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Author Topic: Are You A “Snowflake”
ConSigCor
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Are You A “Snowflake” Or A “Meteor”?

A snowflake and a small meteor (meteoroid) fall from the sky, but that’s pretty much where their similarities end. A snowflake hits the ground, and unless it has perfect conditions such as the ground temp being low, and/or it is surrounded by other snowflakes, it will disappear in a short while. A small meteor that was tough enough to make it through the atmosphere hits the ground, and if it survives the impact unbroken, it isn’t going anywhere, and can be around for centuries. Hell, even if it is broken, the pieces will still be around for a long time (reminds me of some of my “mobility kill” Buddies LOL).

The reaction of many to this post will help them, and those around them, determine whether they are or have the capability of being a small meteor. If you are a militia group member, that is non prior service, and sensitive to being told the inconvenient and harsh “Facts of Life” in regards to some of your training and possible incorrect perceptions, you are more than likely a snowflake, and are better off not disturbing you delicate pleasantries by reading this post.

I was asked a couple weeks ago to write a post based on a comment I made at WRSA that forwarded this premise, “on a good day, a civilian that has taken 3 or 4 SUT type classes from a Tactical Trainer won’t even be at the experienced Infantry PFC level”. Of course that type of comment elicits more than my normal share of “fan mail” because everyone knows “Paytriots” (if you’re not payin’ for the trainin’, you must not really care what happens to your country, and therefore, you are not a patriot) and “Moolishas” (because 2A said so!) made “‘Merica”, and if you don’t think they are the God ordained Shiznit of (i)nfantry, well you must be nothin’ but an Elitist Vet who is forwarding a defeatist mindset towards your “Lessers” and are setting them up for assimilation by the Borcs (Borg and Orcs, what a combination)….. right?

Some trainers have actually told those they’ve trained that the students were equal to, if not better than experienced Infantrymen after a class or three. If he said it, it must be true….right? No one would ever blow smoke up your ass to make a buck and get you to come back again and again……would they? The funny thing about those types of trainers is that they will regurgitate anything they think will lead to drawing a paycheck. They will change what they say and do to see what works with the crowd (what sticks when thrown against the wall), even if it means contradicting something they said just a few short years earlier.

Some blowhards were/are big on not only saying that you are the “commandos” (that was some seriously delusional “MilSimMeth” he was purporting) of the “fweedumb forces”, but that if you pay to join their club, you will be the future “Officers” of the “forces of fweedumb”, oh, and “here’s your (sign) patch.

A while back, a conversation was in play on social media regarding the militias, and their use by the government. This was my response,

“Wanna know what would happen if the government decided to “use the militias? First, they would call them all in for a muster (YAY, they are recognizing us!). Second they would assign present or former combat arms Officers and NCO’s (non combat arms Commissioned Officers or NCO’s need not apply) to each unit to evaluate them. Third, they would tell all the non prior service guys that if they are lucky, they’ll be able to stay and be privates (E-1’s). Next the prior service non combat arms guys will be told they will be E-2’s or even E-3’s if they show ability and heart. Finally the prior service combat arms guys will be given positions (E-4 or above) dependent on their proven ability and bona fides (DD214). At that point, those Officers and senior NCO’s will take control of their newly formed Companies. Multicam Airsoft Commandos (MAC’s) need not apply except for a AV function, since they’ve already proven they are good at taking pictures and doing videos of ‘ftx’s’.”

I know, I know…..Defeatist, Jackbooted, Elitist, Assholesque Ne’er-do-well-ian, right? How about Practical, Experienced, and Concerned former Soldier and Forever Survivalist who has seen too much pomposity, arrogance, and delusional wannabeism in those who think they are the next iteration of Francis Marion, James Ewell Brown Stuart. John Singleton Mosby and their favorite Halo character, all rolled into one. Here’s the funny thing about that. Francis Marion was a veteran (an Officer) of the F&I War, JEB Stuart was a combat experienced Veteran before the Civil War ever broke out, and John S Mosby started out in “Grumble” Jones’s “Washington Mounted Rifles” as a Private (not a Sergeant, and not a Damned Colonel) at the beginning of the Civil War. Notice a theme here?

What I decided to do with this post was get some others to give their thoughts on the quote the post premise is based on. Every one of the individuals who gave their thoughts is a military Vet. Every one of them served in Combat Arms (one type of Infantry or another) as Non Commissioned Officers or Commissioned Officers, and the majority are combat veterans. Why would I only consider the opinion of Infantry Veterans? It’s simple. Only an Infantry Vet knows what the Infantry is like. Only an Infantry Vet can give true insight into what my original statement was about. Why Infantry? Because Infantry is what you “Killahs” aspire to be, is it not? Anyone sayin’ I’m gonna conduct guerrilla warfare is sayin’ they want to be Infantry, whether they know it or not. Anyone sayin’ “I’m gonna conduct offensive operations in SHTF.” is sayin’ they want to be Infantry, Period!

If you haven’t EXPERIENCED it, you truly don’t know what you don’t know. No matter how many movies you watch, books you’ve read, or “SUT” classes you take, you have not experienced that of even the Infantry Private First Class’s existence. Taking an “SUT” class or three doesn’t equate to proficiency, it only shows familiarity. Familiarity and Proficiency are in different locations of the same spectrum, and mastery is on the opposite end from familiarity. A good analogy would be a toddler when they first learn what running is (familiarity), compared to a teenager who is in their second year of being on the HS track team (proficiency), and then there’s the Olympic runner (mastery).

So here it goes with the thoughts of others on the topic of, “On a good day, a civilian that has taken 3 or 4 SUT type classes from a Tactical Trainer won’t even be at the experienced Infantry PFC level”.

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Training Requirements for Consciously Skilled ‘Infantry’ Capabilities

Background of the Vet: 21 plus years active duty in the USAF; retired as a Senior NCO. Of that time, 12 years in Air Base Ground Defense (Air Force for ‘Infantry’); comprised of 5 years teaching advanced ‘infantry’ training, rated “Master Instructor”, specialized in patrolling, 5 years on a RDT (Rapid Deployment Team) for 81mm Mortar & Hostage Rescue concurrently. 5 years as NCOIC of Air Base Ground Defense at field units building and conducting local unit training.

At issue is the belief that a lot of well-meaning folks have that a few months of taking a weekend each month and undergoing Small Unit Tactics Training at any school under any trainer will make them equal with professional military ‘infantry’ trained units, from fire teams up through platoons. This doesn’t even take into account the support that infantry type units have with organic and non-organic support weapons and sister service support (CAS, Arty, airlift, etc.). They’re not looking at things objectively, nor are they understanding that they’re doing nothing more than ‘walk through’ familiarization that gets them to, at best, the ‘consciously unskilled’ (“I know that I don’t know a lot, and if my instructor helps me, I can get through the requirements”) level of task mastery. I know these folks want to learn SUT to protect their families, and that’s a good thing, but where the problem comes is, again, where they, or their course instructors, conflate what they are capable of with what an active duty infantry trained unit as small as a fire team can do. It’s just not true, and it sets the civilian student up to get killed. In essence, the civilian student fails to recognize the limitations of his training.

Think about it: How many hard contact hours are received over a 4 or even 5 day training course at ‘X’ school? 5 training days for civilian SUT schools provide, at most, 50 training hours, except in rare cases. I only know of one school that ran 20 hour training days for 3 consecutive days, but that school was running a very advanced course with students who’d had about 60 hours of basic skills training previously. As it was, in each of the classes (about 25 students, average), between 6 and 8 would drop out or suffer an injury that precluded them from continuing. Even that course had an 8 hour admin block before training started and 2 hours after course completion.

So, let’s be generous. A 5 day course at school ‘X’. It’s basic to intermediate in skill complexity. And there’s no PT pre-reqs. This is all about SHTF. Chances are the training days are no longer that 9 hours, and a meal is built into the training day. If the school has a cadre of multiple instructors, there will be change over time built in to the schedule, and then, break time, because most civilian attendees aren’t in their 20’s, in top physical shape, and able to take the standard training regimen that occurs on active duty. So, figure out of each 9 hour day, you’ve got 2 hours for breaks, cadre change over, and meal(s). Brings the contact time to 7 hours a day.

School ‘X’: Basic SUT Familiarization Course – 5 Days, 50 hours

Admin Hours: 8

Break/Meal/Change Over Hours: 10

Hard Contact (Teaching/Evaluation) Hours: 32

Let’s compare this to courses I’ve taught or helped build:

Basic SUT Skills Course – Average of 260 Course Hours – Equates to about 28 training days of varying lengths from 8 to 20 hours. 5 days a week. After week one, all meals during training taken during contact hours; breaks held to a minimum. Let’s be generous and say 40 hours of the 260 are breaks, change overs, and meal times. That’s still 220 hours for basic certification (Consciously Skilled). Students having problems with attaining required performance are usually ‘recycled’ at one point or another to ensure funds spent are not wasted. After 2 recycles, they’re sent elsewhere. Or home.

Advanced Training – Average 220 Course Hours – Equates to 20 to 25 training days of varying lengths. Let’s keep the admin hours at 40, so we’ve got 180 hours of training. 5 days a week.

Subtotal: 400 hours. For basic certification. Which equates to walking and chewing gum at the same time.

A civilian would have to attend 12.5 civilian SUT schools of 5 days (32 hard contact hours each) to approach the ‘Consciously Skilled’ level of an active duty soldier, airman, marine or sailor trained in SUT.

Based on current prices, the civilian student would have to pay over $6,200 @ $500 per course, not counting transportation, meals and lodging.

Back to active duty: The newly minted SUT troop goes to his unit and is assigned to a seasoned NCO who starts his ‘OJT’, and for the next 1 to 2 years (sometimes longer) the troop is in a training mode, and most likely logging (out of a 3000 hour duty year) – 300 duty days or 10 months (the other two months are for garrison admin requirements and leave). In 2 years, that’s 6000 hours of unit based training for ‘the real thing,’ in a squad, platoon, and company that lives, eats, sleeps, and trains together, building essential corporate and individual knowledge on how to fight as an infantry unit.

Compare that to what a civilian has available. Most schools that even touch on some of the more advanced skills only do a walk through; legal liabilities restrain them, from say, teaching raids, ambushes, belt fed weapons employment, use of grenades, etc.

6,400 hours before the squad leader will be satisfied the new troop can be trusted to operate as part of the unit without someone directly supervising or getting someone killed.

In the example above, the civilian student would have to attend 200 five day courses (of 32 contact hours each course) to equal the amount of training time an E-3 (PFC, Lance Corporal, or Airman First Class) spends getting qualified in his unit.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

You can argue all you want about how many training courses you went to, but when you look at how he broke down the hours spent on training at different levels, only a fool thinks his tacticool class or classes will equal anything even close to a basic military Combat Arms “rite of passage”.

Next up is something brief but telling from a friend who is a retired Infantry Officer.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Retired Infantry Captain,

Best I can come up with is they won’t even be good PFCs because they don’t share misery and/or have a common enemy. They don’t live together, sleep together, party together, or have common experiences. Common enemy? NCOs and Officers: They lack them.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

The “Common Enemies” of the Infantry PFC consist of the environment (where the Infantryman has to live and operate in), the day in and day out chores (KP for instance), and that of just keepin’ up with the minimum standards (you better not just be only meeting the Damned minimum standard Private!) such as requirements for uniform/hygiene appearance, PT, and weapons proficiency, can be daunting to many.

People think “Your uniform appearance doesn’t matter.” (paying attention to the details and presenting a squared away appearance matters to the Infantryman, especially when you go into the higher tier units), “I don’t feel like doing PT today (or this week)” (As an Infantryman, you always base your PT on the premise of not knowing when you’ll have to do your job for real, and the NCO’s make sure you remember that), “I just shot my weapon a few months ago.” (great, but considering that the Infantryman’s basic purpose is effectively using his weapon to stop the enemy, he doesn’t have the option to rest on his “laurels”). All of this is OK for the civilian, but not for the Infantryman. The civilian has a job as a priority, and it’s not being an Infantryman.

Here’s another thought from an Infantry Vet.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Thoughts on Small Units, Civilians, and Skill

This writer held every position on a Long Range Surveillance Team up to Assistant Team Leader (ATL) and on the Line as a Fire Team Leader, Squad Leader and Weapons Squad Leader, and had three deployments, twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan.

JC Dodge approached me with the request for input of issues with civilian thinking versus military proficiency; an issue which, if you’ve been around for a minute, provokes an interesting discussion drawing out the Walter Mittys in prime fashion when told anything other than what they want to hear. Well, stand in the door.

The original question was one regarding “no tactics are better than bad”, meaning that if one has simply read a book or watched a film, rehearsed it a few times, or even walked through a couple of weekend classes your better plan lay with creating a defensible area and networking with your neighbors in order to do the same. While I’ve been rather harsh on suburbia, it’s not without reason; rural, hilly terrain is easier to defend and more likely to be inhabited by people with needed skills and the youth who can endure more. For those playing militia in the woods and thinking the all the world’s questions were answered by SH 21-76, FM 7-8 and Patriots, you’ve got a very harsh reality coming and it’s coming fast. Contrary to what you might think, the two military texts are written for a specific audience assuming previous conditions exist; namely, supporting units and fire; the last a purposefully unrealistic picture of a best-case scenario; one that is unobtanium for anyone not into prepping or training for the past three decades and having people with combat arms military backgrounds.

That last point is critical. While certain figments of the militia have contempt for prior military, it’s due to the fact that we pop your bubble and make you feel every bit as insecure as you really are. When I was originally asked the question, my immediate response was something along the lines of “movement, particularly akin to a LRS insertion, is much more akin to what preppers should focus upon rather than standard Line-unit battle drills and formations.” Deciphered to civilian speak, a Long Range Surveillance Team is an unsupported 6 man element which is expected to move long distances with at least a week’s worth of equipment to their planned hide sites, undetected upon entry into an enemy area; as one can expect, this is no easy task for even well trained soldiers. But that being said, the same principles apply to the civilian arena when concerned with low-signature movement into an area; the recon patrol, like its combat counterpart (ambush and raid) requires patience and hinges upon discipline, the plan, land navigation skills, and the ability to creep along at a very slow pace. In the LRS paradigm, only one battle drill is the primary focus; Break Contact, and it is a modified drill.

There’s various ways its done, some do an Aussie Peel, some side step the Senior Scout (“pointman” to the uninitiated) in order to provide the maximum firepower to wherever the contact is coming from; “Bravo Two Zero” provides a good vignette of such a team move. The team continues to retrograde (Rangers never Retreat.) until they’re not being shot at anymore. Sounds sort of like what prepper-militia types are looking to do with limited numbers. The reality is though, that with a handful of people, especially those that have neither fired a shot in anger nor been on the receiving end, you’re in a world of hurt. You are not Infantry, you do not posses Infantry, and for your own survival, stop confusing yourself that you are.

So we can properly identify that movement then is far more important than the cool-guy run and gun nonsense most confuse with actual ‘tactics’. Being quiet in the outdoors and understanding that people generally take the easiest paths becomes the method by which a team can both hunt and avoid being hunted.

Don’t Take the Same Route Twice, MAJ Rogers’ so said. With that, principles hunters use are far more applicable to a partisan group than looking like you’re about to kick doors in Baghdad and making the same amount of noise as an unbalanced over-encumbered Infantry team would. Just like how you’re not Infantry, you’re also not SWAT. Quiet movement coupled with a high degree of knowledge of your terrain are critical to those seeking the initiative in combat. It is not the ambushed who usually win, nor is it the reactive element. All of these principles combined are what we who teach these skills (to military folks) call “natural lines of drift”.

​These intersecting factors, the size of team and accompanying expectations of capability, along with competent terrain analysis and route selection for both movement and attack, should be the primary focus of the prepper/militia/survivalist who finds himself on an offensive patrol. It is not sexy, makes for very boring video, and takes weeks upon weeks of team development for proficiency not normally gained in a weekend. You can pick up some skills, sure, you can even get a good gauge of your own fitness and applicability to such types of patrolling, but you won’t become a recon man in two or three days. For that reason when one of us derides the cool-guy wanna be stuff, instead of scoffing and self affirmation the reaction should be to perk the ears up and listen. A PFC in any Line Infantry unit is miles ahead of the walking army surplus store who can tell you the current head of the CFR but not his last 12 mile ruck time. It takes experience to run these sort of operations, and despite the bubbles that some of you prefer to live in, any bush-dwelling ex-grunt should be the proverbial water to your sponge.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

The writer and I have discussed some of what was written here, and due to some similar experiences in training, unit type and other factors both in the military and as civilians (both of us having an early on Survivalist mindset), we completely agree on how Survivalists should be trained and go about practicing for SHTF.

And finally, here is the last contributor to this post,

____________________________________________________________________________________________

From an 18F

Can militia types, with their handful of weekend “SUT” (they are no such
thing) classes be integrated into the Regular or NG infantry? The answer is… no. The answer is no for the simple reason that the
rawest private out of Basic and AIT, freshly assigned to a rifle squad
in any infantry unit, is head and shoulders above any militia type no
matter how many weekend “SUT” classes the militia type has had. And even
then it takes almost a year of nearly constant training before that
rawest private can be considered an infantryman in his squad.

Example: On an MTT to Zambia the mission was to bring the Zambian
Commando Regiment up to 7-8, 7-10, and 7-20 standard. It was a 90 day
mission, and the Commando Regiment was the elite unit of the Zambian
Army. Without going into useless detail it took 60 days to bring trained
squads and platoons to 7-8 standards. While that was going on 7-10 and
7-20 senior NCOs and Officers were being trained. So by the end of 90
days there was a Battalion live fire Movement to Contact. Nobody got killed.

The point is this: When an infantry private arrives at his first unit he
is CAT IV (undeployable) until after about a year training with his
squad. It took us 90 days to bring an active Zambian infantry unit to
CAT I (combat ready — if they had white NCOs and officers).

So, to be blunt, militia chest thumping leaves me cold.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

This author and I were discussing this the other day, and both of us agree that an inexperienced guy would probably be more desirable to an Infantry unit, than the “experienced” Moolisha “operator”. The primary reason for this is that depending on who taught the “Moogrunt”, he could have been taught WRONG, practiced it WRONG, or he just “knows” he knows what he’s doing, and all three of those situations means you have to get rid of what was WRONG before you can truly square him away correctly.

THE rule of thumb is 1,000 reps will give a person a good “second nature” capability in whatever skill is being practiced. 2,000 to 3,000 reps is what is required to correct a skill that was learned incorrectly. Why would an Infantry unit want to take a chance on the “experienced” non prior service “Moogrunt”. when they can get an inexperienced “Didn’t learn it wrong” recruit?

The amount of experience presented in this post, whether combat and/or as a trainer, is staggering. You will notice a recurring theme, and it isn’t, “You are maggots”, “You are not worthy.” or “You are going to die.”. The theme is “You are not Infantrymen, and shouldn’t fantasize about conducting operations after SHTF like you are an Infantryman.”. Offensive operations…. really? You don’t even understand and haven’t realistically implemented the “in’s” and “out’s” of effective defensive operations yet (remember “familiarity” versus “proficiency”), and you’re talkin’ about offensive ops (this is a generalization based on a number of groups that I have seen over the last 30 years)?

We tell you these things because we want you to succeed and survive. We tell you these things because we understand the reality of the tasks required and training that needs to be achieved before conducting simple, effective defensive operations, let alone, an Offensive Infantry Op. Realistically, I have yet to see a group that has the personnel required to continue an effective defense, while conducting an offensive operation ( do you even know what your ratio should be?). This isn’t some fantasy where you end up with the stash of goodies and organized “militia” personnel the “General” left for you when he said you’d be in charge (Tri-States anyone?), this is reality.

In reality, we will have a hard enough time holding on to what we have (defense ops), so, leavin’ one or two people at the retreat to “hold the fort down.” while your group of “operators” go “light up” the gang bangers down the road is just askin’ for you to lose everything you’ve prepared and put back (yeah, that gang with a few experienced Infantry guys was conducting a recon of your retreat, and just waiting for you to do something stupid like leave a skeleton crew on security).



Wanna ignore the reality presented here? Be my guest, it’s only your family, friends, and associates that will pay the high price for your lofty “Operators operating operationally” fantasy. Wanna be an Infantryman? Go in the military, whether active duty or National Guard. Wanna be a responsible protector of loved ones and a survivor of SHTF? Learn how to effectively defend what you’ve got, medically treat what you’ve got (person and animal), feed what you’ve got (people and animals), repair what you’ve got, and pass on what you know. When it comes to the number of categories a Survivalist needs to not only be familiar with, but at least have some proficiency in (hopefully there’s some mastery), the Infantry PFC has it easy by comparison. Think Tactically Proficient, Modern Day, Pioneer, not Spec Ops Soldier. Besides, like I’ve said before, you are not an Infantryman unless you have an Infantry (and that’s the whole organization, even if it’s only at squad level).

None of the people here are making money giving you this hard won advice. None of the people in this post who gave commentary really care what you think of them in relation to their thoughts on this serious topic. We have already earned the martial survivor skills we possess with blood, sweat, and tears, and the weak “The Mean Sergeant hurt my feelings” mewlings of an inexperienced civilian just shows us that that guy is more concerned about his effeminate feelings than his personal and group survival.

Be a small meteor, not a Snowflake.

JCD

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"The time for war has not yet come, but it will come and that soon, and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Gen. T.J. Jackson, March 1861

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ConSigCor
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Part 2 Of “Are You A ‘Snowflake’ Or A ‘Meteor’?” Becoming A Meteor.

Last week a group of four Combat Arms Veterans contributed to a post I wrote concerning the premise that, “on a good day, a civilian that has taken 3 or 4 SUT type classes from a Tactical Trainer won’t even be at the experienced Infantry PFC level”. Although the majority of the comments, both here at MDT, over at WRSA, and in personal emails were positive, even though there were still those who are still unwilling to mesh reality with their delusions of grandeur, concerning their level of training, and it’s comparison to that of the experienced Infantry PFC.

I have mentioned a number of times (these highlighted links are just a few examples) a variation of this theme, “You are not a Commando/Infantry, but you do not need to be.”. I actually had a guy say, “YES! and if you had just said it this way from the beginning then you might not be getting any negative feedback.” to part of my response to another comment he had made. My actual comment to him consisted of this, “Here’s the thing, “You can’t be what we are/were without doing what we do/did (BUT YOU DON’T NEED TO BE).”.

Let’s talk about that phrase for a minute. “You can’t be what we are/were without doing what we do/did (BUT YOU DON’T NEED TO BE).”. The question I’d imagine most SAC’s (Situationally Aware Civilian) have is, 1) How do I put myself on par with a guy who has not only gone through a 4 month One Station Unit Training course (Basic and Infantry School)? 2) Do I need to put myself on par with that guy to have a chance at surviving what is coming?

This post is about some of the “What”, the “Why”, and the “How” of “Combatant/Survivalist Skills” needed for the Neighborhood Protection Team member, or Survivalist. You are not Infantrymen, you have to be much more. As I have said a number of times, “Be a Survivalist who is a ‘Jack of all Trades’, master of some (preferably the life saving and life protecting arts).”. Are there Infantry skills that you should master? Hell Yes! In this post I mentioned the Army’s “Everybody requirement” concerning Common Task Testing. This is not an “Infantry specific” requirement, but an “Everyone” requirement. Have you mastered the tasks in that post? Even the “Water Purification Specialist” in the Army has to show proficiency in those tasks.

Most of you want to pick and choose what you want to learn, and what you want to avoid, and that doesn’t cut it if you are serious about surviving a combat scenario. This is what I said in the post, “If you can’t show proficiency in the common tasks of First Aid, Commo, Land Nav, Movement as a Buddy Team and in a patrol, and be proficient and accurate in the use of your primary weapon, when even a Dental Hygienist in the Army has to do it every year, how do you plan on functioning in an ‘Infantry’ type role?”. Remember that? Probably not huh?

Something else of note that was “made clear” in one of the comments on the last post was that we apparently don’t explain terminology well enough. The terms in question were “Offensive” (you are taking the fight to the bad guys) and “Defensive” (you are defending what you already have secured against the bad guys) in the context of operations. My response was thus, “You make out like we treat you like you are stupid, then get pissed when I don’t explain simple terms like “Defensive” and “Offensive”. Make up my mind, are you guys a bunch of illiterate, dull eyed retards, or are you rational, generally above median, adults (like I believe you are)?”.

This type of juvenile criticism is one of the reasons many of you get grief from people that are knowledgeable and experienced in the craft you wish to learn. So here’s the deal, if it is a term that is specific to the subject I am writing about, and not in common use, I will explain and define it. If it’s something simple like the two terms above, I expect you to look it up via google, a dictionary, or any of the following Field Manuals: FM 7-8, FM 21-75, ST 21-75-2 (presently the SH 21-76), or the ST 21-75-3.

What follows is the thoughts of the same four Combat Arms Vets who contributed to the first post. They all have a unique perspective, but you will notice, once again, a recurring theme. After the last contribution is complete, I will give some thoughts in closing.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Where You Are, Where You Need to Be, and How You Get There…One Way

Background of the Vet: 21 plus years active duty in the USAF; retired as a Senior NCO. Of that time, 12 years in Air Base Ground Defense (Air Force for ‘Infantry’); comprised of 5 years teaching advanced ‘infantry’ training, rated “Master Instructor”, specialized in patrolling, 5 years on a RDT (Rapid Deployment Team) for 81mm Mortar & Hostage Rescue concurrently. 5 years as NCOIC of Air Base Ground Defense at field units building and conducting local unit training.

In relation to the previous post regarding training and capabilities from those wishing to increase their personal skills for defense of home and community, my perspective is the following based on my own interaction with people asking for training over the last 17 years:

Where You (or the group you’re in probably) Are:

Awake to the precarious position of our society, economy (over-inflated market reports notwithstanding), and culture (the ever-increasing lack of civility and respect for individual property and natural rights).

Equipped, armed, and supplied to various levels from a minimum of a pistol, a rifle, and 500 rounds for the pistol and 1,000 rounds for the rifle, 6 months to a year of food for you and/or your family to the maximum of being able to arm your family and select friends, have a couple years of supplies, cases of ammunition, and a group of likeminded friends (some of which may or may not be former military with weapons and/or combat training/experience at one level or another).
Steadfastly refusing to standardize weapons, equipment, and other important factors.
Able to use your weapons on various ranges to various levels of accuracy without added stress during the exercise.
Possess disposable income or the ability to save in order to pay for more advanced skill set training than you have.
The proper mindset regarding what you are willing to do to safeguard those you care about to one degree or another.
Varying levels of physical fitness; mostly on the lower end (upper body strength, cardio, etc.); much improvement needed.
Deficient in knowledge and ability to apply:

o Realistic analysis of what training provides the largest return on investment for ‘real-world’ scenarios v. ‘cool guy’ training primarily centered on CQB or squad strength offensive operations.

o An analysis of capabilities necessary for your local neighborhood defense

o The ability to approach and persuade willing neighbors to join the effort

o Finding which neighbors possessing specialized skill sets for SHTF scenarios (doctors, nurses, dentists, HAM operators, etc.

o How to establish a secure defensive ‘pocket’ or area and keep it that way.

o Leadership skills (not a shot; most people aren’t trained in effective leadership – leadership is a learned behavior – that is founded on the ability to subordinate oneself to the mentor leader, and then the respect from your group must be earned).

o Intimate knowledge of avenues of approach into your personal AO by various organizations or entities (marauders, etc)

o Networking with and participation in any local emergency response initiative (yes, that means local government entities, as they will be first responders when S does HTF and can use the help, so long as you or your group isn’t posturing as ‘wannabe operators’).

Where You Need to Be

In a nutshell, you need to be able to personally do or complete all those bullet points above as well as others that will be apparent when you get to that point. Then, you need to get your group to buy in and do the same. The real trick is how you get to that point the most efficient and rapid way possible.

How You Get There (One Way)

Acknowledge that you need to refocus your efforts from attempting to emulate various high profile paramilitary groups and organizations to that of a “Neighbor Hood Protection” function. Keeping your efforts localized will help you protect that which is most important: family, friends, neighbors and your property.
Understand that learning never stops. You must constantly read and study a myriad of subjects from history to teaching methodology focusing on the adult learner to military tactics and strategy to classics that underscore the importance of personal courage and honor (some people have never been taught these values, and you may have to be the example and mentor). Buy, beg, borrow a copy of, “A Failure of Civility,” which is now out of print, and make it your personal blue print. It lines out exactly how to do what you need to do.
Read and apply Dale Carnegie’s, “How to win friends and influence people.” Doing so will go a long way in networking with your neighbors and persuading them to participate in any local preparations prior to a SHTF event. This might mean taking off the Oakley’s and boonie hat while having a barbecue, and losing the ‘thousand yard stare’ when being asked questions. Smile a bit. Talk about light hearted things during social events. There’ll be time enough during your Neighborhood Protection Meetings to be serious about setting up the defense.
Subordinate yourself to the most experienced/trained person in your group for training activities. If you are fortunate enough to have someone you know that’s a former combat arms type and was at least a staff NCO in your neighborhood or group, be humble enough to let the subject matter expert lead the training selected for the group. If you are lucky enough to be invited to a seminar given by a former SF troop (or even be involved in a social get together for coffee), especially the ‘old school SF troops (trained in unconventional warfare and force multiplication with indigenous troops) sit down, open your ears, take copious notes, and try to see how it applies to your situation. Not everything might be useful right away, but you’ll get an education.
Read and apply, “Extreme Ownership,” by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. You’ll not be sorry, because this reference will provide you a very good set of leadership principles that work. There are others, to be sure, but at $17, it’s the best money you’ll spend.
Disregard information on anything from anyone who tells you they have, ‘the only way’ or ‘the best way’ to do something, especially if they are selling their services. Be intelligent enough to know that there’s nothing new under the sun, and having many tools in the tool box provides more return than following one particular method because, well, ‘cool guy’.
Keep information on activities flowing to your group members, or ask for more information from your leadership on schedules, plans, etc. Don’t make your people be ‘mushrooms.’
Train with your team regularly in all areas you have learned. Make sure that some of the training involves being miserable, wet, tired, and cold if possible. Nothing makes a team come together better than shared misery.
Encourage personal defense weapon standardization. Platforms and calibers are not so important as everyone having the same tools, or as close as possible. It’s essential for increased survival odds during failed civility scenarios.
Get some people HAM qualified and licensed. Practice using the communications. Get a good scanner that’s capable of listening to emergency response organizational transmissions. You’ll be surprised what you can learn and what kind of warning you may receive on situations you might face.
Make sure that the scenarios you train for match your local area. If you’re not rural, you should concentrate on built up area tactics (defense, NOT kicking in doors…).
Understand that your training standards are absolute minimum acceptable performance measurements. There’s an old saying, “You don’t rise to the occasion, you sink to the level of your training. Train right along side your people. If you’re doing dry fire, then dry fire with them. If you’re doing land nav, do the same course.
In planning your neighborhood protection plan, leave nothing to chance. Make sure that you know everything there is to know about your defense zone.
Get the group to volunteer for service projects in and around your neighborhood. Be helpful. Be cheerful. Be something people want to belong to, or at least, something people are glad is in the neighborhood. One way to do this is to either join or form a “Neighborhood Watch Association” or a neighborhood association and hold events that promote preparedness without information dumping on attendees on the imminent end of the world as we know it. Got an old folks home? Get some people to volunteer for visitations to lonely old people, clean their grounds, cut their lawn, etc. Be service minded because that is a very good way to gain local credibility and allay any fears you and your group might be wacko.
Do not use rank! Use positions, innocuous names are best. Stay away from paramilitary sounding names and/or acronyms when dealing with the public. Don’t have multicam or military clothing making up your wardrobe. Earth tone field clothing works, too. Have gatherings where the ‘uniform of the day’ is business casual, such as a golf shirt and khakis. Why? Because you look ‘normal,’ that’s why. Remember, you’re not a military unit, and you shouldn’t dress or act like one. Drill and ceremonies have no place in what you’re trying to accomplish.
Rid yourselves of any conception that you are some sort of ‘unit.’ You’re a protection group. End of transmission.

If you try the above, you will eventually get to where you need to be to protect your local area that you are capable of defending. No, you won’t be, ‘Infantry’ trained, but you don’t need to be. There are other ways – this is one way.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Retired Infantry Captain

Apparently I was hard on PFCs, so here goes.

PFC used to mean you’d arrived at being a qualified Infantryman. PV1, PV2 meant you were not yet fully functional. Somewhere along the way, Recruiting Command was allowed to award rank for PT scores, bringing a friend, or making it through a semester of college without ending up with a “judicial enlistment.” This was a mistake.

What makes PFCs are NCOs. Full stop. These are missing in JC’s scenario and, once upon a time, in Iraq. Keep in mind the events below occurred concurrently, with lots of moving parts that don’t make for a logical narrative.

When I was a senior adviser to a newly formed Iraqi unit (2004-5), we had 68 guys in man dresses and flip flops. We were issued Iraqi officers. One company commander (Major) was outstanding and the lieutenants were surprisingly adequate. That commander had fought Americans in Desert Storm and the first month of Operation Iraqi Freedom. His comment to me? “I’m tired of having

my ass kicked by you guys. Our [Iraqi Army] problem is we have no NCOs. We must train NCOs.” “Yes, sir.”

Selection went something like this. (Mob of Iraqis.) “Who here has combat experience?” (Hands go up.) “Great: Stand over there. Who fought Americans?” (Iraqi vets look at the ground.) “Ok fellas, we’re on the same side now.” (A few hands.) “Great: You guys stand over there.” First group

was made team leaders. Second group was squad leaders and platoon sergeants. Brevet NCOs, pending combat performance, which was not long in coming. The learning curve was quite steep, as the training consisted of new tasks, rehearsals, and off to the two way live fire. Initially, Iraqi squads were sent on confidence patrols with American units commanded by friends who agreed to

help while we sorted out NCO and officer training. (This doesn’t even begin to address the logistical issues, which were fixed with an unpretty combination of horse trading, deception, lies, outright theft, and confidence targets. That is the subject of another paper. Suffice it to say the US Army had not given Iraqi Army logistics any thought whatsoever.)

Those who did well kept their new rank. The less functional were promptly returned to the ranks for further assessment. The newly blooded NCOs were then turned over to veteran American NCOs who had orders to impart discipline, skills, and organization. Once the original 68 were sorted, recruiting began. Initially, we did all training in house. All of it. All. Of. It. Iraqi NCOs were drilled in the evening on the next day’s training, then put in front of their flip flop shod recruits, with American oversight. Emphasis on discipline, marksmanship, and

battle drills. Keep in mind while this was going on, officers were being trained on their tasks, then integrated into collective training and combat operations. Later, the US Army got around to setting up basic training in the middle of the desert. It was satisfactory and wholly based on input from operational units. The Iraqis did not get around to marching for some time. PT was brutal, by design.

Keep in mind that medics, commo guys, drivers, supply guys, clerks, cooks, intel, personnel managers, staffs, etc. were being trained concurrently as well. We were rebuilding an army. Die, Bremer. Just. Die.

Some of you will recognize the preceding paragraph as the staff formation discussion that was conducted at JC’s a few years ago. One hopes you at least compiled the recommended manuals.

Here’s the deal:

​You must have good NCOs to have good PFCs.

Bonus, guaranteed to aggravate everyone who isn’t already ticked off: You must have good NCOs to have good company commanders. Lieutenants are there to learn to be commanders, coordinate, and be brave. If you have bad commanders, there are two reasons: NCOs who failed to train lieutenants, and senior officers who failed to get rid of the unwilling, untrainable, and unskilled.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Survivalist Tactics vs. The Infantry, II

This writer held every position on a Long Range Surveillance Team up to Assistant Team Leader (ATL) and on the Line as a Fire Team Leader, Squad Leader and Weapons Squad Leader, and had three deployments, twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan.

In my last I identified why training and working under the assumption that you are an Infantryman and can conduct yourself as such is not only foolish but is likely a death sentence for you and your people. You do not have the material nor the support, and especially not the discipline nor the people. Perhaps that last one needs touching on again; what happens when your merry band of defenders say, “No.”? How do you compel a volunteer group to actually face death? Why would you want people who are generally blowhards and/or never-has-beens to do this anyway?

You know that type I’m talking about. That’s your average militia dud with a facebook or twitter page and his whole network on display posting circle-jerk memes. Enough of them, let’s get to you. Before we go anywhere or put on our cool guy kits, lets face reality:

You Don’t Have an Army Behind You.
You are your Own Logistics.
You Can Only Defend What You Can Support (and you need to know how to support what you plan on defending).

These three are interdependent realities. You may not have an army behind you but you do have a community; they live there and know the area better than any occupying force will. Rural communities are better at self sufficiency. Those same communities are far more likely to properly defend what they own as a means of ensuring posterity versus the house of cards that is modern suburbia. They’re leery of outsiders too; keep that in mind. What constitutes ownership, anyway?

The ability to enforce command over that which you claim; my the third point. The community and your standing within it, known as social capital, is what lays the foundation. It is the first tactic. With nothing to defend and no consent of those defended, you will be outcasts and killed off quickly as problems and not solutions.

Infantrymen as a cohesive unit have none of these concerns. Their supply line is theirs and the responsibility of an adjacent supporting unit. Their job is to close with and destroy an enemy; the consent to function is granted by that entity which feeds, trains and arms them. Nothing more. That’s why the Afghans call us ‘tourists’.

The second is planning. You must identify the objective before you can rock a mag into that sweet Kalashnikov you just bought. Community defense is exactly that; defense. You are not offensive troops and you lack the capability or tactical sophistication to be anything other than what you are.

Without overwhelming numbers, the use of converging routes, or the means to replenish significant losses you will remain defensive if you want to live. So if we’re planning a defensive posture, our biggest ally is terrain. All people are creatures of habit. We follow patterns and take the paths of least resistance generally. Some of the more experienced calls this ‘natural lines of drift’, meaning, paths people drift along, like roads, rivers, valleys, passes, etc.

The defender then, like a hunter, uses this reality to his advantage and can create natural choke points to create the maximum number of casualties among those he’s attacking. The faster the fight is over and the less material you’ve wasted, the better off you are. Using that AR-15 like a bullet hose is a bad idea- marksmanship matters, a bunch of noise doesn’t, and marksmanship out to longer distance (3-400m) then becomes another force multiplier.

Hit probabilities to those reacting to contact at 400m and from multiple angles is far less likely than those on the attack from pre-planned hides with the inclusion of other force multipliers. Once you’re in your positions, you should have the range to your killzone already known, drawn on an improvised range card (a piece of cardboard with hand drawn target references on it with distances) and

should train on coordinating fire from those positions.

The idea of an ambush is to quickly and efficiently kill everything in the trap, but in case you don’t, have a team watching the opposition’s march in, closing the trap once they pass by. Of course I have to know they’re coming first, which

​means my contacts in the community let me know one way or another…see the pattern here (more than just you or your ‘little group’)?

So the two most important tools to learn are terrain analysis and team marksmanship, coordinated over an area. These are called intersecting fires. Is there a time for the battle drill 1 stuff? Sure, absolutely, when you’re taken by surprise. You should rehearse this for that reason; what to do on unexpected contact, because the reality is that if you’re walking about with your band o’ bubbas and happen to forget the principles of concealment or quiet movement, it might happen. But you shouldn’t be bunched up to begin with, plan converging routes for your group members to get to their positions, and should be taking the path of MOST resistance to afford the maximum cover. Don’t forget the utility of crawling.

Once more we find our plan at the heart of staying alive. In order to plan, we have to know our terrain. In order to know our terrain, we have to be familiar with the lay of the land. In order to do any of the above, we have to have consent of our community. And you do none of the above, but parade about in a show of self importance, one will learn just how important they actually are.

Effective training on tactics, from any trainer with real credentials including time actually doing it, begins with learning to plan. This is why Operations Orders and Troop Leading Procedures are emphasized from the first day of any military school. This is why you should seek out those with actual experience for training; they know the value of the basics and the consequences of forgetting them in

lieu of something you learned playing airsoft. And while this may seem mundane to the uninitiated, running around shooting fast at targets makes you an easy one to the guy who knows what he’s doing.

Do not lose sight of your reason for being.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

From an 18F

Nobody said don’t take classes or train. All we said in the last post is don’t give yourself airs you neither earned nor can claim. A couple or half dozen weekend “SUT” classes (they are no such thing) may give you some confidence

in weapons handling or impart some elementary level of “buddy team” cooperation [how much is debatable because the “buddy” you trained with probably lives over 100 miles away], but it will never make you a “squady.”

What whichever classes are available to you will do for you is give you a skill set that is above the skill set of the street shit you are most likely to encounter – and that is all you will need. And here is the thing… with your weekend “SUT” classes you are in a position to train others who live around you. I’ve said this many times, and it bears repeating: Be cadre.

But here is the other thing… When you are cadre, in necessity others will look to you. At first for technical guidance (weapons handling, etc), and afterward for leadership – because you know how to handle weapons, etc.. And there, guaranteed, is where you will fall flat on your face and put everybody who has turned to you in peril.

Because of your “SUT” training, which has nothing whatsoever to do with small unit tactics and cannot help you in small unit tactical situations. So there is your dilemma. As a “SUT” trained cadre you can train a neighborhood guard to whatever standard you learned. Which will largely be sufficient against common street shit. But, inevitably, someday, somebody is going to show up with an army. What are you going to do, cadre, when all eyes turn in your direction?

And that is what separates the infantryman from the weekend “SUT” class tourist. Keep taking “SUT” classes. Learn what you can. Be cadre and help your neighbors. Fend off street shit. When somebody shows up with an army… take an oath of fealty.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

I read a post by Bill Buppert at Zero Hedge, and although I understand where he is coming from, I don’t think he has a realistic view of the average people he is talking about. He said, “There is a stream of consciousness modality currently coursing through the prepper and III% community that if you aren’t infantry, you can’t take the fight to the enemy no matter how competent you may be as men of the gun or whatever background you hail from.”

So let’s get some terminology straight. “I haven’t said “Can’t”, I’ve said “Shouldn’t”. Why is that my opinion? Reality and practicality. The majority I have encountered cannot even get their defensive preps squared away because they’re too concerned with doing the “Tacticool” “Operator” shit (CQB, Raid, Ambush). You’re first priority should be to your loved ones defense, correct? Post SHTF, Offensive Ops shouldn’t even be considered till your defensive ops are underway, and even then, probably not because most just will not have the appropriate manpower for anything but defense.

Start with the basics. Lay the groundwork for a solid defensive foundation, then MAYBE move on to the consideration of an offensive action if urgently needed. But keep in mind, depending on perspective, that offensive operation you conducted could come back to bite you in the ass legally. If you believe that’s BS, look at some examples from the former Yugoslavia, and tell me that possibility isn’t there.

Another post that WRSA put up today, reinforces the point we made in the last post about, “on a good day, a civilian that has taken 3 or 4 SUT type classes from a Tactical Trainer won’t even be at the experienced Infantry PFC level”. “SPC Slick” can shown proficiency in the CTT. Can you?

If you still wanna run Offensive Infantry Ops I’d say, “Show me your group commander and it’s NCO’s and tell me about their experience. As was said earlier by the Captain, the NCO’s are the core of the group in an operational setting, and any operation being conducted by the group is made to work by it’s NCO’s, and you don’t have any….do you?

Organization is critical. Figure out what scenarios you believe you should prepare for, and prioritize preparations according to the degree of immediate threat, the likelihood of the threat, and your realistic ability to prepare for the threat. Here is some things I posted in this post,

1). Do you have general, realistic preps in place?
2) Do you have a solid, well thought out and realistic plan to deal with the general and specific concerns you’ve identified?
3) Are you physically and/or logistically equipped and able to carry out the planned responses to these threats.

If your answer is “No” to any one of the questions above, you need to address and correct that. As was said by at least one of the contributors, after you get training in something, pass it on to your group as soon as possible. This doesn’t mean you are now a professional trainer. What it means is that hopefully, you have the ability to take what you learned and immediately regurgitate it to your family, friends and group members (it is critical that you teach it as soon as you can, so the lessons are still fresh and clear in your mind, a three day tactical class will give you familiarity, not proficiency or mastery).

An issue I had with a couple guys who received their “Bushbastard” tabs was that they wanted to be able to confer the award to those that they taught, and I said, “Under no circumstances will that be allowed.” The comment I received was, “I thought you wanted us to go home and teach what we learned?” To which I responded, “Yes, teach what you learned, but the only people handing out “Bushbastard” tabs are me or a designee that I feel are not only trained well enough to teach the material I have put together exactly as it is supposed to be taught, but will also enforce the standards in testing that I require for the award.”

Any trainer that has an issue with a former student teaching what they’ve learned to their family and friends is probably more worried about the almighty dollars they are missing out on, than they are about helping people prepare for what’s coming.

To recap,

Decide whether “Preparing for doomsday” is a hobby or a conviction. If it’s a hobby, stop reading. If it’s a conviction, continue with this list.
Pick the Leader of your group if he hasn’t been selected already. ( or was it going to be a democracy….? Good luck with that).
Make a plan that covers the scenarios you’re concerned about.
Organize you’re logistics on hand and plan your future purchases based on the realistic needs required for the scenarios you’re preparing for.
Determine which logistical preps can be generalized to cover all scenarios, and make their acquisition a priority.
Organize the personnel in your group based on A) Abilities they already possess via employment or hobby (Former Infantry, EMT, HAM, etc.), or B) capabilities they plan on getting via training course or new hobby. Encourage furthering the education in those areas.
Organize the critical information about your area (maps, area sketches, etc.) into something that is detailed, easily accessible, and understandable.
Get as much realistic training in personal protection (both empty hand, and firearm) and area/ retreat defense from a proven source (I wrote about how to find and verify the bona fides of the non-professional ones here).
Get as much First Aid, TCCC, and Extended Care training as possible.
Do as much PT as you are physically capable of doing. You know if you are cheating yourself and those who will be counting on you.
Learn as much as you can about how the pioneers of the 1800’s did EVERYTHING!
After your group get’s organized, network with other local groups for support.

Defending your area (to include presence patrols) is a full time job and takes a number of personnel for round the clock security. I wrote about how to put together a schedule for security here. This post contains some good defensive area prep info, and in this post I wrote about the steps I recommend for the individual to get prepared. This post is in no way exhaustive, but the bottom line is that five people took of their precious free time to try and give suggestions to help you get ready for bad times. Whether you agree with them or not, take that for what it’s worth.

YOU ARE NOT AN INFANTRYMAN, BUT YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE. YOU HAVE TO BE MUCH, MUCH MORE!

JCD

--------------------
"The time for war has not yet come, but it will come and that soon, and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Gen. T.J. Jackson, March 1861

Posts: 15162 | From: A 059 Btn 16 FF MSC | Registered: Oct 2001  | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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