You’re on a foot patrol in a dangerous war-zone and you haven’t taken any enemy contact yet. It’s hot outside and all you want to do is head back to the patrol base and snack on an MRE. When will your first firefight begin?
Then, it happens. Snap! Crack! Boom!
Your first firefight breaks out and you put all of your training to use engaging the enemy. After the chaos ends, these questions will enter your mind and help better prepare you for your next mission or patrol.
1. How well did you work under real freakin’ pressure?
Throughout your training, your instructors have done their best to stimulate combat stress by increasing your heart rate and making you complete tactical drills during squad-sized maneuvering.
Ultimately, nothing can prepare you for when those AK-47 rounds buzz and snap near your head. Talk to your squad members off-line about what they saw and felt during the engagement. This helps build leadership and strengthens brotherhood.
2. Did you stow your gear in a reachable spot?
Newbies want to look as badass as possible in their staged gear, but when sh*t hit the fan and enemy contact was thick, were you able to grab that next magazine or tourniquet without fumbling?
If not, consider re-configuring everything on your flak jacket for accessibility.
3. Did you communicate effectively?
Communication is key while taking enemy contact. Firefights can pop off out of nowhere and from some unlikely places. If you’re in a leadership position or saw the insurgent first, did you call it out effectively enough to return fire towards the enemy position? Or did you race through everything too quickly?
4. Did you bring enough ammo gear?
The truth is, you can never bring too much gear since you can’t predict what’s going to happen next on patrol, but you also don’t want to carry the entire armory. That’s a lot of crap to haul and you’ve got enough sh*t on your back.
5. Were you really prepared for the worst?
Bad things can happen — it’s war. The question is, how prepared will you be for the next time?
6. What were the bad guys protecting?
Their image? An IED factory or weapon cache?
Bring up all these questions at the patrol debrief later. It’s important to put your thoughts out on the table to get everyone on the same page.