As most of you know, I’m not real big on posting AAR’s from my classes. Because I do this part time, I simply don’t feel the need to advertise much if any. My info is out there, and you can read about the type of classes I teach from previous stuff here on the blog. It’s been a while since I did post an AAR, so I figured (I was actually told by a friend I needed to LOL) that I would go ahead and post an AAR from a recent Rural Buddy Team Essentials Course (RBTEC), to let everyone know it’s still being taught and we’re still teaching what’s important to those who need it.
I’m only posting one AAR (the first one I received after class) simply because it tells you what went on and what was gained from the class. By the way, you might have noticed that I generally don’t post recognizable pics of students anymore. This is for obvious reasons, and I don’t plan on putting targets on my students backs anymore than they probably already have. The Buddy team that is mentioned in the AAR is from the Tennessee/Mississippi line area and both are Mil vets. Note: The Bold highlights are mine.
Name: Bruce from TN
- As a former Marine, I have (or had) a limited exposure to patrolling in general (I was not in the infantry). However, it has been about 20 years since that exposure.
- Why we attended:
- My Buddy and I have been practicing our patrolling skills over the past few months, and we wanted either a) confirmation that we are on the right track, or b) corrective action before our mistakes became too ingrained.
- What we hoped to get out of it:
- Besides what I referred to in my answer to the “Why we attended” question above, I hoped to get additional “nuggets of knowledge” from JC based on his experience.
- What we got out of it:
- My Buddy and I gained confirmation that the training that we have been doing up to this point is on the right track.
- We also gained some pointers on simplifying some of our current procedures:
- Removing the “Set” command when bounding during a fire fight.
- Removing the “Green” command during a fire fight (used to inform the other that their rifle was working again if it stopped working for any reason during a fire fight).
- Crossing a linear danger area as a buddy team, and not individually.
- Revisiting using a butt pack versus a patrol pack / backpack during a rural patrol (the frameless patrol pack shifts around and it’s very hard to see when low crawling with a backpack).
- Our default fall back direction should be to the rear (since we just came that way, and it should be the safest based on what information we have), and not to the right or left.
- We really want FLIR capability for night patrols.
- Use common sense.
- We need to work on our physical fitness even more than we have been up to this point.
- We were able to test our gear in a new environment, and to test it more rigorously than we had been able to in the past. As such, we need to make some gear adjustments (or reconfiguration our current gear layout).
- Without a support chain we need to meter our fire during a fire fight. Ammo is precious, and it is easy to go through many rounds in a short amount of time.
- A synopsis of what we did:
- Friday evening (since we arrived early), we went over IMT’s (Individual Movement Techniques-low crawl, high crawl, & bounding / rushing).
- Saturday we went on several patrols throughout the day. Our first patrol contained one encounter, which was with an innocent pedestrian (a non-hostile, even though he was armed) (Their Buddy Team lit him up. When I asked them “Why did you kill that guy?” they realized that just being armed isn’t a reason to shoot someone, even in WROL. I pointed out “Well, you are also armed, are you automatically a threat to everyone?”). Our second patrol contained two encounters, both of them near ambushes (one while walking uphill, one while walking down hill) (They learned that although breaking contact uphill is a “smoker”, breaking contact downhill is just downright treacherous.). Our third patrol was a “long” patrol, where JC took us to various locations in the woods, and asked us to provide our thoughts on the tactical uses / advantages of those locations (A few of the things we covered were requirements for patrol base locations and pointed out good spots for these. We covered good LP/OP positions, and integrating them into PB exfil route overwatch.). Our fourth patrol was a night patrol, during which we encountered two near ambushes (They did not use Night Vision, and the OpFor actually maneuvered on them in one of the night ambushes, requiring them to realize that what is best [breaking contact to their rear] might have to be replaced by “What is less desirable, but still effective [breaking contact to the non OpFor flank]).
- In between patrols we had classroom discussions on topics such as the different types of patrols, personal camouflage , and cover and concealment.
- Sunday morning we patrolled out to the “range” (3/4 of a mile), where we practiced attacking a target listed as an “LP/OP”. We started receiving fire from that position while going to help a neighbor under attacks (this was the scenario). We had five practice runs on the 100 meter “jungle” lane; two dry fire runs, one run with blanks (to verify proper use of the MDT “Muzzle, Trigger, Safety” rules), and two runs with live ammunition. And then we hiked back to the class site by a different patrol route (1 mile).
- High points:
- To me the entire time was a high point, as we got to practice scenarios and skills that we have not been able to practice up to this point. We also got to break in our gear to see what worked and what didn’t.
- What I liked:
- Learn from your mistakes: JC would have us go on a patrol, and watch our reactions to various encounters (such as encountering a non-hostile pedestrian, running into an ambush, etc.). Once the encounter was played out, he would then go over what we did correctly and incorrectly. By letting us make mistakes (and “pay the price” of those mistakes), we were much more attentive to his explanation as to what we did incorrectly during the encounter. We were then able to apply the lessons learned from previous patrols / ambushes in subsequent patrols.
- Out of the box: The scenarios were realistic scenarios that you would encounter, but they were not scripted. Both sides (the patrol and the aggressors) were allowed / encouraged to react and think on their feet. No two encounters (or scenarios) were the same.
- Opposing forces: Since we used blanks during our patrols, we were able to run through ambush scenarios. The opposing forces reacted to our actions during the encounter, making it more realistic. This is an experience that My Buddy and I have not been able to experience during our previous training, and it was invaluable.
- No square range: During our live fire exercise, we worked on real terrain (complete with tall grass and deadfall), and not on a range with little/no debris. Again, this was a more realistic scenario.
- What I didn’t like:
- We always patrolled along trails/roads. Again, since this is an introductory class, I understand the need for safety while going over new concepts, but in a real-world environment, it is rare that you would patrol down a road or trail (they would be treated as liner danger areas that needed to be crossed). (As stated before and touched on by Bruce, we use trails for the safety factor and so I can go off in the woods ahead of the teams and watch their movement as a Buddy Team when they pass by, [without having to give a LandNav class during this course, that’s a two day class all by itself]. Use of the trail for the “react to ambush” patrols at night is extremely critical for safety during an introductory class, and for the Buddy Team to keep track of each other as they go through their reaction to the ambush)
- Stupid coyotes keeping me up the first night with their incessant howling.
- I would highly recommend others taking this class for the following reasons:
- For an introductory class, there was a decent amount of material that was covered with a lot of detail.
- I was very impressed with JC’s ability to impart his knowledge and expertise in (what I thought was) a very relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere, especially considering the subject matter at hand.
- There was a certain amount of role playing throughout the class (during the patrols) where you were allowed to practice what you learned in the class, and even improvise, if necessary, to better suit your needs.
- JC does not have a “it’s my way or the highway” mentality. If you do something that works for your buddy team (like using the term “red” instead of “loading” during a fire fight to indicate that you cannot provide suppressive fire), then that is OK.
- See my responses to the “What I liked” section above.
- What I liked:
I am looking forward to recruiting 10-12 other folks here in the Tenn/Miss. area, so that JC can teach a class down here.
There you have it, RBTEC in a “nutshell”. The students busted their asses (mid 90’s and high humidity “DRINK WATER!”), took advice and improved their skillset. If you don’t have the basic building blocks of the “Individual” and “Buddy Team”, trying to be a “Fire Team” and/or a “Squad” is a moot point. Building your skillsets with a solid foundation can be the difference between success and failure, and in this case “failure” might be loss of life of loved ones or yourself. Special Note: Thanks to Doug for helping AI this class, your assistance with the OpFor and as a range “Safety” was invaluable.
American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE