T Nation

The Tactical Life


Flash Forward Friday: As a life long science fiction reader, it is really amazing to see it come to life. The technologies I read about as a kid, have borne fruit today: Robotics, armed drones, exoskeletons, lasers, sound frequency generators, sonar and radar capabilities, cyber warfare, “power armor”, advances in ballistics protection in just the last ten years, satellite communications, Naval rail guns and “particle beams”. The list goes on. Fascinating, but, with an under current of reality. Mankind’s achievements brought about by the ever increasing need to kill other mankind.

The U.S. Army is testing a mechanical “third arm” device designed to boost soldiers’ accuracy and mitigate fatigue.

Looking straight out of the classic 1986 film “Aliens,” the “third arm” attaches to the back hip. This shifts some of the weight burden in soldiers’ arms and shoulders to the abdomen. That’s important because soldiers will likely be asked to carry heavier weapons in coming battles."




Exactly what I thought when I saw this.


Saturday Morning Coffee Break:



Coffee Break:





Florida Everglades:



We have a winner here my man.


Thought for the day: (1).

“RIP Special Agent Melissa S. Morrow who died from brain cancer. Her death is classified as a line-of-duty death because of her exposure to contaminants at the Pentagon right after the 9/11 attack.”



Thought for the day (2): A courageous death, an uncertain outcome.


First, let me make it very clear that in no way am I demeaning the death of Lt. Col. Arnaud Beltrame. He has my upmost respect and admiration for giving his life for his country and its citizens. He is to be commended for his life long record of outstanding public service. We should all strive to be as accomplished.

As a student of tactics and having been on a few situations myself, I am, (frankly), baffled by the tactical decisions made. Now, I am not French and having trained military/ LEO’s in over two dozen countries, I know cultural thinking is different everywhere. However, there are some very basic rules that need to be followed during a hostage situation, especially terrorist’s situations, that have been bought and paid for by the blood of the victims.

It is important to realize here, this was a terrorist, not a heroin junkie caught robbing a market.

“Before the supermarket, the gunman stole a car, killing one person in the vehicle and wounding another, the interior minister said”

“The gunman then shot at four National Police officers who were jogging in Carcassonne. The driver tried to run the officers down. One of them was wounded, but he was not in serious condition”

Last year Beltrame was appointed deputy commander of the anti-terror police in the Aude region.

By the time Beltrame’s unit was notified to mobilize, the terrorist had already demonstrated by the two previous attacks, that negotiations were only going to delay the situation until entry could be made. I am assuming this was Beltrame’s unit and he was in command, because, no sane commander would have ever authorized the exchange.

The terrorist had already killed civilians and shot cops, what made the commander think it was going to end any different if he exchanged himself for a hostage? Being a trained individual, being deputy commander of an anti-terror unit, surely he knew talking was never going to work.

Besides, I am assuming, according to his rank, he was in command. That means he stays out of the tactical operations and oversees everything, not offering up his own self for exchange. Who is controlling the containment, assault, and sniper teams? Who is controlling the negotiators, techs, and media?

“_As Friday’s attack was underway, Beltrame offered to exchange himself for one of the female hostages held inside the Super U supermarket, Collomb said. He was shot while entering the market”

Why? What made him think he could make an ISIS supporter “understand”? “He was shot while entering the market”. So, whatever his thought process was, it didn’t made a fuck ton of difference, because he was shot immediately. Did it ever cross his mind that killing a high ranking member of an anti-terror unit would achieve more media fame that killing a local?

“France will never forget his heroism, bravery and sacrifice," the country’s interior minister said”

Well, he is right, he was a hero and his bravery unquestioned, but, his sacrifice was for nothing. Entry still had to be made, the terrorist still had to be killed, the way it was always going to end. And a highly trained commander dead. I sincerely hope his death will mean a revision of whatever policy he was trying to follow, that future terrorist hostage situations will be dealt with in a more realistic manner that helps saves the lives of all involved.

On the other hand, maybe I am just fucking wrong about this.



Motivational Monday:


Whoever you are, whatever you do in life, if you have children, be a hero for them.



Some details are unclear to me:

  1. The moment when he was shot: according to some accounts, he wasn’t shot immediately after entering the mall. He left his phone open somewhere in the vicinity so his colleagues can keep tabs on the situation. Once a shot was heard, the entry was made. Was there a scuffle beforehand? Did Beltrame bet on the fact that he would be able to get within bad breath distance of the scumbag? It probably doesn’t matter much, I guess, the result is well-known…

  2. His position within the chain of command for the incident. Fromwhat I’ve read, he was the deputy head of the regional branch of the Gendarmerie Nationale. Who intervened at the scene? Both the police and the gendarmerie have units for such situations.

I’m not in your line of work & your observations seem sensible to me.


As good as some countries’ antiterrorism units are, they are still behind the ones who are better. There is a reason why Italy hasn’t had a serious terror attack since the days of the Red Brigades. They learned from those attacks and apply it to the new terrorist threat on the block. I think England has forgotten what it learned from dealing with the IRA. France is learning the hard way.


I agree. I have been around enough units to know that standards vary greatly from unit to unit. France has some very well trained units( GIGN,BRI, RAID) for a national terrorist response. Offering up yourself or another member of a trained unit as hostage is just incredible to me and goes against every known “rule” in the hostage handbook.

On a side note: Belgium has to lead the “I don’t understand your methods” for me. Brussels is has proven to be a terrorist hotspot, yet, the city has several police departments that doesn’t speak the same language and their communications are not compatible. (Well, unless they have changed things in the last 2 years).


Thought for the day: All my respect for the fallen Firefighters. You always run in a building while everyone else is running out.


Johnson said assistant fire chief Michael Edwards, 46, and Lt. Thomas Craigo, 40, were killed. Edwards had 25 years of service as a firefighter and Craigo spent about 15 years with the department. Johnson said both men had recently gotten married, including Edwards about a week ago.

It marked the end of an especially deadly week for firefighters nationwide.

In York, Pennsylvania, two firefighters were killed and two were injured when a former piano factory collapsed Thursday. A New York City firefighter died Friday after battling a fire at a movie set in Harlem. And a firefighter in Ellinger, Texas, died Friday of injuries sustained while battling a large grass fire earlier this month


Thought for the day(2): Medics and their vital role. It is really good to see this being implemented. A medic is always a valuable part of the team and having to call one in is just wasting time. If there are any medics out there attached to a LEO rescue team, I would like to know about your training, especially how you are being formatted into the team.




OI just took a class this past weekend on TECC (Tactical Emergency Casualty Care) which is the civilian/law enforcement version of the military’s TCCC (Tactical Combat Casualty Care). Best class I’ve ever had. No support from my department, had to get someone to cover for me, and pay out of pocket for it. Absolutely worth it.

I’ve been lobbying for months for more tourniquets for our engine companies. We go to shootings all of the time, much higher murder rate per capita than Chicago. And we have 1 fucking tourniquet per Apparatus (aside from the shit I’m carrying). They keep telling me it’s coming, they’re working on it. A lot of fucking good that’s going to do me when they shoot up a fucking school 5 minutes from now. Meanwhile, my dipshit of a Chief just bought a $1000 set of lights that are NOT water resistant nor safe for an IDLH atmosphere.

I’ve been training my co-workers, trying to get them to chip in for more tourniquets out of their own pockets. At $25 to $30 bucks a pop that isn’t easy but it’s better than the PTSD you’re going to get from watching some child bleed out in front of you while you fumble fuck around with your belt.

“Oh I can use a belt, a cravat, tear off a piece of my T-Shirt.” Really? Have you practiced? Most if the time that shit doesn’t work, and it’s too slow. Bi-sect the femoral artery and all the blood volume is gone in 3 minutes. In 1 minute 30 seconds they’ve lost so much blood volume that they are suffering brain damage, that will continue even after you stop the bleeding; at this point an IV isn’t going to stop the brain damage, because IV fluid can’t carry oxygen. On a really bad day you might be able to MacGyver so some shit, and those are great skills to have, but it’s better to carry a real tourniquet.


Thanks for your post about the fallen firefighters. It’s been a ugly this week. But I tell everyone the police deserve appreciation, recognition and respect for more than we do. The police officer’s job is more dangerous, stressful, and has more liability than ours does. I hope to see the day when little kids jump up and down and wave at police cars when they drive by the way they wave at fire trucks.


Holy crow, there are occasionally remarks taken back.

On to this post, this makes me appreciate how not too bad of a situation we have here in Canada:


I missed the deleted remarks, and hope I didn’t piss anyone off. I was sleep deprived and obviously frustrated, but this isn’t the thread to vent.


I have been through that course several times, well worth the money and an invaluable, practical training course. Respect for taking it on your own and paying out of your own pocket, its not cheap.

That is criminal negligence. If someone bleeds out because of lack of gear, how the hell would any department rationalize the lack of simple equipment?

I hate bureaucracy and the petty people that make up 90% of local government. The sad thing is, some of the worse offenders are local police and fire chiefs.

Iraq. 2006. central Baghdad. I was one street over when a suicide bomber walked into a grade school and killed over 40 children, body parts blown over several city blocks. Maybe some local chiefs need to see what dead kids look like. Not furnishing tourniquets? criminal.

Fact. Truth. seen it happen. You are right that movie shit only works in the movies.


What people don’t realize is that a line of duty death for a firefighter is really, really bad. Being shot is one thing: burning alive, chocking to death on toxic fumes, crushed under a falling roof, falling through a collapsed roof, are on another level. It is not a pretty death.

I wish. But my experience tells that will never happen.