I wonder what these three items have in common? They’re a triangle-each provides something additional for the other two.
Reading a blog is nice; having Wikipedia and such is awesome(sometimes). The internet has given those who embrace it a magnificent tool for collective information- but that’s a huge double edged sword. There’s going to come a time in the future where all you have is what you know and all you have ready access to is what’s written in black and white. But fear not- people seemed smarter, or at least more informed before the internet. The larger the reference library, the better one will find himself.
Enter the Data Book
Any NCO, former or current, never finds himself far from a notebook and a pen. We write every last thing down. Taking this a step further, in the Scouting and Patrolling realm, every Infantry Scout carries on him, among other things, a notebook to write down any and all pertinent information he may need to reference under duress.
Info such as advanced Battlefield report formats(CRACK, ANGUS, CYRIL, etc… needing their own post), 9 Line Medevac and Call for Fire requests, simple operating steps for your radio, common tracks types(human and animal), known distance data(in mils) for your AO, and coded cache coordinates could all be found in every Scout’s notebook. You should be compiling yours now.
For us, working unsupported and mostly alone, the likelihood of needing as much information as possible to quick reference is pretty critical. The issue now goes from having nothing at all to having to compress a whole library into one small notebook. Split it up-
- Flora, Fauna, and Wildlife
- Common Frequency Data
- License-free bands with frequency name and Frequency
- Frequencies of local Public Service and which Agency
- Active Amateur Radio Calling Frequencies and Carrier Mode
- Local Commercial Radio Frequencies for news
- OPFOR frequencies found by searching for them
- Simple Operating Instructions
- Common Frequency Data
- Ranging Data
- Averages of common heights in Mils
- Intelligence Data
- Common equipment in your AO
- Foreign Equipment Recognition Guide
- Uniform Recognition Guide; both Friendly and Hostile
- Small Arms Recognition
- Persons of Interest
- Battlefield Report formats
- Coded Cache/Resupply Locations
Building my own Data Book has saved my hide more than once- believe me, after the stress of a very long insertion, you won’t remember much rapidly other than how much you hate life, hate your ruck, and how that 7ish lb M4 suddenly feels like a cinderblock(never mind the M24, M110, or any other weapon you may be carrying on your patrol). After five days in a hide site with Bob overhead, your suck level is that much worse. So having something to work off of is kinda nice, idiot proof, and just may ensure your mission success; let alone survival.
Its important to note- this book is in addition to your specific SOI, Commander’s Critical Intelligence Requirements(CCIR), and anything mission related. It’s your own little survival guide you built for your own little AO based on knowns.
Plus they’re fun to make and teach you some stuff in the process. Get to it.