Sunday, December 29, 2013

Thoughts on Recent Field Experiences

-Do not make the mistake of assuming that because everyone, or more realistically a high percentage of the group, are trained and even combat tested that they can work together as a group. Working together as a group is it's own beast. First you've got to get everyone onto a common operating picture. While it is true the fundamentals are the same all over, as we see in Max's discussions of how the Brit's do it, little things vary widely from unit to unit or service to service. Once the unit has established a common way of doing things THEN that needs to be tested to figure out all the little kinks. With a trained group this process should happen pretty quickly but it does in fact need to happen. This is why everyone in your "group" doing the same training such as Combat Rifle/ Contact Drills and Combat Patrolling is so important. This way everyone gets trained WHILE you figure out all the little stuff so by the time you leave the group has a solid basis to train on for the future.

-You do not know what you do not know. The only way to find out is by trying to do stuff. Maybe there is an important skill set you are defficient in. Maybe a small part on a critical piece of gear breaks notably so it should be replaced with a better widget or spares stocked. Maybe an important doo dad sucks batteries like a fat kit with a Popsicle. Maybe your radios can't talk across the street, let alone for their whole theoretical range. The point is that you have to get out and test stuff, people and systems to see how they actually work.

-Test your commo plan in as close to realistic of a scenario as possible, as early as possible. Turning the radios on and doing a comms check in the same building/ parking lot immediately prior to SP is not a validation of a comms plan.

-Train as you fight but don't be stupid. There is little, if any value in being cold solely for the sake of being cold, wet just to be wet, etc. Beyond familiarity to learn a bit about yourself there isn't any value in stupid stuff. Realistic training is hard enough on it's own so no need to be stupid.

-Dave Canterbury recently started (or at least it's the first time I've heard it) using the phrase "smoothing it". The point being that you are getting beyond roughing it to a point where things are fairly comfortable and decently set up so they could be sustainable for the long term. It doesn't necessarily imply a ton more gear, just the right stuff that fills multiple roles and a solid understanding of how best to use it. You can be pretty comfortable without bringing the kitchen sink if you practice and put a little bit of cash into the right gear.

-Plan for things to be a bit worse than they are realistically going to be. A bit colder, a bit wetter and the problem lasting a few days longer. This way you are unlikely to get caught short. 

3 comments:

AM said...

Remember the movie "Saving Silverman"?

The scene where Jack Black says, "I only know Air Force signals" is a damn good example of what happens when people assume they will work well together as a team because they are friends and members of the same Neil Diamond tribute band.

Just cause we are veterans and patriots doesn't mean jack for forming effective teams.

Chad Fulton said...

Great thoughts. I agree that drills are very important. It helps the group to work as one. Awesome points thanks for posting your thoughts!

Anonymous said...

Amen! I have worked with a lot of pros and getting a team to work well is hard! worse, is when the plan truly blows up and you don't have a plan "b" c,d, e, etc...

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