THIS ARTICLE IS WRITTEN BY RB2 WHO IS A FORMER SERE INSTRUCTOR OF AN WEST EUROPEAN MILITARY AND A CONSTANT CONTRIBUTOR TO REDBEARD TACTICAL FROM DAY 1. THANK YOU BROTHER.
„Mindset“ is an often used quote nowadays, almost abused I might add. But if you belong to those, who try to abuse the „focus on mindest“ to cover lacking hardskills. I got news for you! The casual abuse of „mindset“ renders the quest for mindset even more legit, more legit than ever. Because the wrong mindset starts with not being objective on yourself.
In every serious military you have some easy to remember schemes, used to issue orders or simply to remember stuff. Those schemes arent used often enough nowadays. A particular scheme the German armed forces use is A-R-C, adress, rate and conclude (In German: A-B-F – Ansprechen-Beurteilen-Folgern).
This allows you analyze the situation, make your conclusion and makes it easier to make a final approach to solve it. It is easy to remember and bomb proof, also average Joe should understand it. But how often do people adress, rate and conclude on themselves?
It turns out that nowadays, many soldiers from NCOs to high ranking officers, are making the wrong conclusions, especially regarding themselves. Which will lead to a possible wrong decision and therefore approach.
A good example for such a misunderstanding, which lead to the wrong mindset is a certain air mobile rescue unit of an European military.
They made a totally wrong conclusion on their assignment. Like the name „air mobile rescue unit“ implies, their main assignment is to save lifes when others desperately need help. Nothing more, nothing less.
But for their understanding, they are a special forces with the same assets in the background like USAF PJs. Which is both, totally wrong.
They didnt understand that their assignment is all about to „just“ extract ISOPs and military personal wounded in combat. Not about spearheading an assault, rescuing hostages or leading the fight that is perhaps necessary to extract wounded personal. Saving lifes wasnt special enough for them.
Note, in this context a good read is the article „Special Forces Worship“ by our friends of Integrated Skills group.
This example of a wrong mindset was not just present in the dream world of some NCOs but was present up to the commisioned officers of this unit. This resulted in focusing away more and more from their medical core competency and shifting more towards combat related training and equipment. You dont have to be a strategic genius to recognize that you wont clear a hot LZ with a few guys with short barreled carbines and a few .50CAL doorgunners. But this was what those guys where constantly training for while their core competencies shrinked from day one.
A wrong self reflection from day one can lead to what I call „heavy case of in-unit larping“, which is dangerous as hell and will sooner or later reduce the strategic footprint of your unit to useless rubble. Just ask a few grunts about the purpose of their unit and you will surprisingly often hear „Well, we are basically special forces“. Well, we I have to dissapoint you as you arent and training for special warfare wont help you acoomplish your supposed goal of being the backbone of our military power. If you want to be the scalpel and not the hammer, then walk the walk to become the scalpel. But I see nothing wrong with being the hammer of western military power.
FACING THE REALITY
Another good example of a wrong mindset is lacking confidence or overconfidence. A case which lies somewehere between those two extremes recently happened in Afghanistan.
An resolute support helicopter came under RPG fire during a mission. The door gunners fired back and the situation was clear, no one got hurt or anything.
After the landing, one of the pilots was still so shocked that, during weapon cleaning, he emptied a whole magazine into a nearby accommodation shelter. Luckily no one got hurt.
You should be aware of the fact that a deployment or combat in general isnt just what you are doing at home just in a different environment. Its harsh and brutal reality.
During the years of teaching and training SERE I ecountered many different kinds of personalities. But one particular student still stays in my mind for his almost rad overconfidence.
Preparing for a range day, he mentioned he only would need one bullet in a SERE situation. It would be for himself, I made it very clear to him how stupid such a mindset actually is.
I told him, it isn’t only about him. And that he clearly underestimated his will to life.
Obviously he was pissed after my reaction. On the final practical examination, the R2I phase, to be precise. That guy collapsed and needed medical support which isn’t a big deal. It happens frequently due to dehydration or starvation etc. But he had an unprocessed trauma that bothered him for a long time, which could have actually be the cause for his weird kind of overconfidence. So reflect yourself.
WAS THIS A RANT? OR DID YOU CONCLUDE SOMETHING?
Whatever your role in the army or in the civilian world is, remeber it isnt always about fun stuff and all your ideas about yourself will be put to test one day. Be aware of this fact as this where mindset starts.
Focus on the actual situation and circumstances. Analyse your assignment, make the right conclusions, don’t think only for yourself and what would be the coolest task for Instagram footage production. Your life and the life of your comrades or friends can be at risk due to a wrong gripe of reality. Always remember, reality is harsh.
Stay realistic, stay based.