March 15-16 CRCD Class AAR
Alright, I know I’m more than a little late, but I finally got myself squared away after moving to Kentucky.
A little about me, just so you understand where I am coming from in my assessment of the class. I finished 8 years in the Army the day I drove out to west Virginia for the class, I actually signed out on terminal leave that morning. I have deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq. I was a light infantryman, and have a large amount of practice fighting, and teaching soldiers how to fight. That being said, I still learned a lot from this class.
I really enjoyed this class, and I made a call to some of my promising corporals and specialists in my unit telling them that they should attend. I made those calls because Max doesn’t teach you the Army way, where if you ask the newest private why he just did what he did, and he answers “Because Sergeant SoandSo told me to!” He talks through each drill, explaining why he teaches it this way, and the logic behind his thinking. Knowing WHY you are doing something is extremely helpful when drill A doesn’t fit perfectly in a given situation. The reasoning behind the drill still works, and because you know why that drill works that way, you can still react properly.
Max does use the crawl, walk, run, method of teaching, and since there is not a known set level of everyone’s skill set, he has to start at the bottom. (Okay, not the very bottom, everyone is assumed to know which end of the rifle the bullets come out, and that they do indeed come out moving very fast.) What I also saw, was that each drill builds onto the next, from react to contact, to the two choices you have when you have made a surprise contact. (Attack, or run) Each step brought you closer to the weekends final goal, of enacting a squad attack.
Safety was never a real issue while on the course, there was a through safety brief, and a detailed explanation of where the medical bin was located, and most, I think maybe all, students had an IFAK/BOK/ boo-boo kit on their rigs. I was thoroughly impressed with the students firearms handling. I never had my inner NCO break out and skull thump someone for flagging me, or someone around me. I never saw the need. If I had been in the woods for more than 6 hours with a sections worth of trained professional soldiers, I would have had to take at least one over a ridge and conducted some spontaneous personal training on why it is bad to put your muzzle on your foot.
Max maintained his professionalism the entire class, I saw only one minor difference of opinion between him and a student, and it was handled quietly and quickly without anyone’s ego getting in the way. He responds positively to good actions, and he will let you know in a very polite way what you did wrong, and how to correct it.
Okay, here are some key take aways I got from the class.
1. Your gear will fail you. Your training won’t. My personal lesson here was that I need to change my EOTech’s battery more often. My battery died at the very beginning of the jungle walk and I had to transition to iron sights. Caused a whole half a second delay between the oh crap, I really need to shoot that guy, and lowering my head ¼ inch to the irons so I could shoot him.
1a. Practice for failures. Carry what you need to fix the most common problems your gear has. I moved my cleaning rod from my rucksack to my belt. An anonymous person had a failure to extract and needed one, and no one had one on their kit.
2. Do PT. Do more PT. Do even more PT. I am in good shape. I am young. I lead PT for an hour and a half Monday through Friday, and try to do a Spartan race/tough mudder/renegade playground challenge/zombie run/goruck challenge every weekend. I was pretty beat by the end of the weekend.
3. Knee pads are your friend.
4. Don’t be cheap, just because you can get by with 500 rounds, doesn’t mean you should have to. Each time you pull the trigger you get a little more practice. Bring more. (I ended up borrowing ammo… That’s a first for me, I still owe Megan a couple boxes of 5.56)
5. Teach people how to crawl. Tanker crawling with your ass in the air is not crawling.
On camping, I tried to stay as light as I could, and got all of my gear into one 3 day bag and spent the night out on the range. There was another pair there who went gear heavy, and they seemed much more comfortable than I was. It’s fun to camp, and there’s even a fire pit and some good folks to shoot the breeze with. It was a little chilly, but nothing you couldn’t muddle through with even a smidgen of field craft.
On gear, I saw every possible configuration of gear out there over the weekend. From battle belts, to veitnam era LBE’s to my own rig of plate carrier with steel plates and battle belt. As long as it works for you, use it. Train with it. Do PT in it. Wear it all day until it feels like an extension of your body. Wear it around your house, fiddle with it, get it perfect, and then fiddle with it some more.
Overall I was very pleased with the class. I meet some great people, and will to go to another class when time and money permit. It’s well worth the money, time, and ammo. You will leave better than you arrived. Granted, you will not be a tier 1 operator after a weekend in the woods, but you will have the basic building blocks to getting there.
I was rather confused by the term ball licking (bollocking) until someone was kind enough to translate Max’s English to redneck for me.