AAR #5: CRCD/Patrol April 5-9 – Jon RT
AAR CRCD/PATROL APRIL 5-9 by Jon R T
I reviewed all of the AAR’s previously posted from students who completed the MVT courses prior to signing up for the first 5 day combined class. Considering the long drive, I concluded that the combined class would be the best use of my time. It is hard to focus on the best items to cover in this AAR. I decided to add a bit of equipment detail to this AAR, since, when making my plans, this was a concern.
The other AARs helped prepare me for the physical rigors of the class. To get the most out of the CRCD/combat patrol class, I strongly suggest that PT become a top priority (unless you are a mutant like Ernie!). If you are going to just the CRCD, you should still get in shape, but it is not an important as in the combat patrol class. I would image if one was to enroll in the two classes separately, the physical demands would be reduced as compared to the 5 day long slog. After the obvious need to practice hill climbing with rifle and ruck, consider pull-ups as a top PT priority (if that seems strange, go to the class and that will be clarified.) If you live in a flat area like me, then climb stairs with your loaded ruck or go somewhere will hills.
I urge attendees to go through the equipment list and ensure that you have adequate ammo and a fully squared away rifle. If you have an extra rifle, bring it. Bring tools and extra parts also. If you are coming with a buddy, it helps to bring similar rifles.
As for ammo, I fired about 1000 rounds over the five days. I could have easily fired more, but I learned to tune my rate of fire as instructed in order to achieve sufficient target suppression while decreasing magazine changes. Magazine changes can cause gaps in fire inconveniencing your buddies. Pay attention to Max’s lessons on appropriate rates of suppressive fire when working as a team. When dumping empty magazines, putting them inside your shirt (or inside you plate carrier) will reliably retain them. The dump pouches (including mine) seemed to just spill the mags on the ground by the next bound. We found several mags from previous classes (PTR-91/HK-91 x 2 and several others).
I think it might be helpful to describe the rifles and associated gear that the attendees brought. After one student’s 308 began to chronically malfunction causing a switch, everyone used AR-15’s shooting 5.56 NATO/223 in various configurations. Most students used red dot sights of some sort (Eotech seemed the most common). Others used ACOG’s or variable rifle scopes with low magnification. I used a Leupold VX-R patrol (1.25-4). A least three students used iron sights and did well. The longest shot was approximately 70 yards with most targets at 25-30 yards, so magnification was not really necessary. Backup iron sights are a good idea. I used the canted iron sights and they were useful several times particularly when prone behind cover.
Slings were great from patrolling. At least one student didn’t use a sling. Make sure that your sling will easily detach from you rifle because it’s easier to crawl without it.
I used a battle belt (with 8-10 mag pouches) and an empty plate carrier with two mag pouches (and a couple of other items) on the front and a hydration pack on the back. I used the front plate pocket as my dump pouch. Other students used similar setups. The students that used chest rigs seemed to have no problems. Certainly, they could sit in the classroom area for a quick lesson with their gear on easier than us battle belt guys.
I carried a handgun for nearly the entire class but never fired it.
Knee pads are essential. I began the class using build in soft knee pads and paid dearly for it. In the first group live fire exercise my pant leg shifted while going prone, and I was rewarding with a sharp rock to the unprotected knee and limped a bit on it for the remaining 4 days. Needless to say hard plastic knee pads were my choice from then on. Sharp rocks are quite common out there. Elbow pads are a good idea also. I used shirts with built in elbow pads during the entire class.
Pay close attention to footwear. High and tight boots are essential. The ground is uneven and when pivoting a bad ankle twist or fall is possible. It rained during the class and the muddy ground became slippery. If you boots have poor tread, repeatedly falling on your ass is likely. I think every student fell at least once. We walked through deep puddles and up flowing creeks, so waterproof boots are a blessing. Whatever boots you choose, tryrunning in them, turning and stopping on wet, leaf covered, and muddy ground. I used 7” Under Armour Speed Freek boots and they passed muster.
For the combat patrol class, read Max’s posts on rucks and equipment to ensure that you have the right gear. Bivy bag, appropriate sleeping bag and poncho/tarp are essential. The patrol base is on rocky ground, so bring a sleeping mat or suffer. If you are not sleeping during the patrol phase, it’s best to keep your battle belt or chest rig on at all times and your rifle close at hand.
For the evening patrol, night vision or thermal work wonders (as does knowing how to generally read a topo map.) Move slow in the dark and hopefully a decent moon will be out. We had a ¾ moon, and it virtually negated the need to NVG’s until we reached the objective.
The terrain is rough but absolutely ideal for the type of shooting. For the patrol class, the terrain was challenging and great for patrolling in the dark. The land consisted of ridges with draws or creeks between. Some of the slopes are very steep.
I have attended more classes and lectures that I care to think about. Max was one of the best teachers that I can recall, and he had an engaging style that keeps one’s attention. Of course, he allowed and entertained questions as appropriate.
I have never met a nicer group of guys that those that took the class with me. Everyone was 100% committed to learn the small infantry tactics that few can teach as well as Max. We were all sorry when John had to leave to tend to an illness in the family, but luckily Alan was able to fill in. I attended the class alone, but, in a short time, I felt that I was attending the class with 11 good friends.
Fred and Alan were great guys, and their help was essential and greatly appreciated. Aaron’s input and his session on rifle manipulation were excellent. Fred’s lecture was very good as well.
Prior to the class, I was relatively confident in my shooting abilities with a rifle; however, during the class, I discovered how much I didn’t know. After five days of treading water, I think that I began to swim. I certainly plan to attend another session if at all possible.
P.S. A special thanks to Ernie and Jake for walking it with me nearly every day.