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Old October 10, 2001, 10:57 AM   #1
Join Date: October 10, 2001
Location: Fort Campbell, KY
Posts: 37
How to use a SAW on security?

G'day everyone

Well here at Fort Campbell, KY, home of the 101st Airborne Division "Screaming Eagles" (also known as "Headless Chickens" and other fun names) we are on a heightened state of alert.

Without going into really explicit details (which would get me canned no end) about what we've got and what we've done (which is going to make for some hilarious Keystone Cops stories should I ever be allowed to tell them) us poor saps at 2/327th are running security for a number of schools. Our Brigade motto is "Always First" ... (to get screwed.)

My questions are the following:

(1) We have a M249 available at my position. I also have my M4 available. Assuming we come under attack - and I've discussed this with people but gotten not much help - I'm to open up with the SAW (since no one else is comfortable or as fast with it on my watch) and then transition to a secure location to monitor.

Problem is that this is right smack in the middle of a residential area and I don't really feel comfortable letting rip with 200 rounds of 5.56 hardball with kids around.

What would you do if you were me? Stay with the SAW? When would you transition to the M4 if at all? Would you fire and maneuver towards the threat, away from the school? Would you stay behind available shelter and take whatever shots become available?

(2) We sit in our vehicles a lot and patrol at random around the perimiter. We don't have a observable routine that would enable planning to be made on 'taking us all out' at one go. Occasionally though (and contrary to good sense if not SOP at the site) we patrol alone.

Would you do that, even in a low-security environment? Would you insist on a buddy to run the patrol with you, even if said buddy was the clumsiest, noisiest pachyderm ever to put on BDU's? What would you do?


Thanks for the answers in advance ... ok I hope I didn't give away any national secrets. Oh and LawDog, Spectre, LASur5r et al ... hi, sorry I took so long getting back ... aloha pumehana.
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Old October 10, 2001, 04:52 PM   #2
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Shouldn't you be asking your superiors about this?

I mean, I have my theory about what I would do, but I have never been in the military. Are they not training you or have they not trained you for this? And if not what the hell are they training you to do?!

I'm befuddled?!??!??!
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Old October 10, 2001, 05:48 PM   #3
Jeff White
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What are you most accurate and comfortable with?

You shoot the same round, M855 and M856 out of both your M4 and the M249. Unless you have M995 AP with your SAW.

It seems to me the rules of engagement you were given are pretty vague. What kind of attack are you expecting? I somehow doubt you'll see a squad or platoon assault your position. Are you intending to stop a vehicle with your fire?

Have you had this discussion with your platoon sergeant?

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Old October 11, 2001, 02:00 AM   #4
Brian Killing Tangos
Join Date: September 30, 2001
Location: North Texas
Posts: 21

Although I'm in total agreement with the gents above, and I don't have very much to go on, I'll give you my 2 centavos. Since your talking about a school, I would fall back on CQB techniques along the lines of unconventional (Hostage Rescue) type entries. Why did I go strait to entries? Because unless you have a whole bunch of tangos running at you in the middle of the street, your probably going to have to chase them around. Especially since the most obvious objectives of the tangos are the kids in the school, not the military guys with SAWs.

In my opinion, when it comes to CQB, the M-4 is supreme. I would make the M-4 my primary. It's Stronger than an SMG but without all the calories of a SAW! So you end up with the up close take down power along with the added reach out and touch someone.

BTW, none of this will matter unless you guys do some scenarios with Semi's at the school or a similar building. As anyone will tell you, equipment won't make up for team training. The best well oiled parts in the world won't work in a machine unless they are together.
For Lack of Training, they lack knowledge, for lack of knowledge, they lack confidence, For lack of confidence, they lack VICTORY."
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Old October 11, 2001, 03:29 AM   #5
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How do you like serving in the 101st and how are you being prepared for going into Afghanistan ?

Every day I'm tempted to sign up while it's still a viable option.
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Old October 11, 2001, 06:21 AM   #6
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Join Date: October 11, 2001
Posts: 2

My two cents though not worth much. When I was in as an MP not long ago I was always tasked with the M-60, I was pretty good with it and could shoot it about as accurately as the m-16 out to 300yards. If the saw is better like everyone says and you are good with it, don't be shy using it just aim. Unless of course you are being over run with many Tangos or laying covering fire. But from reading your situation, most likely you will see only a few targets so don't waste time switching weapons and just aim to kill. Good luck. By the way my wife is an MP working force protection as well, all that force protection is not going unnoticed by us dependents keep up the good work!
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Old October 11, 2001, 10:43 AM   #7
Vern Brink
Join Date: March 13, 2000
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 85
Get a 240G! Just kidding.

Using troops for missions they're not specifically trained for w/unclear rules of engagement isn't new.

There are so many variables, we can probably only touch on some general guidelines.

If the attack is such that the firepower of the SAW will allow you to defeat it, or at least hold til reinforcements arrive, go with it.

If the M4 allows you to do the same with a reduced risk of civilian casualties, use it.

You are going to have to balance the nature of the attack (numbers, weapons, actions etc), the risk to civilians using the SAW, the greater risk to civilians/military personnel if you don't use the SAW and you are overrun. Some of the questions you ask can't really be accurately addressed without more information. All of this is balanced of course by the rules of engagement and your own common sense.

I would patrol w/a buddy in the environment you have described. I believe in working as a team where the sum of the parts "can be" greater than each individual working alone yadda yadda. If he's not up to speed, work with him. A buddy means a second set of eyes, another gun, a faster reload on the SAW, someone to drag you to cover and most importantly, someone to BS with since 99% of the time, it'll be quiet.
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Old October 11, 2001, 11:59 AM   #8
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If you are legit, go back to the RUF card you were issued when you were trained for this mission. I know the requirement as it was put out by FORSCOM when the ACP mission went into effect. If you have no idea what I am talking about, print this out and go take it to your commander. Also, look to see if you have any "special instructions" for your particular MEVA or HRT.

XVIIIth Airborne Corps is doing the same thing we are (I speak with them almost daily) so I know these rulkes are out there and that there is a requirement from FORSCOM that you be trained (also AR 190-14 requires it...).
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Old October 11, 2001, 12:00 PM   #9
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Join Date: January 11, 2001
Location: Dallas
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I am ex-infantry and highly trained in combat-in-cities, understand the new buzzword is MOUT.

None of that really qualifies me to answer your question, but here goes.

First, I think it is a total goat-screw to use hot-war troops on civilian security details. TRUST ME, the inevitable lethal screwup WILL HAPPEN, and the sanctimonious media will pile on.

But to answer your question, you are basically the crew served guy. You probably won't see an attacking line of terrorists, but the single auto suicide bomber is a real possiblity.

I suggest the following drill:

If a car hops the curb, put about 60 rounds directly through window of driver side. When driver resembles Domino pizza, go to work on tires. The wheel may be wired straight, so figure out which way you want the car to swerve (away from building). Shoot out THAT tire.

If your not sure where gun is hitting, start low on ground and work up.

Cars are very tough, so the ONLY way to really stop is is to get lucky and take out fuel or spark, Lots of luck.

Try to rig some hard barrier to entrance to discourage attempt in first place.

Big issue, how long (in seconds) does it take you to get your gun up and running? I bet a case of beer that, under, your current rules of engagement, you have no CHANCE to get off a round in time.

BTW, does the school let you dig fighting positions in their nicegreen lawn? Bet not.

If you actually do all this, it will probably turn out that you actually vaporized little Timmy's na na, who was a sweet little old lady who just jammed her foot in the accelerator cause her "artheritis" was acting up. And Peter Jennings will be mentioning your name on nighly news.

And yes, your superiors should have the answers.
Descretion is the better part of WhupAss
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Old October 11, 2001, 06:48 PM   #10
Join Date: October 10, 2001
Location: Fort Campbell, KY
Posts: 37
My platoon sergeant? OMG we've had like 4 since May. The first one was awesome. He looked out for the joes and did an outstanding job in Kosovo. We all miss him.

The next one came over from a different company and he was ok ... but he got replaced by a total @#$% about 3 weeks into the mix. That one got PCSed to Korea and is GONE.

The current one we have is a skilcraft pencil warrior who has spent the last 6 years as a recruiter and is all into spits and starches. While I do trust him with my paperwork, I do not trust this man with my life. No further comment I believe is necessary.

There really isn't anyone in my immediate chain of command that I respect enough or know enough to be able to ask on what-to-do on site. Things are so jacked up that we aren't even able to do an evacuation drill for the site because Division had a collective seizure when Battalion brought it up. Actually the only reason I am bringing this whole issue up is because the Threatcon level is low enough for me to do so and I'm not going into anything that isn't already public knowledge. The cellphone use by the joes on site got clamped down way too late.

Jeff White - we have a long stretch of woodline to cover on one side, with about 150m of flat open ground in front of that. Another side is flat rolling ground, sparsely wooded. The rest is residential block housing ... anyone who's been on a military installation knows what it looks like.

So we're expecting either vehicles or small groups on foot. I can only speak for myself when I think I lean towards more of the former. Any vehicle that wants to bust through the various intersections has a long stretch of open ground it has to cover and it will eat 200 rounds of 5.56x45 NATO from the SAW on command.

Brian Killing Tangos - that's the dilemma I was thinking about, as even if we vary our patrol/search patterns, there's very set times a school begins and ends ... i.e. when the buses roll in. I don't think I can use the SAW when that happens, even to stop a vehicle because of the number of people in the line of fire.

ATeaM - sign up because you want to, not to catch a war you may miss entirely. Get your training of choice and station of choice or you may end up an 11M stuck in a Bradley in some place like Fort Hood and if unlucky enough, get fat.

firstsuspect3 - thanks lol ... btw the MPs come over a lot and we talk shop a lot. We had one potentially severe incident about a few days ago (Blackhawks overhead, Apaches wanted a piece, MPs everywhere) and we were glad for the support.

Vern Brink - I wish I had the 240B ... we have like a herd of 90 deer in the woodline ahead of us lol

legalhack - I have the ROE card in my LBV ... read it enough times in boredom. I was merely sounding out what was rolling in my head: SAW or M4? I'll take orders as the situation develops - as I have before - but our shift is so jacked up timewise and we have this rolling argument on tactics (the SAW goes here ... no the SAW goes here ... ok who has it ... wait ... where's the ammo ... etc) and I am getting rather tired of it. I already told you what the immediate chain of command is like.

RazorsEdge - THANK YOU! Just what I was looking for. I was wondering whether to go with the 'put 5-10 rounds and wait and see what happens' school or the 'let 'er rip' school. 60 rounds sounds right.

As for how long it takes for me to get the SAW up ... speaking for just me, I sit right beside the thing and have my hand on top of the feed tray ... 3-5 seconds. Too much can happen during that time, I know.

We have a line of trees around the entire perimiter that doesn't have natural objects or other cars blocking it. We got slammed for trying to get concertino wire (danger to kids) and we basically rely on what is on site. Which is very adequate, btw. Oh we did try to dig a tank ditch but the school was having none of that LOL

But we probably won't vaporize anyone's na-na. We're jerks. We expect everyone to slow down and we check IDs. We were so through about it that the parents up and called the LTC and complained.


But yeah I'm coming to the conclusion that using combat troops for security detail isn't the best of ideas. I have a much better idea of what I was thinking of in terms of responding to "what if." I already know what I was planning to do (I won't say here) but hearing what other people would do is good.

Mind you I am not:

(1) Totally lost. I know what my standing orders are, who I'm guarding with, what I'm supposed to do on a routine basis. It's what happens in extremis when 'show of force' ceases to work I keep thinking of.

(2) Trying to blow off OPSEC. At least I hope I'm not giving away national secrets.

Thanks everyone ... ok back to work ...
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Old October 11, 2001, 07:21 PM   #11
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Join Date: January 11, 2001
Location: Dallas
Posts: 207
A simple idea, but maybe you could have a guy with a spotting scope or binos who checks out cars as they approach the school driveway, scanning faces and expressions. He could work from an fairly concealed position.

This could give you some lead time on somebody who looks hinky.

Obvious profile, single guy (girl) no kids in car. No need to comment, just an idea.
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Old October 11, 2001, 07:44 PM   #12
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Location: pasadena,california,America
Posts: 542

Welcome back to TFL.
So, we want our military folks to play cops without the training, eh?
Sorry, how do you train folks that don't have to jump through all the legal hoops of making an arrest the way LEO's have to and expect them all of a sudden to act like LEO's, especially with the armament that we hand our military.

Sorry, real question, not a rhetorical...How much training did you get in making LEO type arrests instead of stopping a threat the military way?

I'm sorry folks, some of you need to distinguish between a police response and a military response. In war, an LEO response to a bunch of fanatics would probably get that soldier killed.

Those of you who have had been in combat or at least in simulated combat know that you cannot train for every situation, but we try to prepare by doing as many exercises and "war games" as possible and hope that is enough.

Why do you think Mahakorin is asking?
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Old October 11, 2001, 08:17 PM   #13
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Location: Bragg
Posts: 242

This is the particular point of contention between "pointy-heads" putting our soldiers out on the access control points (ACP's) or protecting particular areas and doing a risk analysis as to the actual threat condition at that time. Not getting into the risk analysis particulars, but you can see the dillemna our young troops are in. They are put out there without the training of a LEO but expected to perform some of the functions of a LEO. That is why it takes a line battalion away from its mission for 18 months to go pull some BS peacekeeping operation. You have to train them for six months to get them off their "wartime footing". Then they go do the mission for six months. Upon return, it takes six months to retrain and certify them to resume wartime mission posture. All the while, we have a risk-averse senior leadership who survived the draw-down of the 1990's. They grew up sitting in a hole and doing nothing. If they took the initiative and did something that got attention, they were used as drawdown bait or OER fodder. The one's that survived were the one's who kept a low profile, who went along to get along, who didn't rock the boat. That is why we have 2-banger General's acting like squad leaders now-a-days. No one wants to do anything for fear of the zero-defects mentality. So....... we put Joe out there and hope that he doesn't light up "mama and her five kids coming back on post from daycare" or god -forbid : an accidental discharge. These are the threats they are more worried about. The leadership is scared to death to give JOE live ammo for fear of something going wrong. That highlights a serious training problem. I fight this battle daily and almost always lose. There are warriors out there who are trying to change the way the we do business, but when you run Joe to the range twice a year only to qualify with his weapon, this is what we end up with. Sorry for the rant, but this is a habitual problem. If this is the situation with the 101st, think of how bad it is in other units.....
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Old October 12, 2001, 10:47 AM   #14
Join Date: October 10, 2001
Location: Fort Campbell, KY
Posts: 37
We're off we're off to the range soon I hope YAY

... probably for a month or something like that *sigh* we get no breaks ...

Due to a major screw-up at the platoon level, my SRP packet is GONE. Which means until I do all that paperwork, I am non-deployable I can't believe they lost everything ... I have to get like a dozen shots now ...

RazorsEdge - yeah we have Steiner binos ... we use them to good effect on the woodline. Scanning cars is an impossibility because of the way the roads curve ... vehicles are almost right on top of you before you know it.

What I really wanted to do was to get up on the rooftop with the SAW and a spotter. 360 response and all that ... We have some crack shots available even without a SAW and I begged for permission but got turned down.

LASur5r - we're not really trained in LEO type responses of course ... all we can do is detain, and call in the MPs ... I've gone every day to work with the expectation that should hostiles emerge from the woodline or come careening in a vehicle, a few of us are going to get zapped and maybe buy the rest of us time. I can't count how many times I've done 12 hour shifts on the SAW.

legalhack - surprisingly, enough of us have POWs (personally owned weapons) and time to kill during a white cycle to goto range 16 here on post to hone our shooting skills. Of course there are other ways to make the rare chances work ... during EIB quals I deliberately shot 32-35s (36 is expert) so that I'd have to go back to the firing line again and again and again ... I managed to squeeze out what, 1000 rounds doing this over 3 days? At the end of it I shot my 36 and that was that, but still ...

Oh by the way this guard duty we're pulling during what is supposed to be our gold (training) cycle? Has made us officially 'deployable.' Don't ask me how it happened ...
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