Welcome to Part 2 of our AAR for the Joint Training FTX with One Shepherd, which occurred in the last week of September, 2017.
I apologize for getting this out so late, hopefully my memory of the events hasn't faded too much. I believe there are still lessons and stories that should be told however.
If you haven't,please read Part 1 to bring yourself up to speed on the FTX as I will not be recapping.
Day 1, approx 1830 hours.
After completion of our weapons maintenance, chow and rest plans, I initiated another patrol.
I believed we needed to maintain some presence in the AO with a light patrol down Howell Loop road to get eyes on the breach in the minefield. My rationale of thinking was that the enemy may have pulled back beyond the breach to a patrol base deep within their territory. So perhaps we could stop them from advancing far from our FOB.
Our small patrol led by APL Schreckenghaust on point, moved up onto Howell Loop road right at the Honey Hole. We proceeded East towards the T intersection.
Within 20 to 30 meters APL Schreckenghaust detected the enemy patrol moving along the fence line in light vegetation. Making use of what little concealment that was available and avoiding exposing themselves on the roadway. This slowed down their advance and made their movement noisy.
"SAFETY KILL, SAFETY KILL, SAFETY KILL!" APL Schreckenghuast yelled initiating another fire fight.
I immediately pulled our patrol back to the honey hole in hopes of holding the OPFOR there again. This time, with light waning and the enemy patrol already 20-30 meters away, I decided we needed to pull back to our final phase line and defend-able position before the FOB- PL KIA.
Here at PL KIA, the position was not as favorable as the Honey Hole. We maintained 2 rifles on the road & 2-3 in the field south of the road. The enemy and casualties came on quickly.
Here however, night vision devices proved be worth their weight in gold. With incredible natural loom, we were able to detect & fire onto unsuspecting OPFOR almost at will.
Myself and Rifleman Chester Misener embarked on a large flanking movement to the enemies rear. We moved approx 200 meters to the rear of the enemy and moved back West. Passing their CCP along the way, we began to pick off OPFOR members as they sat along the side of the road with NO rear security.
Here is where the challenge and pass security question became obviously important. We pressed all the way to the OPFOR Patrol Leader's position who issued their challenge to use. This made us scramble for an answer before we fired upon them. They returned fire in kind.
A heated discussion ensued with us all agreeing that we should be mutual causalities after such a close range engagement.
The frustration in the OPFOR members & their Patrol Leader was palatable. It was obvious the earlier defeat & current tough fight was wearing on them. We hoped this morale issue would be an exploitable benefit to us.
It wasn't long for the OPFOR to adjust to our capabilities with night vision and to begin to take counter-measures against it.
One counter-measure being to look for the subtle red glow of our IR floodlights or IR lasers. Secondly they began to white light our positions with tactical lights, blinding our NVG's and giving them clear shots on us.
This change in tactics immediately began to produce more casualties on our side with no re-spawns available, they pushed into our FOB. A 2 man defense was struck at the FOB and held on for as long as they could be the OPFOR would be victorious in taking and destroying our FOB.
This OPFOR victory despite being earned at such heavy losses turned the their morale around.
After the firing had stopped we were re-spawned and put in an operational pause. We debated pushing the enemy that night to keep the momentum on our side and to continue to wear on their morale.
With the minefields on the AO and uncertain routes into their suspected PB with no real intel on where their PB was, I opted to rest our patrol for follow on missions the next day. Again, we returned to our PB, initiated maintenance, chow & rest cycles and prepared for the next day.
1.) I didn't prep my NVG's prior to stepping off near dusk. Real rookie move, I should know better.
2.) Radio coordination took place, but wasn't as effective during this engagement.
3.) We had no plan in place for the enemies NVG counter-measures.
4.) With so many available sets of NVG's we only drew 2 sets. I should have required more members of our patrol to bring them and will do so in the future knowing what a game changer it is.
1.) NVG's especially against a non-peer opponent are essential assets to have, it made us brazen in the face of an enemy with no night vision to the point of near carelessness.
2.) Resting our patrol instead of keeping our thumb on the enemy. Had we even one more fire team I would have initiated some kind of night patrol. But with limited numbers, everyone is pulling more weight. Physically and mentally. I believe it would have hurt us more than the enemy to continue patrolling that evening.
3.) Our morale was high despite losing our FOB. We knew we had a near impossible mission with our low numbers. Inflicting such high causalities on the OPFOR held our expectations and morale high for the remainder of the FTX.
Author- Cole Sammons
After nearly 4 years of full training calendars, busy work & personal life schedules, the founders of S&S took 2017 off as year to rejuvenate, retrain & most importantly challenge ourselves against a peer opponent in force on force light infantry simulation.
The following is the AAR on our experience during One Shepherds Fall FTX, 2017.
One Shepherd... what is it?
One Shepherd is a leadership school out of Ulman, MO with a 30 year history of training individuals in the arts of leadership through light infantry training & tactics. It is a community rich in comradarie, excellence of vision and execution. It simulates light infantry combat through the use of the MILES 2000 laser engagement system providing for the most realistic training simulation of light infantry combat available to the military and civilian market.
They hold 2 'semesters' that are each a week long in the spring and fall of each year. The capstone end to the week being a 3 day long field training exercise in which 2 totally autonomous patrols square off against each other, using the lessons learned throughout the week to accomplish their missions.
This is a community that we have been active in since 2012.
The weeks lessons for this semester covered 3 specific lessons: The Covering Force, Withdrawal OPS & Counter-Attack.
S&S ended up only fielding 5 warriors initially into the FTX. Most of which were truly "dual" citizens of both the One Shepherd & S&S community.
We began the 1st morning of the FTX on the FOB with an early wake up & PT session. We have the unique situation of being in the same FOB as the OPFOR (opposing force). So with the OPFOR still snuggly in bed we began our PT. I instructed our members to shout at the top of their lungs when exercising in cadence and when called to the position of attention we let out our Spartan war cry; HOWUGGGHHHHHHH! as loud as possible. This little bit of PSY-OPS may or may not have had any affect on the sleeping OPFOR but it did at least serve several purposes for us:
1.) It prepares the mind of the warrior for an aggressive fight.
2.) Separates us from the OPFOR who are normally our friends throughout the semester (and again after the FTX).
3.) Warms & stretches our bodies to prevent injuries.
4.) Allowed for critical ROC (realization of concept) drills & immediate action drills to be practiced with a group of warriors who had just been thrown together in the past few days.
5.) Allowed for a patrol rhythm & hand/arm signals SOP synchronization.
The PT conducted prior to stepping off I believe held a somewhat small but critical element in pre-FTX readiness & later successes during the FTX.
The mission & intelligence that came down from the Road to War & Operations Order painted a picture of us being an outnumbered force trying to plug the flood waters from spilling out of the dam.
I was patrol leader, with Parker being my Assistant Patrol Leader. We aimed to keep our mission plans simple, avoid over planning & have well defined measurements of enemy progress to determine our course of action (COA).
Our mission was to prevent an enemy advance into our area of operations along a road & several large open fields split only by a finger like extensions of creek beds & light wooded areas. These creeks were made into phase lines as measures of progress of the enemy advance.
Our plan was to become a light agile force, with only having 5 bodies to field. The initial plan was to move out of the F.O.B. (Forward Operating Base), ditch our rucks in a hide and beat feet to the only entrance into our A.O. Then prevent the enemy from advancing through a breach their engineers had blown into the minefield. The plan to counter that breach was to lay in a far ambush where 2 country roads "T'd" off, north of the minefield breach.
After ditching our rucks in the hastily established hide position/ORP, we set out again to move into position for the ambush.
The ambush was to be conducted with a 2 man team covering the road into the minefield breach with a 200 meter killzone, oriented to the south. The rest of the team was to lay in cover along Phase Line Chevy, orientated to the east and prevent the enemy from moving out of the kill-zone.
We attempted to set in this ambush quickly, without a leaders recon of the area, assuming we had free range of our A.O. since it was early in the operation; approximately just 30 minutes after stepping off.
The OPFOR, however, had other plans. They conducted a forced road march through the breach in the minefield & had already occupied the Southern edge of PL Chevy.
The OPFOR initiated contact on myself & rifleman Matt Geders in the open as we attempted to set in the ambush after we left the release point.
Matt & I broke contact back onto the road and I ordered a withdrawal to PL Ford. At this point the OPFOR attempted to cross the open field. We engaged the small team crossing the field and scored 1 or 2 kills. But they managed to push into the creek bed of PL Ford and disrupt or defensive line before we really got established.
It was around this time I became cut off from the rest of my squad. Alone & out gunned, I decided my best chance for survival was a 400 meter run across the open field to PL Buick. By either blind luck or MILES failure I managed to make it to the other side of the field without becoming a casualty.
The Honey Hole
After regrouping with my squad, I found the bulk of them about 200 meters east of PL Buick holding the road. We attempted to stall the enemy as long as possible, using high points in the road to give us 'plunging' fire down on the enemy as they moved up the road. We enjoyed moderate success with this tactic but this section of road provided little depth to our whole AO. The enemy, despite our best efforts kept coming, eventually forcing a full withdrawal to PL Buick.
Here, at PL Buick, the game changed. We had superb cover with interconnected fields of fire down the road & into the field. I assigned 3 men to stay on the road, myself covering the field looking east. From that position, I was able to cover the field and flanking fires northward into the road as the enemy advanced.
We took comparatively light casualties here. APL Parker Schreckenghaust dubbed our position "The Honey Hole". The official count from the OC's was 42 enemy KIA's to our 11 KIA.
I attribute 2 critical factors to our success in stopping the enemy advance in the afternoon of day 1 at PL Buick.
1.) Radio communications: We went in to this FTX planning to use our radios during hard contact. All too often in other FTX's, command and control would be lost because our leaders stopped communicating on the radio, trying to lead remote teams by voice alone.That is not as effective as dependable radios communicating clear information during the battle. Yes, when the shooting starts, SOI encryption is out the window- using radios with plain speak is NOT!
2.) Flexibility in the plan: We purposely built our mission plan with no frills or over planning. We knew with facing such high numbers of enemy personnel, we would need to maintain a slick, light force capable of adapting to the constant push of the enemy with lessons & tactics of the Covering Force in mind.
After several hours of hard fighting the enemy withdrew from the engagement. We stayed on site for a short time expecting more contact. Soon it became apparent team Spartan needed to resupply water & initiate chow/rest cycles. We moved back to our PB, relocated it to a more concealed & defend-able position.
We also really pressed for proper priorities of work in the PB. Weapons cleaning, chow then rest was conducted at 50% security. We then waited for dusk for what will be part 2 of the AAR.
1.) Breaking contact- A few times multiple warriors would be bounding back with no one covering them or in a column file, masking their own fires.
2.) Water resupply was too far away to effect on site. It was only after the enemy broke contact we became able to resupply water. More personnel would alleviate this.
3.) Subordinate leaders early on were fighting behind their rifles not using their teams as their weapons. This was addressed and corrected early in the fight.
1.) Again radio comms between teams during hard contact. This kept our separated forces in sync & calmed the whole situation on our end.
2.) Carrying small rations with us to replenish calories spent during the fight. This kept our energy levels up during the day long fight.
3.) Violence of action- whooping, yelling the Spartan cry during the battle charges up and inspires friendly forces.
4.) Use of cover & concealment. Personnel built up fighting positions as best they could during the fight.
5.) Priorities of work in the Patrol Base.
This was just flat out an intense, non-stop, defense against what seemed like human wave attacks. I am truly humbled by the caliber of fighters on both sides.
Join us soon for Part 2.........
Today Parker & I had a close CCW call. We spent the past couple of hours at the range we use for classes, shooting our rifles & conducting stress drills. Running with sandbags, doing squats, burpees and sprints then shooting our rifles with malfunctions set in them from varying stances.
Good stressful training. I thought the stress would end there. In fact as we left I had let the thoughts of future courses & the day ahead fill my mind.
We pack our gear up and as we are leaving I ask Parker to lock up the gate & return the key to the security office so I can get home to the family a little sooner.
We exit the cave and I hang a right to head towards 23rd street & home. Where I observe a white male in his 40’s hanging out in the bushes next to the entrance to the cave.
He is trying to sneak peeks into the cave, trying to peer into the 'windows' of the walls of the cave. I initially brush it off but instead go with my gut that he is up to no good and immediately throw the car into reverse to watch Parker's back.
Parker at this time is facing the gate with his back to the guy totally unaware of his presence.
I’m sitting in my trailblazer keeping an eye on him while Parker finishes securing the gate.
RED FLAG SIGNS:
This guy had no vehicle anywhere to be found around there. He clearly walked a long distance to get there. He was shuffling back and forth in erratic, nonsensical fashion. He was also sweating profusely.
Parker tries to holler at me to say good bye or something, when I notice this guy pick up a rock.
I immediately step out and in a firm tone ask him what he is doing there.
From there it is off to the circus.
Guy- “YES I’M SUPPOSED TO BE HERE”
Guy- “THERE’S NO FUCKING LIGHTS IN THERE!!! NO FUCKING LIGHTS IN THERE!!!!”
I say internally to myself “Oh boy another drugged out psycho”
Me- “You need to back away and leave the area.”
He starts to back track toward the intersection of Television Place & 23rd st and yells more gibberish:
Guy- “ THERE’S GRAVESTONES THERE WITH SKULLS PAINTED ON THEM!!!”
Guy- “THE GRAVESTONES!!!”
He finally makes it to the intersection as Parker and I retreat in our vehicles, myself on the phone with 911.
That call went out at 11:46 am per my phone record.
This guy, mind you is standing at the only exit in the area. We can’t leave. He will definitely start a fight if we drive down next to him to leave.
He yells to other drivers and makes gestures towards us pumping an imaginary shotgun and holding an imaginary pistol to his head, squeezing an imaginary trigger.
I instruct Parker to begin to film in case he makes a charge towards us or fights the officers.
At 11:54 am is when we notice him throwing the rocks at cars and I call 911 again hoping to expedite their arrival.
He picks up another rock and gestures that he is going to throw it in our direction, 150 meters away.
At 11:56 am KCMO PD finally arrives and talks to the guy. They set him down and a 3rd officer makes contact with us.
We declare our conceal carry permit status and talk with the officer. The officer from KCMO was very polite and professional and said the guy was clearly on something and said we were good to leave the area. (I also notified dispatch of our CCP status while making the calls.)
In my rush to get to the range this morning I left my wallet at home with my driver’s license & CCP, luckily the officers knew immediately we were not the threat and asked for neither. (I will be making a concerted effort to make sure that doesn't happen again.)
We leave without major incident with hopefully another drugged out pyscho off the street.
Parker just on this past Saturday saw another man in this crazed state at the McDonalds on 24 hwy and Forest in Sugar Creek. The guy was raging out in the street, yelling at traffic trying to pick a fight.
The problem is real people!
We waited 10 minutes for the police to arrive. 10 MINUTES!!
You cannot rely on others for your personal safety. Luckily in this case we had each other to watch each others 6.
If he charged at us we would have had no choice but to defend ourselves. He was blocking the only exit from the area.
Why don’t you have your CCP yet? Why aren't you carrying everywhere!?!
I’m convinced he wanted inside that cave for some crazy reason. What if he had wandered up to us while we were shooting and attacked us? Or waited to ambush us as we packed up our equipment?
I’m convinced if I’d left Parker there he would have ambushed Parker with that rock he held in his hand.
Stop being complacent! Stop being naive.
One day, one of these drugged out demons will try to hurt you or your family.
I’m at a loss that this is the new normal for our city.
S&S Training Solutions
While visiting a local Wal-Mart today to pick up just a few items I find myself in the electronics isle securing printer ink for my printer, I notice a African-American male, early to mid 30's with a gold tooth take a decided interest in me. I recognizing it as being weird back out of the isle and move towards the pet section.
He decides to follow.
He approaches with his hands by his side in an aggressive stance. His eye'e are extremely bloodshot and he mumbles:
"I know you , I was a Marine." (Referring to himself being a Marine & inferring I was)
He moves in close to my comfort line of stranger proximity.
I say to him:
"Excuse me?" he then replies:
"I know you, your a DICK & I am a Marine".
To which I reply:
" I don't know who the fuck you are and you need to back the fuck away."
He moves in closer & I raise my left arm and point into the direct he should be fucking off in and move my right hand close to my side to prepare to draw. I simultaneously begin to back pedal out of the isle trying to get distance.
He then retorts:
"See I told you, you were a dick." "Don't play you were following me." He says.
I retreat further, and I command even louder:
"GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME." "I haven't been following you, I've been shopping, you followed me here."
Working as an EMT sometimes put's me in the position of treating criminals while they are in jail. They constantly try to keep your attention with nonsensical ramblings & questions. Me knowing this & recognizing this same behavior in this guy I decide that I have to deny him of that and get away as quick as possible because he clearly wants this to escalate.
Thoughts are rushing through my head at this time, back out, retreat, don't draw if you don't have to, I'm not here to kill someone today. At the same time I am noticing that despite my loud tone & large hand gestures all the other shoppers in the area were totally oblivious to the incident happening.
Feeling alone- When I was in firefights in Baghdad, Iraq. I knew I had back up. I knew I had my brothers I could rely on to help.
Here in the sheeples company store you have no one. Police are 3-5 minutes away and this guy is here now causing problems.
He begins to back away after my latest command and I make a B line for the other end of the store.
I track down a employee on the other side of the store and alert them to the problem. They notify security and I wait in line waiting to check out.
I constantly scan for this paranoid, probably drug induced haze, mad man. The employee I alerted about the issue returns and said that their security was handling the issue.
I notice all the other shoppers are still milling around like zombies oblivious this event has even occurred & the possible danger this guy was.
As I am leaving the parking lot I observe 3 police cruisers approaching the area with lights & sirens on. Guessing security had some kind of trouble with this guy.
Moments like this make me relieved I carry. Even more relieved I train often.
This guy was nuts. Paranoid and most likely on some kind of mind altering substance judging by the extremely bloodshot eyes. He may have been a Marine and maybe some Marine dickhead who looked like me had him confused with me. He seemed ready to get vengeance on who ever he had mistaken identity with me.
Carry everywhere! Even if you are just popping in to a store to grab a couple of items. Threats can come at anytime, even around noon on a Friday.
Look for tell tell signs of a threat: This guy took an immediate extra interest in me & followed me. He had no shopping cart and no merchandise in his hands. He was clearly mind altered and not there to shop.
Retreat & disengage: Just because you are carrying doesn't mean you have to present & shoot when you first feel threatened. However, this is the closest I have came to drawing.
It was the nat's ass razor edge away from me having to defend myself, I truly believe this.
By retreating, disengaging & reporting the threat I avoided being personally involved with what transpired after my departure.
I am not a cop. It is not my job to personally stop and detain this guy.
However if he had made direct verbal threats to myself, attacked myself or any other person, then it would be a citizens responsibility to intervene to protect life and prevent bodily harm.
Since I've began carrying this is the 3rd random encounter I've considered to be a threat to myself. It was certainly the most threatened I've felt & the closest I've came to clearing holster.
Hope this provides some lessons for you other concealed carriers & hopefully gets some non-carriers off the fence about carrying everyday, everywhere.
Because only you can defend yourself at all times.
S&S Training Solutions, LLC
I signed up for S & S Training Solutions Care Under Fire Course because I teach a lot of firearms classes to some very novice students and I wanted to be better prepared in case I should ever have to deal with a gunshot wound. I had taken training with the Red Cross and my local ambulance district, but I was looking for something more in-depth, dealing specifically with trauma.
The class was primarily taught by Cole Sammons a combat infantryman and Kyle Wright a combat medic. While both of these men knew their material and had plenty of battlefield experience to back to boot, what I appreciated most was their gift as teachers. Although the students came from a variety of back grounds ranging from EMTs to guys with no experience, no matter what level of skill or knowledge a particular student had they were always seeking to bring him up to the next level.
As the Course name "Care Under-Fire" would indicate this class focused on the kind of care an infantryman might need to administer on the actual battlefield. That being said I should point out what this class is not. You won't be learning to set up a MASH unit and do direct blood transfusions, suture wounds or re-inflate collapsed lungs. This class focused on stabilizing the casualty and getting him either back into the fight or to a place where he could be safely evacuated. If you are interested in the higher level grid down "ditch medicine", I recommend you take this class first, once you see the level of manpower required in just the initial treatment and evacuation of a critically wounded person, you may rethink your grid down hospital fantasy.
The class was mostly hands on and used the crawl, walk, run teaching method. First we had a brief classroom session followed by hands on practice of the various techniques and procedures. Then we quickly moved to the obstacle course. A common fault of firearms/survival instructors is that they often water down the physical aspect of their subject matter. I am happy to say that is not the case at S&S we had to sprint in full kit 100 yards carrying two 5 gallon jugs of water, then low crawl 20 yards to our first casualty, while the op-for fired blanks and threw smoke grenades at us. There we had to assess the situation, rally any comrades who could still fight and neutralize the op-for, only after we had stopped the incoming fire and established security could we begin moving and treating the wounded.
So why the blanks, obstacles and pyro? Simple, it all creates stress, it is relatively easy to sit in a class room and apply a tourniquet without all the smoke, noise and confusion. Remember a human being can bleed to death in as little as 3 minutes; you want to be able to do this under any circumstances without fumbling. Which brings to mind another point, these guys are combat experienced, and some of what they teach is the exact opposite of what you will learn in the world of civilian first aid. Not saying one is right and the other wrong, it all depends on the situation.
After the obstacle course we moved on to fire team and squad sized operations. If you come to an S&S class be prepared to do infantry stuff. The emphasis of this class was medical, but we still got in some patrolling and reaction to ambush. Again this may seem out of place until you think about it, no one schedules an emergency, they happen when you are trying to get other things done, again more stress.
This doesn't even begin to cover the things we learned in this class, but I hope to give an idea what it was like to anyone who might be interested, be warned it's all about problem solving. Cole likes to throw you surprises and see how you deal with it. He even tossed in a couple moral and ethical dilemmas.
If you spend time around firearms and knives, or just like infantry stuff, I highly recommend this class. You will learn how to treat trauma wounds and what supplies you need to do it.
People often wonder why S & S incorporates a mix of live fire, blank fire & airsoft into our training curriculum. Our training triad if you will.
The answer is simple. We are working to build well rounded warriors. We don’t want to pump out just gunfighters. We don’t want to just run tactical battle drills. We don’t want to build airsoft CQB teams or pretend medical heroes. We acknowledge that no training medium is perfect. One by itself will not yield the most prepared individual for an armed encounter.
To build & train warriors we incorporate training with these 3 mediums to help paint a fuller picture of a person’s tactical training needs and through that, foster confidence through personal competence in individual skills & small team leadership abilities.
Let’s break down the pros & cons of the training tools we use to help tie together the reality of armed engagements.
Live fire training is great. Students get to put real rounds down range with real manipulation of their own weapon. But you’re limited to square ranges where the enemy is normally static and offers no resistance. This is great if that is how the enemy reacts in the real world but more often than not that just isn't the case.
I can assure you from my time deployed to Baghdad, Iraq in 2007 at the height of the surge that the battlefield is a fluid and fast paced environment where the enemy doesn't stay in one place long nor stand out in the open waiting for you to pump round after round into him. After all they usually want to go home at the end of the day as well & not get laid to waste by superior fire power & tactics.
So we have to incorporate not only moving targets but an opposing force that can think & react to your movements & actions!
It is also important to note that S & S utilizes primitive ranges for most of our live fire training. It is important to get out of our comfort zones and into the dirt & elements. It is a reality check for some who may be getting dirt on their rifle and gear for the first time. This is important. Because if and when you find yourself in a firefight your gear, rifle and you will get dirty. If you're not having to clean your gear somewhat regularly you aren't training enough or hard enough.
Blank fire training allows us to safely patrol against a human Opfor that attempts to flank, sneak, ambush & generally wreak havoc to patrol leaders well thought out battle plans. It also allows for battle field noise & manipulation of your real steel weapon & ammunition supply management skills.
However without the use of expensive MILES gear there is no penalty for being exposed too long or being 'hit' by well-placed blank fire rounds.
Granted if your team is initiated on by the Opfor it is usually safe to say you lost the engagement and took casualties. But the rounds on target feedback is lacking. People will take chances they simply couldn’t take on the two way range but will do when using blank fire as a training tool.
So we generally use this for basic skills lanes training with individual/team battle drills & 24 hour FTXs to work in the feel of being in a hostile environment. It is something that can't be replicated safely with live fire & for which the scale is simply too large for the range of airsoft platforms. Plus who wants to wear an airsoft mask for 24hrs!
Aside from the military only One Shepherd currently fields the MILES system & a fine job they do of it. However their training cycles are a week long (they can be split into to 2 or 3 day commitments) and offered just twice a year. Only one of which new comers can attend the entry point of the program.
The cost of 1 Shepherd, time off away from work needed for many to attend prohibits some from training routinely on such battle drills & skills. Even though the cost is extremely fair when considering the outstanding content and amenities provided, some simply cannot afford it routinely enough to maintain and grow such skills. With that being said, go train with them at some point! You won’t regret it & neither do we!
Lastly we use airsoft. We have built two courses with airsoft as our training tool. One of our most popular being a Post-CCW course that thrusts you into robberies, car jacking’s & active shooter scenarios.
This allows for great feedback of the plastic rounds on target with using airsoft weapons. However the equipment is somewhat unreliable & not usually realistic in regards to sounds, weight & feel. You will however catch yourself jumping off line of an attack & seeking cover so you don’t get the ‘pain penalty’ of the airsoft rounds.
We also use airsoft as our medium to train in our CQB 1 course. We found it as a good start for someone just learning how to enter & clear rooms for the first time before proceeding onto more stressful blank or live fire training in the CQB environment. It’s a building block, a means to an end.
A lot of companies simply train only live fire or only sprinkle in force on force activities. We want to tie in the best of all the different available training mediums to create a more prepared warrior.
If someone is too heavily into live fire training they will neglect their tactical skills. Too much blank fire & they will neglect basic marksmanship skills. Too much airsoft & the lack of battle field noise and you may not train your senses properly to react to those extra sensory stresses if and when you are in a gun fight.
Training regimens should be like a healthy diet. Well balanced & should include a physical training program. Whatever your training regimen is, make sure you approach it with a open mind & based in reality. Don't base it on a perfect world with every aspect of the critical incident stacked in your favor. More often than not you will find yourself out numbered & possibly out gunned. Have more than one tool in your tool box for problems. Including more than one style of training.
"Stay Alert, Stay Ready"
S&S Training Solutions, LLC
The staff of S & S Training Solutions spent June 1st & 2nd training with one the most respected MILSIM training companies in the industry; One Shepherd. Here is our report:
Hello all and thank you for stopping by to read my review of One Shepherd's Warrior Basic Course.
I heard about One Shepherd by word of mouth from one of their instructors at some time in 2012. Several other contacts of mine had attended the training and all had boasted of their 1st rate training doctrine. Myself having just exited the Missouri National Guard-a joke when it comes to training, I immediately became interested.
I visited their website (www.1shepherd.com) many times over the years leading up to my attendance of the Warrior Basic Course on June 1st & 2nd, 2014. During those years I remember wanting to have the extra time & more importantly the money to afford the training.
One Shepherd uses the MILES 2000 system. It is essentially a laser tag system made for military forces to simulate firing rifles with blank rounds and if you were able to get a solid shot off on an enemy, the enemies harness will emit a flat-line kill sound. My experience with MILES gear is from my 3 year stint in the U.S. Army. It was not maintained well in my experience and never used properly. Heck we usually didn't even have the batteries for the damn things. So I was excited to see it used in a company who hopefully uses it right.
My background for use on the subject matter is: I am a U.S. Combat Infantryman from a light infantry unit (2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division) I was trained extensively on dismounted patrolling techniques through the landscape of Ft. Riley KS. Once deployed to Baghdad, Iraq 2007 to 2008 however we quickly became mounted infantry in up-armored Humvees.
Much of our light infantry skills had to be adapted to the urban jungle & insurgency fighting that was all to commonly reacting to IED's, far ambushes & acting as an occupation force. An adaption that did happen and worked fairly well with a bit of urban specific training. I am also a certified NRA firearms instructor & a certified Fire Service Instructor.
So right, back to One Shepherd! As a new business owner that has a very similar concept and mission to One Shepherd I contacted Chris Larsen the owner of One Shepherd and an accomplished writer on tactics with many published works used by the U.S. Army and yours truly, to seek his advice on how to proceed into our undertaking of running S & S Training Solutions. Chris Larsen bent over backwards to email me replies with his advice on the industry. Taking time away from his working towards a PHD, running One Shepherd & probably 100 other things life seems to throw our ways. All that advice and time to a guy he had never met and is starting a similar business like his own. Something to which I am very appreciative for. This should help you start to see the type of classy individual who is behind the operation that is One Shepherd.
Okay, okay enough of the back story! So how'd it go?
We arrived late Saturday evening. The first thing you notice is the large amount of assets One Shepherd has and provides during their week long training events.
Medium and Small GP tents, a 2 1/2 ton Army Truck & two willies jeeps. They also provide all meals for the WBC/LLC out of their own Defac, a modified mobile home turned kitchen/operations facility- All very well organized and clean.
We were greeted by the staffed and checked in our personal AR-15's into the secure arms racks. Parker and I settled in to the troop tent where they had some cots available for those of us who thought we wouldn't need them or would just rough it (guilty). We spent that evening talking with other students and the staff about reasons why they began training or what led them to One Shepherd. We found a lot of common ground with many of the students & instructors. The students here range from all ages and all ethnicities. All with varying reasons for attending and many from as far away as Wyoming & Chicago.
The first morning of training we were woke and given a time hack for Physical Training Formation. Now don't get the idea that they are trying to whip people into shape during their semester. The PT on day one was a combination of some old school bayonet fighting movements and active stretching. It was a interesting active way to warm up for the day, get in a morning stretch and get in a few laughs at our bayonet war cries.
From there we were released for chow and personal hygiene. The Warrior Basic Course students were split into two teams, issued weapons & the pre zeroed MILES 2000 gear. The lessons covered basic traveling formations, weapon manipulation, individual movement technique, MILES 2000 brief and combat formations.
The lessons are hard and fast. Lasting usually 30 minutes a piece. The instructors at One Shepherd are experts in their craft. All of them during this WBC had no active duty experience among them, which in my opinion is impressive. Some veterans and perspective students may find themselves questioning the ability of these guys to teach....... I assure you they know the material and are effective teachers.
Every instructor in this industry doesn't have to be a Delta-Seal-Special-Ranger-Airborne-Ninja-Badass-Audie Murphy to teach this stuff okay! America has many, many great warriors from the past few wars and other fighting disciplines. Some are experts and combat seasoned, great! That doesn't make them good or effective teachers.
The instructors there at One Shepherd took the time away from their busy lives, had the dedication and spent their own hard earned money on learning these skills to proficiency & now VOLUNTEER their time to teach others. That's right, the cadre at One Shepherd are all volunteers!
Warrior Basic students are instructed on Reacting to Contact day 1. The foundation for all other battle drills. The instruction was once again, fast and hard. Like 'drinking out of a fire hose' is how it was referred to by the staff. The team I was in opted to run first through the blank fire lane. First shots by 11am day one, excellent! We headed down a hill across an open field towards a low lying creek. With the instructors and now a OPFOR taking shots at us, I having previous experience stepped in and formed them into a online formation and tried to get my fellow teammates to bound all the way to the objective which was a creek bed in the middle of the field.
When you're reacting to contact in a team you bound across the terrain to allow cover fire while someone moves. Bounding movements are long, jump up-short rush-back down to the ground grueling fighting events that are a true drain on even physically fit individuals. So if you are considering this type of training, start exercising now! You don't need to be a body builder or marathon runner but do start conditioning your body for this type of training!
We bounded about 100 meters to the creek when it was all said and done. This took us approximately 9 minutes according to the rifle mounted GoPro camera's video I took of the event. The instructors yelled for us to complete actions on the objective. Things like calling the Limit of Advance out and L.A.C.E. reports. All things in my opinion are a bit above a Warrior 3 hours into training. The doctrine of training seems to be set up on some scenarios for the students to fail, be lost & see the power of the chaos involved in combat. This seems to be done to get them thinking about the principles of what's happening. S & S does this to a degree in some scenarios but is generally left to more experienced students scenarios. A minor difference in training theory & style but not a big deal.
Instructor Jason Snyder conducts a class on the TA1 field phones.
After the first blank fire of the WBC we broke for lunch. Next we held classes on Immediate Action Drills. The "Oh crap there's the enemy or Oh crap boss they are shooting at me!" drills. Hasty Ambush, Break Contact, React to Near Ambush, Security Halts, instruction on use of the TA1 field phones, PRC 77 pack radios & helmet mounted night vision devices.
The classes again where hot and heavy an immediately throws you into the mix. Breaks from class where often rushed to create a sense of urgency. Which is good. Fighting in MILSIM or combat takes a sense of urgency. No lollygagging army has every won a war. It takes violence of action & initiative.
However I feel some students too new to the realm of military like discipline may have been rushed to the point of not taking the chance to top off water canteens or use the porta johns less they get some negative feed back from an instructor but they must be broke of lollygagging one way or another I surmise.
No one at One Shepherd is going to 'smoke you' , make you do push ups or shark attack you in drill Sergeant fashion, but you will know when you need to hurry up and/or pay attention. After all the instructors are there as volunteers so respect should be shown to the time & effort they are giving, however a little bit better balance of time management and rest for brand new GREEN students should have been struck in my own opinion.
After dinner chow, students and leaders were given about an hour to plan a night patrol. A patrol that was to consist of four fire teams being independently inserted into the field to which they would all have to independently land navigate to each other and link up. All the while avoiding the Opfor patrols and make our way back to the FOB (Forward Operating Base..the place with the tents and what not).
The students in the Light Leaders Course planned and executed the mission. My team 'D' or Delta team successfully linked up with 'C' Charlie team. To which we were to link up with A/B teams who linked up together then head to the FOB with all four teams together. That's the plan. No plan ever works out exactly as planned in combat scenarios. Adapt and overcome should be the mantra for successful leaders. It did not goes as planned on this night. Low natural moon light, heavy vegetation, rusty land nav skills (guilty), rough terrain and new inexperienced guys all made for a frustrating patrol that ended well after the planned time to be back in the FOB and back in our cozy sleeping bags.
Okay, lets start with talking about this. This in my opinion is a throw em to the wolves. Let them adapt, band together & over come the rough terrain, pitch black of night (the night vision would have been nice but was not issued for the night op) and the opfor patrols.
Don't get me wrong, it works to do this. It does. The Army has perfected this frustrating tactic to train troops and it works. But this isn't the Army. Walking through the dead of night with no night vision or experienced students over rough terrain with a sudden drop offs & high banked creeks is a safety concern of mine. This type of patrol should in my opinion wait until the students have more experience and here's why IMO:
We all have jobs outside of this training, the type of individual that decides to seek this type of training, pay out of pocket to get it, risk such injury and join our community is a special breed of citizen. They are a great asset that we must protect from unwarranted risk whenever possible. Does that mean that we can't make training realistic and not do these patrols? No. Can this risk be mitigated and a night patrol still be conducted? Yes.
The safety of the night patrol is the only truly negative comment I have for One Shepherd. All other seemingly negative comments in this blog/AAR are really just me nit picking things and in no way are a 'negative'. One Shepherd has been at it for some 30 years. They are the flagship in the industry as far as light infantry milsim goes. Everything in the program has a reason behind why it is done. The only deciding factor on if it is right or wrong lands on your interepation if it is right or wrong in the individual students eyes. Not in my opinion in this blog.
"No rest for the weary."
Students from both the LLC & Warrior Basic Course conduct a 2 mile ruck march on day two for PT.
I am so glad that One Shepherd has a PT program. So many people that get into the MILSIM culture have no idea how physical it is truly. Many fall into the trap of buying high speed gear that has little to no practical field application, wear it wrong, over pack their ruck/bug out bag and never field testing it.
They make you walk 2 miles with a ruck on. Many people drop their heads, stop scanning for threats and drop their rifles and posture.
If you are moving through a hostile area, you are being observed. You need to look like the baddest most confident, physically in shape (not a body builder) thing walking they have ever seen. If you walk through looking like an easy, not paying attention target, you will get treated as such. Pick up your head, scan your sector and keep moving!
It sucks, I get it. I don't particularly enjoy road marches either. But you have to embrace the suck. This message and lesson is something I love about One Shepherd doing PT.
The culmination of the previous 24 hours of training was a coordinated raid on a enemy fuel dump. The students where organized into a way in which you attacked once, defended once & observed once. I drew the luck of attacking twice and defending once.
The objective was on some tactically challenging terrain with large open areas, sparse vegetation areas and a dry creek bed on the objective which allowed defenders to have access to a wide line of defense that could be traversed quickly.
This was an absolute blast. I really got to feel and test the MILES 2000 gear for the first time. Something the U.S. Army spent so many millions on and in my experience never succeeded in fielding correctly. One Shepherd maintains their equipment. The MILES gear works. It isn't perfect, laser shots won't go through dense vegetation like live rounds will but when you have a target in your sights squeeze off a round or two at them and see them get up take their hat off and walk to the casualty collection point flat-lined tone emitting from their vest as an indication they are dead. It is truly satisfying. As a combat infantry veteran it is satisfying.
One Shepherd gets so many things right it is hard to find things that are wrong with it. Once again everything I have mentioned is mostly me just nit picking. Over the course of the two days I've learned new things about my own personal performance as an operator, instructor and businessman.
The idea of belonging to the community offered by One Shepherd is a sincere gesture, while it may not just be unique just to One Shepherd, they definitely have a grip on its core principles and I appreciate them for promoting the community idea.
I whole heartedly encourage all S & S Training Solutions students to attend some if not all the training One Shepherd has to offer. S & S focuses more time and energy into the individual and small teams training. I think our program at S & S will build confidence prior to a student attending a One Shepherd event instead of being a 'green' student being thrown into the mix & trying to 'drink out of the fire hose'. The real benefit our students will get from One Shepherd will be the experience you will get in leading elements beyond a fire team. Squad/Platoon & Company level leadership experience is there just waiting for you to insert yourself into the mix-not to mention the Miles 2000 gear.
You will find me back under the One Shepherd Regimental Guidon, lending my experiences, learning new methods, gaining new experiences and making new contacts soon. I am proud to now call myself a One Shepherd community member.
So S & S students I will give you the motto that was given to me in basic training at Ft. Benning, GA and the motto that is echoed at One Shepherd........
S & S Training Solutions LLC
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Blogs and Product reviews from the staff of S & S Training Solutions!