Student Review: 6 Day combined CTT / CP: Rhino11
Many of us know people who keep one or more ‘black rifles’ in their gun safe and have squirreled away impressive quantities of ammunition and freeze dried food. A smaller subset of that group have made the commitment to practice regularly with their weapons; even fewer shoot in competition to develop and maintain the highest levels of proficiency. But the sad truth is that no matter how proficient & well equipped you are, if you haven’t practiced employing small unit tactics as a team, your survival quotient is poor when even a handful of bad people come to take what they want from you and yours. It is all very well to have read ‘Contact!‘ and the Ranger Handbook cover to cover and to appreciate that ‘fire and maneuver’ is key to small (or large) unit tactics. Sadly, academic understanding falls far short of having properly practiced tactics under pressure. Put more succinctly: if your first ‘break contact drill’ is when people are shooting real bullets at you, your chances of survival are much slimmer than if you had practiced these drills under the tutelage of instructors who know their business. In the real world combat is team on team; only in Hollywood or fantasy fiction does the rugged individual take on the bad guys and survive.
We had eight students in the October Combat Team Tactics & Combat Patrol class. Seven of those students had no military or competitive shooting experience. Six of the students had never hunted. But by the 6th day we were confidently performing a planned attack with assault and support elements working in concert. I was dumbfounded. I spent part of my military career teaching fighter pilots air combat tactics, but all of my students had been through months and months of the same schools before getting to a line squadron. They all spoke the same language and had demonstrated high levels of proficiency in employing their aircraft before they started tactical (i.e. team) training. That Max, Lee & Scott can take individuals from vastly different backgrounds and experience levels and get them working safely as a squad in six days has to be seen to be believed.
It is intense training. You will get tired and frustrated with yourself. On occasion you will experience ‘blue screen’ where you completely lose track of what you are supposed to be doing. Your feelings may occasionally be hurt by the cadre; trust me they won’t ask you to do anything that isn’t really important.
Knee pads which stay in position will save a lot of wear & tear on your knees.
You will learn more if you arrive in decent shape. Even if you live where it isn’t politically correct to practice rucking with full kit & weapon, get out and hike with weight in a backpack. Take your significant other, kids or grandkids (but don’t ask them to hump heavy packs). Burpee’s, ruck humping, squats & dead lifts are good ways to prepare for class or the real world. When ruck humping, make it a habit to ‘take a knee’ every time you pause. Most of us need practice at getting up off of a knee when we are carrying that extra 50+ pounds of gear.
Practice with your food; know the effects of MRE’s (Meals Rejected by Ethiopians) or Mountain House on your digestive system. Kids love MRE’s, you probably not so much.
Bring an analog watch with luminous hands. Lighting up your smart phone to check the time is a bad idea when pulling sentry after dark. A compass with luminous bezel is a wise investment for the night close reconnaissance exercise.
Don’t make any last minute changes to your weapon or with your ammo. One of our guys added a ‘high speed’ tactical charging handle to his weapon just before class. He ended up using a rental gun. Another guy decided to bring hand loads he hadn’t tested in the rifle he brought. He had to drive 100 miles in the dark to purchase additional ammo.
Plates, handguns & miscellaneous gear: you can only carry so much before it really starts wearing you down. How far and fast can you hump your ruck with a full combat load, plates & a handgun? How much rifle ammo are you prepared to leave behind to carry that pistol? Things to think about.