Author Topic: FURTHER IDEAS- SWANSON’S “RULES OF THUMB”  (Read 2630 times)

Offline swanson

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« on: November 13, 2008, 08:26:45 PM »

Like many servicemen and contractors of late, I have experienced the corrosive environment and friction of violence offered up in foreign lands.

My experiences are nothing remarkable or even comparative to many, but I feel compelled to continue to share what I have experienced and the lessons-learned about survival. Lots of these were born out of sobering moments that I was lucky enough to live through to assess at a later date.

I hope there is some value to be had in the following remarks and heuristics. I have collected most of these observations from personal trial, from gun fighting schools I have attended, or from the friends, military personnel, and fellow contractors that shared my experiences in Iraq.

So, here they are:

•   “The front sight drives the fight, period.” – get hits at speed; as the saying goes, “smooth = fast.”

•   You really only have three choices in a fight when you are on the “X”. If ambushed…

  • o   (A) Get a bead on your enemy, maneuver, and fight or
    o   (B) Shrink under withering fire and/or confusion (make a move or die) or
    o   (C) Tactically withdraw when opportune.
    o   What would you do? It’s never the same twice.

•   When it comes to taking a needed stance or fighting posture, if you grip your weapon properly, your body will follow.

•   Fundamentals win fights. High speed, low drag = simple solutions and techniques, always.

•   In a fight, never stand still. Move, shoot, communicate; dominate your battlespace; always look and act to improve your position.

•   Use cover, concealment and PPE, always. Always be looking to move to your next article of cover and stand off from it once reached to avoid skipping rounds, flying debris, and frag. Never be without eye protection and insure you wear your body armor, and helmet without fail in the red zone.

•   Situational awareness rules the day. You need to know you’re in a fight before you can act. Look for pre-incident indicators and take appropriate actions to minimize your risks. Look for things that are out of place or don’t fit. If it looks “safe”, it’s probably not.

•   An RCT Marine outside Fallujah recanted to me, “Be aggressive enough, fast enough.” Judge or die- Make a positive I.D. on your enemy and neutralize the threat. Hesitation will cost you and your team in blood, often.

•   You will need to fight. Don’t be in personal denial, Prepare for battle mentally and physically. Skills needs to be honed and developed, tactics rehearsed, and the mind kept sharp and focused to manage any threats. Remember, the only thing you can really control in a fight is your preparation for it; the rest falls out upon contact.

•   Confidence and leadership are cornerstones to combative success. Develop both and apply as needed. “Be, know, do”, isn’t just some ROTC crap, it’s the bottom line.

•   Maintain a hardened posture and remain suspicious. Complacency really does kill, and boredom promotes a loose posture. You enemy is always collecting intel and looking for your weaknesses.

•   Coolness under fire counts. You will experience confusion and the “fog of war’ in a fight. When this occurs, slow things down, stay alert, reorient, and take care of the threats as they present themselves, and move on. Fights are abrupt, come at any time, and never follow a plan or intended script.

•   Always have more on hand than you think you’ll need. This goes for everything- batteries for your GPS, and loads of ammo, water, food, and rations. You will use it all or share it, trust me.

•   Regroup, refocus. It’s never “over” when you think it’s over; and when it is over, be ready for the next fight, its coming, shortly;  so- maintain security (360°), reload, rehydrate, and watch your sector.

•   Have your gear sorted out and tested in training and rehearsal. “battle-rattle” often breaks or does not work as intended. Fights are not places to learn about what works and what does not.

•   “If it’s not on your body or in your hand it’s not in the fight.” You won’t have time to scramble for things under stress.

•   Wear gloves or get burned. Weapons get way hot and never cool down fast enough.

•   “The team lives, the individual dies.” Count on your team mates and battle-buddies. Don’t “Lone-wolf” anything. Also, share what you have, when you have it, and give til’ it hurts. Strength is found in the pack, so keep them happy.

•   There will be casualties. Have your IFAK, CLS/MED kit sorted out and in order. Eveyone trains and retrain, often in all life-saving skill sets. Don’t let your buddy bleed because you don’t know what to do. Know your medical CASEVAC 9 line. Have your GPS and grid location handy, always.

•   Don’t just look the part, BE THE PART. Know your role and commit to the efficient conduct of your mission and duties. An intelligent and consistent display of self discipline and proficiency is contagious amongst operators, so be the “go-to” guy and the example for others.
•   Study your enemy, he’s always studying you.

Thanks to everyone that helped me learn these lessons with sweat and diligence and shared the load with me.

You are my heros.