I had the pleasure of spending the weekend in bivouac with the Southwest Desert Militia. It was a real spirit lifter to see the level of commitment and expenditure of “sweat equity” invested in this unit's infrastructure and equipment. Operating on private property has allowed the construction of a semi permanent shelter structure, and a well used 100yd firing range.
A short time in company of the SDM will reveal many of the essentials required to build a successful unit. There was a comfortable and easy comradeship amongst its members with a visible level of cooperation and team work present between all members and between membership and command.
Trust was evident in the manner each member handled their own gear and that of others and on many occasions the sharing/lending or giving of various essentials and sundries. Meals were simple, prepared by a couple of members and shared by all. The banter was what should be expected in a military camp mostly cutting, irreverent and unprintable.
Endless political talk and latest conspiracy theories were minimal. Each member seemed proud of his involvement and it appeared there was little of ego centric behavior in my observation. There was a general atmosphere of congeniality, cooperation, a willingness to work. Most seemed anxious to get training, receptive to new ideas, comfortable with correction and happy to learn new skills and technique.
The group is led by a young, tall warrior with two overseas deployments under his belt as well as participation in mixed martial arts. Call sign “Headhunter” this self effacing young man clearly puts in a tremendous amount of time effort and creativity in an effort to provide a good training experience to his people. His command style is low key, with an easy smile and quiet advice and gentle but effective correction.
The unit is comprised of members from their mid 20’s to age 59. Various degrees of physical fitness are evident , however no one dropped out or stood out of any of the training. All wear identical uniforms and the group has a rudimentary solidarity that can only grow with its level of competence. The commitment to standardization is clearly evident by the uniform assemblage of M-4 type weapons and the painstaking camouflage paint jobs that have been done on all of them.
The training included various immediate action drills. Among these were react to contact to the rear, breaking contact, buddy rushes etc. This unit spends a lot of training time shooting so in addition to the afore mentioned immediate action drills (all done with live fire, there was a relaxing and instructive time spent doing what the group calls a nine hole drill. Obtained from Viking Tactics this drill forces the shooter to engage a one hundred yard target through different shaped and angled holes that require the use of the sights in most uncommon ways.
Field training consisted of a day time patrol, with the engagement of 10 targets during the patrol and the added task of locating and defusing a number of trip wires devices they call “claymores”. The Master Sergeant and myself assisted in the placement of these targets and “Claymores” during which time we oriented ourselves to this training ground. Following the completion of this training we had some down time . The night training mission was a repeat of the days mission. Special note should be made of team leader “Gooch” a veteran of the USMC he was experienced enough to utilize his personnel well, keep all members of the team engaged in activities that would keep them interested and make them feel vital to the mission.
No unit is perfect, but whatever problems I encountered are the kind that will iron themselves out a as SKILL ,WILL, and TEAMWORK increase. Special thanks to Shepherd and Lo Phat for the invite and hats off to this whole unit for the work you’ve done and your dedication to the cause of Liberty. The M/Sgt. and I were welcomed to the exercise, made to feel a vital component of the ex and walked out with the new nickname of “the Geezers”. I drove nearly 300 miles and this weekend will cost me in excess of two hundred dollars ( Gotta add that twenty-five dollar fine I will be paying my unit for forgetting to bring my combat boots, yeah I know I know just how dumb are ya?) But both time and money were well spent.
1st Brigade New Mexico Militia.