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troy2k
06-24-2004, 03:33
Well, I got to 1/10 in January, and learned the "A" in A Co. really stands for Africa. No sweat for me, as I came from 5th Grp and have done desert things before.
Here's my question: my weapons guy feels that with a lack of winter training emphasis, 1/10 (maybe 10th as a whole?) could be losing it's Winter Warfare abilities. Anyone out there feel he's onto something that should be addressed, or is he overreacting?

Razor
06-24-2004, 16:54
Although some guys miss CWT due to deployments now and then, 2d & 3d Bn (along with Group HQ) gets regular training for cold weather and high altitude AOs here in CO. Now, learning how to suck it up in the cold isn't necessarily important, but some skills like skiing with equipment certainly are perishable. Other skills, such as building a hide site in the snow or cold weather survival are good to practice to become better, but I think they're more knowledge-based, in that once you know how, you won't really lose the ability.

The real question is how much Russian or Serbo-Croat are you speaking on the dark continent? :)

troy2k
06-24-2004, 19:14
I should have said "lost base of knowledge." Jeff feels that the actual knowledge is being lost as folks PCS, retire, etc...

Now, about that Russian...
Ich bin sprechensie kein Ruskaya.

THAT is a perishable skill, it is gone brother, and it was my language too.

Jack Moroney (RIP)
06-24-2004, 20:42
Originally posted by troy2k
Well, I got to 1/10 in January, and learned the "A" in A Co. really stands for Africa.

I got to Group for the second time in August 79 and in Jan 81 I got an all expense trip to Africa that was supposed to be for 6 weeks that lasted 11 months. Got back just in time to go to CWT in Vermont for a month. Biggest adaptation was trying to reacclimatize myself. Never had a problem with maintaining the CWT skills, but I would be concerned about language and other area orientation skills that have little to do with deployments outside of your normal AO. Language can be maintained with a little effort and depending on what your missions are I would be more concerned about the medics and commo folk getting a chance to maintain their skills if it is not part of the mission profile for your fun trip in the Sahel.

Jack Moroney

mffjm8509
06-24-2004, 21:36
Heres my take on CWT......

We havent done hard challenging WET exercises in years. We've already lost the Craig Truskeys, Gavin Sullivans, and Rich Fergesons.......I doubt there are very many guys left in 10th group that have planned an extensive winter warfare exercise, or that has challenged themselves by surviving for 20+ days in that environment. Today we have far too many other skills that must be maintained. I think we continue to try to do this purely for historical reasons.

On anohter note, It takes up an enourmous portion of our annual training budget and what do we really get out of it? 3 weeks of instructor ski train up, 2-3 weeks of combined downhill training, a week or so of decentralized training, and maybee an FTX if all works out well.

2/10 spent $180,000 to take one SF company, HHC, and one team from another company skiing at Keystone this past year. There was NO FTX because of ongoing mission requirements. After this budget was allocated that left $6000 per company to use for training funds. $6000? I took a trip to Cp Gurnsey, WY for heavy wpns training that cost the company $4500 and the MOST team used the rest for its snowmobile training. I cant help but think that money could be better spent on combat related skills than on downhill skiing.

When I look at the other groups sending guys to each class the Rod Hall or Griffon group runs, as well as the shooting schools teams go throug together with Mid-south and Thunder Ranch, it really makes it hard for me to understand how we can spend that amount of money to go skiing and leave our guys cut short when they get into a gunfight downrange....

just my .02

mp

Jack Moroney (RIP)
06-25-2004, 08:06
Originally posted by mffjm8509
Heres my take on CWT......

We've already lost the Craig Truskeys, Gavin Sullivans, and Rich Fergesons.......
mp

I agree with your assessment and if the 10th is spending that much money on skiing at the expense of critical training skills then there is a problem. Two weeks of ski training for those that cannot ski develops a unguided missile tamped by a rucksack that is bound to give your medics good training treating a variety of injuries and that's about all. And as you have pointed out skiing is just a part of WET. While I cannot speak to the situation that you find yourself in currently, I can speak to those situations when I had a WET requirement and the resources we spent did not conflict with those that we needed for other skills. I was fortunate in one unit because money was never a problem and we had Gavin (who by the way is my cousin) and others that had the skill and the talent to train others to attain acceptable levels appropriate to meet mission requiements and no other skills suffered because of it.

Jack Moroney

QRQ 30
06-25-2004, 09:05
Skills may diminish but are never lost. Many of the things you do become automatic once mastered. I haven't copied code for 25 years but just copied 2 5 WPM on the ARRL site. In a few days I could get back to my old self.

Other skills really require minimum training. I heard this first in reference to climbing but have heard it many times about other shills. "***** is 10% skill and 90% confidence."

Another example would be language skills. A 30 day refresher will get linguists back to their previous level.

The real challenge is to keep abreast of advances in tactics and technology.

mffjm8509
06-25-2004, 13:56
Originally posted by troy2k
I should have said "lost base of knowledge." Jeff feels that the actual knowledge is being lost as folks PCS, retire, etc...



Jeff who?

mp

Max_Tab
06-26-2004, 23:54
When I got to 10th Grp in 99 it was right after the 5 long years of doing Bosnia rotations, and everyone was saying how much skill was lost Grp wide after not doing WET for 5 years.
I dunno if it's perishable, or not but there was a lot of playing catch up the next couple years.

mffjm8509
06-27-2004, 10:27
Originally posted by Max_Tab
When I got to 10th Grp in 99 it was right after the 5 long years of doing Bosnia rotations, and everyone was saying how much skill was lost Grp wide after not doing WET for 5 years.
I dunno if it's perishable, or not but there was a lot of playing catch up the next couple years.

You know 3rd BN really got hosed during that time. I think they picked up every winter rotation to BH. In 1998 we closed downtthe houses in MND-SW and MND-SE and dropped the requirement to a company rotation, but also picked up Kosovo the next year.

I dont think 2nd BN failed to do a WET with at least 2 companies the entire time I was here on my first tour. I dont think that has been kept up while I was at SWC. I didnt ski for the entire 3 years at SWC and still manged to be in ski group 2 when I returned. I had no experience skiing when I initially came to 10th group and learned the old 1/10 POI from Joe Butler. I guess that just shows there are a lot of newer guys that havent been exposed to it.

I doubt the guys here now could complete some of the treks we did 8-10 years ago, simply because they've been busy doing other things and havent had the time in the mountains. A couple years of mileage would fix that, but I dont think inthe present situation that will ever happen.

mp

Max_Tab
07-05-2004, 18:43
What kind of ski's are the issuing now. When I was there we had the Tua Excaliber's with sivereta bindings. (sorry if I spelled those wrong) As I was leaving I heard rumors that they were getting new ski's.

mffjm8509
07-05-2004, 19:02
Originally posted by Max_Tab
What kind of ski's are the issuing now. When I was there we had the Tua Excaliber's with sivereta bindings. (sorry if I spelled those wrong) As I was leaving I heard rumors that they were getting new ski's.

I've got the Tuas, but many of the guys have gotten new K2s.

Silveretta 404 bindings are still standard.

mp

Sinister
07-05-2004, 20:17
Sorry for cutting in. I'm a 1st Grouper, not a 10th Grouper. Winter warfare and cold to us means North Korea, China, Manchuria, Mongolia, and Siberia.

Is cold weather training perishable? Yes. Is it mission-critical? You can't focus on everything all the time, so you have to assume risk. Risk=probability x consequence. Yup, it's cold and the air is mighty thin in the Hindu Kush. But there's Hajjis all over the planet that don't ski.

Just ramblings from an old fokker.

Jack Moroney (RIP)
07-05-2004, 21:05
Originally posted by Max_Tab
When I was there we had the Tua Excaliber's with sivereta bindings.

My first tour with the 10th was with wooden White Stars (210cm for all), touring bindings, and Chippewa Boots. We got to pine tar the new skis so that they would hold wax and I have thrown javelins that were shorter than the ski poles we had. Of course we also had helmets in which you could boil water, entrenching tools that actually did what they were designed to do, mountain rucks that held what we needed without the benefit of the other 100 pounds of extraneous light weight shit that suddenly appeared when the ruck got larger. Have to admit, however, things got a whole lot better in later years and downright outstanding when I had the money to buy what we needed.:D

Jack Moroney

Hognose
07-13-2004, 23:11
In my view, you need to figure what baseline of skill you need. Downhill skiing builds skiing confidence, but is probably wasted otherwise.

You need to be able to move via skis. I was astonished to find the Canadian airborne regiment (before it was rolled up in a PC reaction to some misconduct in Somalia) didn't ski. They snowshoe because it is easier to train someone to snowshoe than to ski.

Well, of course we (SF) were on skis, and we could easily outdistance the snowshod Canucks, not to mention that over any distance they'd be smoked, where skiing is not that difficult.

I was in 10th a long time ago, and we downhilled a lot (we also had a couple of resorts in VT and NH that would spot us lift tickets, and Stowe would actually provide us a place to stay, the "stone hut" atop Mansfield). In the 11th we x-c'd more -- we had to, because we were on an annual treadmill to Norway. I have no doubt we could have skied the legs off of our 10th Group counterparts (we did it to an evaluator or two) but the Norwegian home guard instructors in turn could ski rings around us.

Ultimately. you need to practice living in the cold and snow every couple of years. You can't rely completely on where your AO is (at one time, 2/3 of the SF in Afghanistan was oriented towards Latin America and the other 1/3 towards Southeast Asia). But you don't want to go too far the other way... skiing after all is a means of travelling. It is no different from HALO, SCUBA, or, say, being able to take a sun or star sight and use a set of celestial tables to fix your location. Training in actions on the objective should take priority: bearing in mind that for most SF, cultural orientation will serve you better than stylized door-kicking skills. In two dozen years I never kicked a real live door, but I did talk to a boatload of real live foreigners.

I respectfully differ with the brother that suggested that a forgotten language can be refreshed in 30 days. Maybe: given a young (<30) troop, a very high level of initial language training (the 3/3 you come out of DLI with if you don't booze it up too much), and high-quality, preferable immersion, refresher. I've never seen those circumstances come together, but they could. Conceivably. Unfortunately many troops and leaders consider time spent on language and culture maintenance as "screwing off."

Even when the combat assignment hands you a language and culture other than what you've studied... the more languages you learn the easier the new ones come. You keep the language bits of your cerebrum from drying out.

So... if I was king, I'd stress:

1) cultural/language orientation & area studies. (Not just your area, but everyone in SF better get smart about Afghanistan, Iraq, and other possible Islamist hot spots).

2) Instructional training & preparation. Can every guy on your team teach a class? Through an interpreter? On five minutes' notice? Or, with a day's notice, but with a formal lesson plan? Do you have CDs with basic military subjects, combat subjects, leadership subjects, all ready to go? (Same as class - can everybody give a briefing, targeted to a bunch of privates, or a general staff? If not, get your guys that way).

3) Combat training. IMHO the basic benefit of things like SFAUC is exactly why Gen. Boykin launched it: to develop combat confidence in teams. If your SFAUC creates divisions rather than bonds between teammates it needs a rethink badly.

Every man on your team (ODA and ODB) needs to be able to put every US and foreign weapon he is likely to encounter into action, do immediate action, reload, and HIT with it. This means .50, DShK, mortars, Javelin. NOT just your 18Bs. You don't want your Mk-19 to go silent because the belt just ran out and your doc is looking at it like a hog looking at a wristwatch.

The other side of that is, every team member needs a much bigger subset of the doc's skills than is normally recognised. EVERY man MUST be able to: suture, tourniquet, intubate, and do a cutdown & tie-off. There's no way to build real confidence in this without you-know-what, but you don't want one of your guys to be the one that died from a survivable wound, like one SF soldier in this war, because there was no medic on the patrol, and no one understood that pneumothorax was slowly asphyxiating him.

4) Next in priority is infiltration and movement skills. Of those, I'd put IADs at the top. IADs are what bring you home. They are what gets you over the shock and leads you to regain the initiative.

5) Finally, special skills. SOTIC, ASOT, climbing, CIF type stuff, parachuting (s/l and halo), SCUBA. These are all real good skills to have as a person or on your team. But they are the tail of SF skills -- don't let them wag the dog.

When you add this all up, even before you throw in all the BS annual training requirements the Army throws at you, there's way more training to do than fits in any mortal calendar - so you prioritize, and you train the least perishable skills (static line parachuting, for instance) at longer intervals. Team skills (IADs) are less durable than individual skills, because each personnel change alters the dynamic of the team -- some a little, some a lot. Collective skills at the group level are usually exercised once every year or two; at the ODB there are some doctrinal ODB missions (Area Command for one) that very seldom get exercised. Some ODBs haven't run an isolation area in ten years. FOBs don't get exercised enough either. It's just the nature of the beast

There's no reason you can't train higher and lower priority skills at the same time, especially in an FTX environment.

This is just my opinion, and we all know what opinions are like....

-nose

Dan
07-14-2004, 05:49
Good post Hognose. The only thing I'd add is to comment on new technologies that we now have the $ to buy. Choose the technology that makes sense from FORCEMOD and try it in an FTX environment. Maintain the shoot, move, and communicate, but also train that new technologies that give us the edge over the enemy.

I remember in the early 90's every ODA got a handheld GPS, but could navigate or use it to find their way out of the desert. I got one per man, took their compasses, and made them rely on the GPS for a navigation course. It gave them the confidence needed...the next year we went back to our old way, but many wanted the GPS back that year.

QRQ 30
07-14-2004, 08:31
Everything Hog said is true, however his dream list is just that -- dreams. Who is left to beautify the Post. They may not have pine cones at all posts but there is always something. At Flinht Kaserne a rotary snow plow blew all of the snow into a huge mountain in the center of the quad. In preparation for a visit from the USAREUR CG we had to go out and break up and melt the mountain. I do, however agree with his priorities.

My wife has been in the States for thirty years. She seldom has the opportunity to speak Thai, but you should hear her when she meets another Thai. Some of us haven't been on a bike for years, maybe decades, but we can still get on one and ride without dieing.

I believe that thirty days of intense, full immersion language training will indeed bring one back up to speed. You say that there is no time for that but it could be incorporated into normal mission prep. Very seldom are SF deployed on the spur of the moment.

The goal of language is to communicate not to learn words and grammar. DLI frequently rotates instructors because there is the danger of graduating and being able to only understand the instructor. Teams speak a language in their team rooms and end up only understanding and being understood by their teammates. You need exposure to others. Bringing in people from the target area would help. This was an advantage to Groups residing in Germany, Panama, Okinawa and other places. One could speak the native language with natives as much as he desired.

I'm not familiar with the present system of training and testing used in SF today. While in Germany, our team attended Czech training. Although we had to take and were rated by the ALPT the real final test was more realistic. They brought in Czechs whom we had never met before. One at a time we were placed in front of a complete stranger. We were given a scenario to communicate to the Czech who in turn asked us questions. We could do anything in the book communicate our scenario, as long as it was Czech . It wasn't a test of vocabulary. We do the same in english, if we can't think of a particular word we talk around it. The Czech person then related our scenario to the head of the language department. I still remember my test. I had just infiltrated into the area and was to introduce myself to the G-chief. He had several questions about our capabilities and how we were to benefit him. I thought it was realistic. One man in the class, Jim Sweeney, had a low ALPT but scored very high on the final test which I felt was much more realistic than vocab and grammar.

BTW Hognose, did you receive my P/M?

mffjm8509
07-14-2004, 10:13
Originally posted by Hognose




So... if I was king, I'd stress:

1) cultural/language orientation & area studies.
2) Instructional training & preparation.
3) Combat training. .
4) Next in priority is infiltration and movement skills.
5) Finally, special skills. SOTIC, ASOT, climbing, CIF type stuff, parachuting (s/l and halo), SCUBA.

This is just my opinion, and we all know what opinions are like....

-nose


First off, excellent post "nose" and welcome to the board and this community!

I have to respecftully disagree about the order of priorities you've suggested. Of course I"m one of "those guys" that would rather spend time on the range than studiing a language, because as a very good friend and former Team Sergeant of mine once said "noone has ever been killed in SF because they couldnt find the embassy".

I think that you have to place your basic combat skills (shoot, move, and communicate) at the top of the list, those in my opinion are true survivability tasks in todays environment. I absolutely agree with you that all members of the team must be able to pick up and employ all weapons found in the SOA, as guys are doing today in Iraq and Afganistan.

These skills are followed closely, if not connected to, our infiltration and movement skills. Many guys today dont like to train on basic dismounted tactics because they feel we'll never get to use them, and want to focus on more specialized skills (CQB, Mounted ops). I think that just like basic markmanship lays the foundation for advanced, so does the basic drills set forth in FM7-8 provide a foundation for more advanced SOP development so you must train hard in this.

Next I'd place your training/teaching/briefing requirement, as it is important but not a survivability skill. It certainly is happening with the ICDC daily becaue in most areas SF teams are the guys that initially organized and trained them, and continue to use them.......teaching abilities are a must!

Then I'd have to lump special skils and languae/cultural training last to take place after those survivability skills have been addressed........

probably not the most popular opinion on this board, or in the community for that matter.......but my .02

mp

Jack Moroney (RIP)
07-14-2004, 13:16
There are a lot of good points here in all these posts but the bottom line, IMHO, is that it all depends on your mission(s), the assessement of the tasks required to accomplish the mission, the level of training you currently possess, the time required to get to the level needed to minimum level necessary to successfully accomplish the tasks required, and the resources available to you to do so. One mission does not fit all as you well know and each requires different tasks and I know each of you can make a good argument for whatever mission you might have to execute. There is no cookie cutter approach to anything in this business and the priorities in training will be driven by whatever your assessment shows. I think you can make an argument for each point of view here depending on your focus and experience. Just another opinion from a geriatric warrior whose priorities were different for different mission and different organizations based on many variables but who is comfortable with the fact that each and everyone of you would be capable of achieving any of the tasks put before you given the right intelligence, resources, and support.

Jack Moroney

Jack Moroney

rwt_bkk
10-24-2004, 13:13
I would have to agree with both... In one sense the cultural/language priority is a way of keeping you informed and alive in a hostile environment. But IADs must be a daily tasking. Most people don't see it, it a lot of takes work and gets boring. But a well trained team that really understand what each man's moves will be in any situation is absolutely essential to survial in a high threat environment. It is this ability that allows a small team to take on large enemy forces and clean their plow. Loose that and you loose you life quicker than you can say Aw Shoot..

We spent 2 weeks running IADs before every mission, it paid off - I'm still here and my enemiers aren't.