SITREP 009 - Treat everything like it's an operation
18 Series Bag Company SITREP 009 15 January 22
We treated preparing for SHOT show like we conducted missions on a team. Develop a plan, prepare, rehearse, and then execute. Post-show, we’ll conduct exfiltration (exfil) and ensure solid lessons learned are captured.
One of the best lessons that I received as a young Green Beret came after a run with my team.
At 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), there’s a morning run called the ‘stairs’. The stairs run is a quick, three-mile run that is the perfect cardio solution for a busy morning. During the run, you leave the Battalion area and exit the base, continuing on a slight downhill for approximately ½ a mile to the sickles (a local monument), turn left and run along Stuttgarter Strasse, finally turning left again onto Robert-Bosch Strasse. Approximately 500 meters of a gradual incline leads you right to the stairs. The challenge is to run each of the 75 stairs until you eventually reach the landing at the top. There, you collect each team member and continue uphill on Waldburg Strasse, until you pass the German fire station. Pass the firehouse and bank a right, into the forest. Roots jetting from the ground remind you that you are just about to juke the morning German traffic, who don't mess around, to finally cross the road to reenter the base.
On my chosen day, I decided that I was going to beat my marathon-running Team Sergeant. It annoyed me to no end that my TMSGT was a runner. Couldn’t do five pull-ups in a row, but he could run and was in charge, so guess what we did? Super fun. Thanks for your service.
After a series of last-place finishes, I had been building up my cardio to correct myself and show this dude what was up. We began running as a team through our small German base moving towards the single-point base entry. We hit the gate and I decided that it was time for me to take off. I hammered the downhill section (great job Matt, super proud), made the customary two lefts, and hit the slight incline. I powered up thru the incline to the stairs. As I began hitting the first stairs, I could hear my team coming up behind me on the inclined road. My TMSGT, rightfully understanding that I was annoyed with his physical training plan, yelled out “do the stairs twice”. While my gas tank was still topped off with hate and anger, my mind screwed me that day. I finished the first round of stairs and did a 180 to begin walking back down the stairs. I began slowly going back up. This is the point that everyone began passing me. I had taken my shot and had underestimated my TMSGTs innate ability to develop younger dudes. I finally reached the top of the second round of stairs and my team was catching their breaths waiting on me. We hit the final hill, at which point I was now trailing at the back of the pack with the fastest of the group out of sight. I hit the entry point for the base, showed my ID, and jogged back to the Battalion, slowly picking up my pride as I went.
A senior teammate pulled me aside and berated me for my arrogance. It wasn’t out of hate, it was 100% love. You see, Brian is essentially the closest living person to Leonidas. Brian said that everyone knew what I was doing and that’s why the TMSGT made us do the stairs twice. Brian’s lesson was simple. Treat the run like it was an operation. The warmup was the preparation, the downhill portion was infiltration (infil), the stairs were the actions on the objective, and the hill and easy run back were exfil. I had spent all my energy on infil and by the time I had made it to the actual mission, I was worthless and unprepared for any possible follow-on missions. Taken a step further, I missed the (metaphorical) helicopter (GET TO THE CHOPPER). I should have sucked up my pride and conserved my energy on infil, stayed with the team during actions-on and exfil, and then if I wanted to flex, beat Eric on the last couple hundred meters and finished as a team. My display made me a liability and that was unacceptable.
It was a great lesson and I’ve applied it to my life ever since. Why break yourself off during infil when the decisive point of the operation is ‘actions-on’?
For the past couple of weeks, my badass business partner has procured booth materials and we've conducted rehearsals last week (sweet tablecloth, bro). We developed a list of things that we needed and began creating a packing checklist. We packed the truck late Thursday night after our bags came in. While it’s ‘to the brim’, we managed to stuff everything into the truck for the 12-hour infil. Outside of passing cars driving slow in the left lane. In snow. At 11,000 feet. The trip was relatively uneventful.
We found Vegas in the same place it was when I left it this time last year (weird). Booth setup was scheduled for Saturday at 0800. We went in light to understand both the layout and develop efficient travel means. We planned for Murphy to rear his head so we’ve planned in some buffer time to purchase any deficiencies that we might find. Leave it to us to get into an argument with a guy that flexed his chest about us parking in the wrong place and using the wrong door. Turns out, his chest was less than 48 inches, so he backed down and hooked us up. It wasn’t his fault; he had no idea that we were Green Berets. This interaction became the subject for next week’s SITREP, Moving to the sound of gunfire.
We also have a booth at the invite-only, Daniel Defense Range-Day, so we must juggle two booths, albeit not simultaneously.
We are more than prepared for ‘actions on’. Our bags look fantastic and our booth looks sharp. We’ve filled our calendars with potential distributors and buyer meetings. Taking stock of our current position, we’ve learned so much.
As I apply all of the lessons passed onto me by great men, it seems as if we’ve turned left onto the incline on Robert-Bosch Strasse and are just about to hit the stairs. Infil complete. Time to crush actions on.
Always forward. - Matt
NEXT SITREP - Moving to the Sound of Gunfire