Realistic Team Training Events, by Joe Dolio

When talking about survival in a Without Rule of Law (WROL) situation, you are going to need a team. This can be a dedicated preparedness group, your family, a collection of friends, or whomever. But you absolutely need a team to survive in the coming chaos. This team needs to train together in order to be effective.

The problem is that most training events go something like this: On Friday night, everyone meets at the location, has a big BBQ dinner and hangs out around the campfire. Tents and shelters are placed in a wide-open area, spread out over a large surface and people bring large “family camping” style tents, rather than a tactically appropriate small-footprint shelter. On Saturday morning, there’s a large group breakfast and the first two hours are spent eating and chatting. Finally, there is a lecture session on something lasting an hour or two. Another couple of hours are spent having a large lunch, then in the afternoon, everyone lines up in a straight line and blasts away from stationary positions at stationary targets. Then, we’re back to a large BBQ and campfire time. On Sunday, the first few hours are dedicated to a big cookout breakfast, then the group practices “CQB” by launching attacks on an undefended plywood structure, which has exactly no relevance to preparedness. In preparedness, we won’t be out seizing buildings, we’ll be defending them, but that doesn’t stop every group I’ve ever trained with from spending the bulk of their time doing “ultra-tacti-cool-guy” training, that will not be relevant one bit. Then, everyone will brag at work and on social media about all the “training” they did, which was effectively zero.

So, what then is the solution? Here, I will present a far better option that is realistic, and scenario-based and allows every minute of the weekend to be dedicated to training. The only problem is, it won’t be as much fun, and it will be difficult and challenging. This exercise, and others, are outlined in my book The Base Line Training Manual. (Available from Books-a-Million or the dreaded Amazon.)

Training With Realism

First, establish some type of scenario for the event. It could be an EMP attack, it could be that the power grid was hacked and power has been out for two weeks with food riots, whatever your team decides on. Something realistic that everyone could buy into.

Next, set up a firm meeting time and location for everyone to meet up for vehicle movement. This is important. In a real-world scenario, you wouldn’t have people straggling in and out of your group as a weekend progresses. You also wouldn’t have some travel in convoy, and a few arriving later. Make the time firm and if people can’t make that time, they don’t make the weekend. Realism.

As people arrive at the meeting location, there is no “mingling” or “catching up”, this is a real-world training event. As the vehicles arrive, stage them in a vehicle convoy position and assign the vehicle crews to pull security on an assigned sector while forming up, just like you would do in a real situation. Handheld and vehicle radios are absolutely essential for this.

Once everyone is there, move out in a vehicle convoy, using radios just like you would in a real-world situation. Don’t take the freeway; in a real-world escape, you wouldn’t use them. A good radio set up for vehicle convoys is CB radios for vehicle-to-vehicle comms, and handheld VHF/UHF units for anyone who dismounts. Relax, Amateur Radio people, there will be far fewer people on CB in a WROL situation, and you can do what you choose, this is just my suggestion.

Conduct Training Away From Vehicles

Have the group travel in a convoy operation to a parking area well short of your overnight location. This is so that your teams will have to use foot movement to get to the site, and to keep your team from relying on having vehicles to hold extra supplies. We want to train to live off what we can carry. For the record, there should be NO cooler-based foods and there will be NO group meals. Each person carries their own food in their own ruck.

When arriving at the parking location and unpacking cars, again, remember what we are doing. Assign half the team to pull security, while the other half unpacks quickly and quietly, then switch roles.

Form up in a foot movement formation and ruck your way to the overnight site. Once you arrive at the site, assign each subgroup a sector and have them first select security positions that they could defend their sector from, before doing anything else. Each person should find a spot to conceal their ruck near their security position. Once security has been established, have half of each team pull security while the other half prepares and eats their evening meal, then switch. Do the same thing with setting up tents or shelters. The important thing is that half the team conducts security while the other half works.

Overnight Security

An overnight watch schedule should be prepared so that someone is on security overwatch all night. If you have a large team, there should be two people on security all night. Have the duty security team watching the most likely avenue of approach.

Each night, you should also designate an emergency rally point about 200 to 300 meters from the camp and let everyone know where it is. That way, you are training people that if the camp is overrun at night, everyone can make their own way away, and still link up elsewhere, later.


Also, conduct the 100% stand-to at evening and morning twilight, one-half hour before sunrise & sunset to one-half hour after. Every single person should be in a security position, fully armed, and watching their sectors.

Again, just like in the individual training event that I described in my previous article, don’t take anything out of your ruck unless you are currently using it. Put everything away as soon as you are done with it. We want to be in a position to flee on a moment’s notice, even if we have to leave our shelter behind. An emergency camp evacuation could be another training drill you run.

In the morning, have half of each unit pull security while the other half takes down their shelter. You could also send out a small patrol to circle the camp about 200 meters out, looking for signs that anyone approached the camp. After taking down shelters, have the teams rotate through personal administration, then breakfast. We are trying to build solid field tactical routines.

Once your patrol returns, and everyone has eaten and packed everything up, spend the day conducting “recon patrols” as smaller units from this campsite to the next one. Each team will move out on its own route, moving tactically towards the new site, all rendezvousing at a link-up site just short of your new overnight spot.

Once you get to the new overnight spot, repeat the entire routine for the second night. The following morning, everyone then patrols back to the vehicle parking area by foot movement.

When you get back to the vehicle training area, the exercise is not yet over. Do the same thing you did on the way in. Have half the team set security, while the other half loads their gear in the vehicle, then switch. Then mount up and conduct a convoy operation back to the original meeting location.

Once you get back there, hold an after-action review and discuss what worked and what didn’t. Write down any adjustments you need to make personally to your gear or organization to improve.

Other Training?

I know, some of you are thinking; but there was no shooting, there was no unarmed self-defense, no lecture periods. That’s right. In a real WROL situation, despite what you might imagine, or what you’ve seen on the The Book of Eli, you won’t spend much time doing any of those things, unless you’ve planned poorly. Once you get away from the cities, most of your time will be spent exactly like the weekend that I just described.

During the day, you could conduct other training operations during part of the day, but focus them on other team skills, rather than always direct-action combat skills. You could have teams practice building fighting positions in the morning, and maybe on setting a hasty ambush in the afternoon. The goal is to focus on team skills. Shooting is an individual skill that everyone should be maintaining on their own.

For those who feel that CQB training is somehow vital…I challenge that if you have to clear a building from hostile forces, you’ve obviously already lost somehow. Yes, DEFENSIVE CQB skills are a plus, but people never train on defending a building, it’s always on seizing one. If you lose a building in a real-life and need to retake it, you’d be better off to count your blessings and run, living to fight another day.

Survive First, Then Resist

Our main goal in a WROL situation will be survival, and resistance will be secondary to that. You can’t resist a tyrannical government if you were wiped out while conducting a sloppy overnight routine. Also, in all reality, if a tyrannical government or invading Chinese/UN force is going to be resisted, training in setting ambushes, which doesn’t require actually firing rounds, is far more realistic. You will not be directly attacking any Chinese base and securing their HQ building, no matter what you think.

Training on patrol techniques, setting up observation posts/fighting positions, ambush training, tracking/counter-tracking skills, and on surveillance/observation are better skills for general survival and/or resistance training anyway, and in our current ammunition shortage, they don’t require actual rounds fired.

Another team training skill that you could work on is the preparedness skill you’ll use almost daily: First Aid. First Aid is actually a misnomer because in a WROL situation it will be “Only Aid”. The team could spend time training on treating wounds and illnesses. That will increase team survivability in the long run.

To recap: Rather than having family campouts with very little realistic training, get focused on spending every possible moment training on a real-world scenario with skills that you will actually use. Take your entire group out and practice building concealed overnight positions and learn to live in the field, living on only what’s in your ruck.