The period before a combat deployment can considerably tire you, both physically and mentally. The very thoughts of war, especially if it is your first time on the battlefield, can take a heavy toll on you. But even so, it is necessary to keep calm and prepare in the best way you possibly can.
Here are five different ways to prepare for combat duty:
1. Undergo Situational Awareness Training
While fighting with rival armies, if you do not know what is happening around you, they will have a significant advantage over you and may attack you by surprise. Thus, it is paramount to undergo situational awareness training.
The term situational awareness loosely translates to using your sensory system to perceive environmental elements that threaten you in the present or the future. Even though you have the inborn ability to discern danger, training improves your capability.
Such training typically takes place in combat-proven military structures that are meant for warfighters. In addition to professional/formal instruction/training, you can perform individual exercises, including
- Playing games that require you to memorise a series of items;
- Giving outstanding descriptions of what random people look like; imitating real-life eyewitnesses;
- Improving your peripheral vision by scanning everything in your path;
- Spotting differences in several images that look nearly similar;
- Watching people on busy streets to identify those who may be up to something bad; and
- Walking into complex stores and seeing how quickly you can pinpoint all exits.
These activities can aid in preparing you for the real thing; the battleground is where enemies seek the slightest opportunity to harm you. If you spot them in good time, you can take the necessary steps to safeguard yourself and your fellow soldiers.
2. Learn How To Survive
Depending on which country or region you go to for combat duty, you may need to learn specific survival skills. For example, if the country in question frequently experiences hurricanes, you need to master how to act when faced with a storm and you are out there alone. The same applies to other disasters, like earthquakes, fires, flash floods, and lack of drinkable water, among many others.
As a soldier, you may not always have a cosy bed or a proper shelter to shield you from the elements, meaning it is in your best interest to get prepared for the worst.
3. Get Fit
As a soldier, you need speed and agility similar to that in sports, e.g. football. This is because you are required to carry (sometimes very heavy) combat loads which can include ammunition, rifle, food, tactical vest/armour, water, sleeping bag, wet weather bag, and more. Further – and unlike a flat, mown football pitch – the terrain you traverse is likely to be undulating or hilly, meaning you require better all-round fitness than an athlete.
To get started, start a regular exercise routine or attend a military boot camp. Ensure you do pull-ups (heaves), lunges, push-ups (press-ups), squats, and sit-ups to strengthen your core and limbs. Also, walk and run as often as you can, preferably on the hills. Add weights to simulate the actual battlefield, where you will most probably walk with loads. Increase the distances you cover gradually until you are able to walk and run several kilometres without much struggle or undue fatigue.
4. Put Your Matters In Order
If you go to some far-away country, you will most likely spend several months from home. However, your bills still need to be paid, your kids need to go to school, and your home needs to be maintained.
For these reasons, make sure you assign a reliable person to attend to such issues. This way, you will not be overly stressed over problems back at home while you are on duty to fighting for your country.
Additionally, inform all relevant persons of your awaited combat posting. It is vital for your family and close friends to always know your whereabouts. You understand that wars have plenty of uncertainties regarding survivability. If anything happens to you while on duty, your loved ones will know where to start.
5. Practice Mindfulness
Battlegrounds are high-stress environments. As a soldier, you will face situations that call you to make quick decisions without succumbing to stress. So, you ought to have the mental agility and emotional awareness needed to handle such difficult situations. You can get these traits through mindfulness training.
Combat, and training for it, is challenging and can put your physical (and mental) capabilities to the test. Despite these rigours, there is preparation you can do to make your ‘stay’ on the battlefield manageable. Put these tips into practice and see the difference it makes during your next combat duty.