Email: First Time TAB Experience, US Army.

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March 24, 2015
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March 26, 2015

In my inbox. SSG ****** sends:

Long time forum lurker, I post as RedWire.  I cannot access your website on my work computer, so I will email you to share my revelations on the subject of the TAB.

My unit is currently hosting a group of British ********** troops here in ***, and I volunteered to take them on a ruck here at *****.  Thankfully it wasn’t ___________________________.  Regardless, between your website and through rumors, I was expecting to be left on the trail in a twisted heap…. So this morning, we stepped off at a 13 min mile pace, 48lbs in my Mystery Ranch ruck, Garmont NFS boots on my feet, lord knows how heavy the Brits had their bergens.  First mile we made in 11 minutes.  Out of 5 hills encountered on the tank trail, we ran up two and down two and speed walked the 5th one.  My LT and the Brits sprinted the last 1/4 mile of a 4.75 mile route, I had a moment of weakness as we just topped a hill and kept my 14 min pace and let them go ahead.  My time for the distance 1 hour 40 seconds. 4.76 miles.  They were easily 4 minutes ahead of me after their sprint to the finish.

Observations-

Being able to pull speed out of your “reserves” consistently seems to be their strongpoint

A 13:30 pace was a walk in the park to these gentlemen, I was exerting myself but not feeling terrible.

Hill work, if people aren’t used to it, it will burn you down fast.

I have only seen one group of people who can pull out of a 10-11 min mile TAB and settle into a 13:30 pace in a consistent manner without losing momentum and falling into a 15 min pace…That would be your former comrades in the British Army.  The US Army will sprint and then go to almost a crawl and lose their momentum.

I thought my pace wasn’t possible, even after reading your website every week and knowing others have done it.  Now I have done it (I hope a 12:45 average pace is a start?) and I understand what you mean by Tactical Advance to Battle.  This ruck didn’t leave me winded at the end, which I know you mention is important, that you have the energy at the end to make contact with the enemy.  Thanks for taking the time to read this, if you wish to post it to the website or Facebook, please redact my location and full name and the specific unit of the British Army.  Looking forward to the Patriot Dawn sequel and some leave time to attend your training.

SSG *******.

6 Comments

  1. Diz says:

    We had much the same experience when I was in the Ill ArNG. We did an exchange program with the Royal Green Jackets. The company sent over to train with them was thoroughly trounced into the ground on a TAB. Our guys were over-weight, out of shape. And they paid for it.

    The Brits aren’t so naïve. The Coy they sent over here to train with us were all top notch soldiers. They expected to be put to the test. All they got from us was lots of hot chow and heli rides. Disneyland in cammies.

  2. robroysimmons says:

    This inspired me to hit the trails today for a two miler test run. 24′ 20″ while wearing 42lbs of kit which included the Sporty by .40cal. (thanks for the Hill People Gear reco). Even at 51 there is room for improvement, one little quibble maybe USMC RATS are not the best choice.

  3. Diz says:

    Yeah full combat boots can be a bitch, especially if they’re not broken in real good. Try a good insert, if you have room, and a good leather softener, like Lexol.

    A boot that is stiff for mountaineering/ hilly terrain is a bitch to run in.

    Try running shoes at first to get your feet used to the work. Then switch up to heavier footwear.

    You’d be surprised at what kind of improvement you can make, at any age.

  4. pnoldguy says:

    I’m going on my 70th year and started training in earnest this year with trips to the “Y” to start. At least I lost 20# so far. With 3 feet of snow and low teens, it’s pretty tough to do anything outside.
    But, come Sept. I should be ready for Max’ challenge.
    Good info about not starting off in *new* boots. I’ll take that advice and start with running shoes!!

  5. Diz says:

    Yeah see if you can find some “trail runners” with gortex, or get some gortex liner socks (Sealskins) for really shitty weather. Some place like REI or any good mountaineering shop should have something closer to what you need rather than a running shoe store- unless they’re into trail running/adventure racing.

    Losing the (fat) weight makes an amazing difference in performance, along with building new lean muscle mass.

  6. SP says:

    Speaking as ex British Infantry (reading Diz’s comment ref Green Jackets – or Dustbin Lids as we Light Infanteers/’alf a Cap Badge would say) made me remember some fun times. And without sounding like an arrogant prick, I can honestly say hand on heart that on almost ALL exercises and deployments where my (at the time) Unit were working alongside our US counterparts, we almost always noticed a distinctive difference in certain areas of physical endurance.

    A very high percentage of US personnel were built like brick shithouses and would often be seen throwing dumbbells/barbells around the gym like they were styrofoam, whereas we mostly struggled to get the bloody light ones off the racks!

    Yet when it came to the real fitness requirement – long term pig headed stamina carrying stupid weight over long distances across horrible terrain – they quite often simply could not keep up. On some occassions we were still hung over from the night before!

    Again, not to be construed as arrogant prick mentality, just an observation I and many of my Unit friends observed over many years serving.

    I’ve always felt that if the US Armed Forces adopted a certain British Army mentality to long term infantry endurance like what I described previously, they would be absolutely unstoppable.

    High Tech/Low Skill vs Low Tech/High Skill.

    What would you rather have?