On Track with Greenside: Training Day 2
Training Day 2 with Greenside Training was much longer than TD1 and I’m confident the students found it challenging. For myself, my eyes were completely exhausted by the end of the day. Since we started with more of what Freddy Osuna calls his “Pillar Drills”, used to attain his terminal objectives, and then remained on track for approximately the next 10-12 hours, this isn’t surprising. The basic Index Tracking/GLINT Course terminal objectives are:
Establish a criteria/standard for evaluating sign
Determine precise directions of travel and index gaits
Increase environmental/tactical awareness
The Pillar Drills, which began on Day One with the Elephant- and Confirmation Drills, continued on Day Two with lessons on reading directional indicators and aging. To hone that skill set Osuna challenged the students (and myself – I’d never seen these particular spoor pit exercises) to determine direction changes by walking through an uncontaminated area, making multiple turns, then erasing all but 3-4 toe digs and covering them all with cones. It was an extremely difficult Pillar Drill, far more so than its innocuous name would suggest (‘Toe Dig Drill’ has a lackluster sound completely at odds with how it torments your eyeballs). The hard and granular of the tracking medium further complicated the drill, but the class was quickly successful. Some of the techniques he taught were new to me, and (not surprisingly) very effective.
Though we’ll leave it to Trek and Keller to explain the “crossbow” TTP they invented (and that Keller so ably demonstrated).
By late that afternoon everyone was learning to interpret ground sign, which Osuna defined as “…a technique in which the tracker can determine action of his or her prey in order to identify or confirm trends, habits and routines…”
Though we continued tracking through the day, working the Tracker’s OODA loop and Index Tracking, the stuff I found most interesting (and the biggest reason I wanted to attend) came that night when Osuna introduced us to GLINT – Green Laser Index Night Tracking. Night tracking is difficult, as one can imagine, and tactically unwise. Only under the most dire tactical circumstances (search and rescue or passive/forensic tracking is different, obviously) should night tracking be done and even then something other than white light should be employed. I learned to use green light on a follow-up early on, because it is substantially less revealing to potentially hostile eyes than white light and because the human eye sees further into the green spectrum than the red. This makes it more effective and produces less strain on the eyes.
What I had never seen before, and what Osuna has pioneered, is the use of green lasers to track. He uses them not only to index a track line, increasing the speed of a follow-up by focusing attention in the 30° likely track line and mitigating the tendency of trackers to track step by step rather than in bounds. This is difficult to relay in a written AAR, and not much easier to reflect in images and video but it works.
Though Osuna had explained it to me before, I remained skeptical. He’d demonstrated the technique to certain elements of border agencies and they quickly adopted it. He introduced it to USMC Adviser Training Group last October and they solidified the concept; one group of students in that course utilized GLINT to attempt a follow-up in a 10x10km urban area that had previously been contaminated by the spoor of an entire Marine battalion. They were successful.
Freddy advised the GLINT method provided the following advantages:
1. Promotes light discipline by reducing the need to search with white light2. Statistically reduces search area3. Increases instant shape and pattern recognition at greater distances4. Reduces verbal communication5. Increases tactical dispersion of teammates6. Reduces visual target signature of tracking team7. Promotes formation discipline and command and control8. Increases efficiency in the Trackers decision making process OODA Loop9. Balances speed and security during night tacking movement10. Reduces eye fatigue11. Increases tactical awareness by Indexing team orientation (senses / firepower / NVGs)