For the second half of day 2 of the class, we began with a discussion of mission planning, overland movement, and fieldcraft. The idea with mission planning is to have a good plan, and to plan for contingencies. Russ went over the particulars of what that should look like. As for the fieldcraft stuff, I took the opportunity to get some of the details fleshed out (stuff that was probably obvious to everyone else).
As it got dark the people with night vision equipped rifles get set up for a night shoot. This technology is not completely new to me, but using it on a rifle is, and I find it fascinating. It turns out that there are widely varying grades of quality of this stuff, and none of it is cheap. Even with a significant expenditure, some of this gear does not live up to expectations. Still, I was able to get some hits out to 300 or so in nearly complete darkness (new moon) with a night vision equipped AR. That’s pretty neat. There were issues with wandering zeroes on IR lasers and poor resolution on the PVS-22s.
After shooting, we practiced overland movement at night with NODs (night optical devices- it took me a few days to find out that they weren’t talking about sleeping). Walking around with NODs is slightly disorienting at first, but not as bad as the 8x binoculars I wear while playing soccer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rRK7vlBG8A (I’m in the green suit with the skilled moves, 1:33 to 1:40).
One of the guys wearing NODs found a hole about 2′ in diameter, 3′ deep, and walked right into it, dropping like he stepped into a trap door. That was the only water to be found at all. We all told him that the divining rod was a bad idea. Another guy stepped into a sizeable patch of cacti. All this was in relatively harmless terrain. I was walking like Shaggy from Scooby Doo in order to keep from tripping.
A lot of this stuff was new to me, and I was learning a lot. I was looking forward to the next day’s big field training exercise. To be continued…