I was in a recent Scout class at Brushbeater’s (highly recommend) and had a major malfunction of my wristwatch (see photo of actual watch, turned around to show band and not brand). It had one of those bands that never completely comes undone but just expands through a couple of buckles. We were walking stalking lanes into a planned ambush, and when the shooting started I dropped and took cover behind a tree. I fired several shots at the opposition and went to change mags (we purposefully had low numbers of live blanks in each mag). My watch band had come loose in the chaos and my watch had slid down my left hand. It was enough to limit my ability to perform the mag change. I tore it off, threw it into my pocket, completed the mag change, and got back in the fight. This took only seconds, but was enough to be unnerving, to say the least, and possibly fatal had this been a real firefight. I was already irritated with the watch because, coincidentally, it had started to lose time that weekend. I discerned the battery was fading just as I was arriving at the class (what are the chances of that?). I concluded this watch could’ve killed me a second way by making me late for a rendezvous or operation! Needless to say I’m replacing it this week.

I believe training classes help us get better at what we need to be ready to do. When I train I reinforce the good habits and try to learn from any mistakes I make. I learn so much every time. I try to be enthusiastic and teachable at these events. Here are some additional things I learned from this most recent class:

It is always enriching to get to know other people who are like-minded. One of my favorite parts of class is in the evenings and other times around the fire. I like to hear what’s going on in other parts of the country/world. I like to hear others’ ideas about training, gear, politics, current events, patterns of life, hearth and home, spiritual things, etc. I stay up as late as I can every night to glean useful information from others and to just enjoy the company of brothers-at-arms.

Our kit is mission-specific and needs constant use and tweaking. I saw guys running minimalist chest rigs that performed great during the class activities (see those made by UW Gear). That was a new idea for me to think about. Here’s a “kit” mistake I made: I forgot my tactical gloves in my haste to pack and leave town for the class. From now on they are going in my rifle case. Though I’m in my fifth decade I still have a tendency to jump into a mission without thinking through everything I’ll need.

My sleep system needed a little refinement. I blame myself for not being prepared enough. Simple fix: better mission planning by me.

I know that I’m going to make many more mistakes. I want to make them in training, learn from them, and not make them in real life.

It was a great class and I am grateful for being able to participate and get some training before things get worse in our nation.

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