Anyone who as spent more than 5 minutes in the military has heard the phase, “muscle memory”. The idea of muscle memory is to practice a task until it becomes more reflex than active action. In other words, train like you fight. We used to practice all sorts of drills with muscle memory in mind: magazine changes, malfunction drills, barrel changes, room clearing, Airborne operations, etc.

In the video below the training simulates a helicopter crash, into water, at night. Basically, a worse case scenario. I was impressed with the attention to detail this simulation captured. The Marines even had to wear black-out goggles to properly simulate night conditions. Take a look below.

(Video courtesy of Daily Military Defense & Archive YouTube channel)

Practicing something before it happens gives you confidence. It allows you to experience something in a controlled environment where mistakes can be critiqued, instead of costing lives (maybe your own). I flew in a lot of helicopters during my time in the 75th Ranger Regiment, but I never went through anything as realistic as the above video (helicopter related). Most likely the Marines going through the training were/are permanently assigned to helicopter crews,  where I was just a passenger.

When we are talking about situations like helicopter crashes, we need the training to be stressful. If you half-ass this kind of training, it won’t help the participants. The training needs to be stressful if it will have any hope of replicating the actual scenario. Being submerged into a mock helicopter, turned upside-down, while wearing black out goggles fits the stressful criteria.

What is some of the most realistic training you have been through? Leave me a message in the comment section below.

This article was originally published on The Loadout Room and written by