Student Review: Combat Patrol – November 2016: Batsoff
Company: Max Velocity Tactical
Course: Combat Patrol (CP)
Instructors: Max / First Sergeant
Location: Romney, WV
Dates: Nov 20th – Nov 22nd
This was my 2nd time through the Combat Patrol class. My 1st Student Review can be found here: Batsoff Combat Patrol Student Review
In the year since I first attended CP, I’ve been back to MVT twice for CTT and also participated in the September Rifleman Challenge. I’ve been fortunate this year to attend multiple classes and make new contacts with like-minded patriots. In VA, we’ve also worked hard on building a network of like-minded people, it seems as if there is always someone I know headed to MVT and it’s pretty easy to get pulled in to training weekends.
Even though these classes were just a year apart, my experience with both classes was very different for different reasons.
Managing Layers / Dealing with the Cold:
When I attended CP in September 2014, it was still hot and humid. The leaves were still on the trees and the canopy seemed to hold the humidity in. When we finished the night recce I was soaking wet from sweat, as a result I wound up freezing my ass off in the patrol base at 3am as I was too lazy to change my shirt when I got back from patrol. Lesson learned, I eventually straightened myself out that evening with dry clothes.
This year, the temps ranged from 30-55 degrees and there was a definite chill in the air. I’m used to being outside and actively managing layers of clothing in 30 and 40 degree weather… but I’m always active when doing so. It’s rare that I find myself going from “active” to “inactive” in 40 degree weather. This was a constant battle for me over the 3 days as I was struggling with managing layers. You could be bundled up and warm while being inactive, but once the activity started you were quickly overheating (and sweating), which only lead to being cold again when the activity stopped. The other option was just to be cold while being inactive, knowing that you would warm up once the activity started and then you would be comfortable, only to be cold again when the activity stopped.
I’m pretty sure everyone understands the concept of managing layers. But managing layers, over a 48 hour period, when the temperature is swinging from 30 to 55, and then back to 30, when you are kitted up in full battle rattle going from extreme exertion to no exertion, then back to extreme exertion was a real challenge for me. I never quite figured it out. Max and First Sergeant talked quite a bit about managing layers and a certain amount of “suck factor” that is just to be expected when you are out on patrol. It isn’t camping, and it won’t be fun when it comes time to do it for real.
You learn by doing, and this was another great reminder of that. “Travel light, freeze at night” was my personal weekend theme song.
Darkness, What Darkness?
Another big difference was the amount of light that was available during the night recce patrol. In 2014, it was pitch black (can’t see your hand in front of your face black). I spent that night stumbling around, walking in to trees, falling over logs, looking at the glowing florescent moss, and mentally promising myself that I would never attend another CP class without NODs.
Fast forward to 2015 and I’m back at CP (w/o Nods, dammit) with a beautiful clear, cold sky and a ¾ moon. Not only could we see everything, but we could make out colors and shadows. In 2014 there was security in the darkness (I couldn’t see jack shit, how could anyone see me?). But this year, I felt that we were “glowing” in the dark due to the amount of moonlight that night. I felt extremely exposed when sitting on the side of the mountain overlooking our objective. In addition, in 2014 there was still a lot of vegetation on the trees and underbrush that you could use to hide behind. This year, all the leaves were down and you could easily see for several hundred yards through the woods. Watching First Sergeant scan the woods with 500 lumens got my heart pumping as there was limited concealment available.
I had a good idea what to expect since I had previously taken this class. Even with my prior experience, I still received a good amount of “feedback” from the cadre, and I was thankful for it. I was on the receiving end of a few good verbal lashings, but I had rightfully earned them. Not that I want to make mistakes during training, but I’d rather mistakes be made in training as opposed to when I may have to utilize these skills in real life.
I can’t say enough good things regarding how Max and First Sergeant conduct their training, they are true professionals with a no BS approach to tactical training. For those of us who are looking to become tactically proficient, there really is no better place to train than MVT.
I wrote about it in my last Student Review, but I’m always amazed at how quickly the squads you are assigned to can build cohesiveness and start working together. With the proper instruction and motivation, a squad can come up to speed pretty quickly and start being effective in a very short time. Was it perfect? Hell no! But nothing ever is.
Looking forward to 2016 and some of the new classes that MVT will be offering.