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When Someone is trying to Kill You (The Two Way Range)

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Today on TFB TV, Miles and a friend discuss their experiences serving with the 1st Battalion 9th Marines in Helmand Province, Afghanistan during the years of 2011 and 2013-2014. The topic is the effect of small arms down range, and they talked at length about what exactly goes on in combat and the sorts of situations it would put soldiers in.

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Mortal combat has been the cause of study for military historians since the Greek teacher Herodotus. But what it is like being on a two-way shooting range? What sorts of thoughts and emotions are experienced by those who participate as Infantrymen or Law Enforcement? Much of what they went through has a baseline that can be traced back through the ages and will certainly be felt by future generations, and for young soldiers, sailors and airmen.

His friend talks about his training with the Navy, and how they all assumed they’d get deployed to Afghanistan and there would be hoards of Taliban insurgents to fight, who would all immediately drop dead like the targets they practiced with. Their perceptions were very skewed, he says, and his friends from another unit had a completely different combat experience compared to his. So he says that even if you have preconceived notions but have not gone into combat, or have gone into combat in a different setting, it will always be something new and unexpected. So it’s difficult and not a good idea to go in with these preconceptions because you really don’t know. When it comes to combat, anything can happen.

He details how his first firefight in Afghanistan went, and how their first concern was that their private parts would get shot off — something they discovered quickly was infantile. They also relate how vastly training was to being in the pits, how instinct kicks in and how the sound of gunfire in combat affects soldiers. Things get very real, very fast.

They go on to talk about the emotional impact and reactions, and the chaos of combat, and how soldiers respond to gunfight and grenades when on the battlefield.


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