15 July 12

At a Defensive Handgun/Urban Rifle Program recently, one of my students was a strapping, young Marine E6 with a nearly a decade of active service. His learning attitude was excellent. He was there on his own dime, and anxious to learn everything he could. As a Marine Infantry Officer (Ret), I am so glad to see such fine, young men continue to be attracted to the Corps!

As I unapologetically explained to the Class that we boldly run a hot range, he nodded his head in agreement, but that is where our communication got muddled!

He conceded that he did not carry concealed as a regular practice. Nearly all of the rest of my students do. He was using a borrowed pistol (G21). He bragged about the way his recon unit used 1911 pistols to great effect, but curiously he was unable to produce a copy of his own.

In any event, when he arrived at the range the morning of the second day, he put on his holster and pistol. At a distance, I watched him insert a magazine into the pistol, but he failed to chamber a round, as he had been instructed to do.

I decided to let it go, as the learning-point would likely arrive shortly.

It did!

During our first drill, he drew his G21 and pressed the trigger. It was obvious to all that he fully expected it to fire. Instead, of course, it went “click!” Mystified, he paused and looked at it. He finally ran the slide and belatedly started the drill.

I grabbed his shoulder and stopped him. I pointed out to him that he had been carrying an unloaded pistol all morning, and, had our drill been a real fight, he probably would have been killed, and for a really stupid reason!

I continued:

“In what passes for ‘training’ you’ve become far too accustomed to carrying around unloaded guns, my friend. You claim to be an Operator, yet you don’t even carry a gun as a regular practice, and you’re obviously not traveling with one.

Well, the rest of us do, and we expect you to come to the Party.

Around here, we don’t holster empty guns. We don’t ‘pretend,’ and we need you to stop pretending too!

Marine, you may be dynamite in a gunfight that is scheduled and part of a ‘plan,’ but what is going to happen to you when you get involved in an ‘unscheduled’ fight, on the way to the ‘planned’ one?”

To his credit, he graciously acknowledged the unhappy gap in his habit repertoire.

It has improved slightly over the past forty years, but today Soldiers and Marines, even from “elite” units, still receive no instruction in personal readiness. They run guns now and then, but don’t carry loaded weapons, even blades, regularly. On those rare occasions when they do carry, all guns are routinely unloaded. This is currently true, even in areas of active fighting!

My student, at the price of a little personal embarrassment, learned this important lesson about personal readiness. The vast majority of his colleagues haven’t, probably never will, nor will they even think about it… until it’s too late!

The term “readiness” casually rolls of the lips of generals and politicians alike, yet it has never been practiced on a personal basis, at least during the past half-century. Instead, we unwittingly teach Soldiers and Marines how to get killed, as we see.

Anyone remember Ft Hood?

We desperately need courageous leaders, political and military (the kind we once had!), to boldly step forward and start taking “readiness” literally.

In my small corner of the Universe, I passionately, joyfully do what I can!

“Argue for your limitations, and they’re yours”