Marine Combat Hunters – Old School Skills

 In Military, Veterans

Marine Combat Hunters – Old School Skills

The Marines pride themselves on their “situational awareness.” But are they relying too much on what Gen. Robert Neller calls “Gucci gear?” The technological advances that make their lives so much easier…do those things mask the inner skills once the only things U.S. Marines had to find the enemy? One course works to make sure that doesn’t happen.

combat hunters

Marines participating in the Marine Combat Hunter Course – USMC photo by Cpl Sarah Dietz

Going Old School

The Combat Hunter Trainer Course teaches Marines how to use their inner knowledge and eyes. The Marine Corps Times reported,

Tracking down a quarry, or simply reading the ground to determine if people have traveled through an area, can only be done with the eyeball. Determining a person’s intent and acting before an event occurs is life-saving and uses what we already have — our eyes.

Observation, tracking, and profiling can be used on every patrol. They require no equipment upgrades and no satellites. The Combat Hunter Trainer Course at North Carolina’s School of Infantry-East exposes Marines to these skills and, in three weeks, enables them to use these skills effectively. Marines are trained as hunters to rely on their own inherent human capabilities to develop situational awareness and make better choices on the battlefield.

The course was once just two weeks, but is now three.  It was implemented into Marine Corps training in 2007. According to Tactical Life,

“General James Mattis determined that Marines of today’s MTV-generation needed a set of skills once embodied by the hunters-turned-Marines of former generations. Successful hunters are keenly aware of the details in their surroundings and are alerted to unusual changes.”

Life saving knowledge

Gadgets, thingamagigs, whatchmacallits…all of the fancy technology that assists warfare, can’t replace  paying attention – and the basic field crafts that create an advantage and don’t use batteries. The Combat Hunter Course teaches things like:

What if you were to find yourself without all the gizmos with a lone wolf attacker trying to kill you? How do you find him? What do you look for? Even if you’re not a U.S. Marine, some of the basics in hunting could one day save your life.

How far away is the enemy and how many are there? They don’t wear red uniforms and march in columns like they did in the American Revolution.

What are the signs of behavior that tell you something is about to happen? Waiting until the gun goes off or the knife comes out is not the best plan. Yeah, liberals, it’s a sort of profiling. And it is effective.

“Overall, it teaches Marines to access their own inherent awareness skills to keep themselves safe and to contact, kill or capture the enemy without relying on any type of technological advantage…Be the hunter, not the prey.” Gus Mingus, Force Recon Marine, Ret


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