View Full Version : So do you join in the fight or barf up your cottage cheese?

Glenn E. Meyer
August 17, 2009, 12:30 PM

This is an interesting piece. Most of us who have gone through FOF and simulation training swear by it.

$300 an hour isn't bad. I didn't get even a cupcake! However, if this is taken place in the real world - does it make you think about jumping in to an incident? Nothing like intervening in a CIA game with Mitch Rapp like folks.

Lee Lapin
August 17, 2009, 09:23 PM
I fail to be impressed with the wisdom of conducting FoF exercises "in the wild" on the streets of Washington, DC when there are so many other options available. Such things can lead to tragedy even under the best of circumstances.

For example...

Deputy kills soldier during Green Beret exercise
February 24, 2002 Posted: 9:49 PM EST (0249 GMT)

ROBBINS, North Carolina (CNN) -- A sheriff's deputy mistakenly shot and killed a U.S. soldier and seriously wounded another taking part in a role-playing field training exercise, the Moore County Sheriff's Department said Sunday.

The names of the soldiers, both stationed at Fort Bragg, were being withheld until they families could be notified.

The exercise, dubbed "Robin Sage," was the final stage of the qualification course for the U.S. Special Forces, also known as the Green Berets. The drill is conducted four times a year and stretches over nine North Carolina counties.

The soldiers were on what U.S. Army officials described as a reconnaissance mission Saturday afternoon when Deputy Randall Butler pulled them over in a traffic stop near Robbins. The soldiers were driving in an unmarked vehicle and dressed in civilian clothing, the sheriff's department said.

Butler was unaware the exercise was underway, while the soldiers believed the deputy was part of the training exercise, according to the sheriff's department statement.

"One of the soldiers attempted to disarm the officer, as the other was attempting to get to a military weapon that the soldiers had in their possession," the statement said. "At the time of the incident, the deputy believed that the two individuals intended on killing him, resulting in the deputy shooting both of the suspects."

The Army, which is conducting its own investigation, concurred that Butler likely did not know the exercise was taking place.

"It's clear that it was a breakdown in communications between the deputy sheriff and the soldiers involved," said Maj. Gary Kolb, a spokesman for the army's John F. Kennedy Special Warfare School, which trains Green Berets.

Officials at Fort Bragg said Robin Sage has a 30-year history in central North Carolina and a tradition of involvement with the civilian community. All candidates for the Green Berets must participate in the 38-day exercise, an unconventional warfare scenario set in the fictional country of Pineland.

Local civilians are enlisted in role-playing, as are non-special operations soldiers from the U.S. Army base. All ammunition used in the exercise is blank, Army officials said, adding there was no safety risk to civilians or their property.

Moore County authorities were not scheduled to be part of Saturday's exercise, Kolb said.

"Moore County has never participated in such an exercise and was never told of any such training scenarios," the sheriff's department statement said. "This is a tragic incident ,and our heart-felt prayers go out to the families of all involved."


Al Norris
August 17, 2009, 09:34 PM
While FOF certainly has its place, I don't think this is it. I'd like to see this being done in downtown Boise ... NOT!

Overall, this is a pretty interesting concept, Glenn. In a place like D.C., where any form of carry is prohibited (at least 99% of the time), I see why it works. But I also see that even in D.C., sooner or later, something "embarrassing" will happen.

August 17, 2009, 09:35 PM
they should make a town of actors. where everyone knows its bs except the people training. then make it into reality tv. oh wait :D

August 17, 2009, 11:53 PM
$300/hour?? You couldn't pay me enough to be put into a position where someone might kill me because they think I'm a BG.

August 18, 2009, 12:27 AM
Anybody ever been to JRTC in Louisiana? The Box is pretty realistic, and that way they can control everything.

August 19, 2009, 04:20 PM
Better keep military role playing on military bases. Does our military really need to be reminded that US citizens are armed and many capable of handling a self-defense, or defense of others situation?

The military might carry blanks, but we don't.

August 19, 2009, 04:32 PM
Not to dance on graves or anything and as a sum of all events it is certainly tragic...

But how in the hell does a sheriff deputy in Bumbleskunk, North Carolina, get the best of two Green Berets?

Would this be a case of SOCOM Fail?

Back on topic: I'm not much for intervening in anything more than a blatantly obvious kidnapping or the like. Saw a dog at the park the other day get really aggressive with a little girl away from her parents. Intervened there.

But a pair of adult strangers having their own feud?

Nah. Not unless I knew and trusted one of 'em... but then they wouldn't be strangers.:p

August 19, 2009, 04:37 PM
I would barf if I ate cottage cheese anyway.

But on topic...... this is a very bad idea. I could imagine a few scenarios where I would be compelled to intervene.

I really feel very sorry for the deputy.

They should court marshal whoever the brass was that signed off on the NC incident.

August 19, 2009, 04:38 PM

The deputy's ammo was live. He thought this was real.

The Green Berets ammo and weapons would not have been live. They thought this was part of an exercise.

How could you expect any other outcome?

Added later, to clarify, after additions of posts 11-12:

Remember Aesop's fable of the Hound and the Hare. Guy sees hound chase hare, and hare escape. Guy criticizes hound for not trying hard enough or running fast enough. Hound says to the guy, "You have to understand, the hare was running for his life; I was only running for my dinner."

Application here: The deputy thought he was in mortal danger and reacted accordingly, with a live weapon. The SF trainees thought they were in an exercise, and at no real risk, and acted according to what they believed (IE put some effort into not actually harming the other "participant"), most likely until after the first or second live rounds found targets.

August 19, 2009, 06:31 PM
plus they were still in the qualification course, not quite green berets.

August 19, 2009, 06:52 PM
I know that "real" world practice is a must but... could end up being a mess like the situation like what happened with the deputy.

I would subscribe to an EDtv type channel to watch these guys work! I might just become Tacticool and all mall ninja like after a couple weeks. Heck I might even fork over the dough for an HK:p


August 20, 2009, 02:25 AM
When you mix real guns with those carrying not so "real" guns, tragedy is bound to happen.

If I were to go to Washington, D.C. I would be armed, and probably wouldn't be told of any impending "exercise" that was taking place. Thus, I would have a reasonable expectation that the actions I was seeing were real, with possibly tragic outcomes.

Keep it in a designated area away from the public is my vote.


August 20, 2009, 03:10 AM
plus they were still in the qualification course, not quite green berets.

They were as close to a snake eater as you can get without a beret. They were almost finished the course. We don't know the mission parameters, so they may not have been expecting anything until they got where they were going. If they expected something, why were their weapons in the BACK seat? It's not hard to keep an M-4 in the front seat. They probably thought the instructors were throwing them a curve, and reacted according to what they thought best. I obviously can't read minds, and I wasn't there, but after 5 years in the Infantry, and quite a bit of FOF experience, both as a soldier and OPFOR, I see where the breakdown probably was. I have 2 friends that both graduated from SFAS. They later became GB's. However, they aren't any smarter than me. They're just normal, (extremely) fit individuals. They just thought it would be fun to do crazy stuff. These two misjudged. And that sucks, cause I'm willing to bet they were great soldiers.

August 20, 2009, 09:24 AM
But how in the hell does a sheriff deputy in Bumbleskunk, North Carolina, get the best of two Green Berets?

Do you just assume that is was 2 Rambo's vs. Buford T. Justice? Not all SF soldiers are as big and bad as you think, and not all LEO's from "Bumbleskunk, NC" are fat, donut eating, Barney Fife types.

August 21, 2009, 12:55 PM
A trainer worthy of being paid knows the necessity of controlling the training site. Carrying out "street theater" training in jurisdictions where legal carry is allowed is asking for the possibility of unwanted intervention by someone with live rounds - as much as we all tell each other that unless we are absolutely sure who is the GG and who is the BG we ougyt to "observe and report" rather than interject ourselves into someone else's trauma & drama.

Yes, Secret Service, FBI, and the local drum & bugle corps all need to train in realistic settings. But there is a difference between "realistic" and "real life". Were I a trainer using the local park, shopping center parking lot, or the intersection of 12th & Main, I would erect a visible and physical perimeter at a distance sufficient to control access and still allow my trainees to respond fully. I would also put out spotters to intercept folks who might accidentally or purposely violate my perimeter. And if I were the head honcho for the locality where this training was to take place I would insist on the perimeter and spotters because not doing so exposes my employer to legal liability. I do not want to get fired over something I could have prevented.

The reason my comments seem to be on opposition to what was reported is apparently because I tyhougyt about it for a few seconds while the report indicates no consideration was given by the actual trainer.

stay safe.