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Old April 21, 2014, 08:30 PM   #1
Join Date: February 28, 2002
Posts: 27
Badlands Tactical Tracking

Spent the weekend at Badlands' first Tactical Tracking class Dustin Marco and Rich Johnson. This was my first class in the new facility still providing free lodging for all students. Curriculum covered techniques for hunting, rescue and fugitive recovery including live fire operations.

Day one started in the classroom with a general overview of tracking definitions, characteristics and types of signs, characteristics of footfalls, stride and documentation. Different tools were discussed and supplies provided all students to make stride sticks. After explaining lost sign procedures we headed to the field. First up was an observation exercise with students having to identify various household objects hidden "in view" within salt cedars and brush 30-40 feet away. Southwest OK is currently experiencing a drought, so tracking this day was in very dry conditions. Instructors split us into 4 man teams to explained the "Y" formation and roles of the two flankers, tracker and team leader. Tracking in dry dirt conditions was very difficult and it wasn't long before we were using the stride sticks, flagging tape and documentation to maintain the track. Every time the teams used cutting and lost track procedures as instructed we were able to reestablish the original track. We were allowed to wonder the wilderness and muck things up some before be reigned in by the instructor. That showed us just how quickly amateurs can contaminate an area. Day one ended back at HQ for a VERY nice Easter dinner provided by Sheriff Whittington's wife and family.

Day two starts with a more difficult track of two targets, one of whom was know to have large ears. Note the stride stick in hand.

This was the most difficult track of the class, being amateurs confusion quickly ensued after the Easter Bunny was found. Instructor dragged us back to the PLS(point last seen) for both targets and began lost sign procedures. Soon the team was on the track for target two and found him in a shelter ASLEEP. Next we moved to the rifle range for hostile target live fire engagement. This included the Y formation leap frogging to maintain an advancing continuous fire on hostile target. Some students not trained with carbine at Badlands were unaware of the 1 meter rule and safety circle. Instructors brought these students up to speed and walked thru procedures DRY to insure safety for the live fire exercise. Control and safety was maintained 100% by Rich and Dustin thru out the entire class. Next up was the Y collapse into an advancing T formation with a flanker move to engage the hostile target at 90 degrees. Last operation of the class was one last track which involved several direction changes, a back track and lost sign techniques in the rain. Finally back to HQ to the traditional Badlands after action report.

Every class I've attended at Badlands ended with Sheriff Whittington and all instructors quizzing students about their experience and recommended improvements. Thanks again to Bobby, Rich and Dustin for an awesome opportunity to advance my skills. I'm really looking forward to Combat Medic in June.

Fieldwork -

Last edited by MWDG3; April 22, 2014 at 04:08 PM. Reason: Added photo and vid.
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Old April 22, 2014, 04:09 PM   #2
Join Date: February 28, 2002
Posts: 27
Added a vid.
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Old May 19, 2014, 07:49 PM   #3
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Join Date: March 10, 2012
Posts: 1,059
That was a very interesting read. Thank you.
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