While troops endure weeks and weeks of intense training to prepare them for patrolling through the enemy's backyard, it's tough to learn all the "do's and don't's" of combat.
There's so much training concentrated on combat effectiveness, that many troops forget the simplest, live-saving rules while deployed.
So, check these four simple rules that every infantryman 'in the suck' should obey.
4. Never lose your weapon — ever
Sounds obvious, right?
Troops periodically lose their weapon when entering into some downtime just by simply setting down their rifle down for a few moments. It makes sense; when you're stuck holding your weapon for hours on end, you'll want to take a break eventually. It's all too easy. A troop gets some downtime, puts their weapon down, starts to decompress, begins an activity, and, in the process, walks away from their rifle.
If you forget it at your "rack," it's not the end of the world, but absent-mindedly put it anywhere else and you're asking for something bad to happen.
You better go look for it.
3. Know the weight of your rifle from muscle memory
Grunts commonly punish one another for various screw-ups. One of those punishments is removing the bolt assembly from the troop's rifle.
Some POGs at a FOB may not know their rifle's weight because they don't hold it enough. Although the weight only changes by a few ounces when you remove the bolt, your weapon won't fire without it. You should know, at first touch, when something's not right.
Will they notice? Doubt it.
2. Mount your gear to your flak as needed
Every mission we go on is different. Each mission is unique in some way and requires various pieces of specialized gear.
If you think you're going to end up in the prone position for extended periods of time, it's probably not a good idea to stage all of your rounds on the front of your flak jacket. Pack strategically; your lower back will thank you later.
The sexy Corpsman in the middle (me) decided to go "front flush" before stepping out on patrol in Sangin, Afghanistan.
Also Read: 7 of the best sounds you'll hear in combat
1. Don't go anywhere without your security rounds
Some military FOBs don't allow troops to keep their rifles in condition three (magazine inserted) while inside the wire. That's not a big deal as long as you carry a loaded magazine inside your cargo pocket.
Being inside a FOB is relatively safe, but you never know when the bad guys might start feelin' froggy and attack.
A condition three rifle. (Photo source: ModernFirearms.net)