Student Review: HEAT Reconnaissance Class Nov 2019: Rich

This is not the typical Max Velocity Tactical course, where you need to be quick on the trigger, express violence of action, and win the fire fight. HEAT Recon is a whole new world of operations where you need to switch your mind from winning the fight to winning the war. What that means is detailed planning, solid rehearsals and practice, way-above-average physical stamina, saint-like patience, and no-nonsense attention to detail.

Let’s unpack all that…

Although this was a 3-day class, the material probably would take a week to really learn and get right, but everyone has lives to live, so MVT performed a miracle and turned weeks into days, without losing any critical lessons or exercise realism. Day 1 was a mixture of classroom and demos, covering the principles of reconnaissance, intelligence gathering, silent movement, recon mission planning, and a good sprinkling of mental acuity drills to get the mind warmed up to detailed observation. The instruction alone was priceless.

Days 2 and 3 were spent ascending steep hills, descending steep hills, passing hand and arm signals, making tracks, covering tracks, scanning the terrain, taking bearings, freezing, sweating, managing muscle fatigue, and constantly listening to yourselves cringing at how loud you are – and this is before we even started the mission on the objective. We utilized the entire training facility grounds, and brought to bear every tool we had in the immediate action tool kit to maneuver through hostile lands without being seen or heard. We did some things great, some things very wrong, and most things good enough to pass, but in the end your mission is to conduct your observations, gather your intel, and get out without anyone knowing you were there. This is what I mean by winning the war – complete the mission without firing a single shot. If you think that doesn’t sound worth your time, then picture being hunted by your objective with no hope of resupply or rescue, and having to shoot your way for a click or two to reach your pick-up point. It’s a haunting experience a few levels darker than simple raids and ambushes.

As always, the people beside whom you suffer are usually the reason you leave a class with a good or bad impression. Scott is an extraordinary instructor and excellent person, and the 7 others who made the effort were no-nonsense professionals with the physical and mental chops to do the job without a single complaint or task left undone. That’s what I’ve come to expect from MVT. Thanks you all for a great time.