In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, the lessons gleaned from RallyPoint member SFC Keith Orr in combat are especially notable. Here are his thoughts:
One of the hardest things to get over in combat, or any stress situation really, is the initial disbelief that most of us have ingrained into us from our comfortable prior lives: the sense that it's not really happening when it's right there in front of you.
Get this in your head right now: it's really happening, it's happening right now, and it's happening to you.
Decision making under fire can be pretty much reduced to a question of YES or NO and is almost always about movement.
"Is this a good spot?"
If the answer is yes, then get set up and get some rounds on target.
If it’s no, move to a better spot so you can get after them.
After that, it's about technique and problem solving.
There is no such thing as a “small fight” to a Platoon or Squad. Every time bullets are in the air, that is the most important thing you are doing. A Battalion, Brigade or Division Commander may think that it's a small fight, but the LT or SSG with his buttons in the dirt doesn't have that luxury.
SFC Keith Orr
SFC, US Army