"You don't know what you don't know." Seems a bit obvious at first, but for those of us who train regularly, it’s a mantra that gets hammered home each time. Whether the training is in small unit tactics, firearms manipulation, vehicle mechanics, HAM radio, medicine, etc, each time you train you are offered a new perspective from which something can and should be learned. I personally have an extensive medical background and have served in leadership positions within my group, hospital and state EMS for over 6 years. I entered the CLC course knowing it would be a huge time and financial commitment as I had to travel all the way from Idaho for the course. Let me say, it was well worth the time and money. I will offer my review in phases:
Phase 1: Basics
The course itself was a combat leadership course. It focused mainly on the leadership perspective, but some basic knowledge of small unit tactics and firearm manipulation was a must. The course itself definitely reinforced that if you don't train the basics regularly, they are a perishable skill and can be detrimental to the team. The "shoot, move, communicate" concept was necessary in every iteration or operation run during the course. The hardest part for some students was checking the EGO and just being a soldier. This course is not meant to be a square range "stroke your ego for the week" kind of course. Rather, it will expose your faults and allow you to build upon them. The basic concepts of small unit tactics are a key portion of this course. However, if you've never attended one of MVT's Heat 1 courses, you can still attend this course and do just fine. One of the greatest parts of this course was meeting a great group of alumni and instructors who brought you up to their level and worked with you to see you succeed.
PT!!! I can't even begin to say enough about this. I trained my ass off to get ready for this course. Cardio, sandbag strength training, dynamic movements in weight vest…I encourage you to explore the MVT forum as some of the guys have shared some great workout tips and suggestions. PT is great for all aspects of life, not just training. I won't dive in to the deep end on this, but I will suggest that as you approach the whole warrior concept, PT should be part of your routine no matter what.
Phase 2: Leadership
As I mentioned earlier, I have an extensive history in serving in leadership positions at multiple levels. This course was a LEADERSHIP course focused on combat and small unit tactics. However, so much of what I learned can be translated into other aspects of my life. I could try and break it down, but it wouldn't do the course justice. Effective communication, delegation, mission planning, operations, logistics…the list just goes on and on. Max did a great job with the Tactical Manual, but this course in conjunction with the manual was pure gold. Even when you weren't serving as the Squad Leader, there was still much to be learned. Max did a great job with mission planning and role assignments taking into account 13 students needed to be rotated through. Everyone had multiple opportunities to lead which gave us all varied perspectives on planning, communication and execution. I took so much away from this course it's difficult to put down in a review. You will not be disappointed if you commit to this course, check the ego, and go in with an attitude designated to learn.
Phase 3: Airsim
When I first booked CLC it was going to be run as a UTM class. I had previous experience with UTM taking MVT's FoF and CQB classes. I was a bit leery of the Airsim concept going into the week. The first and most important thing to keep in mind is that UTM and Airsim are simply TOOLS for the course. The course is a Combat Leadership Course and the focus is NOT on weapons and manipulation. Now, with that being said I was not disappointed with the Airsim capability. I'd argue based on my limited experience that it was superior to UTM for FoF training. I think the transition to Airsim will not detract from the quality of MVT classes and offers more opportunity and flexibility with training. I encourage you to explore it further and try and break past any prejudices you may have…try it before you completely negate it as a training tool. I have already purchased one of the Airsim rifles, but plan on investing in more for continued training.
Phase 4: OPFOR
I wanted to put a special place for these guys. All MVT alumni that came out to make sure we had the best training opportunity. This wasn't a bunch of beer drinking good old boys sitting in the woods getting shot up. On the contrary, they were well organized and led by 1st Sergeant which led to some serious engagements. Just a special note that the OPFOR were and integral part of the training, thanks guys!!!
Phase 5: Instructors
Like I said earlier, this is not one of those square range classes meant to build up your ego. If that’s what you're looking for, then this is NOT the class for you. Max and 1st Sergeant will break you down in order to build you up so that you can meet your potential. It is not done in a demeaning way, and no one to my knowledge had their "feelings hurt." You will know when you've made mistakes, but checking the ego, owning those mistakes will lead to maximum learning. Max does a great job in recognizing when conflict resolution needs to occur. The MVT team does a great job! That's why I choose to continue to train with them.
In closing, this class exceeded all of my expectations. I left exhausted both mentally and physically, but the lessons learned will carry over into all aspects of my life. I encourage anyone who has not done any training with MVT to make the investment both financially and time.