Sunday, August 26, 2012

Does anyone really try this?

A long, long time ago, after finishing up Basic Training and an even longer technical (job specific) school, the Air Force saw fit to send our group off to Ft. Dix New Jersey for some Ground Combat Skills training.

This training included all your standard infantry stuff: learning the difference between high crawling and low crawling, shooting at targets that looked like Russian troopers (Yes, it was that long ago. Ok, not quite that long ago, but those were the targets they had, left over from cold war preparations), setting up claymores, digging defensive fighting positions, etc., etc.

Part of the training included urban warfare stuff, and one particular day, we had a scenario involving taking over several buildings in a "town".

The idea was to take over the buildings and eliminate the dudes in them that were firing down on us, and they gave us a specific set of tactics to use for this scenario.

The cover element had a few M-60 machine guns, and they were supposed to blast away at the houses while the assault element hooked around and came up close. As the assault element, my team then got out our grappling hooks, yes, we were equipped with grappling hooks, threw them up to the second floor window and shimmied most of the way up. When we were most of the way up, we uncorked a grenade, threw it in the window and, after the thing went off, heaved ourselves into the room and lit up whomever was still moving inside.

Of course we didn't use real grenades for this portion of the training. We did get to throw some live fragmentation grenades earlier. When we did this, we walked into a pit holding two heavy grenades and an incredibly frightened looking Army man with the widest looking eyes I have ever seen was saying things like, "Don't be scared, Airman!" and "Throw it as far as you possibly can!" Um, ok. But, the grenades for the assault scenario just kind of popped when they went off. Enough to burn your leg, as I later discovered, but not enough to blow them off or cause any real damage.

As fun as it was to throw grappling hooks and scale up the side of the building, I am not sure how practical it was for an attack like this. I am not really that interested in clambering up the side of a building on a rope while completely exposed to the bad guys shooting down at you and your own guys trying not to hit you from a couple hundred yards away while they let loose with their machine guns. Then, while dangling from the side of the building, under the same fire, to secure my rifle somewhere and manipulate the grenade into the room with the bad guys. And then, hope that the machine gunners, who have displayed incredible accuracy if they have not yet taken me out, stop firing so I can go inside and do my thing.

We did get plenty of additional training on ground combat, urban assaults, clearing rooms and the like while I was in the military, but our time with the Army was the only time any thought they should hand out grappling hooks. I wonder if anyone, since the Rangers assault on Pointe. Du Hoc on D-Day, have really done anything like this?

But, just because I like you, I have decided to regale you with a couple more stories of the fun we had training with the Army. Check back soon.

No comments: