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The Importance of Training


I got the call late in the evening last Wednesday. “Hey do you want to go to this training in Idaho on advanced small team tactics?” My immediate answer was “YES, I want to attend it and every training opportunity that I possibly can.” So that was the start of my 5 day adventure into the mountains of northern Idaho. I first met up with some fellow colleagues here, in our local area, to make sure that my kit and rucksack were ready to go and to go over some review on basic small team patrolling tactics. This may seem like pretty basic stuff to those of you that may have done very similar things while in the military, or those who are already regularly training with a group in their area. However, I would be willing to bet that there are a good number of individuals that either have not gone through those experiences, or have gotten so rusty that they may have some troubles getting back into a squad and moving as a team. Those that have been following my work know that I have been an avid martial artist for the majority of my life and feel that training is an essential part of my lifestyle. Training for rolling BJJ, or even getting in the cage for an amateur fight is a completely different creature from practicing for a post crash event scenario, all together. Much like when I first started training in firearms tactics, I quickly began to realize just how little I actually knew when it comes to patrolling, planning an operation, and small team tactics. I do realize just how important these skills will be if we ever do see a crash event (whether it be a financial collapse, loss of the power grid, or even a terrorist attack.)

I was very intrigued to meet someone who is well known in the training scene, that has been using one of my ancestor’s name as their own. When I first heard about John Mosby from Sam Culper, I remember wondering if he actually might be a long lost family member. As it turns out, it was just a pen name he was using based on one of my relatives. Still, it was pretty interesting to me. John is a retired Special Forces operator and has the Mountain Gorilla blog. He puts on several classes a year, and has also written several books on tactics and his own philosophies.

I have got to say, this was a pretty incredible class. We all met up at a local supermarket, from there we convoyed up to the training grounds deep in the local mountains. We were told to be ready to live out of a rucksack for 4 days. After we got to the mountains and had a preliminary brief, we were told to go set up our sleep systems and be ready to start learning in one hour. We then went on to learn how to plan an operation. The particular scenario we were presented with was that we were a “plan b”, or bug out community, after a crash scenario had unfolded. We had a report from a member of the outer community that there was a group of 13 or so armed individuals that seemed to be loitering in an area on the other side of the mountain from our location. We needed to plan out how to get eyes on the target and see what they might be up to. We had to assess the members of our group, their skill sets, and equipment then decide how to form up into teams and go. This other group could just be a group of hunters, or they could be a raiding group getting ready to attack our own community. We needed to plan ahead, observe, contact, and possibly engage this group of they turned out to be bad guys and hostile. If you have never served in the military, you probably have never really realized what really goes into planning an operation like this to make sure it is done in a safe and secure manner. There is so much more that goes into an operation like this than your average citizen would ever think of.

What I took home from this experience was that spending a whole lot of money on having the latest greatest gear and guns doesn’t really help if you really don’t have the prior training and skills to use them effectively. I was very glad to have invested in a military 3 piece sleep system  and a camp hammock as things got very cold at night. I found that the most expensive gear was not necessarily the right gear. It also showed me that I definitely prefer camping in the open rather than using a tent. It just seems to be so much less work and allows you to better see what is going on around you. Until you try to use your gear in a realistic and strenuous situation, you really don’t know if that gear will work for you, in the way you think it will. I think it is time that we took a more realistic look at out our own preparedness, knowledge, and skill levels, trade in a gun or two so we can get some serious tactical training from professionals who really know what they are doing. We all need to do any and all the possible training that we can.

I would also recommend you begin reading some books on the subject of tactical training. I am currently reading “Contact!” by Max Velocity, and any of the James Wesley Rawles books also are a great start.

John Mosby also has some great articles to get you primed here:

On packing a patrol ruck:

Tactical Intelligence Collection, including a description of terrain analysis

An Introduction to Battle Drills

He also has a great suggested reading list to add to your training regiment here:

Please take the time to watch this video I shot with Todd, one of the organizers of the trainings going on at the Northern Idaho Training Center.

So get out there and get training!


Jason Van Tatenhove


Stewart Rhodes

Stewart is the founder and National President of Oath Keepers. He served as a U.S. Army paratrooper until disabled in a rough terrain parachuting accident during a night jump. He is a former firearms instructor, former member of Rep. Ron Paul’s DC staff, and served as a volunteer firefighter in Montana. Stewart previously wrote the monthly Enemy at the Gates column for S.W.A.T. Magazine. Stewart graduated from Yale Law School in 2004, where his paper “Solving the Puzzle of Enemy Combatant Status” won Yale’s Miller prize for best paper on the Bill of Rights. He assisted teaching U.S. military history at Yale, was a Yale Research Scholar, and is writing a book on the dangers of applying the laws of war to the American people.



  1. Training, Training,Training… Brings back memories of my time in the OPFOR (Hohenfels, GE 1990-92). As a member of the “original permanent party”, we came in raw from basic Armor school (Ft. Knox, KY). Trained on M1 Abrams, we found ourselves manning 30 decrepit 1970’s era M60a3 tanks, mocked up as “ruskies”. Fighting all-comers (US active, US Guard, Germans, Spanish, Canadians and Brits) with the newest hardware, we were never defeated. Through endless drills, we reduced our load out times from hours to minutes. Field expedient repairs and thorough maintenance schedules allowed 100% battle readiness, against adversaries who struggled to put up a 75% force. Spit & polish looks good and gets men killed. 290+ days/year in 24/7 simulated combat, exceeds the field time of any “real” unit in history. I received the expert badge for tracked & wheeled (HMMVEE) 5,000 accident-free miles and 10,000 hours at the t-bar, the equivalent of fighting bush-by-bush from Baja to Maine. Every day I died, often multiple times, leaving me to contemplate the wastefulness and horror of war and the sacrifice of our men and women in service. We saw the useless dog-and-pony units fail (Berlin Brigade, mission after mission. We fought troops fresh from the battlefield of Iraq, and wiped them out with startling ease. There is no more dangerous opponent than a well trained fighter, free from garrison detail, on his home turf. Training is everything.

    Driving “blind”, by voice commands alone, was the most terrifying experience. Buttoned up, at combat speeds, in the dark, without night vision for hours at a time… the only relief from the mind’s imagination of a sudden death was screaming into the roar of the engine until I was hoarse. Just because it wasn’t live fire, didn’t mean it wasn’t dangerous, our Post averaged 1 training death per month. Split evenly between the Observer/Controllers and the visiting troops. Our training kept us all alive.

    Shout out to the men of Delta Tank Co. 1/4 Infantry, 7th ATC WARRIORS!!!!!!!

  2. Training can take many forms. Those unable to perform as mentioned within the article above can still assist those “in the field.” There are a multitude of support roles. Be prepared to feed or house a small unit arriving at your locale. Know basic first-aid or more and have the equipment to tend to the injured with some extras to send along with the troops.

    A hot meal can boost morale and put a spring back in their step. Maybe you and others nearby of like-mind can perform a diversion to allow escape or completion of a mission. Be creative. Diversions can be a flood of false reports to authorities or a staged car wreck on a major road or… be creative. There is much that can be done to assist freedom fighters.

    Best yet might be the efforts of what some label the “Propaganda Corps.” Start now with convincing as many folks as possible of whatever your beliefs are about the many problems confronting We, the People but that the government at its many levels seems to be ignoring or, as some folks believe, actually assisting in being a problem. I shouted with joy when I first encountered Oath Keeper’s Ten Orders. Imagine tyrants via their politician lackeys ordering their “muscle” to commence war-like activities against We, the People. When the troops/police/etc. simply ignore those tyrants what will those unwilling to do the deeds themselves do? Pout? Whine? Whimper? Or make a speech via the elite-owned media accusing free-thinking folks of being the bad guys? Perhaps a war could be won without firing a shot. That is real victory!!!

    The complexity of life within the USA today is such that it is impossible to keep track of all that is going on. The America of today MAY simply be too big to effectively governed. Some learned folks suggest dividing the USA into two, maybe more, separate but united entities akin to how states combine to form a unified whole. Is that the answer? I do not know.

    This is not the place to declare what I believe are serious major problems confronting We, the People from foes domestic and foreign. What I will proclaim is that from 1995 onward, when I first jumped into the Web, I became a part of the unofficial growing Propaganda Corps and I have seen positive results from our efforts. Do your part, folks. It takes a team and all of us can do something that would have the Founders look down from above and give you a thumbs-up and a hearty “Well done.”

  3. Training is great but when I graduated at the top of the food chain I got the same cool looking certificate that the guy at the bottom got. Then it was my responsibility to practice what I had learned until I was expert at it. Don’t just stop with the training. Training may give you some bragging rights but top proficiency will keep you alive and well. Prepare for war. Pray for peace. God bless.

  4. To own a gun is great but if you don’t practice on quick draws then it would be useless.
    Multiple guns through out the home, areas of property would be smart, I would think.
    Family practice scenarios beyond those of a fire drill is needed. The lack of knowing what to do would get one killed quickly. I had a co worker one beautiful day who went to lunch came back shook up as he was robbed gun point at a gas station. Such a close encounter to death looking you in the face in broad daylight and people around you are unaware and going about their daily business. Speaking of, why I am parked in a gas station on wi fi connection isn’t so smart either.

  5. Training is the key to success in the CPT endeavor. I have found that there are so many varied and valuable skillsets available, especially in a rural environment, that you can glean any information you need to improve your personal abilities rather easily. That after all is the purpose of the CPT; disseminating skills in order to increase the effectiveness of your community. With so many combat vets and current or former law enforcement in our midst today the wealth of tactical knowledge is there if you look for it. As discussed in the article, proper planning is key to a successful security operation. Seek out the vets with that knowledge and bring them into the fold; many, if not all, want to contribute what they know to their communities.

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