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Sometime in the future, in a post-TEOTWAWKI environment, your retreat group may decide to send out small teams

to conduct either reconnaissance or security patrols. They may want to collect information on what is happening at the nearest town or confirm/ disprove the accuracy of any information (rumors) previously attained. Whatever the mission, these teams must function as a cohesive unit every time. Their success or failure will depend on everyone’s ability to operate during darkness or periods of reduced and/ or limited visibility (to include rain, fog, snow, etc.) even if they do not have the aid of night vision devices because of expense, loss, and/or damage.

Psychological Effects The inability to see well in darkness leads to doubt and increases apprehension. Darkness always brings out an individual’s weakness, especially in lethal situations. It has been demonstrated many times in both military and police situations that if a team member is confused, frightened, or operating in a diminished capacity, the entire team will suffer. This could lead to over-caution, which might make an individual a better target due to slowness or additional time spent being backlighted or silhouetted. The team’s ability to function (and fight) at night is directly related to confidence in individual skills, unit teamwork, and confidence in leaders. At night, objects or shadows can appear “real”, exaggerated to the untrained mind. These illusions can come from the over-active imagination (and viewing too many horror type movies; which, due to darkness, the imagination cannot separate fact from fantasy. Illusions may also come from: - Confusion due to an error of the senses: hearing, smell, and sight - A mistaken impression in the mind (a low tree with no leaves on its branches is a man standing with a rifle, etc.). - A confused mind and personal fears or phobias (a piece of rope is a snake; a clothesline full of cloths is a group of people, etc.). As stress increases, individuals may also imagine dangers, causing fear or even panic. Fear can cause uncertainty, which could cloud an individual’s decision-making capability. This is true in all untrained or marginally experienced people. Training will diminish this dilemma (however, to some extent it will always be there); confident in their abilities, individuals and teams will be better prepared for what they may encounter

Maximizing the capabilities of the senses will enhance an individuals ability to move and fight at night. a gust of wind through the trees. faint sounds.Motor vehicle movement on a dirt road .Screams (1.000 – 4. vision is maximized by understanding how the eye operates differently at day and night and how to efficiently use its capabilities. Practice and training will help overcome an individual's fear in what they hear at night.000 m) . Have member’s jump-shuffle before moving out. it also affects the senses.Conservation in low voice . and unnatural sounds are much more easily identified. Below are some examples of sounds that you might encounter and the distances the normal human ear can hear at night: .Loose change or keys in pockets .Cocking / loading a weapon (400 – 500 m) / highway (500 m / 1. Improving the senses of hearing and smelling requires training.Automatic weapons fire (3. Move quickly as possible when these sounds can be used to your advantage (e. Check team members and equipment for objects. hearing becomes more acute.Footsteps over leaves and branches (60 – 80 m) .Coughing (55 – 65 m) .Normal Footsteps (20 – 30 meters) . and sound source directions.Single rifle shot .. When patrolling.000 m) .Physical Factors Just as darkness affects the mind. Some things to be aware of: .Normal conversation (90 – 100 m) (35 – 45 m) . which can make noise. sound travels farther in cooler. and less background noise. moist air. etc).500 m) (2.g. try to use natural or normal sounds to mask your movement. a car drives by.000 m) Remember sharp sounds carry much farther. Training enables individuals to discriminate multiple sounds. Several factors contribute to this: increased concentration. whenever possible. Hearing: At night.000 – 3.

Lighted cigarette (500 – 800 m) . creates a central blind spot.500 – 2..Items that “flop” forward when you stoop or bend over . We don’t want to be tromping through the jungle smelling like Americans”.Loosely attached items. which causes larger objects to be missed as distances increase. Col.Muzzle flashes from small-arms weapons .Water sloshing in a half-full canteen Smell: Of all the senses. smell is used the least and often ignored. Below are some examples of odors that you might encounter and the distances the normal human nose can detect them at night: .Lighted match (1.000 – 8.Flashlight (2. individuals should be able to easily detect and differentiate between different odors.Cigarette smoke (150 m) . and easily blinded when exposed to light. Below are some examples of light sources that you might encounter and the distances at which these light sources could be seen at night with the naked eye: . The color receptors are clustered near the center of the retina.500 m) (1. tobacco and aftershave can linger long enough to signal an individual/ team of possible contact. With some training. such as flashlights . At night.Hand guards or sling on weapons .000 m) . campfire.000 m) .Heat tab (300 m) . eyes cannot differentiate color. In the movie “Uncommon Valor”.Vehicle headlights(4.000 m) .Diesel fuel (500 m) Vision: Vision at night is different from vision during the day. This was because different diets produce different characteristic human odors.Loose boot laces . Rhodes (Gene Hackman) tells the team “…we will be eating nothing but Vietnamese food from now on. Additional clues like exhaust from fuel-burning engines. cooking odors.

vision is increased. use a tactical red lens flashlight (with cardboard filter cutout – to create a smaller beam).g. The same is true while out on patrol (e. such as the high full moon. To the patrol looking for a target. the nearer it will appear making range estimation difficult. Members should always assume that others. . . the further away it will look. This glow could be seen by others also using night vision devices. everyone must observe strict blackout rules. . . while you can only see your immediate surroundings. you become a long-range target.Silhouetting an object with light from its rear will clearly define it. curtains. . be on the ground and under a poncho). not in the group.When light. such as the low full moon is faced vision is decreased.When holding a light. . . (e.While at the retreat. be aware that they can throw off a retro-reflective glow commonly know by soldiers as “cat-eyes” reflection. screens. . and other special opaque materials to prevent light from escaping. the effect is neutral. The bigger the object. again making range estimation difficult. have just as much or even more technology as they do. Relation of Vision to Light and Shadows: . is behind. both are easily seen when moving. entrances.When light. If members are lucky enough to have night vision devices. obscured or dark objects will seem farther away.The smaller the object. . even when moving. Windows. members know that during the hours of darkness.Camouflaged individuals in the shadows are extremely hard to see.When light is straight overhead.Direct lighting will ruin your night vision.Bright objects will seem closer. if you need to review a map.It is easy to see looking from darkness into light. standing near a campfire). and hard to see when in the shadows or stationary.g. and other openings through which light can shine must be covered with shutters. Improving Night Abilities . but nearly impossible when looking from a lighted area into darkness.

. Some examples of exercises that individuals or a team can practice (day and night) are: . breath normally. Just keep in mind that because Vitamin A is fat-soluble. have one team member try to move toward someone else and try to touch them. rather than incorporating it into the overall drone creating by the mass of sounds.In either an urban environment or at the retreat. concentrate and think about specific odor. with weapons or on patrol to conduct training. Being aware is something that can be developed through training. Lock the sound into your subconscious so that you will be able to take warning when their absence is inappropriate. birds singing during the day and not at night). or normal. short grass (not kneedeep dry leaves) with everyone’s eyes tightly closes. the eye sensitivity increases roughly 10. without being detected. . With practice. during different times of the day and the year. but not much further after that time. then take sharp sniffs. how good they have become at detecting sounds. listen to each and every sound. and try to move the team to the position without being detected. but also. nose at a 45-degree angle.Practice moving through various terrains. or activities). . relax. .Practice moving at night or with a blindfold. and when the sounds should be heard (e. Dark Adaptation: Is the process by which the eyes increase their sensitivity to low levels of light. During the first 30 minutes in a dark environment. It is also being able to subconsciously catalog the various sounds and have a mental alarm when something is not right. While everyone is concentrating on listening.g. members will be surprised not only at how well they can now move more quietly. Remember the standard KADE rule for dosing vitamins that are not water soluble!] . sit quietly and carefully.Awareness: Become in tuned with your surroundings – be able to differentiate between what is normal. as well as when their presence is normal. becoming aware of texture and feel. objects. When doing these exercises. Be aware of what is natural. identify and cataloging each individually. you should not over-dose on Vitamin A. Remember. sounds. and what is not (or being able to notice the absence of normal sights. and in various weather conditions. you do not always have to be in camouflage. head down. . such as dry. Individuals adapt to the darkness at varying degrees and rates. or place someone in a designated area.Sit around a moderately normal area. simply relax.Practice on smelling techniques. breathe deeply and focus your mind.000 times. [JWR Adds: A good diet that has plentiful Retinol (the animal form of Vitamin A) is also important. Face into the wind.

Visual sharpness at night is one-seventh of what it is during the day. at night individuals must avoid looking directly at a faintly visible object when trying to confirm its presence. or to either side of an object rather than directly at it. . taking 30 . Night Vision Scanning: Dark adaptation is only the first step toward maximizing the ability to see at night. and vehicle headlights. bulky objects. Off-Center Vision: Viewing an object using central vision during daylight poses no limitation. regular scanning movement. During this same time. however. if an individual adapts to the dark before donning the device.Color perception decreases during darkness where light and dark colors distinguished depending on the intensity of the reflected light. Therefore. .Adaptation is affected by exposure to bright lights such as matches. Night vision scanning enables individuals to overcome many of the physiological limitations of their eyes and reduce the visual illusions that so often confuse them. the image of an object viewed longer than two to . Protecting Night Vision: While working and performing tasks in daylight. It must be noted that even when offcenter viewing is practiced.Night vision devices can impede dark adaptation. which can also persist for equally as long. The technique involves scanning from either right to left (or from left to right) using a slow. These effects are cumulative and may persist for several days. This is because the eye has a night blind spot that exists during low light. Although both day and night searches use scanning movements. but this technique is ineffective at night. This technique requires looking approximately 10 degrees above. below. neutral density sunglasses or equivalent filter lenses should be used during daylight when night operations are anticipated. flashlights. . the exposure to this light will directly affect night vision. Exposure to bright sunlight for two to five hours causes a definite decrease in visual sensitivity. This allows the peripheral vision of the eye to remain in contact with an object. this is why individuals can only see large. the rate of dark adaptation and the degree of night vision capability will be decreased. they should regain full dark adaptation in about two minutes after removing them..45 minutes for full recovery. flares. To compensate for this limitation. individuals use what is called “off-center vision”.

Proper use of cover and concealment (including react to flares .Selection of proper positions and routes (geographic study of the terrain to include potential obstacles.Discipline and teamwork.Noise and light discipline.Use of contingency plans.) . .Proper use of camouflage.Traveling formations (file versus wedge) . . individuals can continue to pick up the object in his peripheral field of vision. .Movement on ridges and hilltops (which lead to detection). .Crossing danger areas (roads or open areas).React to unplanned contact (immediate action drills – contact front/ rear. covering a full spectrum of many necessary skills.Team’s ability to follow its plan. To overcome this condition. Training: While at the retreat. . it is important to set up realistic training scenarios. the individual must be aware of this phenomenon and avoid looking at an object longer than two to three seconds. stalking) . right/ left. your team is most likely to encounter.Abort and rally point exercises.three seconds tends to bleach out and become one solid tone. the following minimum things should be evaluated: . the object is no longer visible and can produce a potentially unsafe operating condition. natural or man-made) . By shifting their eyes from one off-center point to another.Stealth techniques (night walking.Good planning sequence. . . . Since night operations are a broad topic. In addition to the above.Proper undetected movement . the follow areas should be evaluated for urban environments: .ground/ air) .Employment of proper tactics. etc. . As a result. and in the terrain. ambush. using role players.

Moving through doors.Moving past windows (low and high). balanced. . Remember that fancy equipment is in no way a substitute for complete. Good-luck and God Bless! .Observation and movement techniques. It will allow everyone to become confident in their abilities (obtaining high morale and a mental offensive spirit) even without the aid of night vision devices. The last piece of advice I will leave you with is: The only thing more difficult than training (or planning for an emergency) is having to explain why you didn’t train.Getting under chain linked fences. night training is a "must" requirement for all individuals/ teams at your retreat. and specific training. Therefore.. . . not everyone will be able to afford them or know how to use them to their full capability. Conclusion Although.Getting over walls and fences. . modern electronic night vision devices are available.