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Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Remembering Operation Eagle Claw

Wednesday, April 24th, 2019

Today marks the anniversary of Operation Eagle Claw. In the early morning hours of 25 April, 1980 President Carter announced to a stunned world that the United States had undertaken an ambitious raid into Iran to liberate 52 American hostages held illegally at our Embassy compound in Tehran. The assault force can be seen here, loading C141s.

Unfortunately, Operation Eagle Claw was unsuccessful and we lost eight American servicemen in a horrible aircraft ground collision.

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However, their deaths were not in vain. The hostages were eventually repatriated and the accident was the watershed event that created, over the next several decades, the world’s preeminent Special Operations capability; USSOCOM and its components. We wouldn’t be where are today without the determination of that fledgling task force. Join me in remembering those that had the guts to try.

Patriot’s Day – An American Act Of Defiance

Friday, April 19th, 2019

Each year, we remind our readers of the events of April 19th, 1775. Rebellion had been brewing on the North American continent for years. Finally, in the early hours of the day, an American Army fired on British troops, starting a war that would last for over eight years and see the ascendency of the American Eagle over this land we now call the United States.

This battle is also where we draw our concept of the iconic Minute Man from.

Each Patriot’s Day, we honor those men at Concord and consider what it must have been for them to stand there together, in the face of the world’s greatest army and take up arms in the defense of their colony from oppression.

This militia came together on that morning to protect their arms from seizure by an oppressive government. That is a fact.

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“Stand your ground. Don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here.”
-John Parker
Captain of Militia

As the initial volleys of fire were exchanged near daybreak on Lexington Green, colonial volunteers fell back in the face of over 500 occupying British troops. But as the battle moved on to Concord, the tide turned, and the redcoats were routed as more and more colonists joined the fray.

The British troops retreated through Concord where they were reinforced. Despite boasting a strength of 1700 men, they remained no match for the determined colonists who forced them to retreat to the safety of Charlestown in Boston. The militiamen continued their pursuit which transformed into the Siege of Boston.

Today, join me in remembering those American warriors who pledged their lives to give us our hard fought freedoms and this great land.

1985–SureFire Model 310

Tuesday, April 16th, 2019

Released under a new brand name, SureFire, the Model 310 Tactical Light was the first dedicated handgun-mounted WeaponLight. It provided a rugged and reliable source of high-intensity light that could be conveniently mounted to a Colt 1911 pistol. At a staggering 15 lumens and powered by a single 123A lithium battery, the Model 310 featured two switches: A handgrip Pressure Switch activated the light as long as pressure was applied, while an On/Off Switch on the left side of the housing activated the light until the Off switch was pressed. Once again, a SureFire product created a new genre in tactical gear.

www.surefire.com

SCUBAPRO SUNDAY – The Men with Green Faces

Sunday, April 7th, 2019

Max Talk Monday: Contracting in Iraq 2004 – 2007

Monday, April 1st, 2019

This is the sixteenth installment of ‘Max Talk Monday’ which shares Max’s experience as a contractor, beginning with three years in Iraq from 2004 to 2007, followed by two years in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

Iraq during those years was a very interesting time. It was the ‘Wild West Years’ and in terms of security contractors, there was a lot of good, and a lot of bad during the period. In searching for suitable constructive videos, I found a lot of ‘mercenary hate journalism.’ This was the period when there was a lot of risk, and there were some really professional outfits, and then there were some genuine cowboys – the era where reportedly ‘bouncers’ with no military training were employed as ‘bodyguards’ etc. My assessment on the matter was that after the invasion, in 2003, things were relatively quiet until the insurgency kicked off in earnest 2004; it was at this time that many of the unsuitable types who had jumped on the money train got out, but not all. There was definitely a ‘Walter Mitty’ factor at play with some organizations who did not recruit the best. Once it got dangerous, it was time for the professionals to play.

Travis Haley became famous for the Najaf rooftop shootout. Yeager became infamous for the Route Irish ambush. I didn’t get famous for anything, and just kept working! I had originally been recruited in early 2004 for a convoy protection job based near to Kirkuk, where we had run high value convoys from the Turkish and Syrian borders. I had trained up a platoon of South Africans for the convoy escort function. This was back in the day of hillbilly armor on pickup trucks, all locally sourced and modified.

I then moved to Baghdad for the central period of time, before spending the last year based out of Fallujah, as shown in the video clips I am going to post below. It is all the video I have. My impression was that the British companies were by far the most successful and professional, and had the best contracts with the US government. The Aegis contract in Fallujah that I was on for my final year in Iraq had an element providing ‘Reconstruction Operations Centers’ across Iraq, and then teams like ours which worked for the US Military, doing a mix of close protection and reconnaissance / liaison – for that, read that we would often go out on missions without the ‘client.’ This took us all around Al Anbar, from Fallujah to Ramadi, Al Asad, the places like Hit and Haditha up along the Euphrates, and back into Baghdad. We operated around, alongside and independently of the USMC / US Army, and we utilized high profile SUV and Reva armored vehicles. We took casualties in constant enemy contacts and lost ‘Bully’ KIA from that team. The composition of that team was entirely a mix of British Paras and Commandos, so that means you have a team from a couple of the best SOF organizations in the world, and the levels of professionalism were accordingly high. In uniform, out of uniform , the professionalism and standards remained. There was no ‘UCMJ’ keeping us in check on missions, it was simply professionalism. If you didn’t work out or your ‘war cup’ got full, you went home. I ultimately quit after five years because my son was born.

We didn’t get ‘veteran status’ or claim to be ‘US Combat Veterans’ from our service. We did it for a mix of the financial reward and because it is what we were trained to do. We were professional soldiers. There is no VA for the wounded or damaged. There is no help or therapy for TBI or PTSD from the numerous contacts and explosions that we experienced, not that I believe most of us needed it. I am not writing that for anyone’s sympathy, we were all grown up professionals playing by big boys rules. There is a lot of hate out there for ‘mercenaries.’ Fact is, the Iraq war effort would not have progressed without the contribution of all sorts of contractors from paramilitary teams like ours, to guys that drove supply trucks in convoys.

Here is a mix of two videos I had on my computer, one which was a mix of photos of the Fallujah team and location, the other was a training day for SET 13 in November 2004.

In looking around the internet, I discarded various videos that I found from the time period, mainly because they were negative reporting from journalists with an agenda against ‘mercenaries.’ Mainly they were about Blackwater. Sadly, Blackwater was fairly terrible, as were many of the US security companies. We literally came across a team in the Green Zone dressed in cowboy hats and long cowboy coats – they were living some kind of cowboy fantasy. I believe it was a cultural / professional issue with many of these guys lacking experience of foreign countries and thus lacking in judgement and professionalism – the ‘othering’ of civilians leading to excessive violence and unnecessary killing. That was not unusual, I have received ‘friendly fire’ from a USMC platoon in Fallujah who believed we were a team of ‘foreign fighters’ (they were not really wrong) and also a National Guard convoy coming onto the road via a slip road, while we were on a low profile move around Baghdad, firing across and into the line of traffic to create a gap. The ‘keep back 100 meters’ thing was very definitely real and we enforced it on high profile moves, but it is a question of judgement, and you don’t really want to have to open fire unless you have been through escalation of force, assuming time and circumstances allow. If your professionalism levels are high and your fear levels are under reasonable control, then it allows you to make better judgments in the moment.

My two years in Helmand were doing operations work for the UK Foreign Office, which was a different beast from Iraq. It was in itself very interesting. Because I personally have a military career beginning in 1991, and covering a wide area of military experience, beginning with deployments to Northern Ireland in the 1990’s, including various other operational and training deployments, and then Afghanistan following 9/11, added to which is my five years of varied paramilitary work in Iraq and Afghanistan, I feel I have a widely varied basis of experience to offer via Max Velocity Tactical. This is why my writings are not simply a regurgitation of military manuals, and why I am able to translate military knowledge and training into something useful for civilian unconventional or paramilitary teams.

As a comment on that, I do of course have to deal with the internet. I notice that when I post training videos, there are inevitably comments from guys who only know whatever manual they have read. Or they spent five minutes in the military and learned some basic stuff. They will tell me that “it wasn’t per the TM” – but they have no idea what the training objectives were, and it was most likely not per whatever TM they are referencing, because the training objectives at MVT are built from years of varied training and experience, and bring in techniques from various armed forces and organizations. I guess there are a couple of types of trolls out there – the ones who’s area of expertise is ‘weapons manipulation’ and ‘range nazi’ stuff , and they will comment on those types of videos. Then, because MVT is the only real organization that has properly moved into and trains small unit tactics, there are the types who think they know SUT from limited experience, or some Tom Berenger Sniper fantasy, and feel qualified to comment on SUT videos, usually telling me we are getting it all wrong. The best guys are the ones who watch a video, with no clue about range restrictions or safety measures, or the training objective, or anything specific about the circumstances and level of the students, and who don’t understand that we are training a drill which if carried out in the real world is always going to be a calculated risk, as everything tactical always is; these are the guys who will say – “sure, if I was over there on that hill with a sniper rifle, you guys would all be dead.” I think the internet should be taken away from these people – it is certainly a harsh mistress when you are trying to spread a truly professional tactical message, versus the derp and the ignorance that abounds.

MVT Tactical Manual

Max is a tactical trainer and author, a lifelong professional soldier with extensive military experience. He served with British Special Operations Forces, both enlisted and as a commissioned officer; a graduate of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Max served on numerous operational deployments, and also served as a recruit instructor. Max spent five years serving as a paramilitary contractor in both Iraq and Afghanistan; the latter two years working for the British Government in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

Website: Max Velocity Tactical

YouTube: Max Velocity Tactical

SureFire Announces 40th Anniversary Legacy Video

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

Fountain Valley, CA—SureFire, LLC, is continuing its milestone 40th anniversary celebration as the leading manufacturer of suppressors, high-performance flashlights, weapon-mounted lights and tactical products by releasing a new video, Legacy.

The goal of the video is to remind the viewer how a legacy isn’t about wealth or status, or about being celebrated in a parade or via a monument. It is chronicled by examples that are set, lessons taught and impressions left. A legacy is seen in the next generation that is living a life of honor, courage and commitment.

“The video was an idea from JD Potynsky of Northern Red,” said Andrew Wright, Public Relations Manager, SureFire, LLC. “We were talking about the global war on terror and how it has been going on for so long that there are now veterans who have sons fighting in the same war they did. This video is a fitting tribute to those warfighters, and it corresponds well with SureFire’s 40th anniversary. SureFire has always been proud to provide tools for heroes from all walks of life, who have created and maintained individual legacies.”

SIG SAUER Honors Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient Britt Slabinski with Commemorative MK25 Pistol and Documentary

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

NEWINGTON, N.H., (March 25, 2019) –In recognition of National Medal of Honor Day, SIG SAUER, Inc. is honored to announce the production and presentation of a commemorative MK25 pistol to Congressional Medal of Honor (CMH) recipient Command Master Chief (CMC) Britt Slabinski, and the release of a short documentary, “For Service As Set Forth: The Story of CMC Britt Slabinski, Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient.”

CMH Britt Slabinski, a U.S. Navy SEAL with the rank Command Master Chief, was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor on May 24, 2018 by President Donald Trump for his actions during the Battle of Takur Ghar in the mountains of Afghanistan. Slabinski is credited with rallying his teammates to rescue a stranded member of his team that had fallen from their helicopter after it was hit by enemy fire.

The unique distinguishing features of the commemorative MK25 pistol crafted by SIG Custom Works are:

• MK25 Pistol: the MK25, a SIG SAUER P226, was carried by the U.S. Navy SEALs throughout the service of Command Master Chief Britt Slabinski. The slide of the commemorative pistol is finished with a high polish to indicate the ceremonial presentation of the pistol, and the frame is a matte black finish, the original standard issue finish, as a nod to the warrior. All pistol engraving is done in 24k gold;

• Right Slide Engraving: the phrase “For Service As Set Forth,” which is the first line of the Congressional Medal of Honor Citation, and CMH Recipient Britt Slabinski;

• Top Slide Engraving: a likeness of the Congressional Medal of Honor is engraved on a raised piece of metal recovered from the World Trade Center, and six stars representing the unit of CMH Britt Slabinski;

• Left Side Engraving: the phrase “No Day Shall Erase You from the Memory of Time” displayed at the World Trade Center Memorial;

• Pistol Grips: traditional presentation custom grips made of American Black Walnut. The right grip features the Red Unit Medallion, CMC Britt Slabiniski’s SEAL Team, and the left grip features the SEAL Trident.

Additionally, SIG SAUER is honored to release the video feature, “For Service As Set Forth: The Story of CMC Britt Slabinski, Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient,” to honor CMH Britt Slabinski’s service to our country. This is an in-depth look at CMH Britt Slabinski’s service, and the features of the commemorative MK25 pistol including interviews with CMH Britt “Slab” Slabinski, Retired CMC Steve “Mato” Matulewicz, Ron Cohen, President and CEO, SIG SAUER, Inc., Tim Butler of SIG Custom Works, and retired New York City Police Officer Frank Pinto.

On National Medal of Honor Day on March 25th, and every day, we honor those whom have served and sacrificed for the United States of America in the defense of freedom.

The commemorative MK25 was previously presented to CMH Britt Slabinski in a private ceremony at SIG SAUER Headquarters in Newington, New Hampshire by Cohen, Matulewicz, and Butler.

Download a full series of photos of the Commemorative MK25 pistol here.

www.sigsauer.com

US Army RECONDO School – 1960s At Ft Carson

Sunday, March 24th, 2019

This documentary showcases the US Army RECONDO (Reconnaissance Commando) school. This was a 4th Infantry Division hosted at Fort Carson, Colorado’s Camp Red Devil during the late 1960s and early 70s. Other posts had similar programs based on the course taught in Vietnam to prepare Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol members for their mission.