My husband and I just returned from our unit’s monthly training exercise weekend, which also served as our annual family weekend. As we pulled in and began unloading our gear, our 18 year old son came out to assist and ask questions about how things went. He sometimes goes with us unless he has to work. He hates missing and when he does, he always wants to hear our stories about what took place. You see, we’re a Family. I’m not talking about my husband, my son and myself. I’m talking about my unit.
I’m not former military but I know some who were. In fact, our unit is made up about 50% former military and non military. I have read a lot of books and seen my share of documentaries and movies that depict the loyalty, camaraderie and brotherhood that becomes such a large part of a soldiers life while serving and just as much afterwards. I also have family who have served so I have a pretty good idea about the depth of that relationship and the care and concern one can have for another who has shared those experiences and losses with you.
Now, our unit has never been to war, so I am sure it pales in comparison, but we are a family, nonetheless. Outside of our trainings, we spend time together or talk via phone, text, email or social media on an almost daily basis. And when we have trainings together, we sweat and bleed together. We know each other, in fact that is part of our unit’s vision statement. We ‘do work’ , but we also know each other. We spend time together, eat dinner at each other’s houses, we talk about work and what’s going on, outside of the unit activities, in each other’s lives. We know each other’s spouses and children.
This weekend’s training, as I stated earlier, was our family weekend, which means members could invite their spouses and children to come out with us. They are encouraged to observe or even participate to some capacity in the training exercises. This is their chance to see what we do and play an active part. We also incorporate some fun activities into the weekend for the kids. We have a group meal that is a kind of potluck style and roast marshmallows around a camp fire.
Star gazing, knot tying, scavenger hunts and a game of capture the light are staples of the weekend with a game of horse shoes or wiffle ball thrown in for good measure. This time around we all made pace counters or ranger beads and had some live fire pistol and long range rifle practice. All in all, it was a damn near perfect weekend. It was fun to hear the squeal and laughter of little girls catching rolly pollies and see the grin on a young boys face as he bites into a s’more while telling ghost stories around the campfire.
We also had the pleasure of swearing in a new recruit and patching in a newer member who had completed the requirements to earn that patch. It didn’t come easy. Trust me when I say, he earned it. We said a prayer, recited an oath and all clapped and hugged their necks, welcoming them into the family. Our newest recruit learned why we don’t leave our tents open in Texas and got his call sign in the process by waking the CO up in the middle of night to show him the scorpion that had just stung him. We did a first aid refresher and talked logistics and listened to some pretty exciting stories about past experiences from several members. Through out all of that, we got to know each other a little more.
The CO always asks new recruits what they want to get out of joining or why their interested in joining. All of their answers are usually pretty similar and not that different from my own. But I always add something to that conversation by telling them what I have gotten since I joined three years ago. I have learned so much but even more than that, I have made some of the very best friends I have ever had. My family has grown exponentially. I have the blessed assurance that if I need help, if I need a hand or if I am ever in trouble, I will have a group of brothers and sisters who will come and stand beside me. That’s family.
I recently saw a segment of Vice on HBO that talked about the militia movement. I hate that a patriot is called anything other than a patriot. Militia’s are being demonized in the media and even studies conducted by our own government- calling them right wing extremist and sovereign citizens. I think it’s inherently wrong to lump them all together in one group. My personal experience with the militia is something all together different than the groups commonly portrayed. I wrote an article a few months ago, but had not published it yet. However since the recent focus on the growth of the militia movement has intensified, I thought I’d go ahead and throw my hat into the ring- Check it out at the link below.
The Real Modern Day Militia http://hub.me/ajloH
In a survival situation you basically need three things to …well, survive. Water, Shelter and Food. Water of course being the number one item on that list. You can live for weeks without food but only days without water. I just finished an in depth article about water in a survival situation- read it at the link below:
Before I joined the Militia, I was a prepper and coincidentally have found that most members of the Militia are also preppers. I have told the story before about how my husband and I started storing food and ammo because of increasing concern about the state of the economy as well as it just being the smart thing to do considering the possibility of storms or other natural disasters. Our sense of urgency has been amplified recently due to the increasing political issues, the probability of the dollar crashing and the possibility of martial law being declared. The rising cost of food and gas is also concerning. But all of that aside, there is still the consideration of preparing for a natural disaster as I focused on in my most recent article on Hub Pages. Check it out and let me know what you think.
In November of 2012, I became exceedingly concerned about the erosion of our rights and where our country was headed so I began prepping, somewhat moderately at first. Now, nearly a year and half later, I consider myself a full on ‘prepper’. I bought my first gun and learned how to use it. I have since bought several other different styles and calibers. I began purchasing ammo whenever I could find it at a fair price. I refuse to be gouged and shame on those companies and individuals who profit from fear. But I still felt there was more that could be done to help my family feel better prepared for what may come.
Because I wanted to meet others who felt the way I felt and thought the way I was thinking, I joined the Texas State Militia. Not only for the camaraderie but for the information and knowledge sharing that is an essential part of being in a Militia. I enjoy the practical application of skills and training I am receiving as a benefit of my commitment to the Militia. See, it is a give and take. I give of my time and effort and I receive knowledge and brotherhood in return.
I consider myself an activist to the extent that I am a 2A supporter and in the Militia. I write and post on Face book a lot. I share posts and I have liked pages and joined groups on Face book that share similar beliefs with my own. But here is the thing- and please know that I am not tooting my own horn, but hopefully inspiring those that could do more to do just that. More is what is needed to make any real change in the direction this country is headed. Ranting on Face book is not enough. Being in the Militia is not even ‘enough’. We must all do more. Even for me personally, I could do more. We must.
In addition to the things stated above, I also belong to the NRA, the GRAA and several other Gun Rights groups. I support them financially. I attend rallies and wear t-shirts; I buy guns and ammo locally. I visit the gun range several times a month, all of this to support local pro-2nd Amendment businesses. I took a CHL class and am awaiting my license. If there is a gun show within a hundred miles of Austin, I am there. I pay attention to politics and the issues up for votes and I show up to the voting booths and cast my ballots. Not just for gun rights candidates but for conservative constitutionalist candidates. I know longer pay much attention to parties or speeches given or promises made, but rather look at actions more than words. How do they vote, what do they stand for? Those are the things I am looking at when selecting my choices for leadership both locally, statewide and on up. But there is still more to be done.
My friend Rachel Malone of Texas Firearms Freedom teaches a class about how to get involved at the convention level and submit resolutions, etc. I want to take her class and get more involved politically. My friends CJ Grisham and Justin Delosh of OCT (Open Carry Texas) and CATI (Come and Take It) sponsor gun walks across the state. I have plans to attend several upcoming events with both organizations. I am taking classes with my friend Mike Smith of Liberty Tactical and have joined a women only gun club called Ladies of Liberty hosted by Mike’s wife, Jules. This is part of my ‘more’.
My Militia unit held a meet and greet last night and one of the new recruits asked the question- Why aren’t the various Militia groups in the state of Texas working together as one? My initial thought was who does this guy think he is- criticizing right off the bat, before even becoming a member? But then I thought about what he was saying and he was right. The Militia’s groups do need to work together and some of us do. The truth is Texas is a big place and there are some big heads in the Militia. Some groups want to go about things a different way and that is fine, but that is also why there are different groups just as there are different political parties. At our last training we had five different units from various parts of the state there, in addition to several from other Militia groups. There is some unity, but there needs to be more. So I am adding that to my list of goals. I want our Militia to grow, but I also want to do whatever I can to help foster a good relationship and line of communication between the various groups. When the time comes, it will not matter if you are part of this militia or that militia. Being like minded and singularly focused is what will matter. We all have the same goals- to defend our homes, our friends and families, our rights and the constitution, our states and our country. I have blogged on this subject specifically before.
I read a post on face book this morning on the GRAA page asking what it would take to get more people out to the rallies. My response to the question stemmed from something my XO said . Sadly, you have those on the list and those on the team. The listers will like pages and share posts and rant on face book…they may even contribute to the cause financially, but they aren’t really on the team- there is no real commitment of time or effort. There aren’t any real costs or risks involved at their level of activity. Then you have those on the team- they do everything the listers do, but they also show up. They are boots on the ground people. Their actions speak a whole lot louder than their words or face book posts. It is the same with the Militia. I used to be on the list until I was so compelled by the feeling that I needed to be doing more than sitting around reading articles and blogs and sharing posts. That is when I decided to join the team and get active. Actions do speak louder than words.
But then I realized I didn’t really answer their question- so I started thinking about it and this blog was born. What would it take to motivate people to get off the list and on to the team? To be enthusiastic and passionate for our causes- whatever they may be? I think it is as simple as promoting awareness and encouraging others to get involved. We have to get the word out and we have to call people to action. To instill passion we must lead by example.
So here are my questions for you friends- Are you on the list or are you on the team? Is there something more you could be doing? Is the sacrifice worth it to you and the future of your family and this country? I say yes, absolutely! What say you?
Do you even train bro?
A family that trains together, will handle their business when the time comes. My husband, my son and myself are all training to be able to help protect one another and to serve our friends, family and neighbors when the need arises. Serving in the militia is a great way for my family to spend time together learning and growing as a unit. We are a team in every sense of the word.
I mentioned in an earlier post that I recently participated in live fire drills with my militia company. One of the things our CO kept talking about was developing ‘muscle memory’. My husband and I had discussed this concept before, so I was familiar with the term. Muscle memory refers to the training of your brain to remember actions or a series of actions, performed the same way time after time. It’s much like forming a habit of accomplishing the same goal, the same way every time you set out to do it. Utilizing this natural ability will allow us to make less errors in execution and perform our tasks efficiently and as quickly as possible.
So how do we develop ‘muscle memory’? It’s simple-we practice. One of the drills we worked on this past weekend was swapping magazines. We repeatedly ran through the motions of firing two shots, dropping our empty magazine, replacing the magazine and resumed firing another two shots. Our CO timed us for the first round, then we ran it through five times, then he timed us again. Everyone on the team showed marked time improvement. Because we were repeating the same motions over and over again, the next time we did it, our brain was working more efficiently and quickly because it remembered the lessons from the times before. That, my friends is muscle memory.
Our CO showed us several other drills with slight variations and most of the team found that initially when we changed the sequence slightly, our automatic method, aka muscle memory wanted to revert back to the original method. We had to consciously make a decision to perform the task in a different way. Our CO reiterated that we needed to practice the drills repeatedly until our brains recognized without second thought or hesitation, which method we were using and performed the task needed for the desired result.
It was a fun day at the range and we learned so much that we could take away and put into action at home. I plan on practicing the drills, as my CO suggested, until my range of motions are automatic and running like a well oiled machine.
I just returned from an excellent training this morning involving live fire drills with my militia company at an area outdoor range. Afterwards the group gathered in the parking lot to socialize a little before heading home. One of the members gave us a demo on a tourniquet bandage that had two sterile pads- one for an entry wound and one for the exit wound. One of the guys mentioned that exit wounds were typically larger than entry wounds as the picture above depicts.
*Picture Disclaimer*: I took this pic from a public post on facebook. I have no idea what grain the calibers used were, the distance shot, whether they were full metal jacket or whatever. It is intended to be considered as a generality.
One of our members is a former US Marine. He has only been home a little over a year from Afganistan. He mentioned that the majority of deaths from gun shot are because the person is bleeding out not because of a vital organ hit. This absolutely proves that some of the most important items a militia member, or any soldier for that matter, should possess or have at hand is their individual first aid kit (IFAK).
You can buy IFAK’s at area gun shows or online fully stocked or build one yourself. Army surplus stores often have sterile bandages and other IFAK supplies available for purchase at very reasonable prices. If your just getting started in the militia this should be your second purchase next to your weapon, of course.
Some items in my IFAK are bandages, gauze, alcohol pads, scissors, a suture kit, an ace bandage, butterfly strips and latex gloves. There are lots of ideas and suggested lists out there in internet land so my advice is to do some research, including talking to some members of your group before deciding how to stock your own IFAK or buying one already assembled.