Combat Patrol 18-20 Jan 2014 AAR #2 – Joe

Max Velocity PATROL Class is a large step beyond CRCD.  Helen & I have participated in multiple CRCD classes.  One CRCD is required to attend, two or more for attendees with no prior military experience, is not a bad idea.  We are signed up for the May 2014 PATROL class and are scheduling more CRCDs.
For those of you who think this might be a bridge too far, my 56 y.o. 5′-4″ wife, by popular acclaim, successfully completed the PATROL Class.  Helen carried >40% of her body weight in gear on the movement to the LUP(sleep system, stove,  gal water, food, medical, ammo, rifle and spares).  She is not particularly athletic nor physically strong, but she has a tough mindset.
Both Helen & I were motivated beyond what we would normally be comfortable doing by the examples set by our squad mates: Pat, Fred, Alan, Stuart, Eddie, Jack and Arron(the bright, young and agile SOB!), and of course the Course Leader, Max Velocity and his Visiting Instructor, JC Dodge of Mason-Dixon Tactical.
PATROL is not about practicing individual drills like CRCD, but building on those drills and combining them with a new mix of patrolling skills, to simulate what an effective linear ambush, night recce and assault patrol would entail.  PATROL does NOT simulate the terrain or the load humping or “sleeping” on the side of a hill, you do the work.  And you will bitch about it, because it is hard work.  But stepping back from the “hard work”, the drivers are squad safety and squad effectiveness.
At no time did I feel unsafe, from squad movements to live fire to sleeping with your weapon in your bivy bag.  Safety is the backbone of the instruction, and it was made clear that safety is even more important during hostilities.  We can not afford to lose anyone at any time to a lapse in safety.  That is beyond fucking stupid.
Note that the second driver was squad effectiveness, NOT squad comfort.  You will be uncomfortable.  This first PATROL in mid-January was chilly ~20deg F, but not really cold.  You need to be lightly shivering before an exercise.  If not, you will overheat and soak you clothing with sweat.  Later you will be really cold.  Until you drill in these conditions you will not understand how little clothing you will require to be effective.
You will not be comfortable “sleeping.”  Let’s make one thing clear: you don’t sleep.  If you have military experience you get this.  But to civilians sleep means comfortable, horizontal, warm and restorative.  You’re not gonna get it on PATROL.  You will get a couple of hours “REST” while hanging onto the hillside with your elbows, then abruptly woken up to stand guard duty for an hour.  After you get over your civilian sensibilities being rubbed raw, you will see that the site was selected for low ground and aerial observability.  You just learned what one example of a good LUP looks like.  You also learned that command responsibility means doing things that guarantee uncomfortable conditions, for you and for your adversaries.
On equipment:  I started out ~2004 gathering those pieces of equipment I thought work work.  I was wrong.  Buy EXACTLY what Max and JC use.  It works and you don’t look like a monkey humping a football while you’re trying to get your gear stowed in the dark prior to morning stand-to.
PATROL is the next step beyond CRCD.  It is a big one.  But with men like Max and JC and your squad mates, it is one you Can Do.
On a bang-for-the-buck scale of 0-10, Max’s patrol is a 500.