn’t then you were in a dire position indeed! Choosing a path to your next destination before you move greatly decreases your getting tangled up or any other mishaps.
Inter-team communications were done with a simple whistle. One blast was a signal for the base of fire to “shift fire” and a series of blasts for “lift fire”. The latter was also a signal from the maneuver element’s Team Leader to rush the objective. This system was low-tech (a good thing, IMO) and, like everything else Mosby teaches, simple and effective. There are, of course, more sophisticated comms available such as radios but for the budget-minded a simple whistle can be a good substitute for yelling.
These team drills were done over and over until they became second nature. We went on and on until the late afternoon before breaking for dinner. We began packing up just as ominous clouds started rolling in and small hail started falling. So much for the nice weather!
That evening we bombarded Mosby with more questions about what we’d learned. Our questions began getting more detailed as we started learning the basic concepts of what we were being taught better. It was obvious that the teams were really starting to gel and to get the hang of what was being taught.

Day Three:

The third day started out snowing lightly. We were only half joking with one another when we opined that by the end of the day we would see a tornado just to “complete the set”.
Due to a number of the students needing to make 6-8 hour drives to get home and then to get up again in the morning for work we launched right into the team drills on Monday morning. We went to yet a different area for the fire-and-maneuver drills as the day before. This not only added an element of being in “Unknown Territory” but also brought us to a place where the maneuver element would have to hoof it a bit farther and through rougher terrain. This made the maneuver element’s job a LOT harder than it had been the day prior! Additionally, both elements’ jobs were made harder by the targets being placed in better places of concealment/shadows. This required the Team Leaders to communicate with their team mates very specifically and for ALL team members to look very carefully if they wanted to direct their fire accurately and on target.
In the location that we went to on day three the base of fire lost sight of the maneuver element not only for longer but more completely than they did the day before. Where this made for a more profound difference was the rate of fire put out in the dry runs versus the live fire runs; there was a lot more shouting of “Bang! Bang!” on the dry runs than there was actual shooting in the live-fire portion. When you’re not 100% certain of where your buddies are then you are a lot more reluctant to squeeze off a round through the bush! Mosby had selected our location well, however, and we were under his watchful eye at all times. We never even came close to putting rounds too close to one another. The possibility was there in our minds though which helped to temper our desire to shoot unless we were totally sure of our target.
Day three ended in the early/mid afternoon and those who had to make their drives home set out. As we did so we promised to get together and do another class with Mosby as soon as possible and to practice what we’d learned until the next time. We had never been so happy to be limping, scraped up, hoarse, exhausted, and out of ammo! The actual lessons learned were profound and fascinating but the bonding between team mates that occurs during such events is a great thing to experience as well.


If you are at all interested in learning how to fight as a member of a team then TAKE THIS CLASS. Mosby has ‘been there done that’, not only as a Warrior but also as a Teacher of Warriors. There are plenty of Teachers out there who’s Warrior credentials are questionable and there are plenty of Warriors out there who’s teaching abilities are lacking but Mosby is the rare blend of both Warrior and Teacher who is brilliant at both.
When you take one of Mosby’s classes bring your friends! It is all well and good to develop individual skills and it is always nice to meet new friends but a small-unit tactics class is the place to grow and learn with your long-trusted friends. Find a way to get yourself and your ‘team’ to a Mosby class!
What Went Right:
Learned a ton of new stuff and better ways to do ‘old’ stuff.
Got together with several friends to help solidify ourselves as a team.
Found another trainer to add to my short list of people that I would go back to to learn more.
Gained greater confidence in my abilities and gear.
What Went Wrong:
I neglected to bring a pen and paper to take notes. This would have been especially valuable during the medical portion.
I neglected to bring knee pads. My knees were sore for days after this class!
My CMMG .22LR conversion kit for my AR15 was jamming constantly. I think I need to try different types of ammo in this kit before I bring it to another class.
My Blackhawk! Battle Belt was constantly shifting and being an all-around pain in the ass. I’ll be getting something that fits me better soon.
My Dropzone Tactical thigh holster was not staying in place very well, probably due to the poor fit of the Battle Belt.
Some students did not bring the 500 rounds that Mosby suggests for this class. Mosby is NOT ‘padding’ his numbers when he states a round count! You will do a lot of shooting so bring plenty of rounds!
As you can see, most of the negatives were gear-related. That’s okay though; there’s nothing like a class like this to help you get your kit sorted out. One thing that I would like to add to the “what went wrong” list is that I’ve been slacking on my PT lately due to working lots of OT at my day job and having little energy when I get home. I need to make time for PT. If you can’t keep up with your team then you are letting them down as well as yourself. You need to get into shape for not only your own benefit but for your friends’ benefit too.
After a class there are usually lots of questions bouncing around in my head. The extreme simplicity of Mosby’s material left me with more answers than questions for once. There is still much for me to learn though and I intend on getting back together with my friends for another Mosby class in the future. The thing with training is that you don’t know what you don’t know and you need to find someone extremely knowledgeable to find the gaps in your training and to get you up to speed. John Mosby might very well be that guy for you.
Until next time,
Nous defions!