CQB/The Mastiff

SENSITIVITY STATEMENT

Navy SEAL Wayne Bowman clears a corridor with his suppressed MP-5 sub machinegun at the ready.

CQB–an acronym for Close-Quarter-Battle. It’s the deadliest form of non-nuclear warfare; a real up close & personal hand-to-hand fight to the death. Think of it as a fist fight with guns & grenades. Despite what you see in Hollywood movies, the majority of US military infantry doctrine trains for contact between 300-1000 meters. Anything inside 300 meters is uncomfortable; anything inside 50 meters is the red zone because that’s hand grenade range. Oh, the basic infantryman is tough. But when my CQB direct-action team hits the scene, we don’t measure contact distance in meters; we measure in feet. Hand grenade range is dangerous; but when our guys go in, we operate to within stabbing range of the enemy.

I know what you’re thinking. Why do it if it’s so dangerous? Right? Well, there are a handful of situations when CQB offers the best option for an acceptable resolution. We’re talking hostage scenarios, especially when a VIP like an ambassador is the hostage. We’re also talking snatch & grabs; missions where we forcibly apprehend a person of key significance like a terrorist cell leader. There are a handful of other situations where our team takes priority to carry out the mission, but these first two scenarios represent the areas when armed resistance is almost assured. Put it this way; by the time they call us in, the situation has already devolved from bad to worse & we’re there to try to salvage at least a partial victory.

By now, you’ve probably met Lieutenant-Commander Robert Graves; he’s “the big boss.” And Chief Petty Officer Stone; he’s the second-in-command. We usually call him “Next” since he’s next in command. Well I’m Wayne Bowman. My official job title is “assaulter;” but my guys have designated me as the mastiff. When we’re on a snatch-&-grab mission, which about 30% of our missions are–my job is to close in on the target & apprehend them–the same way a police officer would arrest a suspect. These guys–typically, the targets are males although not always–can get mighty feisty. It’s my job to close in & lock down on them, the way a mastiff would lock in on a wild boar during a medieval hunt. I often end up wrestling the guy into submission & then escorting him out to the extraction zone while my teammates provide cover fire. It’s an uneasy feeling being caught in the middle of a firefight & not being able to shoot back. My job is to ensure the precious cargo makes a safe exit. That’s what I do. I’m the mastiff.

Usually most of the guys arm themselves with a standard M-4 carbline as their primary weapon. But I prefer the MP-5 submachine gun with a flash suppressor. Given my unique task, I often only fire once we’re in doors. And in-doors & in extremely tight quarters, the MP-5 actually has some advantages to the versatile M-4. For backup, I carry an H&K USP chambered in .45 ACP. Like my primary weapon, my pistol is usually suppressed. Again, I do my best work in-doors.

Most of the operators in my line of work measure success in terms of kills. I measure mine in terms of how many bad guys I bring in alive for questioning. Once we get them to talk, they’re worth way more to us alive then dead.

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