Lessons Learned

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  1. Working on a casualty
    06 Feb, 2019
    Mine strike, booby trapped body and 60 enemy combatants...Tools for critical decision making
    Objective: Endor - Field Training Exercise "Marauder 1, be advised that ISR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance drone) shows multiple vehicles enroute to your current position.  Estimate 50 to 60 armed combatants will arrive within five mike (minutes).  How copy?" "Marauder 1 copies last - We're still trying to deal with the device on the body."  The squad was having a bad day and it looked like things were about to get significantly worse.  The squad leader, call sign "Snowman",  was
  2. A tale of two battles: The importance of rehearsal.
    29 Jan, 2019
    A tale of two battles: The importance of rehearsal.
    Grizzly 01 (zero one) was completely combat ineffective.  Their team lead was currently hosting an impromptu discussion in an abandoned house just north of the target building.  All six team members of the assault element were looking inward focused on a discussion about how to proceed.  No one was watching the multiple open doors surrounding the team.  The enemy had been silent for about two minutes.  The sound of AK-47 gunfire had stopped and the only sounds coming from the combat village were
  3. Core Experiences
    29 Dec, 2018
    Core Experiences
    It was 3:30 a.m. and the temperature outside my armored truck was zero degrees Fahrenheit and the snow was coming down hard.  I watched a figure on my thermal imager walk across the Polish-controlled forward operating base Ghazni, Afghanistan, and I thought to myself, “Who would be crazy enough to be out for a stroll at this time and in this weather?”  I had a reason.  My team was linking up for a mission at 4 a.m. for a planned operation with a Polish unit. Then there was the time I found
  4. SPARTAN 01 - Objective Funhouse
    28 Dec, 2018
    SPARTAN 01 - Objective Funhouse
    "The RPG round skipped down the street and exploded against a building south of the objective.  Through the smoke Joey could see Snowman laying suppressive fire on the house where the rocket grenade had come from.  To his right El Chapo was running out his rappel line to get clear of the rope.  He knew that only Bee Keeper was left on rope one.  The team needed to clear out of the insertion point, and soon.  The intensity of the machine gun fire was increasing by the moment.  He was surprised by
  5. Meet the Cadre - Marauder 01
    28 Dec, 2018
    Meet the Cadre - Marauder 01
    Cadre (noun) - a small group of people specially trained for a particular purpose or profession. Mike Simpson (Marauder 01)  U.S. Air Force Security Forces 1995 - 1999 I'm originally from El Paso, Texas.  I moved to Phoenix after high school to study accounting.  I'm so thankful that I dropped out of college after a year and ended up joining the U.S. Air Force.  Of course, my parents at the time thought that I was making the biggest mistake of my life by leaving school.  Anyone who knows me
  6. "Extreme Ownership" - Lesson 1 in Next Level Leadership
    27 Dec, 2018
    "Extreme Ownership" - Lesson 1 in Next Level Leadership
    "On any team in any organization, all responsibility for success and failures rest with the leader.  The leader must own everything in his or her world.  There is no one else to blame.  The leader must acknowledge mistakes and admit failures, take ownership of them and develop a plan to win."  - From Extreme Ownership, How U.S. Navy SEALS Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin This simple principle establishes the first lesson that our cadre (team of instructors) imparts to the
  7. Time to go to work and blow something up.
    27 Dec, 2018
    Time to go to work and blow something up.
    After an amazing day of missions filled with gunfire and pyrotechnics, I am often asked by our guests, "How did you start your company?"  The company has transformed multiple times over the past 18 years.  It started as a security consulting business after the 9/11 terror attacks.  It quickly  morphed into a tactical training business that catered to military, law enforcement and civilian clients.  But the latest incarnation owes a great debt to former Navy SEAL that I met at a Border Security
  8. Get into a gunfight!
    27 Dec, 2018
    Get into a gunfight!
    Black Hawk Down, Lone Survivor, 13 Hours - amazing action sequences that feature some of the most intense representations of military combat in urban environment.  The closest most will come to experiencing this toxic environment is a movie or first person shooter video game. For members of the military getting ready for deployment, the US government conducts realistic battlefield simulations using a combination of blank firing or non-lethal force on force options.  These training systems are
  9. Raiders of the Lost Tactical Nuke
    18 Nov, 2019
    Raiders of the Lost Tactical Nuke
    Objective: Broken Arrow - Field Training Exercise "Spartan Zero One to Control, be advised we have jackpot."  "Copy Spartan, what is the status of the device?" "Control, be advised there is an active timer showing 25 minutes and counting."   The six man squad had been roused from their sleeping bags just after midnight for a mission briefing.  Most of the squad had been able to get about two hours of rest after a long ten hour day of tactical training.  Now they were learning about a lost
  10. Tiny Dancer to Red Wolverine - Combat Report Iraq
    29 Jun, 2019
    Tiny Dancer to Red Wolverine - Combat Report Iraq
    In the late afternoon of 29 June 2009, approximately, 1745, my EOD team received notification that we would be linking up with our security team, Red Wolverine, at 1830 to dispose of suspected unexploded ordnance (UXO’s) near Al Qaqa Range, way south of Baghdad, Iraq.  My team prepared our M1114 “Humvee” and gear for a night operation, and departed from our shop at about 1820.  We linked up with Red Wolverine near Entry Control Point (ECP) three at 1825. I dismounted with my team chief (TC),
  11. Confidence vs Overconfidence: The importance of knowing the difference
    09 Apr, 2019
    Confidence vs Overconfidence: The importance of knowing the difference
    The sound of the gunshot subsided and Matt heard the Training Evaluator shout out, "Weapon on Safe.  Pull your mag and clear your weapon!" He could see his team starting the final lap of the dreaded "Tactical Tiki", the final obstacle course of the day.  This was the third event of the morning and Matt was less than two minutes from graduating from Ground Combat School Class 33.  He had set the second fastest time in the individual move and shoot obstacle course.  His time of 2 minutes and 11
  12. "Double Dragon" Combat Report - Ghazni, Afghanistan
    26 Feb, 2019
    "Double Dragon" Combat Report - Ghazni, Afghanistan
    The engine in our Joint EOD Rapid Response Vehicle now growled loudly as our driver, Stevie, gunned it to keep up with the rest of our convoy.  I watched the tall dark mortar plumes fade away on the road behind us.  It was eerily serene for a moment, and I found myself looking at a picturesque evening rolling away from me.  The sun was low and giving a warm stroke of orange to the sky and highlighting the surrounding hills with a bright golden light.  Long shadows were now rolling back out
  13. Combat Report - Ghazni, Afghanistan
    08 Feb, 2019
    Combat Report - Ghazni, Afghanistan
    I found myself trying with all my might to keep myself standing and keep from blacking out.  The bright lights shooting past my eyes, like stars racing by as you jump through hyperspace, made it harder for me to keep my focus.  Luckily, my gunner’s harness had got caught on the turret handle and kept me from slumping down into our armored truck.  I was able to pull my senses back into my head and bring myself up to the 240 machine gun mounted on our vehicle and cover my sector of fire...the
  14. Not just for the new guys - Four Rules of Weapon Safety
    02 Jan, 2019
    Not just for the new guys - Four Rules of Weapon Safety
    One of the most fundamental skill sets for any warrior is the ability to effectively use their tools to stop a threat.  Most individuals who take up the profession of arms (law enforcement and military) begin their training by learning about weapon safety.  However, many of these same people discard these basics as soon as they get out into the field.  Often they do this because they begin emulating the tactics used by others perceived as having more experience.   Our team implements four rules
  15. Five Rules of Combat - Urban Warfare Experience
    31 Dec, 2018
    Five Rules of Combat - Urban Warfare Experience
    You've might have heard about "The Fog of War."  This relates to limited situational awareness on the battlefield.  This theoretical concept becomes very real during the Urban Warfare Experience.  Between darkness, buildings engulfed in fog and the ever present sound of gunfire, participants can be overwhelmed by stimuli in the urban combat environment.   Here's a quick summary of the five rules of combat.  When you aren't quite sure how to proceed due to the fog of war, start with any of these

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