It's every infantryman's job to train hard so when they deploy to a combat zone, they're ready to take the fight to the enemy.
Most boots primarily learn the ins-and-outs of their weapon system and formations, but many fail to mentally prep themselves before a mission or patrol.
So, we took the liberty to jot down a few tips that could help you before leaving the wire.
1. Bring enough supplies for the whole day
There have been countless pre-mission plans that state the proclaimed time outside the wire will only last a few hours. Then, after a few hours outside the wire, you learn you're going to be outside until right before nightfall. Then, you receive notice you're going to stay in the field and conduct an overnight ambush.
The words "holy sh*t" pass through your mind because you didn't bring enough MRE crackers and peanut butter to feed yourself.
This Marine helps his brother-in-arm don his heavy pack before a mission. We hope he didn't forget anything.
2. Write down the mission and patrol route
During a hectic firefight, it's easy to lose your train of thought. Writing as much information down before stepping out on patrol can lower your chances of panicking and forgetting what you're supposed to do while under fire. It happens.
3. Continuously "prep and check your trash"
Trash doesn't refer to the empty bag of M&Ms from your MRE — it refers to your gear. Grunts continuously move their gear around for better access during their movement. This practice helps to keep your sling from getting all freaking tangled when you need to put rounds down range.
These Marines prep their gear aboard the USS Ashland before heading out.
4. Don't leave important personal sh*t behind
Sadly, not everyone returns to the FOB after the patrol. Some ground pounders get hurt and get medevac to the "rear" for treatment. There are times where unique personal belongings are left at the FOB like IDs, pictures, and religious items that don't reconnect with their owners.
5. Pre-staging your tourniquets
No one wants to think about getting hit, but it's a real possibility when manning the front lines. When I was deployed to Sangin, Afghanistan, we pre-staged our tourniquets on our legs with 550 cords since the IED threat level was so freakin' high.
In the sad event we stepped on one, the grunt would tighten the pre-staged himself to avoid losing any additional blood before the Corpsman or medic arrive.
6. Don't say anything that could jinx anyone
"Tonight, we dine in hell!" — King Leonidas, 300
As motivating as that sounds, it's not cool to yell out right before a mission. It's actually happened... a few times.
So, we think, collectively, we're going to pass on that dining option tonight.