Category Archive: Featured

Recondo After Action Review III

Student B, May 2019

Early this May, 2019, I attended InSight’s first RECONDO class/event. There are two schools of thought from which one may learn about use of force, the military and police. My 30 some years as a civilian and police trainer has largely dictated the doctrine that I learned and have taught. It has also shaped most of what I do in a court room as an expert witness on use of force. I only mention the forgoing as an indication of what my background has been.

For one who has not had a military background, I found RECONDO to be one of the most interesting and rewarding “classes” that I have attended, and I have attended a lot of training, including some of InSight’s offerings a number of years ago. Having just retired from 38 years as a Firefighter/paramedic and 30 years as a civilian/police firearms/use of force trainer I also was pleasantly surprised at the camaraderie engendered at RECONDO due to the shared mission goals we all had in accomplishing the class.

The same great, experienced cadre of military instructors that Greg brings with him to InSights training was expected by me but in this case exceeded my expectations. Every effort was made to make this as much of a “real world” experience as one can. I have only experienced that sense of camaraderie before in my real world job in actual life-threatening circumstances with my crews. To accomplish a like feeling with a bunch of guys who have never met, in a simulated environment, is remarkable, in my opinion.

There is much that can be taken from this training and I highly recommend it to anyone who takes their training/education seriously. I know that InSights will build upon this successful endeavor. Thanks, Greg, and to your cadre of fellow instructors!

Recondo After Action Review II

Student A, September 2019

In May (2019) I attended InSights Recondo school. I brought a good friend I knew would be a good fit. He was nervous he would be in over his head, having had little tactical firearms training beforehand. I knew he had the physical and mental abilities, and more importantly the will. He did great and had a very good experience. I had a very good experience as well.

The school was fast-paced with very little down-time. For 4 days we drilled during all daylight hours and conducted 2 missions each night. 3 hours is the longest uninterrupted sleep we experienced. Our instructors consisted of special forces and Ranger combat veterans, military intelligence officers, and a special forces combat instructor. Our curriculum was described by our lead instructor as “Ranger and Recon-Commando patrol school with all the administrative non-combat stuff taken out”. At the end of the class a member of the support team, a USMC combat vet remarked “I’m jealous. These guys were taught more combat skills in 4 days than I was taught in the full Marine Infantry school.”

A separate group of veterans had been recruited to play the part of an enemy force. They had established themselves in the area prior to our arrival and became the targets of our reconnaissance efforts. Both Recondo students and those playing enemy forces utilized rifles and blank ammunition. I expended approximately 230 rounds of live ammunition during live-fire exercises and 500 rounds of blanks during engagements with enemy-actors. For those who have participated in typical pistol and carbine classes this may seem like a light round-count but in this context it is not. the blank ammo is not expended on a static range against cardboard targets. It is expended in firefights against targets that are moving and shooting back.

We began by learning basic patrol formations, signals, and tactics. Small teams under the supervision of cadre drilled throughout daylight hours. We progressed through reconnaissance, surveillance, and methods of breaking contact with the enemy. At this point we began receiving orders to conduct missions against “confidence targets” – easy missions where you probably won’t get killed – missions that give the team confidence to do harder missions. The first missions were recon patrols. The school was initially broken into 6 teams. We patrolled the different grid sectors of our area of operation (about 4 square miles of mountainous terrain with 2 streams, some dirt road, heavy timber, and many ridges and ravines. Intel gathered by patrols was pieced together and a cohesive picture of terrain, enemy numbers, placement, resources, and patterns of activity began to fall into place.

The intelligence gathered through our recon patrols was analyzed by our command and intel component (students and instructors who were there for that purpose) and was used to plan assault missions. Significant instructional time was spent on mission planning and team leadership. From recon and breaking contact we progressed to learning how and when to “push-through” enemy contact, ambush techniques including capture/recovery of personnel, and finally raids. Raids were not simply assaults on a fixed enemy position, but were well planned, coordinated multi-team efforts with specific objectives. Each team member was assigned specific responsibilities. Objectives varied by mission to include elimination of enemy personnel, capture or destruction of enemy resources and equipment, and intelligence gathering.

Each day also included group instructional time where our head instructor and cadre lead group Q&A, critiqued performance, and shared meaningful wisdom on a breadth of subjects related to combat, teamwork, leadership, and the virtues of honorable men. This time alone was worth the cost of admission.

When daylight instruction and drilling was completed each day, students were re-shuffled into new teams, tasked with implementing team leadership structure and then given mission orders. The regular re-shuffling of teams and command structure required students to learn to quickly reestablish team standard operating procedures and afforded everyone opportunities to experience leadership roles. At this point cadre took a passive roll, leaving the planning, preparation, and and mission execution to the students. When asked, cadre provided consultation during mission planning, but faded into the shadows to silently observe as teams set out. Missions were conducted during a new-moon without artificial illumination (no white light, no green/red, no night-vision). These “I can’t see my hand in front of my face” zero-light missions covering miles of rugged timbered terrain were intimidating in the beginning, but we adapted to the conditions and learned how to work together to get it done. Upon returning to camp cadre would reappear to provide a critical analysis of the team’s performance. I received some of the most valued instruction during these debriefs.

Night missions grew in both duration and complexity. After the routine and patterns of an enemy patrol were established, it was ambushed and eliminated. Another entailed the ambush of an enemy officer’s security detail and live abduction of this high-value target, who was returned to our base for interrogation while evading a quick reaction force. Interrogation (requiring translator) was conducted by Intel-track students under the supervision of their cadre. Patrol-track students were permitted to observe the interrogation and the process of parsing out useful intel from the responses of an uncooperative prisoner. Resulting intel was then used to plan missions that followed. The smaller teams were incrementally consolidated into larger teams as missions moved to assaults of larger scale. As patrol and assault forces grew in number our cadre taught proper command structure permitting leadership to scale as teams consolidated and grew in size.

During daylight training, cadre provided holistic leadership. They taught the technical aspects of patrolling, but in addition to this they took every opportunity to guide us in learning from mistakes, teaching strategy as well as tactics, and motivating us with skillful mental coaching. At chow time we ate like kings and reveled. We were exhausted but morale was always high.

Our final night mission was a simultaneously coordinated raid on two enemy camps. Each of the two raids was conducted by an assault force of approximately 16 fighters made up of 2 teams of 8 with an appropriate command structure. This coordinated strike maintained the element of surprise and denied either camp the ability to provide a quick reaction force to the other. For this final mission I was the patrol leader of my combined team. We received our orders in the evening, planned the mission and sent a 4-man recon patrol at 11pm. We then set out as a full team at 2:30am in order to strike the target at 5am. This is the InSights Recondo experience.

This report would be incomplete without addressing the spirit of the InSights Recondo school. I have been privileged to receive instruction from many great teachers and have formed friendships with many of them and my classmates. None of these experiences compare to the depth of instruction and camaraderie I received in InSights Recondo school. Cadre taught with passion and expressed openly why they felt the need to teach these skills to patriotic Americans. We talked at length of our love and commitment to our nation. We studied the histories of foreign and domestic patriot partisan forces of past conflicts and discussed the ugly realities of war. We contemplated the future circumstances that might require good men to step forward and utilize the skills we were there to learn. InSights Recondo school is not a weekend fantasy camp. It takes people with the right mindset and places them on the path to becoming capable asymmetrical war fighters.

Intermediate Defensive Rifle Video

Hi Gang! Check out the latest video we’ve posted on YouTube! This video represents the Intermediate Defensive Rifle course offered at InSights Training Center. Click here to read more »