Student Review: Squad Tactics Sep 23: Chad
After Action Report (AAR), Squad Tactics
September 21 – 24, 2023
The four-day Squad Tactics class was much more than I expected. Honestly, going into it I didn’t
really know what to expect from the class. However, having trained with MVT numerous times in the
past I knew Max would put on an awesome class. This was my first-time training at the MVT West
Virginia training site and my first time with Scott (First Sergeant) present, and they did not disappoint.
The terrain is badass! It’s rugged and steep but at the same time incredibly beautiful. It’s a 400-acre
forested area shaded by Elm, Maple, Ash, and the occasional Pine with ridges to climb, draws to
maneuver through without being seen by the OPFOR and creek beds to use for cover. The training
house which also serves as the FOB “forward operating base” is set up really well. It has plenty of room
for a class of 12-13 to be comfortable in while training and Operations Orders are being presented. To
me it had the feel of an old military barrack. The CQB house which is implemented into this training on
the last day was set up awesome as well. A large part of training I do is in Colorado where it is not
heavily forested or mountainous, which causes us to consider some things as notional. The MVT training
site allows for those notional aspects to be thrown aside, because now you are actually in Appalachia
climbing mountains and using the terrain to your advantage.
The early morning of day 1 was your typical meet and greet and in my case, seeing some friends from
the last Texas training, which was cool. Then Max & Scott kick it off. The first couple of hours Max goes
over in detail what Small Unit Tactics actually is, with Scott hammering home important aspects. I’m not
talking about being on patrol, immediate action drills or flanking maneuvers, I’m talking more about the
planning and decision making it takes to actually be successful using Small Unit Tactics. I’ve done a
decent amount of patrolling and immediate action drills over the past couple of years to where I feel like
I have a good grasp or awareness of where I’m supposed to be in a given situation and how to execute it.
Max & Scott breaking down everything leading up to the point when you start patrolling was eye
opening for me. From understanding Troop Leading Procedures, to talking about the Mission Analysis,
understanding the enemies’ capabilities, the issue of a Warning Order and then using those skills and
information to design an Operations Order that has a chance for success.
After going over what planning an actual mission would look like the class went out and rehearsed the
patrol, action drills and fire maneuvers that would be used once under contact from OPFOR.
The second half of the day started with Max presenting an OPORD “Operations Order” for a mission that
we needed to execute based on a Warning Order he had received. The Warning Order was cool as shit.
It was very realistic of circumstances that could happen if shit were to hit the fan in this country. During
the presentation of the OPORD Max outlined in detail the Situation, our Mission “should we choose to
accept it” and a Summary of Execution. The Patrol Order also outlined our actions on an ORP “Objective
Rally Point”, the Leaders Recon, the Combat Tactics we would use once in contact and our EXFIL plan.
After the OPORD was understood by everyone we did a quick rehearsal and then went on to execute it.
ACTION REVIEW OF DAY 1
Day 1 was awesome! As stated above, for me at least, learning the process of what would actually go
into planning a mission and the decisions that would need to be made in order to successfully execute it
without killing everyone in the squad was greatly important. It changed my mindset of how I view Small
Unit Tactics as whole. Yes, going out on a weekend and practicing the immediate action drills and fire
maneuver positions with a few buddies or a team if you have one is a lot of fun, and important.
However, in my opinion understanding the process of what takes place on the backend during planning is
what will separate those who are trained and those who aren’t is a real-world situation.
Unfortunately, I died before the fight even got started on our first mission. Getting online after coming
under contact to the front I dove into a prone position right on top of a bald face hornets’ nest. My
plates literally squished the damn nest. Haha. Needless to say, those little bastards weren’t too happy
with me, and I had to flee. Thankfully, I was only stung about 15 times.
DAYS 2, 3 & 4
The next three days consisted of five missions. Two on days 2 and 3 and one on day 4. At the end of day
1 Max asked for two volunteers that would lead the missions for the second day. Our two volunteers
were issued their Warning Orders, and it was their responsibility to plan and write an OPORD that
evening for the next day’s missions. The same format was done for day 3 & 4. We had in total four
volunteers between the five missions with one of the guys volunteering twice. We were set to be seated
at 8:00 each morning and after lunch each afternoon to hear the Warning Order and OPORD. We did
rehearsals after each mission plan was presented and then we would go execute it.
ACTION REVIEW OF DAYS 2, 3 & 4
I really like the way that MVT implemented using students on a voluntary basis to give whoever was
willing, the opportunity to lead. There are a lot of moving parts and planning to give these missions
their best chance of success and based on how much training individual students have received in the
past and their comfort level when it comes to performing in a leadership role asking for volunteers was a
great idea. As stated earlier, I’ve done a decent amount of Small Unit Tactical training the past couple of
years, and if I was put into that role, it would have been a shitshow.
Hats off to the volunteers, all of them did a great job.
OVERALL “MVT SMALL UNIT TACTICS” ACTION REVIEW
I’ve trained with Max four times now; this was the first time in West Virginia and the first time with Scott
present. Once again it was impressive, to say the least. One of the things I love the most about training
with MVT is the lack of ego from the trainers. With so many ex-SF dudes putting on training these days I
can only imagine the big swinging ego’s that come along with it. I was actually a part of one of those ego
filled training courses in Colorado. Max and Scott have a ton of real-world combat experience and their
approach to training is in my opinion unmatched.
The class was awesome! I feel the knowledge gained leaving there is something that I can’t learn
anywhere else. Nobody is really doing this kind of training for civilians, anywhere. Everyone is overly
focused on static shooting and CQB training. Well, in a firefight nothing is static, and you actually have to
know how to survive while moving to a house before CQB starts. Granted, knowing how to shoot
accurately, and knowing how to move through a building is important as shit. However, I feel this piece
gets left out. You can’t be good at 2/3 and expect to survive when SHTF.
I feel that as a group we built on mistakes and improved each mission. The last mission was epic. Max
can correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe, it was the first time the hostage was rescued alive and nobody
from the student side died in the shoot house. Once again, hats off to the volunteers that took on
leadership roles, hats off to OPFOR, and hats off to Max and Scott for putting on an awesome training.
I will see you again hopefully in September 2024 for round 2.