Tactical Tailor

Archive for January, 2021

US Space Force Selects Rank Structure, Still No Insignia

Sunday, January 31st, 2021

This will come in handy for those of you working in a joint environment. Late last week, US Space Force issued a memorandum outlining the rank structure for their Guardians with an effective date of 1 February 2021.

E1 Spc1 Specialist 1

E2 Spc2 Specialist 2

E3 Spc3 Specialist 3

E4 Spc4 Specialist 4

E5 Sgt Sergeant

E6 TSgt Technical Sergeant

E7 MSgt Master Sergeant

E8 SMSgt Senior Master Sergeant

E9 CMSgt Chief Master Sergeant

E9 CMSSF Chief Master Sergeant of the Space Force

You may address the junior enlisted specialist ranks as “Specialist.” Alternatively, you may use “Spec” or “Specialist” and the grade, as in “Spec4” like they used to do in the Army.

Sergeants are of course addressed as “Sergeant,” which can be used for TSgt and MSgt as well. TSgt may be also addressed as “Tech Sergeant” or “Technical Sergeant” although a MSgt may be only alternatively addressed as “Master Sergeant.” Interestingly, a SMSgt may be called “Senior” and a CMSgt “Chief.”

This convention is an interesting break in logic for Senior NCOs. Of course, in the late ’50s the Air Force was so enamored with the so-called “super grades” of E8 and E9 that they traded their Warrant Officers in for more of them. In fact, until 1995, Air Force enlisted rank insignia kept the MSgt and below visually distinct by only putting SMSgt and CMSgt stripes above the star. I guess in the mid-90s something finally made them give in and acknowledge MSgts as Senior NCOs. But I digress. I almost let you off by tiptoeing earlier around the fact that you can call a CMSgt just “Chief,” but you can’t call a MSgt just “Master.” Marinate in that one for awhile.

Having said all of that, there’s still no word on what USSF enlisted rank insignia will actually look like aside from this temporary CMSSF insignia.

Although Officer ranks were also mentioned in the memorandum, there is no difference from the Air Force, Army or Marines. Alas, USSF seems to have taken the Air Force’s lead and chosen to forego Warrants.

SCUBAPRO Sunday – Underwater Contour Navigation

Sunday, January 31st, 2021

No matter what you are doing, you should have as many tools stacked in your favor or in your toolbox as you can to help back up your gauges and also make it easier on you. If all else fails, you can use your depth gauge and the depth around the target to find out where you are and where you need to go. It can be as simple as swimming with a reef on one side on the way out and the other on the way back.

Contour lines are used on charts and maps to represent the shape of the land and the ocean’s bottom. By using these lines, you can get a three-dimensional picture of what the bottom should look like.  It is hard to overstate the importance of contours when it comes to navigating. This can also be said about using the background from the water looking towards the land as a form of contour navigation. Knowing things that can help you tell where you are, like the piers’ compass heading, what direction does it go. What will the background look like behind your target, even the silhouette of the buildings? The movement of the moon will be in front or behind the target. If you have to use contour navigation, what would that look like?

You can also use the direction of the waves to find your way back to shore (along shorelines, waves will usually move in the direction of the shore) or using the contours of the bottom to make sure you’re moving in the right direction.

Good navigation begins long before you get into the water. You and your dive buddy should do a target and map/chart study to become very familiar with the target and surrounding area. Valuable information about the site, its features, depths, currents, moon phases, and surrounding features will help build a good dive plan. Discuss constitutes for your profile and which safety precautions you’ll take and agree on a primary route—lastly, walking thru what the dive will be like and what to do if you are lost or come up to different points.

Search for landmarks so you can reset yourself. Distinct underwater features can be found, including coral formations, objects, or differences in the bottom contour. Make sure to note any insights that stand out, and make sure to document every detail. Use what you have learned from the harbor’s contour or where you are diving as you pass through one of the following thresholds: 10 feet, 15 feet, or 20 feet, also. How is the bottom running? Remember to look for landmarks also along your dive route. Follow the light, look for lights, and even the moon if it is out. Check the angle of the moon at the start of your dive or if it hasn’t come up yet, which way will it raise and try to confirm this when you begin your descent. Before you go under, if you are turtle backing, you can use the moon or stars to help you navigate, so you don’t have to look at your navigation board continually. Before I went to BUD’S, I was a boat guy, and I learned to use the stars and moon to help me navigate, many times in the water and on land; this helped because I didn’t always have to be taking my compass out to make sure I was going the right way.

Depending on your dive computer, some like the SCUBAPRO Galileo 2 (G2) allows you to store pictures, so you can store a route card or a picture of the bottom, you can look at what the bottom should be looking like or have a picture of other things around the target to help. The G2 can also be used as a navigation/ attack board. Lastly, don’t be afraid to slow down a little. There is no reason to rush to be further lost than you are. Stop, and come up with a plan and then work that plan.

Shoot Like A Girl Reveals New Mobile Shooting Range Truck Wrap for 2021 Home of the Brave Tour

Sunday, January 31st, 2021

ATHENS, Ala. – January 26, 2021 – Shoot Like A Girl has introduced a new look on the Shoot Like A Girl mobile shooting range tractor trailer for the 2021 Home of the Brave Tour. The new wrap displays the impressive list of sponsors on a TrueTimber Strata camouflage backdrop with accents of the notorious Shoot Like A Girl pink. The mobile shooting range trailer will make 20 stops across the country over the course of the tour, giving women nationwide the opportunity to learn, experience and practice using the state-of-the-art mobile shooting range. The Home of the Brave Tour is set to begin February 6 in Fort Myers, FL.

“We are thrilled to reveal the new truck wrap and we are really excited to see this truck hit so many destinations in 2021,” said Karen Butler, Founder and President of Shoot Like A Girl. “We want to say a special thank you to TrueTimber, JR Motorsports and Bass Pro Shops for helping us secure this amazing truck. We can’t wait to get it on the road to kick off our Home of the Brave tour.”

The Shoot Like A Girl mobile shooting range gives women ages 16 and older the opportunity to gain experience in handling and shooting handguns, longs guns and compound bows using advanced technology. Inside the mobile range, women are guided through a revolutionary introduction process, called the Test Shots™ and Test Flights™ by certified National Rifle Association instructors and archery coaches. Onsite, at the Shoot Like A Girl Gun Counter, people can also compare a variety of firearms including revolver’s, semi-automatic pistols, shotguns, and rifles from Shoot Like A Girl’s firearms partners. New and experienced shooter are invited to attend.

To see the list of tour locations, please visit ShootLikeAGirl.com/events.

For more information on Shoot Like A Girl and empowering women in the hunting and shooting industries, please visit ShootLikeAGirl.com. Additionally, fans are encouraged to follow Shoot Like A Girl on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube for news, instruction, information and much more.

Empowering Women in 2021

The Shoot Like A Girl experience is truly unique, giving women the opportunity to shoot a pistol, rifle and bow in a safe, controlled environment with the guidance of female NRA-certified instructors and archery coaches. In 2020, the tour included stops at Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s, conservation events

and corporate events—with several events having lines out the door and record numbers of attendees. Looking ahead to the 2021 Home of the Brave Tour, Shoot Like A Girl is anticipating continued momentum from the previous year. The tour will begin in early February, and a full event schedule is available online.

New Tactical Advisor Readiness Program Sets The Bar

Sunday, January 31st, 2021

JOINT BASE LEWIS MCCHORD, Wash. – Advisors from 5th Security Force Assistance Brigade took part in an intensive test of their physical fitness and tactical expertise in the inaugural Tactical Advisor Readiness Program assessment at Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington, Jan. 21, 2021.

“We trust teams, filled with great Non-Commissioned Officers, to build and sustain mastery of the fundamentals of combined arms warfare in garrison, so that these teams can operate alone as our ambassadors in foreign countries,” 5th SFAB Commanding General, Brig. Gen. Curtis Taylor said.

SFAB teams are designed to be highly-modular and independently deployable in configurations ranging from 4-12 personnel depending on the advisory function of the team such as logistics, communications, maneuver, medical, engineering or field artillery.

“The TARP is where we bring our teams together to compete against one another so that we can reward our very best and validate our training,” Taylor said.

The TARP event began at 6:30 a.m. on a dark and rain-soaked Vanguard Field where 5th SFAB NCOs like C Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th SFAB’s 1st Sgt. Anthony Fuentes, took on a challenging physical training event designed to test the stamina and strength of his team.

“I started an all-volunteer 5 a.m. team train up event the day we received the concept of operations for the TARP event,” Fuentes said. “We used the TARP CONOP as an objective and built our team mission statement with key tasks each team member had to hit for us to be successful.”

The day continued with a timed ruck march which led to an obstacle course; followed by multiple stations which included an SFAB Advisor knowledge test followed by lanes testing weapon assembly and disassembly, treating a casualty, operating tactical communications equipment, call for fire, and a lay out of all required equipment.

It was Fuentes team, Battalion Advisor Team 520, that outlasted the other teams from across the brigade at the end of the day.

“It’s hard to build a team when isolated in a hotel room during COVID-19 restrictions or during large scale exercises,” Fuentes said. “We just needed to focus on bettering each other, and this event allowed us to do that.”

The 5th SFAB will send its first teams into the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s Area of Operation in the coming weeks. This monthly TARP event becomes increasingly critical in preparing Advisors for a challenging operational environment.

“Across the formation today, I saw young sergeants leading their team in hard PT, shouldering the load when the litter got too heavy and serving as subject matter experts for their team on the communication lane.” Taylor said. “I have great confidence that these superb NCOs will represent our Army and our Nation with pride across the Indo-Pacific.”

One of these young sergeants was Sgt. April Mullins, a maintenance advisor and wheeled vehicle mechanic from 3rd Squadron, 5th SFAB.

“During the TARP event, I realized that while we are great as a team, we also need to know how to do things on our own when our teammates are absent,” Mullins said. “This really showed us that we need to train to know each other’s job as well as we know our own.”

This was part of the Commanding General’s intent during the development of this first TARP event, as Taylor emphasized that SFABs are built on a foundation of autonomy and accountability.

The task of putting this together, fell to 3rd Squadron, 5th SFAB Operations Sgt. Maj. Thomas Wrinkle.

“We modeled the event after an Expert Infantry Badge/Expert Soldier Badge/Spur Ride competition and included all of the units within 5th SFAB to execute,” Wrinkle said. “We chose events that would allow the teams to operate as a team and also test them as individuals.”

The winning team received recognition from Brig. Gen. Taylor and the 5th SFAB’s senior enlisted advisor, Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Craven at a ceremony later that day. The monthly winning team will also have their team’s achievement enshrined in unit folklore with their team number engraved on a unit trophy.

Until then, NCOs will continue to train their teams beginning with 90 minutes of hard PT every morning preparing for next month’s TARP event and any mission that lies ahead.

By MAJ William Leasure, 5th Security Force Assistance Brigade Public Affairs

Corps Strength – “Time To Sign Off”

Saturday, January 30th, 2021

I received this note the other day from longtime contributor MGySgt Paul Roarke (USMC, Ret) who has provided our monthly feature “Corps Strength” for the past decade.

“I think it’s probably a good time for me stop writing for SSD. I think I pretty much covered about everything I could in the last ten years. It has been a great run and I can’t thank you and your readers enough for their support over this time. I especially enjoyed the comments (especially the nasty ones LOL).

I will remain a daily reader of SSD and continue to recommend it to everyone, it’s a great site. So thanks again brother, take care and if I can do anything for you, let me know.

Like I always say:

Be Safe Always, Be Good when you Can

Semper Fi


I want to thank MGunz for his contributions to our nation and to our tiny corner of the Internet.

May you and yours remain healthy, wealthy and wise.


The Baldwin Files – The Fighting Load Continuum Part 4

Saturday, January 30th, 2021

This is the fourth and probably final installment of this series. Not that I have said everything there is to say on the subject, but I judge that I have said enough to get small unit leaders started on the right track. In this segment, I will be discussing leader tools already in use or available like Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), inspections, and rehearsals that can be either enablers or obstacles to effective combat load management – depending on how they are used or misused. Establishing unit SOPs, conducting systematic inspections, arranging appropriate rehearsals, and aggressively managing the load, of soldiers, teams, and unit vehicles, is leader business. More experienced senior NCOs and Officers have to take charge, set the example, and provide guidance and supervision. Smart leaders certainly do not let the burden fall on individual soldiers and our junior and least seasoned leaders to figure out by blind trial and error the best possible practices.

During every phase of the process, good leaders emphasize appropriate attention to detail (positive leadership technique) while avoiding the pitfall of inappropriate micromanagement (negative leadership technique). Admittedly, it can sometimes be challenging to recognize the difference or the line between the two. Let us start with SOPs. Keep in mind, at best, SOPs serve only to codify a unit’s pre-planned intentions or reactions to various generic combat situations. Simple, expedient drills or checklists to be employed when there is no time to do detailed planning. Therefore, at a minimum, SOPs always have some value as a baseline or starting point from which to make adjustments. Still, SOPs and doctrinal “school solutions” are just guidelines and not straitjackets. Realistic and specific mission analysis can and should be applied to validate or invalidate the general assumptions contained in SOPs in relation to pending missions.

Consequently, I have found that SOPs can be better and more functional tools for units if they are constructed and employed as relatively simple descriptive guides to action rather than applied as overly detailed prescriptive dictates. I suggest reviewing the Standing Orders for Roger’s Rangers circa 1759 as a classic example – albeit outdated. Rest assured, encyclopedic tomes burgeoning with minutia will not be read, remembered, nor followed when a mission goes south in the middle of the night in a driving rainstorm. If your unit SOP is thicker than the Ranger Handbook because it tries to cover every conceivable contingency, I suggest dedicating some smart soldiers to the task of trimming it down to a more useful size. Then, validate that leaner SOP by applying it consistently during all of the unit’s subsequent realistic training evolutions.  

Even then, do not fall in love with your SOP. Even the best SOPs developed in garrison – like tactical plans – rarely survive unchanged after the first real-world contact with the enemy. Despite that reality, humans tend to cling to the familiar, and individual egos are often invested in how existing unit SOPs have been established and applied. Moreover, leaders may be inclined to extrapolate neat combat scenarios in SOPs that they would prefer to fight on paper and in training. Rather than the realistically messy and unpredictable engagements one might not want to even contemplate but are more likely to face. I know, changing on the fly is hard; but it is something a leader must be prepared to do – and do well. Real war is like that. Bottom line, Moses did not bring your SOP off a mountain on a stone tablet. Be prepared to adjust or even discard an SOP if it is not applicable to the situation at hand.

Inspections naturally complement and dovetail with unit SOPs. Ideally, inspections should always be approached as a team event and should be mission-focused, thorough but quick, and impersonal. No egos involved. Inspections – done right – are not gotcha drills. Properly conducted inspections should be designed to help the unit expediently find and correct issues before those issues become hazards to mission success. For people who have spent time in an Airborne unit, the Jumpmaster Personnel Inspection (JMPI) would be recognized as a good example of what a sound inspection protocol should look like. Granted, some units have a bad habit of padding the time required for the entire pre-jump process, but JMPI itself is rarely anything but efficient and effective.

This would be a good time to talk about uniformity. Again, JMPI provides a good template in my professional opinion. In JM School – at least when I went through in the early 80s – we practiced the prescribed inspection sequence over and over and over again. For the first several days no deficiencies were intentionally rigged onto the jumpers. That was so that we could work on our precision first. Speed would come naturally over time. Most importantly, it also meant that we learned by repetition what right looked and felt like. That way, when deficiencies were eventually introduced in the jumpers we JMPIed, those issues jumped out at us, were called out with the correct nomenclature, and could be subsequently corrected expeditiously.

The inspections by every JM were uniformly conducted; likewise, parachutes are identically packed by Riggers and then donned in a uniform manner by jumpers. That is true of static line as well as HALO parachutes and JMPI. Is uniformity absolutely essential? Not necessarily; a parachute is actually a very simple apparatus. As long as the activating system is properly assembled and functional, gravity and air pressure will do the rest. The parachute itself can be “trash packed” – as is not uncommon with some civilian skydivers – and still probably work. But even for civilians, a reserve parachute, packed by a certified rigger, is usually required as a mandatory back up. However, unlike a civilian jumper, the military jumps as a means of infiltration, not for recreation. Mistakes do not just affect one individual.

In Airborne units, a JM is an NCO or Officer with other leadership duties. However, during pre-jump and JMPI, he or she acts as a technical expert whose focus is on one narrow but important subset of the mission – the insertion phase. As we all know, other technical experts like mechanics, medics, communicators, and armorers, all do specific pre-operational inspections and have their own important roles in getting a unit ready for a mission. Getting every jumper out of the aircraft and onto the dropzone safely is raison d’être for the JM. Indeed, in static line, mass tactical jumps, the drop altitude may be so low that a reserve might not have time to fully inflate if the primary has been improperly rigged or otherwise fails. Therefore, I would say the level of attention to detail for military parachute operations is fully justified. And, in the case of JMPI, uniformity ensures that the inspection process does not take undue time away from other critical pre-mission tasks like rehearsals for actions on the objective.

Of course, a demand for uniformity must be based on actual mission needs – not on conformity for conformity’s sake. More on that later. Rehearsals are more comprehensive, but serve much the same purpose as relatively static inspections like JMPI. Properly done, rehearsals are essentially dynamic inspections by unit leadership of the team in action. I will say that again. rehearsals are dynamic inspections. A unit will always have limited time between planning and mission execution. Therefore, rehearsals have to be prioritized. Usually, those essential “actions on the objective” tasks I mentioned earlier are done first. For bigger units like battalions and above, a large scale sandtable of the objective area and a “walk through, talk through” format is often the most practical option. Future virtual systems will digitize the process and allow leaders to avoid congregating on the battlefield but I expect these types of rehearsals will still be important.

Smaller units, say company and below, likely will use a sandtable as well, but will also need to do individual and small-unit physical rehearsals of critical actions. I will use one movie reference to illustrate a fictional critical action that required priority rehearsal. As readers may recall, in The Dirty Dozen, Jimenez was the only raider who was supposed to climb the rope. Yet, every one of the dozen had to practice scrambling up the rope. Why? Because destroying the antenna on top of the chalet, and shutting down communications, was mission essential. After all, Jimenez might get killed before he got a chance to make that climb. As fate would have it, he did die and someone else made that ascent and completed that task in his place. A leader identifies those tasks – large and small – that require physical rehearsals. In turn, the leader makes sure those rehearsals are conducted to standard and as close to a “full mission profile” i.e., as realistically as time and resources will allow.

In a unit that takes training seriously, just about everything that is done in training constitutes a rehearsal. Think of first aid training. If units are doing it routinely to standard as gaged by technical experts like medics, leaders can have confidence that soldiers have the skills to do buddy and self-aid and casualty evacuations, and need not dedicate any additional time to those critical tasks before a real mission. Likewise, it pays dividends for units to consider Ruck Marches as rehearsals rather than just Physical Training events. Certainly, physical conditioning is one perfectly valid goal of the exercise; it just need not be the sole or even primary event focus. Instead, always make the extra effort to carry the real items or realistic dummy substitutes whenever possible. Think about adding time, distance, and difficulty (complex terrain), to the march rather than simply carrying the same prescribed weight over the same course every iteration.

Consider incorporating additional tactical load carriage tasks like casualty carries to the event, but do not just practice carrying notional casualties. Rather, use the opportunity to rehearse the hasty redistribution of combat loads (IAW unit SOP) within the small unit necessitated by that casualty(s). Consider having soldiers build a travois or cart with pre-positioned scraps to move a casualty longer distances. I have attached a picture (below) of some dummy load examples for those that might not be familiar with the concept. Along the left, are the “store-bought” or commonly issued training versions of a radio, grenades, and M4 magazine. Frankly, these are not often found outside of schoolhouses and centrally-run events like Expert Infantry Badge testing. Most units simply do without and, therefore, significantly short change the realism of their training.

However, with a little effort and imagination, suitable substitute training aids can be manufactured. Take for example the item at the top of the picture. A casual observer might just see a piece of a utility pole. It is that. I see a close enough approximation of a Javelin anti-tank missile. In fact, taking it a step further, I have been considering trying my hand at chainsaw sculpting and carving myself a Carl Gustav out of it. Am I suggesting that units could whittle themselves a 1:1 scale replica of a Recoilless Rifle?  Yes, yes, I am. Why not? It would not have to be secured in an Armsroom. Moreover, appropriate diameter and lengths of PVC or galvanized pipe can be hacked to stand in for 84mm, 81mm, 60mm rounds, or even Bangalore Torpedoes.

Granted, people not building their own house may not have residual building material lying around like I do. However, scrap lumber and plumbing bits like these can be found on any building or demolition site every day. Contractors have to haul this stuff away all the time. If a unit offered to take some away for training purposes, I am sure that could be worked out at no cost to anyone. I have done it myself. In any case, with a little work on my table saw I was able to quickly produce a wooden radio, M4 magazine substitutes, claymore mine, blocks for 5.56 and 7.62 bandoleers, and blocks of C4 (drilled for simulated priming). If the empty bandoleers are not available, some can be fabricated from old ACU/BDU shirt sleeves. A claymore bag can be made from a pants leg. It really is not that hard.

Here are some other load management tips. Spend time training on basic fieldcraft and “survival” skills. Troopers and units need to be able to live with relative safety and comfort in the field. That means practice constructing at least hasty fighting positions and effective sleeping shelters. Individual soldiers need to know how to get the most out of their issue multi-layer clothing systems. If they have experience and confidence in their clothing that creates opportunities to leave non-mission essential clothing items behind and lighten that load. Moreover, soldiers will be able to get more quality rest – if not actual sleep – when the tactical situation permits. That, in turn, sustains the fighting strength of the unit in the longer term.

Sadly, this is a point of failure for a lot of units and it highlights uniformity and conformity gone wrong. Unit SOPs – and some lazy leaders – have a bad habit of dictating the exact items a soldier brings to the field. Then demanding that everyone wear the identical uniform regardless of the level of activity. If soldiers are properly trained, each should be able – with minimal supervision – to meter their own core temperatures by adding or subtracting layers as appropriate for their level of activity and metabolism. In a temperate zone, the risk is that a soldier will learn the hard way, spend an uncomfortable night, and do better the next time. Of course, if environmental conditions are more extreme, leaders may need to be more prescriptive about what is carried and worn. However, uniformity of a formation or unit should not ever be a factor or goal in these kinds of decisions in the field.

Likewise, as I mentioned in an earlier segment, time spent teaching soldiers how to properly use and get maximum utility out of their issued weapons can provide additional opportunities to lighten the load. Soldiers who have confidence in their ability to hit what they aim at will be less inclined to carry unwarranted amounts of ammunition or to waste ammunition spraying and praying. The unit should have even more confidence in the skills of their teammates selected to man crew-served weapons. It is extremely helpful for the rifle squads to have the chance to see the machinegunners, anti-tank gunners, and mortar crews engaging targets in live fire action as often as possible. That is true even in support units. For best results, gunners manning weapons on assigned vehicles in any unit should be the best trained and experienced available on those guns.

In conclusion, a leader always needs to consider the human animal when planning and managing combat loads. We are nature’s ultimate generalists. Whether by design or adaptation we are one of the few omnivores on the planet. Humans are capable of consuming and processing nutrients from almost anything and everything any other species can use for food. That gives us more survival options and greater range than any critter that is constrained to be only a herbivore or carnivore. Consequently, despite being inherently ill-suited to withstand extremes of heat, cold, altitude, and pressure, we have successfully adapted ourselves to live and thrive in the most austere environments of this world and beyond. Humans are certainly not fleet of foot as the cheetah, or as powerful as our simian cousin the gorilla, we cannot climb trees like a chimpanzee, nor are we natural swimmers like a dolphin. Yet, we can run fast enough, are strong enough, can climb high enough, and can swim well enough to compete successfully with all those more specialized animals in their domains. Generalization is our strength.

However, the physiological compromises that make us multifunctional animals also make us vulnerable. We stand fully erect to see danger or game farther away. Our feet and legs are well suited to walking long distances – unencumbered – in search of food. However, the small bones of the feet are relatively fragile and our joints are prone to damage from overuse or overloading. We are simply not optimized to carry extra weight for any distance. When we put a 100-pound rucksack or equivalent weight on our backs, it is an unnatural act that routinely results in stress injuries – often with permanent impacts. Unfortunately, combat demands that we do just that. That is a fact that we, as leaders, are not going to be able to change. Therefore, leaders must do everything they can to mitigate the unavoidable negative consequences of carrying a combat load. Remember, carrying a load is never the mission, it is always the means to an end, not an end in and of itself.

I do not expect there will be any technological solution anytime soon. Getting your soldiers the latest ruck that SOF is using is not going to change that reality either. I have seen the strongest soldiers in the world, with the latest and greatest gear, humbled by an overloaded ruck – even the “coolest” commercial versions. A leader may not be able to lighten the load appreciably on any given mission; but, can – at least – make sure soldiers only carry what is absolutely necessary and then only for as brief a period as possible. Note the Willie and Joe cartoons above. I suggest leaders internalize the spirit of Willie’s advice on the left, or risk overloaded soldiers making their own decisions and leaving a trail of abandoned gear behind as they struggle to move forward. Lots of American units have experienced that in previous wars – and it can happen again. I said in Part One of this series that there is no magic solution to managing the problems of excessive combat loads. Yet, good leadership can make any situation better. Good leadership is as close to magic as we are likely ever going to get.

-De Oppresso Liber!

LTC Terry Baldwin, US Army (Ret) served on active duty from 1975-2011 in various Infantry and Special Forces assignments. SSD is blessed to have him as both reader and contributor.

Clint Emerson Debuts Fourth 100 Deadly Skills Book

Saturday, January 30th, 2021

DALLAS, TX (January 26, 2021) – Retired Navy SEAL and New York Times best-selling author, Clint Emerson, released his newest book, 100 Deadly Skills: COMBAT EDITION this week for physical sale. The book has already topped the charts in several categories for digital download ahead of this launch. His sixth book overall and fourth in the 100 Deadly Skills series, COMBAT EDITION is Emerson’s guide to defeating your enemy, fighting for your life, and embracing your inner badass.

With more than 20 years of service conducting special ops all over the world, Emerson continues to serve by empowering good people with safety and security skills at home, at work and abroad. His experience attached to his time serving on SEAL Team Three, the National Security Agency (NSA), and a Special Mission Unit provides a unique perspective to professional and civilian protection.

“The first volume in the 100 Deadly Skills series delivered clandestine hacks designed to allow readers to escape and evade threats at home and abroad. The second book, my Survival Edition, provided a blueprint to surviving chaos, misadventures, and fatal disasters.” Emerson continues, “Now, with the Combat Edition, I’ve created the most comprehensive on-the-ground combatives manual ever assembled—traveling the country to learn the most effective combat techniques from some of the deadliest characters on Earth. The goal remains the same: allowing good people to defeat evil, fight for their lives, and survive another day.”

This is the first-ever three-dimensional self-defense book. All tactics and techniques provided are presented in the narrative, with engaging illustrations and action-packed videos QR coded to each skill. The techniques rely on no-nonsense combative techniques, including weaponizing your non-violent posture, delivering damaging body strikes, accurately throwing a knife, quick drawing and shooting a handgun, tactically deceiving your enemy, surviving a multi-threat ambush and understanding non-lethal and lethal options.

There’s an old saying that you can’t learn to fight from a book, 100 Deadly Skills: COMBAT EDITION challenges that statement. 100 Deadly Skills: COMBAT EDITION is available for sale now and can purchased on Amazon.

For a behind the scenes look at Emerson and what went into the creation of 100 Deadly Skills: COMBAT EDITION, watch: youtu.be/JudClZds9IE. For updates from Clint and 100 Deadly Skills, follow the story on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


Bushnell Expands Reflex Sights with RXS-100

Friday, January 29th, 2021

New Red Dot Offers Exceptional Versatility at an Affordable Price


OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – January 27, 2021 – Bushnell®, an industry leader in performance optics, announced today the introduction of a new reflex sight – the RXS-100. Designed with user-adjustable brightness settings and multi-platform versatility, the new RXS-100 offers outstanding value at an unheard-of price point.

The RXS-100 is compatible with optics ready pistols and is a desirable option for rifles, shotguns and other firearm models. At the core of the RXS-100 is a crisp 4-MOA Red with eight brightness settings and battery life that provides over 5,000 hours of runtime on the mid setting.

“With the introduction of the RXS-100, we are able to offer users a reliable, affordable reflex sight that has all of the features they requested for under $100,” said Derek Osburn, Director of Optics for Vista Outdoor. “The RXS-100 stands out from other red dots currently on the market by providing a clear, bright dot that has been designed to withstand the harsh recoil experienced when slide-mounted on pistols. We are excited to be able to bring this combination of quality and value to the reflex market and continue Bushnell’s long-standing legacy of purpose-built products.”

A perfect option for pistols, rifles and shotguns, the RXS-100 works across all common red dot mounts with a DeltaPoint® Pro footprint and weaver-style mounting options with the include riser. The new sight utilizes an energy efficient, point source LED to create a collimated beam for a clear, strong 4-MOA red dot. This key feature of the RXS-100 is uncommon in reflex sights at this price point which typically feature less expensive masked LED designs.

The RXS-100 also features a 12-hour auto-off timer to extend battery life. The side-loading battery is designed for easy replacement without removing the sight from the firearm, so zero is retained. Durability of the sight is accomplished by a rugged, aircraft-grade aluminum housing that keeps glass and electronic internal components protected against recoil, as well as rough field use. An oversized hood helps reduce glare and enhances lens durability against impact.

In addition, RXS-100 offers a convenient layout and design, including detented windage/elevation adjustments with 1 MOA per click and digital controls with push-button actuation for brightness setting adjustments. To maximize light transmission, RXS-100 has True Tone coatings that mitigate blue tint on the glass.  Other items included with the red dot include basic mounting and adjustment tools, a protective form-fit cover, cleaning cloth and CR2032 battery.

Manufacturer’s suggested retail price for RXS-100 is $99.99. For more information, visit www.bushnell.com/red-dots/rxs/rxs-100-reflex-sight/BU-RXS100.