Clueless Lighitis Truckards Think All there is to War is PT, Marksmanship & Battle Drills UPDATED 12 September 2009

Parts 2-4: Are we killing our Soldiers? Time to return to COMBAT training focus

The American Light-Itis "From Here to Eternity" Garrison Lifestyle of Simplistic Gunslingerism so Troops can Goof-off

Stryker trucktards at Play:

The Pay-Off: Incompetent Trucktards Can't Even Provide Local Security for their Cash Cow Manure Wagons!

Shary Bobbins:

"If theres a task that must be done
dont turn your tail and run
dont pout ! dont sob!
just do a half assed job!
if you cut every corner then its really not so bad
everybody does it
even mom and dad
if nobody sees it then
nobody gets mad

Bart: "its the American way"

Shary Bobbins: "the policeman on the beat
needs some time 2 rest his feet

Chief Wiggum: "fighting crime is not my cup of tea"

Shary Bobbins: "and the clerk who runs the store
can charge a little more.........
for meat

Apu (echoes): "for meat"
Shary Bobbins: "and milk"
Apu (echoes): "and milk"

Shary Bobbins and Apu: "from 1984"

SHARY BOBBINS: "If you cut every corner, you'll have more time for play!"

Shary Bobbins and the Simpsons: "its the American way!"

Part 2: Lack of Daily Combat Relevant Reality: what reformers miss

"We need to change not only the capabilities at our disposal, but also how we think about war. All the high-tech weapons in the world will not transform the U.S. armed forces unless we also transform the way we think, the way we train, the way we exercise and the way we fight."

--SecDef Rumsfeld's Remarks to National Defense University, 31 Jan 02 with hidden agenda to propagate his RMA mental firepower doesn't need physical maneuver mentality

When one of the 1st TSG (A) members was in USMC officer training in the thickly undergrowth vegetated areas of Quantico, Virginia, he noted that they would conduct different missions and create schemes of maneuver that on paper sounded promising. However, regardless of the plan, it always ended up with them trudging on foot through "wait-a-minute vines". What was hoped for---a speedy, stealthy movement ended up in a grim and tiring struggle that could be heard for hundreds of meters away.

The parable of the wait-a-minute vines expresses a truth that military reformers with grandiose plans of wire diagram reorganizing fail to understand: there will be no actual reform unless the daily, minute-by-minute physical reality is changed to make it so.

In most situations in life, there is no "zero sum game" of limits, you can with extra effort get more of everything except TIME. Time is truly "zero sum"; if you waste it doing bullshit (BS) you lose that time for things that are truly important. We have already seen how the daily time schedule reality of the Army creates tired, brain-dead people who are not likely to read or think about anything let alone writings by the military reformers. If you do not remove the "wait-a-minute vines" in the daily life of the Soldier, there will be no reform or as the buzzword of today calls it: "transformation".

CRS or is it NKSS?

Some have suggested that the technotactical vacuum we experience today takes place over the years as an ongoing amnesia as rank and privileges (RHIP) increase, leaders get out of touch with daily details. One Army officer writes:

"It's all CRS Syndrome (Can't Remember Shit). Our officers and NCOs do not take time out to learn from history.

Those that do are often relegated to the margins within their organizations because they aren't 'normal' (ie; mediocre) and are a threat to the 'main stream' (like the "Geeks" in High School).

It comes from a lack of self-directed and command directed OPD/NCOPD reading. The Leader Professional Development is a three-legged stool (According to Army Doctrine):

Institutional Training (OES/NCOES) - TRADOC
Unit Training (Occurs at the unit from 0600 - 1700)
Self-Directed Study (Occurs 1600 - 0800)

Any weak or missing leg and the stool falls apart. But less than 10% of the Officer/NCO corps actually practice the THIRD leg with real purpose and the second leg is barely practiced (and when it is it is often unimaginative).

The cure is easy...3.5 hours of professional reading per week (how many of you practice that?) You don't just read either. You LEARN. Buy your own books (never borrow). As you read and a thought strikes you about how what you're reading applies to now, or the texts jogs you to ask a question, then you make a Note # in the margin, go to a clean cover page (normally at the front/back of the book) write down the same note # and the page number you refer to and then write down your thoughts. You'll find that the more you read and note, the more you retain. Also, as you read other books, you'll find recurring themes and lessons. You'll find the hand written indexes useful as you trace those themes back through other books you've read. You will read the word, meditate on it, understand it and then you'll soon find you are ready to apply it with a clarity that others will not fathom."

As you can see, another officer pleads for professional military reading, but does not insure it can or will take place by slicing with a time/opportunity-creating "machete" the "wait-a-minute vines" that will strangulate any attempts to make headway into the prevailing technotactically ignorant culture. I suggest its not CRS but actually "Never Knew Shit Syndrome" (NKSS). From the time we make Citizens into Soldiers we fail miserably to train them on the actual physical realities of war which is composed of two battles; the battle against the earth to stay fed and intact while gaining mobility and the battle against man to surprise and defeat other thinking, seeing humans.

In the ground combat forces of America, there is in the Soldier's daily life a disconnect between the mundane, 19th century, linear-war, bureaucratic tasks time is wasted on and the tasks that need to be trained on. In contrast, the AF and Navy abide in air/sea platforms that force daily realities to be close to combat realities; humans don't reside in the air/sea. If the AF or Navy does something stupid someone dies if the platform fails catastrophically. However, in the Army/Mc the medium which they operate from--the ground is not an unnatural arena requiring sharp, focused actions to stay alive. There is very little "battle against the earth" for ground forces and zero battle against man during peacetime to veto stupidity/inefficiency in their actions. Thus, Army ground units get bogged down with care/maintenance of their only immediate pressing quasi-life support system: their barracks and office areas; because failure to do so could result in lost free time and promotions/pay to have funds to hop in your car and get away from the Army on weekends. The centerpiece of the Air Force is the airplane, the Navy, the ship. However, for the Army and the marines its the BUILDING. You don't attack "the gates of hell" with a building.

The last we checked, ALL of the current crop of U.S. military reformers' visions fail to address daily time/culture realities: thus not enough people are even reading their books(!) let alone acting on their changes. The vacuum game: without a good culture, those perpetuating bad culture will most certainly fill time with bad culture; the Army/Mc garrison non-sense of outward appearances and barracks inspections gobbles up any time for constructive, reflective thinking and actions that would enhance the COMBAT capabilities of the units involved. Remember, time truly is a zero sum game; every minute you waste on barracks is a minute that cannot be spent on combat training tasks or equipment enhancements.

It should be no surprise that with today's mis-mananged time schedules, few if any Soldiers are reading about the main threats to their own battlefield survival like rocket propelled grenades (RPGs). However this was not always the case. Before we had the egotistically-driven All Volunteer Force (AVF), we had the DRAFT. The draft was not about weak ego people seeking fulfillment in military service, it was about NATIONAL SURVIVAL IN WAR. It was about getting the job done and WINNING. It was about SURVIVING. So despite a lack of computers, in WW2 the common Soldier actually respected and studied the enemy to kill him before he killed them. We had the "know the enemy" and "How to fight" series of films that were aired and watched by everyone in our units. Yet today, despite the reality of portable DVD movie players there is no such know thy enemy film series. We need a DVD version of these things today, in fact we've needed it 20 years ago and we still don't have it. The current Army Center for Lessons Learned (CALL) is broken. CALL collects lessons learned from the field but is understaffed/funded such that all we have are boring written texts without pictures on non-inter-active web pages and drab paper products that get sent out to units where they collect dust in the day room. Lately their products have pictures but the "lessons" they are putting out are status quo cheerleading and "happy talk". U.S. Army Combat Camera units should be tasked to work directly with CALL to produce broadcast quality "Know the enemy" documentaries to be widely distributed on DVDs throughout the Army to "get the lead out" so we can stop having our asses kicked in Iraq/Afghanistan due to technotactical ignorance.

The next immediate change is that EVERY UNIT in the Army needs to wear their FULL "battle rattle" at least once a week to constantly fine-tune and get used to wearing what they must wear in actual combat weather conditions. There must be battle training at least once a week when wearing this full TA-50 combat equipment. This day should be referred to as a "Combat 8" as in 8 hours in ready for combat configuration and combat preparations. The goal should be ALL combat gear should be put on EVERY day via the "BATTLEBOX" system. Its called being who you are supposed to be: a Soldier. Not a janitor or high school running team member who wears BDUs/ACUs once in awhile.

Part 3: Weak Minds should not run the week's training

"With wise counsel make war"


Its an enduring principle/truth: to be successful you should put the Best Mind(s) On The Problem(s) [BMOTP]. In American industry, the adage is "surround yourself with smart people". We have seen earlier how the Army makes sleep deprived people who are made dull, not alert and unable to multi-task due to our inefficient, inflexible time schedules. However, the Army/Mc also doesn't recognize the latent talents of its individual Soldiers. To further keep smart people from running the show, the Army operates under the RHIP BS that training is created/conducted not by the best minds but by those with highest rank in the enlisted and officer classes. Small unit leaders with experience with troops handling concerns does NOT make them experts in technical fields that require formal training, abiding personal interest, lifelong research/experimentation and discovery on their own.

The tendency is as SSG Brian Heitman observed is "pushy people repel knowledge"; they are too busy pushing away to take anything in. People that spend their time ordering bodies of people from one place to another have little functional respect for their own men, they are so focused on inflicting their will there is certainly no time or desire to RESPECT THE ENEMY and study the functional areas of the battlefield. Tyrants don't study what the enemy could do to prevail against us because they arrogantly think their pushy and ignorant plans will reign supreme regardless. They smugly think the enemy can't hurt us. In contrast, at the core of professional study is the implied understanding that we are all FALLIBLE; that things can and will go wrong as we fight the earth and other men, and that humility to accept these things is required to "what if" and pre-emptively compensate against these setbacks. The role model for this is LTC Hal Moore depicted in the opening scenes of the movie "We Were Soldiers" listing the pros and cons of his and enemy forces. That's a model of military humble professionalism. Sadly, today in the U.S. military we have a 19th century blind obedience culture in an ego-driven AVF bureaucracy that creates petty tyrants at the small-unit level who don't know shit about the modern battlefield. Even after these micro-tyrants go on deployments to battle areas where they are indeed shot at, they lack the humble outlook of a warrior/philosopher to be able to compare/contrast---LEARN from what took place to be better from it. Their pushy arrogance to blindly follow and push down whatever the institution has handed down to them when it fits into their agendas/empires as "gospel" blinds them to any connecting-of-the-dots of battlefield failings to the prevailing garrison BS culture that created them. They think constant formations, spit shines and pressed uniforms translate into battlefield success. As the pushy tyrants get more rank their excesses increase without any institutional veto.

Training should not be done by dumb-asses; petty tyrants who have rank but don't really know shit about the battlefield. In the current platoon-sergeants-as-tyrants paradigm, the best trained people in a company-sized unit are often officers and junior enlisteds who have been to advanced training, forced to think broadly about war and been to multiple real world deployments--but these folks are not allowed to teach classes because its "NCO business"!!! As time goes on is it a wonder officers end up being ever more unrealistic, aloof and out of touch; this narrow mindedness prevents BMOTP Greatest Common Denominator (GCD) results and creates instead an across-the-board Lowest Common Denominator (LCD) mediocrity.

Fortunately in this self-enlightened "information age", every unit has talented individuals, or Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) on key military areas [REGARDLESS OF WHAT THEIR RANK IS OR IS NOT] The SMEs of every unit should decide/run training events and have GOALS; enduring agendas to improve unit capabilities over time, once a week they have entire company at their disposal. Ownership of the unit by the Soldiers who make up the unit is then facilitated. The following is an example drawn from our experience.


Monday: Vehicle SME Team
Tuesday: Weapons SME Team
Wednesday: Airborne SME Team
Thursday: MOS equipment SME Team
Friday: Tactics SME

Daily Combat PT SME Team:

M Jog
T Walk (ruck)
W Sprint
T Run/Weights
F Close Combatives


Vehicle SME TEAM

Writes unit SOPs

1. Fix vehicles: repair parts ULLS-G
2. Mark vehicles
3. BII stored on vehicles; rear seat hasps/locks, rear padlock on pioneer tools
4. Proper camouflage: paint tan
5. Safety/environment: chocks/drip pans
6. MG M197 mounts
7. Armoring; practice sandbagging re: FM 55-30 Appendix O
8. Power inverters to recharge batteries

9. Vehicle formation Immediate Action (IA) Drills
10. Practice recovering damaged vehicles
11. Urban tactical driving
12. Rural tactical driving

Weapons SME Team

Writes unit SOPs

1. NVG night firing/BZO
2. Day BZO
3. Weak shooters one-on-one instruction
4. Shooting weapons from and after dismounting from vehicles (in conjunction with vehicle team)

Airborne SME Team

Writes unit SOPs

1. Airland vehicles capability FTX
2. Load plans
3. Air movement certification/practice
4. Airdrop FTX


Writes unit SOPs


Tactics SME

Writes unit SOPs

1. TA-50 Soldier's load mobility solutions
2. Know thy enemy updates
3. Mounted battledrills (with vehicle team)
4. PME: monthly book reading program
5. Sand table war games
6. TEWTs
7. IA drills
8. Combat-8s and Combat-72 hour FTXs

*If unit is on lawn care building maintenance duty, then the entire unit and the training day should be spent on this time distracter so it gets done as fast as possible and then attention focused back on combat training and missions.

What is the task, condition, standard and METL number for COMMON SENSE?

The unit SMEs will have they do their jobs at the "cutting edge", be training techniques that are valid and relevant to the actual battlefield threats facing them. However, we must wake up to the fact that it takes at least 2 years and $100,000 to write a new Army Field Manual (FM) with tasks, conditions, standards and "approved" reference numbers. If we become so narrow minded that we cannot train Soldiers on the necessary tactics, techniques and procedures to stay alive because we have to wait for a TRADOC approved FM and task number we will continue to be out-thought and out-fought by the enemy. By the way, what is task, condition, standard for lawn mowing?

If we can mow lawns without ARTEPs and METLS then we can train on adaptive TTP without waiting on the bureaucracy to bless off on it. The way it should work is that the unit SOP is the resting place for the new TTP, the SMEs within the unit as much as possible cross-reference the SOPs to be professionally sound and safe but not be so anal that something new and improved cannot be added. We must be able to IMPROVE on what we do not just be forced to abide by a mediocre low standard. This should be "common sense". The unit commander will have to respond to everything his unit does or fails to do anyway, to include the unit SOP. Unit SOPs should be sent to respective TRADOC offices to ENLIGHTEN THEM not the other way around.

Part 4: Battlefield Reality Check Needed: HQDA must put money into relevant training events shared by all Soldiers

"That which is most simple and obvious is the hardest to fathom".

--Edgar Allen Poe

One-week Battle Reality Laboratory solves NKSS

The Army needs tough, realistic, smart, tactically sound COMBAT training for its young leaders so they can all be able to do a "Hal Moore" if called upon and win a basic dismounted small unit infantry fight. TO BUILD TEAMS of Soldiers, not peer-evaluation, back-stabbers for a bureaucratic, rat race like a "Survivor" reality TV show, but TEAMWORK. Let's do something special during basic training that can only be done when all the new Soldiers are together. Let's have them receive a physical "reality check" of what the modern battlefield is like and how the Combined Arms, not just Infantry branch, work together to prevail on that battlefield, wherever it may appear. We need hands-on, warrior instruction, not another "harassment package" done by Infantry School cadre beating new Soldiers over their heads that "they ain't Infantry". They already know that. They need to know the "U.S. Army" on their uniform means they are branch immaterial warriors who kick the enemy's butt wherever they meet. Lets call the program "Objective Warfighting Laboratory" or "OWL" as in to make one wise like an owl.

The Army should immediately give every deploying unit at least 1 week of OWL training, and then every other unit as soon as possible to give them the reality check they need. OWL will be like the TDC show "MythBusters" where actual weapons and vehicle effects will be demonstrated and EXPERIENCED by ALL Soldiers since they are obviously incapable of fathoming it by mere words of warning.


Bullets Don't Go Through Water

Hand Grenades Can be Defeated Best by Pushing Them Away

Make the Training Count

OWL should be the place where every U.S. Army Soldier gets a real, no nonsense, "reality check" of what modern combat is like PHYSICALLY. OWL should give him/her a bedrock, independent understanding of the battlefield that will follow them for the rest of their careers, not a Hollywood or computer simulation fantasy. This means students need to shoot every small arms weapon in the Army arsenal, blow things up, drive wheeled and tracked vehicles to find out where they can go and not go (to prevent mistakes like the LAV-III trucks from being bought in the future). They need to understand how to load aircraft and ships. They need to do TASKS that stand on their own merit and have their own intrinsic validity and worth, so when graduates go to their units, they can say: "I've done that". Today's Army Soldier is often completely out of touch with basic battlefield reality. Ask many of them how much a 5-ton truck weighs, and most will answer "5 tons," when the reality is the truck weighs 22,000 pounds and 5-tons is its CARGO CAPACITY. Many Army Soldiers are clueless about the modern battlefield, because they were never taught the true, basic physical reality of everything at any time in their careers. The Army itself does not encourage thinking to get an accurate understanding of the battlefield. When does the Army Soldier ever study the battlefield and become a professional? Army Soldiers need an intense laboratory where no one is breathing down their necks to get the instruction, mentoring and actual hands-on training needed, so they can fully get a grip on what modern land combat is all about. They need to get their "heads into the game" early, and start the lifetime of study and preparation that a TRUE WARRIOR does to be a true, not make-believe, professional.

Why is a PHYSICAL warfighting "reality check" vital?

Let's not kid ourselves.

We live in an American society today that exalts the mental via computers over the physical; hence this nagging paranoia that we are not "tough enough" that creates the endless harassment packages. Instead of trying to pour physicality down everyone's throats, why don't we figure out WHY American Soldiers are not physically oriented and create a way they get physically connected to reality. Then Soldiers will derive understanding and motivation from their own internal self-direction, not under useless harassment sessions? It's fairly obvious that Soldiers in the past understood mechanical advantage better in the 50s/60s than they do today. This is why computers are added to inferior mobility platforms (LAV-III Stryker rubber-tired trucks). It's a sickness of today that people ignore physical reality. A Vietnam-blooded combat officer writes:

"We grew up in an age of nuts and bolts (at least, speaking for myself). Hobbies for us were building model airplanes, ships and tanks out of plastic that had to be glued, painted and arranged in dioramas.

Later we (I) graduated to U-control model planes and trying to learn what makes little engines go. In high school, we learned all we could about cars, pretending to understand stuff about high and low ratio rear ends, compression and blowers. We were into fixing stuff with not much help from anybody else; hell, all the adults were busy earning a living, but they would help you if you asked. Besides, we could go and do about anything and not get into too much trouble.

By the time I went through Basic, I knew a lot about engines, but mostly how to make mechanical stuff 'work'. We read stuff about cars and motorcycles and just plain wanted to be cool and drive. In those days you could buy a very used car that still ran for under $100. In fact, I bought a '49 Chevy in 1969 in Ft Worth for $35. I had won $40 in a pistol match and offered it to the owner, but she talked me down.

Anyway, today's kids (my son is a great example) are computer genies. Hell, he scares me because he thinks so fast. Trouble is, he doesn't know mechanicals, at least not much. I derided him about it for a while, so he bought an '86 Chrysler with a broken engine, and another one with running engine, and surprised me by completing the swap. I was duly impressed that it actually ran. So I can't hammer him too much, but he still is better with electrons.

Consider Star Trek.

None of those people work with real tools. It's a fact. They have metal stuff, but you never see it being formed. They have glass and steel, rubber and plastic, but all you see is electronic "readers" that analyze. Even the phasers don't seem to have any working parts. I love Alfred Hitchcock's comment: 'Why do we need to worry about death rays when bullets are so efficient?' Who does the 'real' work in space? Where are the welders and riveters? Does a machine make the liquid metal into a space ship without human help? What is the interface between electrons and physics?

AND where are all the 'dumb' people? You know, brick layers, pipefitters, tree trimmers, truck drivers, the ones liberals ignore until their car breaks, or their septic tank backs up? The future is full of 'brilliant' officers and no workers or drones.

Well, how do our modern Gen Xers work? From the seat of their pants. 'Butt time' is the common expression for work these days.

Don't get me wrong, I am not throwing a blanket over the whole crowd of this Generation 'X', but when I go to hot rod or motor cycle rallies, I don't see a lot of the younger bunch there. There are some, but not as many kids grow up now getting their jollies building engines and busting their knuckles.

They are more likely to have matured blowing speakers, getting RSI from playing Gameboys, and putting 200 watt amps in their cars than chopping, channeling, boring and porting.

Are they dumb? Hell, no. Are they lazy? No, but they sure are misguided in the amount of work it takes to accomplish something physically like digging a foxhole, filling in a latrine, or even making a box out of wood. Most of them have never taken shop; it's not a 'needed course'.

What these guys need is some motivation to accomplish in mechanical areas, and some guidance on how. They also need educators to stop looking down on people who know how to work with their hands. In fact, they need to praise these folks, for without them we'd be finished.

When I was working on my masters in history, someone in the class complained about the work load. I made a smart remark back about how much easier this was than when I had been an undergrad in Wofford (where?). I was now at Rollins, and it's supposed to have a big reputation. I told them I was working as a mechanic on Saturdays, coaching swimming in the morning and teaching summer school between classes. They acted like I was a freak. That was in 1971. It might as well have been in 1917. I look at the curriculum of today and it's about tenth grade work from 1965".

War is a life or death physical, hands-on, activity. To be good at it, we have to "turn back the clock" culturally and mentally, regardless of what civilian society is doing, and create a physical and smart warrior ethos in the U.S. Army that will endure because it's internalized by every U.S. Army Soldier, not just officers. To do this, we have to change people positively, forever, and to do this for real, we need to CONVINCE them to internally change from the inside. Convincing means showing, teaching and proving what you say is true, not yelling at them to "shut up and do what you are told, because I am over you and you must obey" because you are in a BUREAUCRACY. PROFESSIONS are based on professionals who THINK and act on their CONSCIENCES.

The former is a WWII desperation draftee culture mentality that results in not being able to trust men with live ammo because you have made them resentful robots, easily outsmarted by thinking humans who blow up marine barracks in Lebanon, and cripple a USS Cole in Yemen, not a professional warrior ethos. Convincing means you must show Soldiers WHY they need to do certain things, which requires more effort and resources than simply running Soldiers around yelling at them during PT and do walks in the woods with rucks, which doesn't take much. Anyone can put on a ruck and self-harass themselves any time they want, or go work out in a gym. We can and should do this on our own. Big deal. This doesn't create smart warriors, who are going to know what to do against deadly and cunning enemies, like in the mountains of Afghanistan. It's feel-good sports PT nonsense. Knowing WHAT TO DO means reading books like The Bear Trap and Street Without Joy to get your head-in-the-game. It means doing physical Army tasks that have RELEVENCE to the modern battlefield, like ruck marching with actual live ammunition loads, actual weapons (AT4s, LAWs, Grenades) up and down mountains and hills, then dropping rucksacks and doing a live-fire exercise.

War Practice not BS "Training"

Discovering that a rucksack in training should not be filled with troop comfort gear when it's going to carry ammo in combat. Then having a REAL critique, not the current politically correct AAR (where problems and solutions are not ironed-out and then acted upon). After the AAR is done, use video footage from both your friendly force and OPFOR's view point, then go back to the "drawing board" after realizing we were moving way too slow, then determining ways to lighten rucks, or moving them, or cacheing them so we do better.

A THINKING Warrior Ethos.

A Warrior Ethos that is "on the ball", ALERT, "rolls up its sleeves" (not RHIP) and actually tries to win and finds ways to win using EVERYBODY'S INPUTS, not make spin for higher headquarters and politicians. At company-level, there should be a "No Excuses Zone," where unvarnished physical and mental realities are faced and overcome by everyone. Just like it's done all across America in every full-contact high school football team trying to WIN and not get paralyzed from the neck down. These teams employ more "plays" and "battle drills" and individual participant inter-action than the modern U.S. Army does, which is a disgrace that must stop.

Soldiers need to see WHY they need to sandbag vehicles, WHY they must use overhead cover. They need to see actual combat footage of gunshot and burn wounds. They need to see the problems and their solutions.


Because they have not been shot at in actual war, and it's too late to learn once they are. We need to show them everything we can about the modern battlefield safely. And we can't do this if we are wasting time with nonsensical harassment package games re-creating OCS/ROTC/West Point to make them submit to their inferior social place in the Army's "pecking order" of rank, badges and ego. And after we give them a "reality check," we need to let them think and have an opinion about what they have seen and done, not this self-defeating groupthink where we try to make everyone think like the commander thinks. Achieving the Commander's intent is NOT demanding that everyone be a clone of his personality and requires a multitude of thinking types so plans/actions are "what-iffed" so problems can be anticipated and countered. Our goal for the young warriors should be the end result, not the school approved means. The question should be: was the mission accomplished? AARs are used to point out better ways to accomplish the mission, then let the students practice them. The OWL objective is THINKING LEADERS who have the tools to observe, analyze, decide and act in stressful situations.

What to change?

I realize that some at Infantry School may want a (BOLC) "Bowl Lick" harassment package to conduct an as easy as possible 7-week diploma mill to run 3,000 or so 2LTs through each year to gain money, power and prestige for Fort Benning. Fine, we like Ft. Benning, too. But Ft. Benning should be a first-class place of INNOVATION and excellence as it was when George C. Marshall was running the place and getting the U.S. Army ready for WWII. Ft. Benning should not be a harassment package to perpetuate Army-style political correctness. Frankly, from what I see of the BOLC curriculum, we should throw it all out and start over with creative and combat-oriented instruction. We understand that drawing up 7 weeks of challenging reality with lots of pyro, weapons firing and combat tasks will cost more $ but that's life at the pointed end of the bayonet. This should be about making the U.S. ARMY more combat capable, not soaking up more money for Ft. Benning as it runs a cheapo-harassment package. If all we are going to do is waste $$ recreating ROTC Phase II, rather than make it a combat reality check, we should cancel the whole BOLC thing.

Suggested POI for OWL

I suggest the following ideas for course content. They are neither all-encompassing nor carved in stone. It's a starting place for professionals of all ranks/branches to consider what junior leaders need to know about protecting their troops in serious social encounters of the guerilla kind. We suggest probably using platoon-sized classes to do some instruction, with bleacher/ auditorium time for general information on a subject. The entire OWL POI should be online for Soldiers to come ready to do it for real; an example is this National Guard EIB web site:

Week 1: Grasp of The Modern Battlefield

Watch excerpts from Saving Private Ryan, Black Hawk Down, and We Were Soldiers, focusing on the combat actions and the planning before the actions, range firing of all U.S./Soviet infantry weapons at targets with Soldiers checking their targets to see effects of fire and countermeasures. ESTABLISH AN UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT HIGH EXPLOSIVES AND KINETIC ENERGY WEAPONS DO IN WAR. Indirect fire, C4 demolitions, field fortifications, engineering wire, basic dismounted infantry formations, RTO procedures, moving in patrol formations, U.S. weapons familiarization (assembly/disassembly, cleaning, immediate action drills). Load helicopters. Each officer selects a tactical military professional book to read and do a book report and oral presentation at the end of the course:

Encourage OWL Soldiers to talk to each other to share ideas and get a better feel for life at the dirt level. Use a buddy system to help the more mechanically and/or firearms challenged get a better understanding of reality.

Proposed Objective Warfighting Laboratory (OWL)

Week 1

Objective Warfighting Laboratory Week 1








Direct Fire

Indirect Fire







5 x "E" targets

In Open tree

Camouflaged truck hulk

Sandbags sandbag

Dug-in steel beam

In truck hulk rubber tires

5 x "E" targets

In Open tree

Camouflaged truck hulk

Sandbags sandbag

Dug-in steel beam

In truck hulk rubber tires

Make Defensive Fighting positions, Overhead Cover

barbed wire Concertina wire

12-mile ruckmarch w/live ammo loads tac mvnt to: MOUT site


Wheels Tracks Vehicle Sandbagging


Load C-130

Small Arms




12.7mm (.50cal)

Grenade Launchers

40mm M203 & MK19


Claymore AP mines


463L pallet


66mm M72

83/84mm RAAWS/M136





Molotov cocktails

Smoke pots

internal load

airdrop bundle




C4 non-explosive charges



Air Asslt FTX

Air Delivery FTX

Life-fire IMT against Defensive positions previously made

Force-on-Force LFX w/simunition @ MOUT site


No illum

With Illum

Night defense


NVD patrolling

Night MOUT F/F

With NVDs

With IR illum

Vehicles: WHAT RIGHT LOOKS LIKE = Tracks----why what WRONG LOOKS LIKE = Wheels, SUCKS

Walk-in access, indoor Shooting RANGE on EVERY Army Post

To sustain the OWL battlefield reality check, Soldiers must shoot at the least EVERY MONTH if not every week. The current weapons ranges on Army posts are too complicated to get since you have to fight with every other unit on post to secure them, resulting in the reality that most units shoot only once a year, why are we then surprised that debacles like the Jessica Lynch convoy in Iraq takes place? We also know that vehicle mounted weapons firing don't happen because we know entire Army units are missing their crew-served weapons and the mounts to attach them to their BS FMTV and HMMWV trucks. Every unit should have vehicle-mounted weapons and have an annual live-fire qualification of those mounted weapons by the Soldiers who will use them in combat.

To solve these problems I propose that we build on every Army post a large indoor range with fixed lanes out to at least 100 meters with targets on an overhead trolley so no one goes forward until the range is closed at the day's end. Ask Congress for construction funds to build these ranges so we can save friendly lives and kill the enemy in combat. This way only a 1-2 person staff would be needed to keep the range accessible. Units can bring ANY of their weapons (except M203 and MK19 40mm grenade launchers with high indirect trajectories) and ammunition to shoot. This is unscheduled, first come, first serve. The Walk-in Range would enable units qualify on pistols and rifles using paper targets using the "B" modified technique. Soldiers with their own weapons would also be able to come in and fire. Its all good.

Its apparent that when units go to the range to qualify that despite the best efforts of shooting SMEs that there are a handful of Soldiers who simply cannot qualify without a major retrain driven by WHAT WAS DISCOVERED DURING THE LIVE-FIRE. The walk-in range would allow unqualified Soldiers to go the very next day for one-on-one coaching to fix their shooting technique problems and qualify.

Army Chief of Staff General Schoomaker has declared every one of us should be a RIFLEMAN to meet the needs of today's non-linear combats. To move towards that goal we will now qualify twice a year instead of once a year. However, this is not enough; our Soldiers lack a sound weapons handling mindset, a realistic rifle qualification course, easily available shooting facilities to shoot all the time, know what their bullets can and can't do, and a suitable tracked armored vehicle with gunshields to fight from and a superior rifle to defeat enemy AKMs and RPGs.

1. RIFLEMEN must have a sound weapons handling mindset

We should immediately adopt the Jeff Cooper mental awareness and weapons handling regimen to U.S. Army weapons handling doctrine to raise alertness without losing our cool and finger dexterity through increased heart rates and panic. Cooper-style weapons ready conditions and safety rules will help eliminate friendly injuries/deaths from accidental discharges.

Awareness Levels

Black-your body is in animalistic fight or flight state Red-elevated heart rate, loss of some dexterity Orange-slightly elevated heart rate, full dexterity Yellow-mind alert for signs of threats White-non-alertness

Safety Rules

1. All guns are always loaded 2. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target (straight trigger finger otherwise is best "safety") 3. Never let your muzzle cover/aim at anything you are not willing to destroy 3. Be sure of your target

Weapons Conditions

4 No round in chamber, no magazine or belt in feed area, hammer down, safety off

3 No round in chamber, magazine or belt holding assault pack/bandolier in feed area, bolt forward, safety off (weapon must be cocked and in case of machine guns a belt loaded to "lock and load" weapon into condition zero)

2 Round in chamber, magazine in feed area, hammer down, safety OFF (only possible in double-action automatic pistols)

1 Round in chamber, magazine or belt in feed area, hammer "locked and cocked", safety ON

0 Round in chamber, magazine or belt in feed area, hammer "locked and cocked", safety OFF

1. RIFLEMEN need a realistic qualification course to learn and master shooting skills

Shooting and combat psiology expert LTC Dave Grossman in his new book, On Combat, warns that we must have "fidelity in combat simulations" or else we will not rise to the occasion in combat, but SINK to our lowest level of training".

The problem with this is that the current rifle qualification its at best, a DEFENSIVE firing course fired from a below-ground hole when we need OFFENSIVE skills sets for the ongoing combats in Iraq/Afghanistan. Jessica Lynch's convoy was ambushed while on the move in vulnerable rubber-tired wheeled trucks not when they were in fighting positions.

Therefore, we propose that the second annual qualification be an OFFENSIVE rifle qualification to augment the defensive qualification we do now.

Offensive rifle qualification would be done on the same pop-up Basic Rifle Marksmanship (BRM) range we use today for defensive qualification. However the Soldiers will be on top on the ground in front of the below-ground hole.

Targets will be cardboard barricaded cars, piles of rocks, trash cans etc. not the pop-up men. Scoring will be after entire qualification is over counting the number of hits. In the real world bad guys don't reveal themselves and let you hit them, we must start training our men to fire at likely places where enemies are after they reveal themselves briefly or simply where their fire is thought to be coming from. Tower operator will raise/lower pop-up targets randomly from 50-300 meters ranges for a 5 second time period, then the Soldier must fire at the nearby likely hiding location target.

Volley #1 Standing

3 x 30 round magazines

Start with full 30-round magazine in M16/M4, round in chamber, safety on. As targets appear, Soldier shoots likely area where enemy has taken cover behind. Soldiers take empty 30 round magazines with pull loops and clip to snaplink and quickly insert the new loaded magazines and continue the fight from a kneeling position.

Volley #2 Kneeling

3 x 30-round magazines

All Soldiers return to weapons on safe, replace empty or semi-full magazine with a full 30-round magazine in kneeling position. They kneel besides a 55 gallon drum full of sand. Same procedure as above, Soldiers must clip empty mags to snap-link and insert full magazine and continue the fight.

Volley #3 Prone

3 x 30-round magazines

All Soldiers return to weapons on safe, replace empty or semi-full magazine with a full 30-round magazine in prone position. Upon command, they sprint 15 meters forward to get an elevated heart rate and assume prone position to fire. They must learn to control their heart rate to render effective, aimed fire. Same procedure as above, Soldiers must clip empty mags to snap-link and insert full magazine and continue the fight.

Soldiers fire off all remaining rounds.

All targets switched.

All of the rest of the unit's Soldiers can then follow and qualify on Volleys 1-3.

Volley #4 Mounted in Vehicle

3 x 30 round magazines

A M113 Gavin with open top-troop hatch and sandbags on top is parked in 4 of the pop-up lanes. 4 Soldiers will be in each M113 Gavin with their weapons loaded and on SAFE. As pop-ups appear and disappear, all Soldiers will open fire on their likely hiding spots. This will be a TEAM graded event, the team must score x amount of hits to qualify. M16/M4s must be laid down on top of the M113 Gavin roof, on their side barrel facing out during magazine changes.

Volley #5 Night Vision Firing

This baloney that we don't have adequate NVGs will not be tolerate. Surely every company-sized unit can muster up 16 x Night Vision Goggles (NVGs) and 16 x M68 Close Combat Optics sights BZOed to them to run 4 lanes at a time at night.

The same 4-man fireteams enter their M113 Gavins and with top troop hatch closed, don NVGs and turn on their M68 CCO sights. Upon the rear ramp going down, the troops will exit all to either the left or right and get online in the prone position and lock and load 1 30-round magazine and fire again as a team on their ground nightfire targets.

Upon ceasefire, and weapons made safe, the team gets their targets and replaces them with fresh targets for the next firing order.


1. 500 rounds per Soldier

50 rounds to BZO
450 rounds to qualify

2. 55 gallon barrel on every BRM firing point

3. Enough wooden target holders and cardboard hiding place targets to support the specific unit's number of Soldiers

4. At least 16 x NVGs and 16 x CCOs for every company-sized unit

5. 4 x M113 Gavin light tracked AFVs with functioning rear ramps and top troop hatches

6. Plenty of 550 cord for every Soldier to have added pull-loops to every 30-round magazine

7. 1 snaplink on every Soldier's LBE

2. RIFLEMEN need easily available shooting facilities to shoot all the time

As LTC Grossman proves in his new book On Combat, constant playing of first-person shooter video games can raise hand/eye coordination and willingness to shoot to new unheard of levels. This combat effectiveness advantage should not be reserved for just malcontent adolescents to abuse but be exploited by those rendering responsible military force to hit the bad guys and not innocent civilians in the inter-mixed non-linear battlefield. Many Army posts have an expensive computer simulation range but this creates a bottleneck of scheduling and funding such that Soldiers do not get to fire each week as they should. To achieve this we need a simple adapter to the actual M16/M4 rifle/carbine to make them interface with a simple first person shooter video game run on a readily-available personal computer. Then, everyone would be able to shoot every week in every unit in the Army to attain the required shoot or not shoot skills. The game designers of the popular "America's Army" first-person shooter game could be tasked to do this.

The Army leadership must put its money where its mouth is and build a large walk-in shooting range on every Army post staffed 24/7/365 by civilian staff with on-site frangible training ammunition. All any Soldier or unit has to do is show up and be allocated lane(s), target(s) and ammo to shoot without ANY scheduling or range conduct non-sense. One lane should be large enough for any Army vehicle to pull in through a large door and fire mounted machine guns or troops with hand weapons inside at targets, day or night regardless of weather.

3. RIFLEMEN must know what their bullets can and can't do

HQDA should provide 1 week during basic training for both enlisted and officer Soldiers to actually see what the effects of their weapons are. Furthermore crew-served weapons like machine guns, mortars, artillery, aircraft and demolitions would also be demonstrated and their effects examined against targets the Soldier students set up themselves and dig-in, sandbag. At the end of the week, Soldier-students would find out through first-hand experience how much ammunition their ammunition weighs via a speed march and where wheeled/tracked vehicles can and cannot go, and take part in aircraft loading to include a parachute airdrop and helicopter sling-load.

4. RIFLEMEN must have a suitable tracked armored vehicle to fight from.

LTC Grossman reminds us that the chariot enabled shooters for thousands of years to fight while mounted. Today's buttoned up Bradley and Stryker vehicles do not enable effective shooting while mounted because the former has a large turret that can swing into Soldiers and injure/kill them and the latter rolls on vulnerable air-filled rubber tires and lacks gunshields to protect our Soldiers from return fire. The Army of the 21st Century needs a modern chariot for mounted shooters, and this vehicle was already created in the M113 Gavin Armored Cavalry (ACAV) with multiple gunshields. The Army must upgrade its thousands of M113 Gavin tracked armored vehicles that are currently sitting in storage--with underbelly and RPG armor and gunshields to save enable Soldiers to fight effectively like chariots of old and save their lives and limbs in non-linear combats like underway in Iraq as the recent Victor O'Reilly Report for Congress exposes:

Instead the current Army plan is to waste millions of tax dollars from Congress to add make-shift armor to HMMWV trucks requiring 2 years of rebuilding, and even then will never be RPG resistant. Our troops getting killed and maimed in Iraq do not have 2 years. The following is an interview I gave to Rowan Scarborough of the Washington Times last week on this subject:

The Washington Times: Inside the Ring

The Army's past

Michael L. Sparks, an Army Reserve officer, and many like-minded veterans, are pressing the Army to move on from the new wheeled Stryker armored vehicle and embrace the past - the venerable M-113 personnel carrier.

Mr. Sparks wants the Army to bring thousands of M-113 armored personnel carriers out of storage, modernize them and put them in all combat infantry units; including the light infantry which has no armored vehicles. And he wants this affordable enhancement done quickly to help the troops in Iraq right away. He contends the tracked M-113 is more reliable, road-safer and provides better protection than any wheeled vehicle can ever offer. He says studies prove compact tracked vehicles are 28 percent more space/weight efficient than placing armored boxes on top of wheeled suspensions/drivetrains.

"Our troops are driving around Iraq in doorless, fabric-sided [Humvees or High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles], fiberglass/thin metal 10-ton FMTV trucks and 21-ton Stryker rubber-tired armored cars and losing men's lives and limbs daily to roadside bombs and accidents," Mr. Sparks said. "Some Soldiers are also foolishly driving around Iraq in gasoline-powered captured or government-provided civilian automobiles. Combat psychology studies show if you look and are vulnerable it will embolden the enemy to attack you."

Some senators have been critical of the lack of armor protection for the Humvees, which fall prey to roadside bombs that have killed scores of American Soldiers. A program to "up-armor" them will take months, or years. Mr. Sparks, an infantry officer, said: "The Army has thousands of thick-skinned M-113 Gavin light tracked armored fighting vehicles sitting in storage that are 'as is' far better protection than the up-armored rubber-tired Humvees or Strykers will ever be.

"For a fraction of the cost of up-armoring Humvee trucks requiring years of time our men in Iraq do not have, we could fit in a matter of weeks underbelly armor, gun shields for the troops to fire out behind protective cover and rocket propelled grenade- resistant applique armor to M-113 Gavins. This would supply all our men in Iraq protected mobility."

If we truly honor our Soldiers we will supply them what they need to win their battles as President Bush promised we'd get, this means remembering they are Soldiers and not soldiers and delivering them M113 Gavin TRACKS not more trucks to Iraq.

5. RIFLEMEN must have a superior rifle to defeat enemy AKMs and RPGs.

Lastly, our men with M16/M4 5.56mm cartridge-firing assault rifles/carbines are being outgunned by enemy AKM ("AK-47") 7.62mm assault rifles that are less prone to jam and fire heavier bullets and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs). Buying an expensive, new XM8 5.56mm assault rifle with shorter 12" barrels than the anemic 14" barrel M4 carbines which suffer from a lack of range and penetration power.

What the Army should do is upgrade existing M16/M4s by replacing their upper receivers with a new barrel and gas piston system that does not inject carbon directly into bolt carrier, while freeing the rear of the weapon to have a sturdy folding stock for compactness. There would be no more anemic "carbines" all Soldiers would have folding stock "M16A5" assault rifles with full-power 20" barrels. Some Soldiers would be designated as sharpshooters in every rifle squad and would fire 7.62mm x 51mm cartridge through a M16A6 variant.

To counter the scourge of the RPG, the Army should buy en masse rifle-hand grenades that could be either thrown or shot through the end of their assault rifles to give every Soldier massed explosive firepower.

S.L.A. Marshall and other combat studies have shown the majority of our Soldiers are terrified of fear and other reasons and do not fire their weapons in battle. To finally eliminate the last reasons, we suggest a GUNSHIELD be fitted to the end of every M16A4/5 and other light/medium machine guns to offer personal protection to keep bullets away from the eyes, face, neck and other exposed areas not covered by helmet and body armor. Details:

6. RIFLEMEN speed-march in full combat equipment

The current Army physical fitness test is an irrelevant sports event test done in t-shirts, shorts and running shoes. The test must be replaced with a timed 6 mile speed march with full combat equipment, simulated dummy ammunition loads and gunshielded assault rifles to attain important 4-7 mph mobility levels. Details:

7. RIFLEMEN know how to live "Combat Light"

Once our Soldiers know what their weapons do, how to use them best, how to interface with armored vehicles they can learn to live lighter in the field with less tentage equipment via survival skills and lighter, multi-purpose gear instead of the current one-item-for-every-task approach. Details:

Some feedback:

An Army officer with extensive training experience writes:

"Your approach is valid; however, there are significant logistics challenges with your approach. It's not that we require a new BRM training requirement or scenario. Rather, we should go beyond it.

Current U.S. Army Live Fire training doctrine already addresses the issue of realism based on METL combat requirements. Many of the CTC conduct live fire maneuver training exercises. JRTC actually has a 'Convoy Security' LFX scenario which involves the escorts and the convoy vehicle crews.

The problem is nnot doing BRM once or twice per year. BRM, as it is right now, sets a qualitative 'minimum' requirment to ensure that a Soldier can safely and accurately handle their weapon in accordance with CTT Task, Conditions and Standards. That anyone can accomplish this task once per year is no great feat (one would think). The trouble is that 99.999% of U.S. Army units NEVER train beyond this basic standard.

Rather than ADD another BRM qualification, move on to advanced training scenarios in accordance with STRAC training doctrine (as we do with Tank or Bradley gunnery tables). EVERY unit should culminate in a collective LFX that supports the unit's Self-Defense METL. Further, if a Soldier has completed BRM and follow-on ARM and LFX qualifications to standard in Training Year A, DON'T make him go through BRM again in Training Year B. Chances are, if he can hit the broad side of a barn during the LFX on 15 Sep TY-A, he can still hit it on 1 Oct TY-B.

Also, start PUSHING ammunition on Soldiers and units to encourage training. The current forecast system rewards lazy planners and perpetuates excuses for not training beyond BRM. If we push ammunition down in copious amounts it is harder to make excuses. Ammunition allotments should be based on the individual Soldier and include 'weekend plinking.' Further, we need to lift the prohibition on using civilian, factory ammunition in Army weapons. The best advanced pistol marksmanship training I ever accomplished was when I, as a platoon leader, invited my Soldiers down to the local CRD range with out .45s and shot several boxes of ammo purchased from the 'shooting club.'

Also, start unit shooting clubs and teams. There are far too many unit basketball and softball teams. We won't be shooting hoops or catching fly balls when it matters. So, channel the competitive energy into METL training tasks. Further, tie promotion points to team participation rather than BRM scores.

Expand shooting ranges. Even if we adopt your (or my) proposal, there are not nearly enough ranges to accommodate the units to meet their requirements. This leads to the second most common excuse by lazy planners for not conducting additional training."

An Army Soldier and AR15 shooter writes:

"This is the best solution, I would think. The "good" shots I knew were all guys who had their own AR15's. and spent a lot of time just shooting shit - pine cones, dirt clods, etc. When qualification time came, it was confirm zero, shoot the course, go back to assisting at the zero range for the day. No worries -- "Expert without effort" (well, no effort on "range day" ).

Let the troops shoot their weapons A LOT in casual, voluntary, informal shoots, and they will be safer, more accurate, and more comfortable. When the troop isn't thinking about "making the shot" because it's second nature, there is excess brain capability left to deal with panic, or listening for his leaders, or observing the flow of things around him -- instead of devoting 50% of his brain to not missing. . ."

Camp MacKall FOB set-up for Ft Bragg units to do combat 8s and 72s get away from barracks BS as test "guinea pig"

A veteran Army NCO writes:

"With the current state of the Army (deployments/drawdown Army) there are far fewer troops to do the missions than from what I can remember from the 1980s period. Of course we were not deployed constantly back then but had frequent training missions. Our equipment and Soldiers were flexed and used in rigorous field training exercises at least one to two weeks per month. We came back from these missions confident in our equipment and ourselves. After the training exercises we would enthusiastically clean and PMCS our equipment, then take time off to relax between training events. We were connected to our equipment and our leaders. In 2003 we do not get to train effectively. Soldiers spend time in garrison pulling details and half-way PMCSing their equipment(to properly do this you must use your equipment as in field training exercises). Discontent with Army life, due to lack of interest, is because of the unrealistic simulated training environment.

Sergeants time training is a waste of time. It has become one serious "dog and pony" show. We do outlines, slides, presentations and classroom instruction. Not very realistic. I say, get the Soldiers out of garrison and into the field. Give them time off when they return, then repeat the process. We are mostly just tired of all the Bull Shit. Including the awful daily garrison schedule."

In the 172nd Arctic Brigade every month featured a 3-day war where everyone did a dry run rehearsal of a war. Every Army post should have a training area to tap into for a 3-day war FTX--a "Combat-72" to practice what we preach and put everything we have into operation. This training area should be a mock Forward Operating Base (FOB) complete with airfield and fighting positions so Soldiers can act like they've just deployed to a hostile area. For at least 3 days the men will then fight force-on-force against a local OPFOR, staying away from the "flag pole" where senior NCOs/officers/staffs tend to bore the hell out of them with garrison and micro-managing BS details centered around buildings and outward appearances. At Fort Bragg, I suggest turning nearby Camp MacKall into the mini-JRTC maneuver training center for the XVIII Airborne Corps units. Support units would do "Combat-144s" to back up two combat arms unit combat-72 rotations to get enough "action" for them to gain the edge they need.

NEW! Get rid of Garrison Reality Forever!

Since writing this proposal we have realized we do not need ANY buildings at all, all we need and should have is ISO Container "Battle Boxes" so every day troops go to war at their unit FOB. Details:

Battle Boxes Introduction

Battle Box Concept

MINERVA Training---doing wars for real before we fight them

The Roman Legions: a commentator remarked their training was so hard it looked like war!

Clearly, NTC and JRTC CTCs are too small and canned to replicate the logistical/political factors of a March on Baghdad which is the size of California. We must stop being half or zero assed. There is a huge training area in Canada aptly called "Shiloh" where for hundreds of miles we could actually practice nation-state warfare. Shiloh was one of the few failures of Grant in civil war when his troops were attacked at breakfast unready. MINERVA (Major Integrated Non-Lethal Engagements Requiring Victory Achievement) would be actual force-on-force live-fire using mouinted, tracked armored fighting vehicles using soft tip bullets, mortars, RPGs and artillery bomblets. There will be no laser tag. Observer/Controllers will see Soldiers and vehicles as they are struck and kill or wound/damage them by radio or verbal orders. OPFOR will fire live colored soap bullets (SIMUNITION) and shoot RPGs that explode with colored powders at our vehicles. Actual artillery and mortars will drop on BlueFor and burst into colored smoke powders to replicate blast effects for O/Cs to enforce.

American units would deploy to Shiloh for MINERVA by no-notice alert and pick up of their ISO container "Battle Boxes" by truck, train, aircraft and/or their own tracked AFVs. Just like in a real war mobilization/deployment. After the long nation-state war phase where vehicles and troops must be resupplied with actual ammunition, fuel, water, foodstuffs in quantities like a real large-scale war, the BlueFor must occupy the country, restore order and overcome a rebellion before it becomes an insurgency in actual civilian city buildings of a population of 10,000 REAL civilian role-players.

MINERVA will force BlueFor commanders to see the impact of being timid and stopping often and how it enables the enemy to pour/concentrate fires. It will also warn them against stampeding without first having a small forward element discover first what lies ahead. No matter what happens, if a BlueFor unit fails at MINERVA it will stay there and be retrained by one of the OPFOR units until it goes through and is successful. Commanders that cannot adapt are fired on the spot and replaced by the next person in line. These changes are permanent for the unit afterwards. This is the "reality check" America's land combat forces require


What we need is the following:

1. An 0800 to 1600 standard work day to restore 6-10 hours sleep for every Soldier and adequate family time to survive deployment separations

2. Combat physical training (PT) at day's end in BDUs not sports attire

3. PT test should be 6 mile ruck march in BDUs for time not current sports test

4. Everyone pitches in and finishes lawn care/barracks details in one day

5. Training schedules/events created by BEST MINDS in unit per subject matter

6. Battlefield "reality check" of weapons effects, vehicle capabilities given to every Soldier in Army

7. Walk-in, use-without-complications, indoor ranges and plentiful ammo supply on every Army post for Soldiers to shoot constantly to gain higher skill levels

8. "How to Fight" DVDs from Center for Army Lessons Learned given and shown regularly to every Soldier in Army

9. A Simulated FOB training area on every Army post to conduct mini-CTC FTXs using Battle Boxes.

10. Army values upgraded to L-E-A-D-E-R-S-H-I-P to instil ENTHUSIASM, ALERTNESS, HUMILITY and INITIATIVE/INNOVATION as cultural values. A morally-sound U.S. Army Ethos.


We anticipate a bunch of ill-intentioned feedback to these articles from those who do not want to change things for the better and/or who are guilty parties to the current LCD brain-dead status quo. America's needs an effective Army capable of geostrategic decisive maneuver, that can out-think and outfight the enemy...we can't do this at the basic daily Soldier level if our Army is run by power-hungry, snobby, inflexible tyrannical dumb-asses executing long drawn-out and uninspired or relevent training schedules making everyone involved sleep-deprived and brain-dead. Col. Gregory Belenky, lead sleep researcher at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Washington, D.C. says warfighters who deprive themselves of sleep can cause missions to fail. "Historically, battles are won and lost at the small unit level, squads and platoons, and because of the interaction between individuals within squads and between squads...You can have a brilliant plan, but unless you have intelligent execution at the lowest level, it won't work," The Army must change its culture to a virtuous egalitarian thinking organization where such petty careerist tyrants (think Sobel in Band of Brothers; Massengale in Once an Eagle) are not allowed to gain control of daily events. If we cannot control daily reality to make it good, how can we control the weeks, months, years and the future?


OWL Combat Leader's Guide

Let's offer a POI for the proposed U.S. Army OWL Course run at all the enlisted basic training centers and the basic officer training center at Ft. Benning by the Infantry School. First Principle: KISS. We are not attempting to create Audie Murphys, John Waynes, Xenas or McGyvers. We are trying to teach mostly blue-collar American high school kids and ROTC graduates, many who are female, who did not attend a military school like VMI, Norwich or the Citadel, how to lead a small unit under difficult circumstances. The course is focused on the basics and the basics are printed in a volume somewhat larger than Ranger Handbook size. Pages are laminated, so they won't dissolve when wet, and can be written on by the owner. The book is bound by split rings, so pages can be added at a later date and a dummy cord can be attached immediately. It should fit in a breast pocket of the BDU. But, if it turns out that a second book is needed, or a larger version that fits in the cargo pocket of the BDU trousers is needed, go with it. What do we want in this OWL Handbook? Let's start with the U.S. Army's Combat Leader's Guide and add the following items:

The U.S. Army's Combat Leader's Guide details are here:

Soldiers Load: *60 pounds is maximum target individual loads = get rucksacks off everyone's back

*DROP load planning used: Decide mobility level, Reduce unnecessary gear, Organize other transport means, Police the ranks

Rogers' Standing Orders: Why? Very concise guidelines for light infantry small unit operations.

Patrol Formations: Why? If you have to move any size group of people from point A to point B, this tells you how to form them up, space them, distances between groups, and where to place leaders.

Radio Telephone Procedures: so you can talk on a military radio and not sound like a complete idiot. Also, PICTURES of what various US military radios look like and INSTRUCTIONS on how to operate them, along with basic troubleshooting. Also, have the phonetic alphabet in there.

U.S. Weapons Identification Cards: Why? So people know what to look for to distinguish among various U.S. small arms, grenades, mines (especially Claymores and derivatives) and crew served weapons. Again, PICTURES & INSTRUCTIONS to make the Firearms Challenged less of a danger to themselves and others. If there are unusual things like using 60mm and 81mm mortar rounds as big grenades a la Saving Private Ryan, personnel should know about them.

Explosives: Det cord, blasting caps, clackers, C-4 and the joys of making things shatter or break. Some information from the Engineer's Handbook would be valuable to have. An Engineer buddy used to call it the "Junior Woodchuck Manual," after the famous book used by Huey, Dewey and Louie in many of their adventures. They are Donald Duck's nephews, if you didn't know.

Call-For-Fire: In case you can get indirect fire support, so you won't screw it up too badly. Bursting radius and danger close of rounds from 60mm on up should be listed. Also, it should list the various types of rounds that MAY be available like Smoke, Illum, WP and what those rounds can do for you.

Mortars: basic firing procedures, aiming, computations and use in a direct fire (you can see the rounds landing from your firing point and make adjustments) role.

Map Reading: How to use a compass, basic map reading, terrain features and use of the pace cord attached to one of the split rings and a simple compass attached to the other split ring.

Foreign Weapons Identification Cards: So people know what the limitations and capabilities of potential enemies are, and what YOU can do with these items should you acquire them. Again, PICTURES & INSTRUCTIONS are vital to make life easier for the Firearms and Mechanically Challenged.

Physical Defensive Measures: Probably the most important part of the OWL Handbook, since most course attendees will be reacting to events initiated by the enemy. It should cover the basic things to consider when hardening a site or building to prevent it from being a "soft target." MP/Engineer School personnel should be contacted for input here. It wouldn't hurt to list some ideas on site selection for a military operation to prevent truly obvious mistakes by senior leaders. The major effort for site protection should come from Engineers/MPs, with some subtle wrinkles by devious types from the Vietnam War era, the Ranger Department and the JFK Special Warfare School.

OPSEC: "Loose Lips Sink Ships" could be updated to "Blabbermouths Blast Buildings" or some other catchy phrase. Outsiders, especially the locals, should not be allowed in buildings to clean or see office layouts. Teach all the people not to talk to their new "friends" and/or bed partners about what goes on and where things are in the compound. Mata Harriet and Julian Bond types are still around and are used to get info the easy way. For the technically qualified, it's called enemy HUMINT, or spying.

Cell Phones: In the near future, everybody, including enemies, are going to have these things. U.S. forces at the tactical level may be at a distinct disadvantage because not everyone in a military group will have a radio. Part of the Signal Corps and MI effort will be the locating and jamming of cell phones to disrupt enemy C4I. Cell phones and beepers also make nasty little radio detonators. The MI and Signal folks should have policies in place on the use of cell phones in a combat zone. Our folks will have to be cautioned on the use of THEIR cell phones when calling home, to prevent enemy SIGINT from having a field day.

GPS: How it works and what are the limitations re:

Night Vision Goggles: BIG help for moving in the dark. And locating enemies who are moving around. Use, limitations and systems used on small arms, should be included. Details:

Squad Defensive Principles: If you understand how the defense works at the lowest level, then you can build and elaborate on the principles if you have more resources and personnel.

Sound Ranging and Location: The Army seems to have overlooked a great opportunity to use off-the-shelf technology to reduce enemy advantages by purchasing and using parabolic microphones to help locate foes, or your own folks, in the dark. They are available through many outlets; see the next paragraph.

Trying not to be a shill or unpaid salesmen for various military gear suppliers (Ranger Joe's(r) or Brigade Quartermaster(r)) whom we have used in the past, but they do sell items like a Platoon Card, Range Card, Patrol Card and Status Card, which seem to be IDEAL to have in the OWL Handbook. They cover many of the above subjects, are laminated and could be purchased in bulk. The Ranger OPORD board devised by LTs Smith and Linn should be OWL SOP:

We should encourage the use of ideas from books like Ranger Rick Tscherne's digests to develop a positive, aggressive, can-do mindset. The 'Net offers a fabulous means to get information to and from the field to the Infantry School. As ideas come in, they are tested and validated, then posted to a web site like our Airborne Equipment Shop: or Updates can be downloaded by interested personnel who could print and laminate new pages at their units.

ALL OWL students will be provided the MIL-SPEC buttpack-sized, Eco-Tat Lightweight Sleeping Bag (NSN 8405-01-H77-9567) to enable them, for the rest of their careers, to travel light and move among their units to command them better. Comfort is a luxury to the small unit leader, but little things can make life easier.


Week 2: Light Weapons

Daytime patrolling, in open areas, woods, and urban/suburban environs. Basic Rifle Marksmanship with the M16A2 continued for M203 40mm grenade launcher and M9 9mm pistol. Land navigation continues, use of AN/PSN-11 GPS, map reading.

Week 3: Heavy Weapons

M16A2, M203 and M9 Qualification. M249 LMG, M240 MMG, M2 .50 cal/Mk19 HMG training. Patrolling continues; clearing buildings. Force-on-force exercises with MILES. Patrolling in urban areas. Anti-tank weapons (M136 AT4 and M72A2 LAW) familiarization.

Week 4: Physical security of locations

Situational awareness; protecting personnel/assets from attack. Much of this should be MP/Engineer School instruction. Use of pyrotechnics and explosives. Teach mine warfare and countermeasures. Mortar training (60mm, 81mm). Calling-for-fire on a mortar range.

Week 5: Night operations

Classes starting in the afternoon and running until about 0600. Think of it as a heavy metal all-nighter; it can be very boring or very exciting. Teach people to plan for exciting and hope for boring. NVG practice, patrolling at night, night movement, night land navigation by compass. Use of sound ranging equipment. A long land navigation course (12-15 km) that starts in the afternoon and goes into the night through woods, fields and urban areas. MILES force-on-force scenarios continue. Force-on-force with both sides no NVGs, then OPFOR only NVGs, then OWL students only NVGs, then both sides with NVGs. OWL Soldiers need to see how the physical advantage of numbers and position can be enhanced/overcome by proper use of technology.

Week 6: Day and night movements from point to point. Using wheeled and light tracked vehicles in a guerilla war zone

Basic first aid/first responder actions; playing OPFOR against Infantry School and Infantry NCO classes. Foreign weapons familiarization (AK-47, RPG, etc.). MILES force-on-force continues. Offensive operations to understand the power of the offense. Defensive driving; firing from vehicles (think tank/Bradley tables for M113A3 Gavins and wheels like HMMWVs, FMTVs, etc.). Field expedient measures (sand bagging, layers of materials) for protecting personnel, vehicles and buildings. More force-on-force exercises, both day and night. Written book reports due.

Week 7: Mangudai 4-day War

Running the Gauntlet (evacuating under fire); Defense of the Position (Rourke's Drift or LZ X-Ray). Oral presentations of book reports. Graduation.

We're glad the Army has come to the realization, however faulty, that junior officers of non-Infantry branches need some training and hands-on experience in the Ultimate MOS. EVERY Soldier should be expected to be a RIFLEMAN, and every officer a PLATOON LEADER. When enemies are at the door, you are an 11A or an 11B something until the excitement is over. Get used to the idea, train for it, and you may even survive to regale people at parties and barbecues with your exploits. The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.

Got bad Soldier gear? U.S. bureaucracy not listening?

Post your gear requests/ideas to Brigade Quartermasters, they will get good gear to the good guys (YOU)


GO TO PART 3: Spineless Army: How the AVF is populated by weak, co-dependants brutalized by mentally ill egomaniacs