Student Review: Combat Patrol 30 Aug – 1 Sep: ‘Shitbreak’

It was dark. The kind of dark where you can’t see a foot in front of you. Your support hand is out front touching your battle buddy as you move down the steep slope. You reach the bottom, cross a small wooded expanse and come upon a power line clearing. Halt command is passed down and the group moves into a herringbone formation with 360 security. The squad leader signals for linear danger crossing. As rear security, you and your battle buddy move up to the front and individually cross the open area. Scanning the woods on the far side, down the clear cut, and covering your sector you signal back to the rest of the squad. The whole squad moves silently across the danger area. Moving forward and navigating the steep terrain, the objective is spotted. Squad leader signals for halt and you take a knee. The canopy is thick here, darkness reigns. You can barely make out the outline of the man next to you. The half moon lights up the outline of the trees above but no light makes it to the forest floor. The only light comes from small, miniscule patches of bioluminescent fungi eerily glowing off decaying logs. Above the trees and over the next ridge the sky is momentarily lit from heat lightening racing from cloud to cloud. Suddenly the sentry at the objective starts lighting up the woods with a flashlight. Has the enemy spotted us? Your heart starts racing. Everyone goes prone and does their best impression of a log…

The march in followed a trail up some hilly terrain. We broke off the trail and traversed down a steep slope. The squad reached an intersection of two trails and halt was called. This was our ORP. Watches were coordinated and the fire support team hiked up into an overwatch position. The assault team was led up a dry creek bed. Walking slowly and carefully placing each foot the assault team silently moved into position. Security was set and the squad leader passed down the time remaining to the assault. Ten minutes. Five. Two. You flex your fingers and re-grip your rifle. Tension is mounting. Moving signal was given. We all stood up and got ready. Waiting. The calm before the storm is about to break. Suddenly a crescendo of gunfire roared from the hillside. Raid initiated. It was on!


You never know who is going to show up to the training class. The group that showed up to this class had their shit squared away. Everyone was in good shape, ran their rifles well, and knew the drills. After the first drill I could tell everyone took safety seriously and had active muzzle awareness. Everyone came to learn, no one hesitated to ask for clarification, and the drills ran well.


Its a testament to the ability of Max, as a teacher and the program he’s running, that ten guys who have never trained together before can gel together and pull off some “Complicated…but simple drills.”

Three days to teach a patrol class is like distilling a bull down to a bullion cube. Max and Chris did a great job of presenting the material and running the drills. Mistakes were turned into teaching moments and I walked away learning a lot over the weekend. Definitely a course I’ll repeat.
“Ambush set.”