I’m honored to have yet another review of the courses out West. ‘Hunter’ bore with me for a LONG time out there, and it was an incredible experience to be able to share that time with him and the entire class. I’ve got courses running through the end of the year, come on out, train, meet good folks and take control of the future. Ain’t no ‘Q Anon’ gonna get us out of this mess. -NCS
I just completed 10 days of training in these courses put on by NC Scout in Wyoming at Tactical Solutions International’s facility. Badlands Rifleman posted a very comprehensive and accurate review of the Scout course earlier this week, so I will only be adding a few additional comments of my own about that course. I wholeheartedly agree with everything he put in that review article.
WHO: Class size ranged from 18 in the Scout course to 12 in the RTO/SI series of classes. Backgrounds ranged from current and former military to civilians with little to no formal training in these arenas. A good attitude and an desire to learn as much as possible was apparent, contributing greatly to the success of the students.
WHAT: 3 day SCOUT course, 2 day RTO course, 2 day Advanced RTO course and 2 day Signals Intelligence course, There was a one day break after the SCOUT course.
WHEN: September 11-20, 2020
WHERE: Tactical Solutions International Inc’s facility in Northwest Wyoming.
One thing the students quickly learned was that the teaching methodology utilized by NC Scout combined classroom lessons interspersed with Q&A sessions and subsequent field exercises designed to let students apply the classroom learning in a real time situation. The field exercises were purposely left somewhat open ended which encouraged more learning instead of just being a time to replay the classroom lessons. Learning to make changes and decisions on the fly based on changing situations in the field was an excellent experience.
As Badlands Rifleman stated about the range day, it was outstanding! Despite spending a lot of range time and hunting at long range myself, I was very impressed by the methodology used to get shooters (including me) on steel at ranges out to 350 meters with first round hits. That is absolutely something that I will be using with others back home.
Class started each day at 0900 with a review of the day’s agenda outline, discussion of planned field exercises and equipment that we would be utilizing. As with the SCOUT course, NC Scout tailored the level of instruction to the students in class. The course description on his website will give you a pretty good idea of the topics covered, but there is no substitute for being in an interactive classroom & learning environment.
Although the online course description states that this is “NOT a Ham radio class”, the equipment and radio bands utilized (for the most part) were in that arena. I tested for the Technician license shortly before class and having passed that test, felt more comfortable using the various equipment. Studying for the exam also resulted in knowledge that helped me understand much of the technical information presented in class. It was definitely a huge bonus to bring what little radio gear I had to class and learn how to use it and what its limitations were. Being able to see and use more advanced and capable gear that NC Scout and others brought was also invaluable. It is one of his stated goals, to figure out what gear you want to buy AFTER class as opposed to buying a lot of stuff only to find out it may not be what you want to end up with.
The outline for the two days was pretty much as listed on the Brushbeater website. There was a significant amount of time spent on the different capabilities of several different pieces of equipment (most of which there was at least one example of in class), the pros and cons of each and most importantly to me anyway, a bottom line recommendation of “what woks best for our purpose”. Sitting in class, working the field exercises and having the opportunity to gain from others experiences, both good and bad was outstanding.
The field exercises let the students put classroom knowledge into practice. They were well designed and built on knowledge over the two days.
The advanced class picked up right where the first two days left off. In fact if you can arrange it, I would strongly encourage taking these two courses back to back. Although at times I felt like it was “drinking from a fire hose”, the continuity of information and learning absolutely made sense to me.
This course built on the RTO basic information and moved on to more advanced techniques for secure communications, including;
Advanced equipment including multiple antenna types
Report formats to be used on air
Encryption using several methods and levels of security
Advanced communications methodologies
The field exercises built on these advanced pieces of equipment, techniques and knowledge. Bottom line is at the end of these 4 days, anyone in class knew what equipment to acquire and how to establish a secure communication system. It is not plug & play however, it requires action and continuous training and use to make the network reliable. For example, the time to find out your digital radios are not programmed correctly is NOT when a team is given a mission and is about to depart.
After 4 days of learning how to best utilize communication equipment and techniques, this course switched to focusing on how to detect and exploit those using the same equipment and techniques. This not only provided the students with additional skills and knowledge, but the field exercises in particular helped emphasize the importance of some of the things learned in the RTO sessions.
Although the class was held in what most students would have described as the proverbial “middle of nowhere”, it astounded me how much radio traffic there was in the area when the class was monitoring the airwaves. Weather information, water level monitors, emergency responder traffic, local VHF/UHF repeaters, commercial radio traffic, and on and on were just some of the multitude of signals we monitored during field exercises. This highlighted the absolute requirement to conduct and maintain a survey of what radio traffic is in your area. You don’t know what is in your area unless you monitor it!
The final day’s field exercise started with the students being split into 3 teams. One was headquarters, one was a patrol and the other was a signals interdiction team. We conducted this exercise three times so that each team had a turn in each role. Without giving away any details, in my opinion this was the most informative exercise we conducted over the 6 days. It encompassed and put to use all of the skills and techniques we had learned the previous 5 days into a realistic set of circumstances. Friendly competition between the teams made this about as realistic as possible, compared to a real life situation.
I have trained with several other companies covering different tactical topics. I have to say that this experience was the most informative, well planned and expertly executed set of training classes I have taken part in to date. Time and circumstances in our country permitting, I plan to attend further classes with NC Scout. I urge you to do likewise!