I recently attended the eight day Combat Leaders Course (CLC) at Max Velocity Tactical (MVT) and want to share my experiences and opinions on this training program.
To start I want to give some background on myself. I have owned and run a business for twenty years and have managed and coordinated actions among employees, vendors, supply chain and other resources extensively in managing the affairs of the business. In addition I have six years of experience working in a wilderness survival program during which I coordinated the movement of multiple groups over rough terrain in many weather conditions with participants of various skill levels. I have also done extensive high altitude mountaineering and alpine climbing around the world as part of a small team. Additionally I have leadership experience as part of a wildland firefighting Hotshot Crew. All of this past experience has taught me about principles of leadership and developed my ability to grasp many moving pieces in the moment and make decisions then implement those through directing the resources at my disposal.
From a training standpoint I have been actively engaged in pursuing training on many levels for the last twenty years. I have trained at fourteen different facilities with over twenty different trainers for weapons alone. This does not include training taken professionally or for similar pursuits such as orienteering, communications, medical etc. I have a broad background and exposure to many training programs and topics.
My hope in attending this course was to supplement what I already know in the areas of leadership, small unit tactics, fieldcraft and equipment selection and application and hone my current skillset further.
During the week we were given multiple missions each day that the participants planned, briefed the group on, and executed. Each class participant was given multiple opportunities to perform the leadership duties of the thirteen an squad that comprised our class. The missions for which we conducted the process of planning, mission briefing (orders), rehearsals, leaders recon and mission execution consisted of variations on small unit missions. This included iterations such as raid, ambush, hostage rescue, route clearance, tracking to contact; involving woodland and CQB environments. Missions also involved surprise action by OPFOR, and included counter-attack from quick reaction forces on or around the objectives. We also performed some voluntary night operations. These exercises were designed to expose us to opportunities to apply the fundementals of leadership using small unit tactics against an opposing force.
All of these operations were performed using AirSim Rifles. This allowed extremely realistic force on force engagements with opponents (OPFOR) The OPFOR was comprised of MVT Alumni who were trained, competent and well led. The realism of the force on force engagements using AirSim rifles was fantastic. It allowed units to maneuver on each other, suppress the enemy and eliminate them. In addition, it created the chaos of an engagement and allowed class participants to experience being engaged, suppressed and maneuvered against as well. This forced the class participants to remain calm, grip the situation, assess options and deploy resources. The AirSim rifles were extremely effective at creating the force on force engagement.
The operations were extremely well run. The entire mission would be planned, rehearsed and executed. The OPFOR can and did ambush the patrol on the way to the objective area providing realism and forcing tactically sound movement by the three teams that comprised each patrol. The entire patrol was run according to the plan created by the assigned leader of that patrol for that mission thus giving each student the opportunity to put into action the plan they created by following the planning process.
I originally thought on my way into the class that the majority of the learning would happen when it was my turn to plan and lead a mission. I was very mistaken on this. On each mission, regardless of my assignment I had a huge opportunity to learn. I learned better ways to organize and employ my equipment, how to work in a small unit, the ability to follow chain of command, tactical formations etc. I am reluctant to even try to list all that I learned due to the fact that the lessons I learned were so numerous across such a broad range of areas that it would be extremely difficult to list them. I will say that in 20 years of business ownership and management and over $50,000 I have spent to personally attend leadership courses this one course was by far the best I have taken in learning leadership principles and applying them.
The realism provided the ideal learning environment to accomplish the objectives of the class which in my opinion were fulfilled well above my expectations. I have already scheduled to take two additional courses from MVT in the next year and if my calendar permits I will be adding a third course in that same time frame. If an individual wants to learn an very large amount of information and how to apply it in a relatively short time, this class is fantastic. If you don’t have a strong background in these areas I would still recommending attending the course because the process MVT and staff employ will take you from whatever level you are and build you from there. This is money well spent on training and I fully recommend it.