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Old January 28, 2012, 04:39 PM   #51
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Experience wins over training every time

The Afghan soilder has been mentioned. They have had 23 years of continuous battle experience in fighting the world's best and most powerful forces, including the Russians, Americans, French, British, German, and Canadian forces with little more than AK 47s and RGPs. Yet, nobody can beat them!
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Old January 30, 2012, 08:39 PM   #52
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This is a very interesting question. It's interesting because the answer can be both yes and no.

Experience is on of the greatest teachers bar none. There's an old saying that goes "A man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with an argument." The lessons learned through experience are invaluable and often are translated into training of others. For example, there used to be a protocol for treating patients with OSA and the same protocol for treatment of patients with COPD. My good friend and Pulmonologist had a patient that needed a particular device for treatment. Normally he would have followed the protocol as with any other physician. His past experience however, had shown him that following this treatment protocol could also have an adverse reaction and spike the patients CO2 levels ultimately leading to death. Today, that protocol has changed nationwide.

However, experience can also lead to bad habits. When I played sports our coach had two sayings. One was "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail", and the other was that you could only play as hard as you train to play. Meaning that if you practice half-assing it, you will only be able to half-ass it! A group of terrorist or bank robbers are less likely to strike with the precision of SEAL TEAM 6. Why? Because of lack of preparation as well as other factors.

In conclusion, I believe that both have their place. The more realistic you make your training, the more successful and efficient you will be when the time comes to perform. Train hard and smart. Think of every possible situation and plan for it. Keep an open mind. Hope for the best but plan for the worst. Learn from your experiences and incorporate that into your training.
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Old February 1, 2012, 01:23 PM   #53
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Didn't Cooper say something in Principles of Personal Defense,"Short of extensive personal experience which most of us would rather not amass. . . . . . . ." Training will certainly help one stay alive to learn from any experience. My third son has been to the the middle east on 5 tours. He's been in firefights where he went through 3 combat loads. (900 rounds), would I want him on my side? You bet your sweet bippy I would. I am sure his training helped him stay alive along with his equipment and lots of luck.
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Old February 1, 2012, 01:56 PM   #54
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Do we send new soldiers into combat to get experience or do we train them first?

Someone mentioned the Taliban, and that they have generations of experience. True they do, but in a firefight, they stand very little chance against our trained soldiers. (throwing out the air and artty support which rules of engagement limit in Afghan).

Go back to my beloved Paratroopers at Bastogne. The 101st didn't have that much experience, they jumped in June 44, by Christmas they had about 6 months, in and out of combat.

They faced three armored divisions of German soldiers who'd been at it since '39, basicly 5 years vs. 6 months and the paratroopers prevailed.

Nah, experience alone wont cut it.
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Old February 3, 2012, 08:47 AM   #55
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Experience, without training, just means that you aren't long for this world!

If you just plopped someone down in the thick of the Vietnam war with no training, gave them an M16 and a 1911, how long do you think they would have lasted.
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Old February 3, 2012, 09:22 AM   #56
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Let's forget about the experience vs. training thing for a moment. One aspect I think that is left out here is that the law-abiding citizen is far more constrained than the gangbanger. We have to be careful about each and every time we pull the trigger--the experienced felon on the other hand probably finds this to his advantage since he probably isn't going to care who gets hurt or killed and already has divested themselves of any concern for the law.
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Old February 3, 2012, 10:21 AM   #57
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Let's forget about the experience vs. training thing for a moment. One aspect I think that is left out here is that the law-abiding citizen is far more constrained than the gangbanger. We have to be careful about each and every time we pull the trigger--
That does tend to put us at a natural disadvantage when being engaged by a bad guy. However, even a psychopath doesn't kill just to kill. That person wants something and is willing to kill if necessary to get it. Guns are loud, dead people are hard to dispose of and both bring a lot of unwanted attention to most bad guys (unless its a grudge or vengeance killing). So, a reasonable amount of preparedness on our parts can present a formidable opponent to a bad guy. This is why training is important and probably trumps raw experience.
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Old February 3, 2012, 02:02 PM   #58
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It was said "Do we send new soldiers into combat to get experience or do we train them first?"

Depends - If you have run out of men to fight, as was the case with the German army in WW II, you conscript 15 and 16 year old boys with NO experience.

They also lowered (to 16 years old) the age at which a boy could volunteer. Then they "strongly encouraged" boys to volunteer. They seldom checked a boy's claimed age; there were many 14-year-olds fighting in the German army in the Battle of the Bulge.

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Old February 3, 2012, 04:01 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by G1R2
It was said "Do we send new soldiers into combat to get experience or do we train them first?"

Depends - If you have run out of men to fight, as was the case with the German army in WW II, you conscript 15 and 16 year old boys with NO experience....
Pretty much beside the point. Exigent circumstances often require an extraordinary, and frequently sub-optimal, response.
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Old February 3, 2012, 10:26 PM   #60
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I think the key to take out of that example is that they did it once they had to choose between it and certain defeat. I'm no history expert but the smarter place to look would be what were there ideals right before the war when options were abundant.
New gun, same ol' shot.
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Old February 4, 2012, 08:59 AM   #61
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I'm not to big on quoting famous people, although some quotes are very profound, especially when one considers the source.

"I was scared before every battle. That old instinct of self-preservation is a pretty basic thing, but while the action was going on some part of my mind shut off and my training and discipline took over. I did what I had to do." - Audie Murphy, America's Most Decorated World War II Combat Soldier

My training and discipline took over. Just some food for thought.
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms."- Thomas Jefferson
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Old February 6, 2012, 01:18 AM   #62
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More from Rory Miller... worth a read IMHO.
The First 3 to 5
Mindset - Skillset - Toolset. In that order!

Attitude and skill will get you through times of no gear, better than gear will get you through times of no attitude and no skill.
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Old February 7, 2012, 02:38 AM   #63
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I think we can all agree that nobody will achieve experience without at least a bit of training. But as I said training is experience. There are however a lot of variables to this question. For example I've seen kids gaff off in training but perform rather well when the real experience happens. And I've also seen the guys who try to train like they're going to WW3 and then be lost in the sauce when the real thing happens. How many with a military background have seen a new lieutenant with more training seem to be lost when compared the 20 year old E1 or E2 with the minimal training but a bit more street smarts? My point of all of this is that anyone can "train," but it takes a mindset to skillfully and successfully apply it. Hopefully, the training will (and typically it should) help mold that, but it's no guarantee.

As far as the Taliban goes, they may have 23 years of continuous combat experience in their corner. They also have 10 years of US politics in their corner. That's a different conversation for a different place though.
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Old February 7, 2012, 10:57 AM   #64
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Another thing to consider is that in order to learn from experience, one must first survive it.
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Old February 13, 2012, 10:28 PM   #65
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Experience Trumps Training or Training Trumps Experience…There is an old saying,,,”You have to Walk the Walk before You can Talk the Talk…This is almost like the old question which came first the chicken or the egg? I for one would not want anyone to go into combat without the best training available,,,but even the best training available will never equal the training of the actual experience of combat.

Viet Nam for instance, the biggest mistake was not sending companies of soldiers who had trained together and were buddies and instead rotating in and out of companies individual new guys,,,FNG’S. Boot camp at Ft. Lewis in 1967 was excellent training,,,scored expert on M14,,,lot of marching and physical training field exercises learning to work as a unit and discipline,,,was it good training for Viet Nam somewhat but not really.

On to Ft. Polk and Tigerland for infantry training,,,scored expert on M16, usage of machine guns,,hand grenades,,mock VC village some tunnel work and clearing hootches,,,escape and evasion etc. was it good training for Viet Nam somewhat but not really.

Paratroop training at Ft. Benning,,,,lots of running and physical training…learning to do a parachute landing fall or roll,,,the 34 foot tower jump out and slide down a steel cable to the end,,,the 250 foot tower hauled up 250 feet with your parachute fully deployed and then dropped and then the actual static line jumps at around 1100 feet all Hollywood except for one equipment jump,,,exit the door twisted around by prop wash,,,falling down and under the tail of the C-119 flying boxcar,,,your T-10 chute opening and jerking you up,,,checking canopy pulling slips and the peaceful glide down until about 100 feet up when the ground starts coming up fast and you land and roll and collect your chute…Lot of fun,,,never did any parachute jumping in Nam. KRAIGWY is right tho it does give you something extra hard to describe.

What we actually needed was a month of training in the mountains,,,carrying packs or rucksacks weighing 100 pounds drinking out of streams,,,carrying our own c rations or lrrps,,,on patrols,,search and destroy missions and ambushes and listening posts and observation posts with blank ammo fighting against our own people dressed as VC or NVA and using their equipment and tactics,,,there is a complete difference in the sound and cyclic rate of a M16 compared to an AK47. The more brutal the conditions the better.

Then we needed a month of training in the swamps doing the same thing for a month but now adding clearing villages to simulate the rice paddies and vills. The more brutal the better.

Fast forward to Jungle School outside of An Khe in Nam sitting in a group about platoon size and told for all of us to look at the guy to the right of us and then to the left of us and told out of the three of us only one would come home not wounded or killed,,,this is where the real training began for a couple of weeks.

Then to the field and actual combat,,,being treated like a pack animal,,,first light the ambushes and listening posts come back into the company perimeter,,a little time for something to eat and maybe clean your rifle,,,fill in the bunkers you dug last night,,,and walk single file with flank and point and rear security over the mountains through awful terrain as you never walk down trails or streambeds…The loads are brutal for everyone but especially for the mortar platoon and the M60 machine gun crew, you are forever shifting your rucksack as it digs into your shoulders and almost wish someone would pop a cap so you could drop your ruck but you pray it will not happen because if it does someone will probably die,,maybe you. If you are on Point there is nothing between you and Death but the end of your rifle barrel. If you are on the gun, M60 machine gun you know if it hits the fan the first call will be Gun up Front. If you are the RTO or Platoon NCO or Officer you know they like to shoot holes in your ability to call in a Fire Mission. If you are on Rear Security you learn to walk forwards looking backwards. You patrol almost all day long, the guys who cant make the hump you tell them that Charlie or the NVA will be along to help them carry their ruck and then you leave them alone in the jungle,,most find the inner strength they did not know they had to catch up,,the ones who dont and are willing to die you go back and carry their ruck or dust off them out. Guys cracked and went nuts. You then stop and set up a logger site or night defensive position with the full size shovels and picks and axes you carry digging a rectangular bunker filling sandbags and cutting down trees for overhead cover which you pile the sandbags on. Then the ambushes go out usually squad size sometimes platoon size and the three man listening posts go out and you finish with the Claymores and Trip Flares around the perimeter and you catch a little sleep before your shift on guard duty in the bunker…You do this for days for weeks, longest we were out was over a month, along with the firefights or combat you get in, before they chopper you in for a week of perimeter duty behind the wire of some firebase or LZ. You drink filthy water eat marginal food and are filthy and smell,,,but you never notice until you get into a rear area around guys who shower and shave and use deodorant and cologne. You have seen guys on both sides shot to hamburger by bullets and blown to pieces by booby traps.

I personally know of no training that adequately prepares you for combat,,,maybe the closest is Navy Seals,,,Marine Recon,,,Army Special Forces and Rangers,,,British SAS,,,French Foreign Legion or Russian Spetnaz.

So if I have a choice between someone with all kinds of training but no combat experience or a private or corporal or sergeant filthy and smelly from head to toe just coming in from weeks outside the wire on combat missions with months or years of experience in combat in a War Zone,,,give me the Combat Vet every time,,,because at the end of the day it does not matter so much who your unit is and it does not matter so much what rifle or high tech equipment you are using,,,and it does not matter so much how much training or even experience you have,,,at the end of each day what really matters is,,,if you still have a pulse or not.
Life Member,,,Military Order of the Purple Heart, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Amvets, Disabled American Veterans, 173rd Airborne Skysoldier Association, National Rifle Association, Member,,,IDPA, USPSA, Iowa Sheriffs and Deputies Association,,Website

Last edited by PH/CIB; February 13, 2012 at 10:40 PM.
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