To train effectively in Small Unit Tactics, you need teammates, opposition forces (OPFOR), and competent instructors to guide the process and offer corrective feedback. The Combat Leaders Class is exactly that. Most of us lack the people and resources to do this locally, so CLC is a rare and much needed opportunity. CLC is HEAT 1, HEAT 2, CQB, and FoF rolled into one, and then some: 13+ missions, instructor feedback, mutual support and advice from other students, a chance to test your gear / skills / fortitude, and of course the opportunity to be squad leader. I find it remarkable that this kind of training is available to the public, but that's what sets MVT apart.
Another benefit is that CLC unlocks the MVT Tactical Manual. Everything we did in class was a demonstration of what Max discussed in the book. I previously read and grasped the Tactical Manual intellectually, but in the end 2D diagrams are no substitute for visceral 3D experience. There are so many nuances and practical details that you can only get from live training like this. It's like reading a book on football versus getting good through real practice. Having done CLC, I'm now re-reading the Tactical Manual with new eyes.
Max and First Sergeant were phenomenal instructors, not just with what they taught per curriculum, but also the "value added" side-content consisting of illuminating anecdotes, remarks born of hard-won tactical wisdom, and personal feedback and observation. They also arranged for the OPFOR to throw curve-balls into the missions, so that like in real life things don't always go as planned. Simulated mortar fire, follow-on missions, surprise ambushes, the appearance of QRFs (quick reaction forces), and more. With all the add-ons, we got way more than 13 missions' worth of training. I saw first hand how complacency kills, that security is paramount, that the enemy should never be underestimated, that one guy not doing his job or one detail overlooked can make everything go sideways. It was a welcome dose of reality.
The AirSim rifles were great. They felt and looked like the real thing. Mags were weighted, bolt reciprocated, and rifle manipulated like a real AR15. The key to flawless function is making sure mags aren't overloaded and that they're not ice cold. Compared to UTM, AirSim rounds are 150x cheaper and you can see the rounds well enough to put on accurate fire past 50 yards. Max stressed that suppressive fire should be accurate fire, and that's something you can actually do with AirSim. I found it surprisingly gratifying to put suppressive fire through a window or the spaces between logs, or hitting an OPFOR poking half his head out from behind a tree.
A word on prerequisites. CLC is open enrollment and there are no official prerequisites, but if you've taken HEAT 1 & 2 and CQB you will have the basics covered and will have an easier time staying focused on the teamwork and leadership aspect of CLC. I had taken HEAT 1 and CQB so it was mainly HEAT 2 skills that I needed to catch up on during class rehearsals. Two students had never been to MVT before but they came in with enough of the basics to do the class. Everyone is helpful though, and if you don't know something, all you have to do is ask (assuming you know what you don't know). At minimum, know rifle manipulation. Physically, you'll be doing lots of kneeling, getting up from prone and dashing between cover, and going up and down steep hills. If nothing else, focus on lunges, burpees, and cardio like incline treadmill or stair climbing, preferably in full kit.
Lastly, one reason we train is to move from unconscious incompetence to unconscious competence: to become naturally good at something. Becoming aware of what you need to improve is the first step to improving. Max always says, "you don't know what you don't know." Well, the best way to find out what you don't know is to put yourself to the test and let reality and other people provide feedback. CLC was a comprehensive diagnostic experience in that regard. Like others who attended, I became
aware of my shortcomings that would have otherwise continued lurking unchecked. Now I know where to focus my efforts, and the benefits will ripple far into the future. From a personal development standpoint, there's nothing more valuable than the gift of objectivity.