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Old 09-07-2018, 07:17   #16
glebo
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Wow, I don't know how I missed this. Yes many great memories of Mott lake. When A/3/5 took it over from 2/5 in I think late '85 or early '86 we then took over training. I was one of the .45 marksmanship instructors attached to 571, Sherman Jordan, Mike Pevler and Bill Gregorie's tm. My tm, 572 had the sniper committee. I still have my ceramic Nous Defions coffee cup after all these yrs...I think my T-shirts are probably dust now. I left to go to SWC when the transition of the new poi was happening. There was a SGM (or more) that came from "behind the fence" to do the transition.
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Old 09-08-2018, 20:57   #17
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Went through fall of '78. Class 1-79. We were told it was the second SOT class executed.

'Bout 20 of us (all tabbed E4/E5) from 2/75 along with two ODAs from Bragg. Besides myself, other very young 2nd Batt Rangers in our little group included Ed Kaffel, C.W. Thompson, & Randy Shugart. We hootched up in GP Mediums on concrete pads. Folding cots and sleeping bags. No barracks buildings. Uniform of the day was mostly cut-off green shorts, t-shirts, jungle boots, and patrol caps. Mess hall was functioning and served pretty good chow three times per day.

At that time, all the cadre were still the Blue Light guys, recently stood down from their prior mission. Senior E7 & above. Combat vets all.

With typical Ranger Batt compartmentalized efficiency, we carefully selected "volunteers" weren't told exactly what the course was about. Only that it was SF run, was called "SOT", and it involved "high stress". That's it. Nobody knew what the hell it was about (down at our level). Our packing list included all our field gear, our unit assigned small arms, additional personal handguns authorized, and Class A uniform for travel. Ruck and about two duffle bags worth of crap for everyone. Plus footlockers full of guns. The emphasis on bringing guns was a clue, but literally no mention of a dedicated shooting course was hinted at.

We got picked up by an SF driven, uncovered 2.5 ton & trailer at Fayetteville airport on a Sunday morning. Then drove straight through main post Ft Bragg (1st time visit for all of us), and then out to the middle of nowhere (Mott Lake). Cunning Rangers that we were, we deduced that we were being injected into a SERE course. We concocted a plan...

Decided that as soon as we arrived at wherethefuckever, on signal, we'd throw heavy duffle bags over the sides at our would-be captors, then flee into the pines with our guns... evading in our Class A uniforms and gleaming parade jump boots. Establish a rally point and evade back to Bragg. To do what, I have no idea.

Sure enough, we turned into the long drive to the compound and then spied fences, concertina, a gate guard with an Uzi and a leashed GS Dog. Looked pretty close to the POW camps from Ranger School, so we are busy grabbing our shit and preparing to bail...

The gate guard leisurely opens the gate and waves us in (nobody else around), then two casually off-duty dressed SF guys stroll out to meet us in front of the HQ. ID themselves as the Commander and his Duty NCO. Gives us a real friendly welcome and offers us all ice cold breakfast beers from a 55 gallon drum full of it. (It must be a feint!). Tells us that we weren't expected until the next day, but, no sweaty-dah, it would give us more time to settle in before the afternoon BBQ...

We warily decide to hear what this place is about and dismount from the deuce.

He tells us that we have arrived at a live fire shooting and advanced SF TTP course that we are going to love, love, love...

He was right. A month or so later, back at Ft Lewis, 18 out of 20 of us submitted 4187s for reassignment to Special Forces. Battalion Commander LTC Downing was not happy. Not a one was approved. But almost all of us wound up crossing over within the next year or two (as our initial Ranger enlistments ran out). We had all caught the SF virus after seeing that the grass really was greener on the other side.

Breaching? Back then, I'd have to say that the main tool we used to lead an assault was a live cooked-off frag. Or two together and rolled in simultaneously. LOL. At least in the tire house.

Otherwise, handling a breach point was pretty basic by today's standards: Halligan tools, pry bars, folding stock Remington 870 shotgun breaching with 00 Buck, #9 bird shot, or cut shells. And a limited selection of standard 18C type door charges. Focus was less on breaching and more on shooting during discriminatory rescue scenarios. We were exposed to mechanical, explosive, and ballistic breaching, but not as a full time thing for most live fire iterations. Distraction devices were smokes (with simulated CS) or standard "M-80" style hand grenade simulators. A lot of focus on entering through ground level windows or rappelling into upper story windows of high structures. Like the stuff 22 SAS executed a few years later in London. It was advanced stuff for the times, but CQB art was still in its infancy in most places.

The SF Officer on that hot & casual Sunday morning was right. His very, very experienced guys ran a superb course and the things we got exposed to outside of the CT/CQB thing were also invaluable. A hell of a lot of still recent MACV-SOG operational knowledge imparted. As well as excellent shooting instruction. And all the stuff that Blue Light had learned/developed during their existence.

Like Disneyland for SOF guys. Because it wasn't yet a SWC controlled pass/fail schoolhouse environment. Big Boy Rules. The only way you could not progress was to be unsafe. Otherwise, it was a completely relaxed (yet professional) learning environment. The kind of training we all wish our ODAs could conduct year round.

It was still that way the next time I went to Mott Lake and 5th Group ODAs were running it on a rotational basis. Summer of '83. The cadre were naturally a bit less senior, but they had a fundamentally squared away POI, improved facilities, and enthusiasm to teach.

I still see a need for an SOT course as a place where multiple ODAs can go TDY, be completely away from the distractions of the unit flagpole, and enjoy concentrated focus on unique combat skills that all teams need, and without having to logistically support the majority of their own training. I'm not necessarily talking about those skills already taught at existing SFAUC or SFARTAETC. More of a hands-on combat lessons learned course with a lot of built in live-fire and external support assets.

I think we lost something of incredible value when that training venue went away. More valuable than the money spent trying to qualify the entire force in Military Free-Fall. SOT skills were something that every single ODA from every single Group would eventually employ for real... somewhere. Unlike MFF.

I literally still have my black t-shirt (purchased out at Mott Lake) with the small nous defions front logo. After hundreds of washings and my attainment of Silver Back middle-aged spread, it was retired ages ago. I still keep it carefully folded away as a reminder of great times.

Last edited by Astronomy; 09-14-2018 at 13:04.
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Old 09-08-2018, 21:43   #18
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Astronomy:

Great post!

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Old 09-08-2018, 23:06   #19
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Astronomy...good recollection and that was the ambiance of the place...just great training and no BS.

Glebo… I know all of those guys...went to Sherms funeral in his home town with my ODA as we often piggy backed when one of us had a AC for a Halo op. That was a tough gig....
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Old 09-09-2018, 04:45   #20
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Astronomy...good recollection and that was the ambiance of the place...just great training and no BS.

Glebo… I know all of those guys...went to Sherms funeral in his home town with my ODA as we often piggy backed when one of us had a AC for a Halo op. That was a tough gig....
I hear ya. I hear the funeral was quite a hoot though. As Sherm would've wanted it. I work up in the "White Elephant" with Mike Pevler, we often recollect on mott lake tales. Bill Gregory was there for a while, but then he's out at ROBIN SAGE now...

Many more tales I could tell...great memories though..
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Old 09-09-2018, 10:39   #21
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I hear ya. I hear the funeral was quite a hoot though. As Sherm would've wanted it. I work up in the "White Elephant" with Mike Pevler, we often recollect on mott lake tales. Bill Gregory was there for a while, but then he's out at ROBIN SAGE now...

Many more tales I could tell...great memories though..
It was quite a hoot....Sherm's wife was a good looking and sweet woman..there were local 'dudes' around sniffing as they knew she had some money inbound.

The church service was something....the real deal was how well we were welcomed in the community by everyone there. Glad I went.

Say hi to Mike for me...I have a question I'll send you btw.
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Old 09-09-2018, 22:59   #22
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LOL, I was never there! Never even heard of it! (Oh the stories.)
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Old 09-10-2018, 08:46   #23
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Most of my team (including CSM Zaiser...then a SSG) went through in 1991. Great training. Long guns...were truly long guns, complete with a Mag Light attached).
I remember hearing Zets reminisce about that course around the time when I was going through SFCAUCC.

CSM Zets came to talk to us because one of our jokers (Chad Gonsalves) put double-sided tape on the toilet seat in the 2nd Bn bathroom. The intended target was Vinny Z. (TM SGT from the HALO team). We were allowed to use the 2nd Bn classroom to run some classes on building charges (without the explosives, of course), as our own 3rd Bn classroom was being used by the SIGDET to run some high tech equipment.

Apparently, Vinny didn't sit down on that toilet, but the 2nd Bn SGM did... and he was not all too happy.
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Old 09-10-2018, 21:13   #24
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I remember hearing Zets reminisce about that course around the time when I was going through SFCAUCC.

CSM Zets came to talk to us because one of our jokers (Chad Gonsalves) put double-sided tape on the toilet seat in the 2nd Bn bathroom. The intended target was Vinny Z. (TM SGT from the HALO team). We were allowed to use the 2nd Bn classroom to run some classes on building charges (without the explosives, of course), as our own 3rd Bn classroom was being used by the SIGDET to run some high tech equipment.

Apparently, Vinny didn't sit down on that toilet, but the 2nd Bn SGM did... and he was not all too happy.
I am going to bust Zets' balls on that one!
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Old 09-10-2018, 22:32   #25
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I am going to bust Zets' balls on that one!
I'd be surprised if he remembers. After all of the things he had to go give "talks" about over the years. I do remember our own Co SGM "Sweet Lou" R. giving us grief over it. At first, no one wanted to come forward and admit to it, until "Sweet Lou" invoked the old "no one's going home until" routine (it was a Friday).
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Old 09-13-2018, 12:50   #26
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"Sweet Lou" was gone by the time I got to Group but his stories abounded.

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Old 09-13-2018, 18:59   #27
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"Sweet Lou" was gone by the time I got to Group but his stories abounded.

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Ok, how did he get that moniker...'sweet Lou' ?
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The Arms room...
Old 09-14-2018, 10:16   #28
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The Arms room...

MR2 mentioned Army wide fuel shortages...a symptom of the post-Vietnam habit of Congress avoiding anything military. The bad ol' Carter days.
While the guys on main post had a hard enough time getting blanks, we had those two trailers in the center of the compound that were filled with munitions.
It could be said that we had no problems going to the range. I recall times, when we were between classes, that I would call range control, and open the range on a Saturday, go to the arms room (...as long as Earle was working that day), check out an M-79, .45, CAR-15, MP-5 and a Swedish-K. Then off to the ammo trailers and get a case of rounds for each! What a place for a 21 year old...all the guns and ammo he could play with!
So, down to the S&K range, and kill targets, concrete blocks, bottles and any vehicles received from Property Disposal. I went down with to shoot with Dave Brocki, team-mates, and even my girlfriend. What is it that Yakov Smirnoff would say...? "What a Country!"

The amount of stuff, including the arms room full of cool toys, led to what may have been a wild rumor about a "threat" to raid the Compound to get at the arms and ammo there. Late 78, early 79, I believe. We even were on a self-imposed alert status...really! One story was that a group involving Stonko and Nicewander (guys I went through the Q-Course in 78) had a plan to steal the goods from the Lake. The things one recalls...
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Astronomy!
Old 09-14-2018, 10:25   #29
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Astronomy!

Astronomy...great story! My one old shirt sits in a stack of old cherished Ts in the closet (...despite the cravings of my OCD wife, who does not like old stuff!). The others, small emblems, SOT Instructor, and regular size logos, have been adopted by my daughter. The only one who fits them, which is fine...the only girl in the Art Magnet School with an array of SF Team shirts! The images are of her at the range, and my old one laid up next to the new ones.
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Old 09-14-2018, 13:37   #30
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Ok, how did he get that moniker...'sweet Lou' ?
Not quite sure. Though, the late-Ed LeBlanc is the one who mentioned this moniker to me the first time. Then, afterwards, it seemed like everyone called him that when talking about him, but not to him. He was not a particularly "sweet" guy. In fact, I remember going through some really difficult days with him as the senior enlisted adviser at company-level. I heard that he mellowed-out a bit as senior enlisted adviser at battalion-level. He has been retired for some time now.
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