by L Michael Rusin
Once your group is established you train. Many of the members won’t have much skill but I always advocated they train every time we went to the retreat once they were officially members. We set up pop-up targets and we had a course we had people go through.
We did it with pistols, rifles and shotguns. One of the members was a machinist and used old fashioned car springs to spring up the targets into an upright position with triggers operated by trip wires or remote control. They were attached to fifty-five gallon drums embedded in the ground and filled with rocks. It was tough to set them up but they worked quite well. Eventually we added a few more here and there to change the course. More or less to make the scenario different.
One of the women was a good artist and she painted the targets. I did a few myself. Eventually we did one course with bows and arrow. It was fun and it truly got the Adrenalin flowing. In another area we had an obstacle course with puzzle problems incorporated in it to allow a team to work together to figure out how to do the puzzle of S.E.R.E (Survival, Escape, Resistance and Evasion) techniques. In another area we constructed a “Monkey Bridge.” We had an area set aside at the creek to demonstrate how to cross a fast flowing body of water. That was also where we did our fish traps.
Since we were adjacent a wilderness area it was easy to set up other small courses that we used to learn cross country navigation using a compass and a map. We didn’t have GPS back then. Other courses were taught as well such as making dead-falls, and other assorted traps.
We all learned fish trapping, making snares and so forth. One of the hardest for the women to get a handle on was to make a figure “4” trigger believe it or not. But the point is, once we were a group we planned weekend stays because there were things we had to build for the retreat and for ourselves. We tried to make games out of a few things to make learning fun and when you’re having fun you learn better.
During these outings we learned who could do what and what each person’s weakness and strengths were. One of the fellows was a Force Recon Marine and he knew a lot. One person served a tour in Hawaii and went to many Luaus and we roasted a pig in a pit the way he learned to do it while there.
As the people were learning we instilled in them a sense of urgency and the necessity to kill if one has to. One woman wouldn’t drill a target with a knife because it “Went against her principals.” I told her the target just finished raping her five year old daughter and she went to town on it.
If you are an ex-marine, you know that teaching how to kill is what they do among other things and you learn. Thus the essence of “Boot Camp.”
Most of your group will learn if given enough time, but you also have to instill in them the concept of loyalty, discipline and honesty within the group, and all of the members. The leaders will show themselves just by who they are and the group should be based on democratic principles instead of a totalitarian concept.
We had articles that were written out and they were signed and witnessed and every person retained a copy. Each person was a part owner in the retreat as well. To teach and instill the principals takes time, effort and patience on the part of the teachers. During the evening hours sitting around the campfire we all talked and we did a lot of “What Ifs type scenarios.” It all dovetails together to make it all click.