Student Review: Virginia Combat Team Tactics July: Shortbread

CTT July Square Range

The Combat Team Tactics (CTT) weekend was three days of heat, humidity and hard work.   I was really glad to get home and sink into the sofa with a rum & tonic, and watch a treasure hunting program on the discovery channel (that’s how pirates relax).  The team leader on the treasure hunt expedition was commenting on the treacherous island and rough waters that he and his team would have to conquer.  His concerns were the team working together for the first time.  Then he said, “You don’t know about your team until the bullets start flying.”   That was the perfect summation of the CTT training weekend I just had at MVT.

Buddy awareness and working with your team is was my biggest take away for the weekend.  If you aren’t aware of your buddy’s position, this could put you both in big trouble.  I certainly flubbed up in exactly this way.  Of course this is training and learning.  Max & Scott are watching and anticipating every move you make while executing a drill making it very safe.  Buddy awareness is essential.  You must always look and see where your buddy is before you make a move and same goes for your buddy.  Head, body, weapon…keep repeating.   And communicate…go ahead and freaking yell!  Train together and with your group.  Don’t wait until the bullets start flying.

My next huge takeaway is to keep training.  I did a CTT (formerly CRCD) over a year ago.  I remembered the basic drills and I’ve come a long way since then, but much of what I learned was not practiced for far too long.  Do not wait too long to go back for further training.  This is an ongoing exercise.  It is not a learned it, pack it away activity.  You must do it continually and consistently or you are starting all over again.   I was glad to start on the square range on day one to refresh my memory.

The square range at the beginning of the training was perfect for getting my rifle warmed up, figure out any potential gear issues and calming jitters.  Yes, I get nervous especially the first day.  I really like how the instruction at MVT is geared to work you in slowly and get you shooting.  Funny how shooting a rifle can calm your nerves.  This is the crawl portion of Max’s “crawl, walk, run” method of teaching.  Max won’t push you into anything you aren’t ready for, but he will push you to succeed on to the next step.  I have no prior military experience and I am now doing fire and movement drills.

All training lessons begin in the schoolhouse before the actual live fire and movement begins to go over exactly what the drill entails.  Again, this is what makes it safe.   This is when the learning really begins…the exciting part!

Take the square range drills that you learned day one and then add real world heat, humidity, wobbly legs from hiking up the hills, stress of wanting to get it right, and then pow! out comes Ivan the target.  We are just pretending that a guy jumped out of the woods and wants to shoot us.  That pretending feels real.  It makes my heart pump and my brain go zinging!  This pretending is practice for the real world.  Sure you can shoot a gun, but can you now think clearly with all of these added stresses?   There were a few blue screen moments for me during the drills.  Crappy feeling.  But this was when I learned by experiencing.  I don’t want to wait to find that out during a SHTF situation.  This is real prepping!

If you haven’t been trained professionally for this you won’t know how it feels.  One needs this instruction to develop a natural reflex.   This is something you can’t learn on a square range, standing still and facing one direction.   You just have to get out there and do it.  If you are reading this you are already in the frame of mind that something is amiss in our big bad world.  Put this it right up there with food and water on your To Do list.

I met and trained with smart, strong and dedicated men.   I was the only female at this class and I felt nothing but strong backing from the instructors and the other students.  The support I received was what inspires me and encourages me to do more training.  Training is necessary to become part of a group.  No one can do this alone.

A large part of the VA weekend was discussion about developing relationships of support in a SHTF situation.  How can I ask someone to join my group/retreat if I myself haven’t received proper professional training?  Yes that means you too ladies! I want the best team around me, be it a former military professional, a retail clerk, a computer technician, a farmer, a teacher, a carpenter, a mom!   Having someone join my group that has a MVT patch on their shoulder is quite reassuring to me and I am sure most would agree that it is a proud feeling as well.


Though she be but little she is fierce” – Shakespeare