Shoot, Move, Communicate….
We’re taught that these three elements make one combat effective. It’s true, plain and simple. If you can’t do one, you’re ineffective. But like everything in life, it’s never just this simple; this is what’s required of every person in the combatant element, and it does not make you anything more than an effective bullet chucker. It seems as though a lot of folks focus on the cool guy aspects of all things tactical. While some of this stuff is certainly important the fact is that without a healthy understanding of the basics the cool guys stuff ceases to exist in short order.
A Scout is a specialized Infantryman who identifies an enemy element, shadows them, learns everything he can about them, and conveys this information to a higher echelon element. Very, very rarely will he purposefully engage in combat- numbers wise, he will almost always lose in the end. A successful Scout, as taught to me by betters, completes his mission without firing a shot. As a reminder- you’re an advance party for a larger element. Their success depends on your success.
When examining the individual criteria, a Scout needs to first an foremost be honest and trustworthy. We really have no time to waste on liars, blowhards, braggarts, and those with hidden agendas. He needs to be a self starter, and possess above average intelligence. In addition, a diverse skill set is a must. In my time I did everything from improvising radio antennas to butchering goats with the locals. I played plumber and gunsmith, all in the same village. Your mind and the ability to be flexible are the greatest assets anyone can possess. Well, that, and an inherently positive attitude. Nobody wants a debbie downer and these people are almost always in my experience failure prone and excuse driven.
The ability to quietly stalk in the operating environment is the crucial skill. You are a hunter of the most deadly game, the game being many, many times more deadly than you. You must know where and when to do what; knowing all the time that the very real burden of your decisions and actions could easily cost you your life. It’s not some hollywood fantasy- go watch Bravo Two Zero or Lone Survivor to see what happens when the pros forget the basics and make bad decisions. Better yet go read the books first, just so the emotions really sink in.
In this blog we’re going to cover the skills needed to make an effective Scout, an effective Scout team, and how to effectively use those Reconnaissance skills.