19 Jan, 2015
Here is an AAR from one of the participant in the first “Level 101 class” (Fire Team and Squad) class we’ve done in the RSF SUTAT Series. We did “100” in July, and were supposed to have “101” in September (do that math), but a scheduling conflict with their site near Pittsburgh (Yes, I’ve been travelling to them for these classes), delayed “101” till now. This group will be taking the “102” class in the Spring, and it consists of a culmination exercise and FTX that tests all skills acquired during 100, and 101, and also re-enforces the need for realistic PT, by requiring students to complete specific Light Infantry oriented tasks (they know what they are). Upon completion of the testing, the students receive a “Bushbastard” tab. This isn’t some “High speed, Low drag, tip of the condom” BS. It is purely an indicator to those who know how it is awarded, that the wearer has a basic level knowledge of infantry squad tactics and techniques, and has shown that he can not just regurgitate the answers months later, but can physically complete the tasks relevant to that subject.
A students observations:
This was the second class in our RSF series with Mason Dixon Tactical. Since most people there were previous students, very little time had to be wasted with introductions. So things got going relatively quickly. We spent the first day going over the handout (with practical exercises) which JC had prepared in advance. This handout was, and will continue to be a vital tool in the training of our group. Since people tend to write “their version” of notes sometimes, It was nice to have them already prepared in advance and should thus, eliminate any question that may arise due to poor notes or lack of notes all together. Going forward these notes will be vital to the success of others in our group taking the training from those of us who were actually in attendance.
The weather was cold as expected, but that didn’t slow down the output of good training we received. JC’s instruction was spot on and he was more than willing to take time with those who had questions about the various topics that were covered. Nobody left with any questions, and everyone seemed extremely pleased with the class overall. One of the most interesting things I find about JC’s method of instruction, is his ability to “keep it light” so to speak. We all know the inherent dangers of what we are doing, and what we will be risking should the time ever come; But JC’s ability to keep things light (whenever possible) really added to the experience and made it much more pleasant overall. At certain points his sense of humor even added to lessons learned, in my particular case when an entire ambush squad opened up on me while I was clearing a jam… While funny at the time, upon reflection it showed me just how fast you can be overtaken and just how people will wait until the most inopportune moment to launch an ambush on you. And more importantly, how you have to maintain your cool to get through it safely.
Also something else worthy of note is just how much of the information we received in the first class (level 100, July 2014) was actually drawn upon in the second class. It wasn’t one of those courses where you learn something and then never use it again. Every thing we learned in the first course was drawn upon in this one, and I think that really adds to the experience in that even though we didn’t have much of a refresher of the first course, we were given an inadvertent refresher since we continually had to draw upon those skills over and over. I think people repeatedly drawing upon the basics will enable them to simply fall back on their training when the time so arises and there is a need to do so.
Operating in the snow is always an experience and JC didn’t waste the opportunity so show folks how to use that to our advantage during patrols and while setting up ambushes. Different types of camo and other discussions relating to cover and concealment were had and enjoyed by all.
Overall, I was very pleased with the course and am very excited about the next one (Level 102, culmination test and FTX). I personally can’t wait to use my newly acquired skills in the next class as it boosts ones confidence levels to know you have the training to make it through. Although others may try to imitate JC’s training, you will never be able to beat the training coming from someone who has been there and done that, and who also has the good sense to think, some things can be done better, even though that may not have been the way they were initially trained. Methods have to sometimes be adapted, (especially in the case of civilians with no prior military training) and JC has no problem doing that whatsoever.
Laurel Highlands Ghost Company
American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE