Many of us find ourselves on the range going over shooting drills, or in our living rooms conducting dry fires, week after week, knowing or thinking we will be able to use what we’ve been training for if the time presents itself. Joining the military and deploying at the age of 18 to Iraq in 2005, I had a warrior’s mindset through repetition after repetition, that I would hopefully be able to use what I had learned over the course of training. Luckily for me and others, I was able to resort back to muscle memory and execute what needed to be done, but for some, they weren’t able to.
On a particular deployment to Iraq in 2007, I witnessed something that was hard to believe, especially when deployed with a special operations unit: a young soldier neglecting to return fire on the enemy due to overwhelming odds, bullets snapping nearby, etc. It was his first deployment and the first firefight he had ever been in. I knew the guy had been through countless hours of training, but when bullets and bombs were aimed at us, he simply froze. He was immediately sent back home after the mission.
For a while I held a grudge towards him, then I thought to myself, “this job isn’t for everyone. No man, or women for that matter, knows how they will react when you’re looking death in face…literally.”
Having a mindset that reacts to danger in a specific way to neutralize the threat comes not only through training, but a certain mindset. A few years after, I wrote down a few rules that all of my knew guys had to read and live by…a creed.
- Under any situation, no matter what it is, you must be able to go from 0-Mach 10 at a moments notice, having no regard for the threats feelings, life, future, or past and think nothing of what you have done.
- Rage is your friend. I don’t care what anyone says. Rage makes you do things most are not willing to do. Keep that “bottle of rage” with you at all times, even in your dreams while you sleep. You never want to be caught off guard.
- Always present yourself as a gentlemen around new faces, but in the back of your mind, have that monster willing to do whatever on standby at a moments notice.
- NEVER QUIT! Death happens to all of us, just let it be on your own terms. Fight until the good man above or whoever you believe in shuts you down.
- Take accuracy over speed. No man has ever won a gun fight missing the opposing threat. It looks cool shooting a million rounds a second, but….what did you hit?
- Read rules 1-5 again.
After getting out of the military and contracting, I met a few young Army and Marine snipers, all under the age of 23, who lost limbs overseas in Afghanistan and I knew what a true warrior’s mindset was. Guys who never quit. I wanted to share a video I shot with the fans of the LoadOut Room so you can see what I had the honor of seeing one day on the range shooting with these guys.