3. Situational Awareness
Situational Awareness is the ability to identify, process, and comprehend the critical elements of information about what is happening in your immediate vicinity.
More simply, it is recognising what is going on around you.
Situational Awareness is a key attribute in Special Forces training. It's probably the number one attribute potential candidates are assessed on throughout the Selection process.
And for good reason...
Commando's mainly utilise live fire training to prepare accurately for operational deployments. During this training, we conduct 'run throughs' within the room floor combat range all with live rounds. We engage targets in a 360-degree arc and fire rounds within inches of our team members. All this is conducted in visually restrictive S10 respirators or gas masks.
Start developing your situational awareness now. Be diligent about what's happening around you. Process the information that's being presented to you and see things before they happen.
Even if you can't prevent problems from occurring, good situational awareness will provide you with a sense of control, a sense of awareness and calmness that will allow you to overcome any setbacks quickly and move forward.
If you combine your knowledge of situational awareness with emotional intelligence, you will develop a cool, calm and focused mindset willing and able to react in a positive manner to the environment around you.
4. Sometimes you'll look like an idiot
During my sniper course we were conducting practice stalks in which we had to locate the enemy, find a hiding position and set up before taking a shot. It was a stressful time during the course and I managed to make it even harder for myself.
The senior instructor, or SI, was talking to one of the students about the scope on the rifle and how it functioned internally. He was describing how moving the outside elevation and lateral dials of the scope effected the position of the crosshairs within the scope and therefore, where your barrel pointed and your bullet impacted the target.
I was pretty tired at this point and only got the end of the conversation. I blurted out...
"So the bullet leaves the barrel of the rifle already having been adjusted to hit the target?"
The instructor looked at me blankly for a minute and then burst out laughing along with the other 4-5 students within earshot.
With my question, I had implied that the bullet could in fact change direction later on down the trajectory path in mid-air. Basically, an act of God!
I chastised myself. I was tired and wasn't having the best day (or couple of weeks for that matter) and this simply topped it off. I was embarrassed for a while, took the laughter on the chin, got over it and moved on.
If you make a mistake and look like an idiot, own it, learn from it, let it go and move on. Most likely, everybody else will too.
Special Forces Myths busted...
1. SF guys are muscle bound - In Predator, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura and Carl Weathers are huge! This is simply not the case within most Special Forces units. It's not practical. With the specific requires of the job plus the constant deployments and travelling, I don't recall any soldier who was overly muscular. Bodyweight strength, speed, explosive strength and endurance were the main physical requires needed to do the job well.
2. Patrolling shirtless - A cool look in Predator was after the assault on the jungle camp, half the team began the exfiltration without shirts on and only wearing their vests. Although it looks cool, I never saw this occur. In the movie, with the thick vegetation and insects, patrolling shirtless would be stupid and reckless. Plus, you'd look like a tool.
3. Massive knives - Most of the characters in Predator seemed to carry huge hunting knives. Now obviously in the jungle you would need machetes to try and cut through the jungle, but having massive hunting knives serves no purpose except to look cool and take up space on your kit. The only knives we ever carried were small precision implements.
Comments? Let me know!
Part 2 next week...