Student Review: HEAT 2 Combat Patrol April 2022 – Dimitri

Recently, I had a privilege of taking the HEAT 2 class, and what an eye-opening experience it was.  Battle drills taught in HEAT 1 were directly involved and used in the HEAT 2 class.  Assault, break contact, squad hasty attack, hasty ambush, recon patrol, raid, ambush, were all part of the HEAT 2 experience.  Each day of the class builds upon the other, it was great to put in action drills that were taught in the prerequisite course.  The main point I walked away with is training, practice, and planning is everything. Trying to accomplish combat patrol tasks with a pick up team is a bad idea.  Planning and rehearsal of any patrol is crucial to the success of the task at hand.  Each situation must be accounted for and rehearsed, so many things can occur during any patrol, therefore, it is vital to have a plan for each possible situation. 

This class is well balanced with theory of various types of patrols as well as practice of these theories.  Instructors are very thorough in the presentation of relevant information about various types of patrol, their purpose and execution.

On the second day of this class, we had a chance of conducting a day/night reconnaissance patrol versus live OPFOR. This gave students a chance to examine their capabilities and shortcomings.  One thing all students came away with is that being undetected is very difficult to accomplish.  The stealth skill must be practiced constantly, then practiced again and again.  One of the objectives on the reconnaissance patrol had a class instructor.  None of us were able to observe this objective without detection.  Even though each team was compromised, the learning experience was crucial to understanding what it takes to become better at reconnaissance.   

Third day was an ambush day.  Morning part of the day was spent in the classroom, learning about ambush planning, each individuals task within the ambush team, various “what ifs” during the execution of ambush, and other relevant information to think about prior to conducting such operations.  Each student had an opportunity of being a squad leader on each ambush practice run.  This was an amazing opportunity to be in the moment, think critically, and act accordingly.  We did four ambush iterations, each one was harder than the previous one.  The last two ambushes included enemy’s quick reaction force and a team casualty.  These variations in scenarios forced the patrol team to react to these occurrences.  Changes on the fly lead us back to the importance of the patrol planning and rehearsals. 

Each day of this class contained classroom lectures and live fire practice.  The way the HEAT 2 is set up, gave each student an opportunity to learn very important curriculum and practice it live.  The class was full to the capacity, three fire teams of four.  Great bunch of guys that worked together during the live fire drills, took notes, and bounced things learned off of each other.  I was privileged to be a part of this class with the people in it.  It is an understatement how important it is to come to training, listen to the information presented, then go out and practice it. 

One more thing I want to mention is that the class environment was completely safe.  I have not felt any danger or discomfort at any point of time being in this class.  Each student acted in a professional manner.  The cadre were always on top of the safety aspect of what we were doing.  I would definitely recommend this class to anyone who wishes to take it.  This class is a good way to improve ones understanding of how to apply basic battle drills in dynamic environment.