Although I teach Reality-Based Personal Protection seminars around the world, half of my teachings are never posted on my website. I do a lot of teaching for my own government, I have police agencies and security companies hire me, and occasionally I get clients who want private training.
One of the contracts I like doing is when I get hired to teach a family how to protect themselves. On August 24th and 25th I had one such contract and flew out to Newark, New Jersey.
For two days I checked the security system on the property, trained the family how to search their home safely with a firearm (all family members are well trained with firearms and go to the gun range regularly), how to deal with a home invasion, what to do if a family member is a hostage, how to avoid kidnapping when they are traveling (for this family travels all over the world), and all the other skills they need to keep up on: Defensive Tactics, Knife Survival, Crime Survival, and Improvised Weapons.
This is my third time teaching this family, and they are some of the most dedicated students I have. All of them put in 100% and each time I train them I am proud to see their progress.
One of my top Reality-Based instructors, Joe Bates, helped me teach these private lessons, and played the role of “bad guy.” I rarely play the role of attacker with my own students because I must remain in a position of trust and authority. Playing the role of bad buy send mixed signals that are not entirely healthy.
In my opinion every family should get this type of training. The training is done in their own home, and in their own surroundings. Realistic scenarios can be done in actual places they will be. I work around the client’s budget and skill level. Of course, the people who tend to hire me are business executives, celebrities, and those who want individual attention rather than going to one of my seminars.
The trip also gave me the opportunity to visit with my old friend W.R. Mann of www.realfighting.com right after my last lesson on August 25th. We met in Manhattan at the famous EAT restaurant on Madison Avenue and caught up on our lives and business. W.R. has been busy teaching his reality-based system in South Africa and Switzerland, and traveling some in the Orient. W.R. Mann was the first person to invite me to teach my Reality-Based Personal Protection system back in 2003, and is a Level 2 instructor of mine. We have been good friends ever since, and whenever I am in New York City we make it a point to get together.
51,000 casualties Jim Wagner
After I had fulfilled my security consultant contract in New Jersey I had a full day off on August 26th before I had to catch my plane to Italy the following day. I decided to put the time to good use and continue my ongoing research into human conflict. Whenever I travel, and there are good museums or battlefields in the vicinity, I make it a point to visit the location armed with my camera and a note pad.
Once I finished the traditional American breakfast that the cook whipped up at the Bed & Breakfast I was staying at I hopped into my rental car and drove to the Gettysburg National Military Park (www.gettysburgfoundation.org) in Pennsylvania approximately 250 miles away. When I arrived I was awed by the newly renovated war museum and the self-guided battlefields; a place that receives 3 million visitors a year.
In July of 1863 the town of Gettysburg and the surrounding country side was a battlefield between Union and Confederate troops. After three days of intense fighting the result was a Union victory and 51,000 casualties. It took four months afterwards to clean up the battlefields and bury the dead. Then, on November 19, the Soldier’s National Cemetery is dedicated by President Abraham Lincoln delivering his famous Gettysburg Address before a gathering of 15,000 attendees.
The Gettysburg National Military Park covers 6,000-acres and has 26 miles of paved roads to view the 1,328 monuments, markers and memorials that honor the 165,000 soldiers that fought there, and that was the turning point of the American Civil War.
Ever since I was a child I have always been interested in American history, and I found the Civil War of particular interest. From this devastating war came many great characters like President Abraham Lincoln, General Robert E. Lee of the Confederate States of America, General Ulysses S. Grant (who eventually became President of the United States) of the Union Army, and General George Armstrong Custer. It was also a time of technological change in warfare with the introduction of iron ships, manned balloons used to observe the enemy, the telegraph that provided instant long distance communications, and the use of trains to transport troops and supplies.
The museum was modern and visually stimulating. Every room told a story and every wall offered displays, graphics, and photos. Although I only had a few hours to enjoy myself, I could have easily spent a couple days in the museum reading each display and interaction with the various touch screens and watching numerous documentaries.
I particularly liked the display of a full uniform and kit of a Union soldier uniform and a Confederate soldier at the entrance of the museum. Inside was a good display of a bivouac site with an enlisted soldier’s tent and personal items and another one for a typical officer. I was also surprised to see the packaging for a field tourniquet that Army doctors carried into battle. The concept is the same as today with the Army’s C.A.T. tourniquet. In fact, when I was training some of my clients in New Jersey two days before my museum visit I had them all lean how to apply a C.A.T. tourniquet and to make improvised tourniquets out of common materials found on a person. It was interesting to see the connection between today’s equipment and techniques and that of the past (147 years ago to be exact).
Since I am currently in a military police unit I like to compare the equipment and uniforms of then and now. One of the traditions that we have today is directly from the Civil War era, and that is the wearing of the Army Dress Blue uniform. The coat of the uniform is dark blue and the pants are light blue, just like the Union soldiers wore; the Confederate soldiers wore gray. The Union soldiers wore these colors into battle, however, today the Dress Blues is for formal occasions and the Army Combat Uniform (ACU) is for battle since there is a need for soldiers to be camouflaged with today’s tactics.
What struck me most were the hallowed grounds of the battlefields left just as they were during the war. I took the self-guided auto tour because I didn’t have time for the two-hour bus tour. All along the small well paved roads are sign boards that point out where various battles took place, what units fought them, and additional details that help the history come alive. On various ridges where there were once artillery positions authentic civil war cannons look over the very valleys that they lobbed shells into. To see the muzzles pointed downrange at the nineteenth century fences and fields almost bring back the sounds and sights of those three terrible days.
During my trip to Pennsylvania I also had a chance to visit the township of Bethlehem located northeast of Gettysburg. This little town had a few tidbits of history that I discovered.
Copyright Jim Wagner 2003 - 2021 All rights reserved.