21 September 2011

Class on Courage....

How do you teach Courage?
You had to be brave here!

From the Soldier and Cop side: Over the years I served as both a Soldier and a civilian Cop, I often wondered in many situations if I’d be brave enough for whatever came up.  What would scare me so bad that I couldn’t do my job.  (besides women)

Last week I went to an instructor course that certified me to teach at the basic police academies in California.  It was a very good course and something I wish I could have taken 20 years ago.  However, out of all the tips and methods of teaching we learned, and all the other classes I’ve taken or given…none of them taught us how to be brave or have the courage it would take to do our jobs in a bad situation.  (funny though here, I've been teached advanced officer training for almost 30 years, but to teach at the academy, I had to have special certificaiton)

Then there was 20+ years of the Regular Army and the Army National Guard.  Same problem….how do you train somebody to be brave? 

I never got that class.   

I’ve seen examples in both police work and the Army where I was surrounded with really brave people who never stopped when they had to do something that put their own lives at risk…. From going into a building with armed bad guys in California to going into the streets of Baghdad with armed bad guys…..there was, or is a common thing here. 

Were any of these women or men afraid?  You bet your ass they were, I know I was often.... and later, after we survived the incidents I’d start shaking.  Sometimes I’d think: “wow, what a rush!”  Other times I’d think: “damn that was a dumb thing to do.”  And there were seldom medals given out afterwards, but I went home, or back to the hootch each day and was glad I did something to help. 

But, there were other times when I was around a coward.  They always had some kind of lame excuse, but I would always tell them what I thought of them. 
Click here for:  Example of Courage

I know, the public thinks all cops and fire fighters are brave people who’d do anything to save the cat in the tree…but, sorry but it ain’t so.  It’s not the “new breed” either….I’ve seen it for years.  Like about 15 years ago when I was sent to assist another small local police department who only had 2 officers on duty…one was in a foot pursuit.  Why the cop didn’t just follow the bad guy in his car I’ll never know, but some cops never figure that out…if the bad guy wants to run away, CHASE HIM IN YOUR PATROL CAR! 
So, the bad guy runs to a closed business with a large parking lot in the back that’s closed in by a tall fence.  The bad guy runs up to the gate and goes over the top.  The copper chasing him goes over after the bad guy…(I’d have waited and set up a perimeter) then his back up from his own department stops at the fence and tells me: “I’ll get my uniform dirty if I climb over that…” 

I pushed the coward out of the way and said: “you chickenshitmotherfu….er” and climbed over.  We caught the bad guy and he went to jail.  Needless to say, the cop who did the chasing had no respect for his cover officer…who had done things like that many times.  He was usually the last cop to show up when there was any kind of violence of fighting going on. 
I know some of the cop and military readers will be saying: "yeah, that reminds me of ...."

More stories to follow…. And I’ll throw in the with acts of courage that amazed me. 


Coffeypot said...

No one knows how they will react until faced with it. But after the first time, maybe the second time, you don't perform...get out.

Anonymous said...

1. The first time stuff happens, you stand there amazed something is going down.
2. If you've got good leadership, they'll tell you what to do.
3. Most guys, in my experience, will do what they have to, scared s***less or not.
4. Two categories still amaze me:
5. The fellow who is alone, inexperienced or untrained who does the right thing.
6. And the guy who lives for that sort of situation.
7. The Marines and special op units tend to attract people who are adrenaline junkies.
8. We used the term "war lover" forty years ago.
9. Big disadvantage to all this: limited number of trips to the well. That's the price one pays for that particular addiction.
10. When the Marines took over from the Brits in most of Helmand province, their response to being fired up by the Taliban was different.
11. They went after their assailants like the proper attack dogs they were.
12. The Taliban were used to the Brits holding in place or retreating.
13. Assailants were wiped out or nearly so. Took a couple of months and heavy casualties before the locals changed tactics.
14. One Marine summed up the Brits: "They made good targets."
15. The individual Brit soldiers aren't bad. Their institutional culture makes them "good targets."
16. The Marine institutional culture more resembles pouring gasoline on a brush fire.
17. Amazes me how well the regular Army units have performed.
18. Good to great leadership at the lower levels.
19. Wish the folks wearing heavy brass (and up) deserved a force as good this.
20. And, yeah, that reminds me of....
V/R JWest