There are many aspects to military service that are never going to change. Mentorship and realistic training are at the forefront of these aspects. The two are more intertwined than most people believe and can have a lasting effect on both the morale and success of a unit.
The goal of realistic training should be the development of subordinates, synchronization of assets, and testing one’s true mettle to deal with the unexpected. Scripted training rarely benefits anyone. Telling service members where to step, how to step, and what will happen when they step serves to establish a foundation of basics only, but should not be applied to higher level training events. Introducing confusion, problem solving, and the decision-making process is highly beneficial to meet this end.
Simultaneously, mentorship is an integral component of this. Training should not follow a pass or fail approach. Failures in training should be identified, addressed, and those subordinates developed to improve upon their weaknesses. Often times a weakness is simply a lack of understanding or perspective. Therefore it is the responsibility of those with more experience to help guide and coach.
This mentorship requires more than simply conducting an AAR. It requires more than a group discussion. Mentorship is about engaging subordinates to understand and embrace concepts. It is about recognizing that the mentor is an individual who is constantly learning at the same time.
Junior and senior leaders use these discussions to impart techniques and tactics, not wisdom. There is no wisdom in combat. Each situation is different, and just because something makes sense, doesn’t mean it will result in success. In some cases, the opposite can even be true. History is filled with examples of techniques that seem out of place which resulted in success.
On May 14, 2004, the British employed a bayonet charge to overrun a force of more than 100 Iraqi insurgents resulting in 28 enemy killed. In 2011, soldiers from the Prince of Wales Royal Regiment conducted a bayonet charge into Helmand Province and thwarted an ambush.
The reality is that understanding techniques and tactics which can be applied in combat is about more than a one-size fits all discussion. The goal of training should be to introduce different elements to leaders, inspiring the thought process, and providing the kind of feedback that can help regardless of the scenario. Warfare is often described as being a combination of art and science. Science is stagnant, rarely providing room for change. Art is fluid, and can be as varied as the person creating it.
The common sense training is one that develops the combination of these two aspects in relation to realistic training environments and personal attention from a mentor. While this process takes time and must be deliberate, the fact remains that it is the most effective way to ensure that future leaders are prepared for the rigors of warfare, and can make the best decisions when they find themselves put into the worst of positions.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.