Been gone from the blog for a while, decided to start posting again, here's how I spent last weekend with a buddy of mine, Thanks again for the good time Max.
JC Dodge left, Max rightThe ease with which I write this AAR cannot be understated. I take pleasure in saying “This course rocked!”. The reason I feel so strongly about how well done this course is, goes back to why I also teach these skills. It’s simple, TIME IS SHORT!”. And we’re both passionate about passing it on. Knowing that someone else is also teaching these skills, in a easy to understand, no BS manner, means that many more civilians will be ready when the music stops. After meeting Max back in August, I’ve been continually impressed by his matter of fact, “Call a spade a spade.” manner. He constantly uses this on the blog to shoot down the “Modern Warfare 3/ retreat sniper theoreticians”, whose presence infects the blogosphere with their “tacticool” madness.
Infantry skills/Small Unit Tactics are not hard to figure out and implement with proper instruction,. However, if you were not fortunate enough to have served in the military, and more specifically in combat arms, understanding these skills and tactics can be overwhelming, not to mention the “Suck” of the “implementation” part, and constantly wondering if your doing it right. Max has designed a Program Of Instruction that addresses these concerns. It is almost exactly like my POI, but with some small variations to topics that reflect our nationality .mil backgrounds. Upon my arrival on Saturday morning (I decided to ruck in) Max was in the process of explaining some basic tactical theory, and was getting ready to do a practical exercise. Introductions were made, and greetings were exchanged with some of my former students (yes, there are people that can give you a comparison), then we got on with the class. Everything that Max taught was a carefully blended combination of military techniques with an eye towards the reality of the armed civilian in a SHTF context.
Max has evaluated and implemented the most necessary infantry skills/drills into a three day course that will test the student physically and mentally, without being a “Because I said so!” military style fantasy camp. The students were able to conduct live fire drills that included Center peel-break contact, Break contact with follow on flank attack, Ambush, and Raid. There are some other drills that were conducted, but those are surprises for future students, so you’ll only know if you’ve been there. Max gave spot on instruction (different terms, same content) in How to plan for a patrol, How to plan and set up a patrol base, How to form and implement an OPORD (the very basics of the operations order), How to plan (somewhat detailed) and conduct (you just go do it and hope you don't get caught by the OpFor) a reconnaissance of a target, and How to put it all together, using the principles a patrolling to make sure your not trying to reinvent the wheel or are violating basic standards that were figured out a long time ago. Planning for an ambush and then a follow on raid was something most people (non Combat Arms personnel, the Infantry does it all the time) in the military don’t even get to do, especially with a live fire exercise, so take that for what it’s worth-GOLD!
As a trainer, it can be hard to implement live fire training that is realistic, yet doesn’t violate concrete safety rules that have to be enforced so all go home intact at the end of the day. As someone who has seen poor safety procedures be allowed while conducting a live fire, I can tell you that there was never any safety issues in this course, and anything that appeared to come close was squashed in a hurry, before it became an issue. Max has planned out the ranges well, and it gave me, as the safety for the support by fire elements, a huge advantage. I never had to worry about the students not getting the full affect of “real world” techniques, but we were still able to keep the safety of students at the forefront of the exercises.
In the end state, “The nut behind the butt.” And most importantly, what’s between his ears, trumps the latest tacticool gear and weapons. What Max gives people (as much as is possible without Force on Force OpFor) is a hands on example of real world tactics, techniques, and procedures, and the understanding to make your own, and implement those TTP’s into a plan which will take care of business when Pandora’s box is opened. It was a pleasure to help Max with the class, and after seeing their performance, I’d fight with any one of them if necessary. My reasons are simple. They’ve got the desire to spend hard earned pay to learn (Max and I used to get paid to do this crap) when it’s easier to watch a YouTube video, and call that a “training day”. They also have the heart to perform, which is something we can’t teach. I consider Max a friend, and kindred spirit, he has the same drive as I do to get people ready for when, not if, we end up in SHTF, and hopefully that desire will save lives. In the end, that’s what it’s all about.
P.S. As an aside, something you as a student will take away from this course, is what “SUCK” actually means from an Infantryman’s perspective. It’s a small taste, but it’s a taste. As I told one of my former students that attended this class, “This stuff sucks just as much for Max and I as it does you guys. We’ve just learned to deal with the reality of infantry life, and to a certain degree, embrace it. As leaders and trainers we’ve learned to hide it so it might help motivate those that look to us for direction.”
JC Dodge-Mason Dixon Tactical
American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE