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5 Tactical Mission Techniques For Taking Your Kid Trick-Or-Treating
Halloween is rapidly approaching. It used to be an extravaganza of creepy frivolity, unfortunately the bad guys of the world now require the hovering of helicopter parents checking for razors in their child’s candy — though as a kid, I was always sure this was just a means for parents to steal the best treats. Recently everything from moving trick-or-treating away from Halloween night to prevent hoodlums from wreaking havoc, to the dangers of invisible body suit costumes make parents and communities freak out.
Instead of being part of the problem, here are five ways you can keep your child safe and make your neighborhood a fun place for Halloween.
1. Conduct reconnaissance.
A leader’s reconnaissance is crucial to the success of any tactical mission. Parents should perform a reconnaissance of the target neighborhood or their own with an eye toward safety and candy-acquisition variables. A creepy house without decorations meets the bypass criteria, while a creepy house because it is highly decorated and people are in the spirit is a target of opportunity. There are many web-based tools for parents to take a look at safety issues in a neighborhood (child predator, crime maps, and the police blotter).
Outside of glaring safety issues, providing 360-degree security on Halloween night is always a good bet. If you have older kids who don’t want mom or dad nearby, maintain an overwatch position from a distance — like the porch, sidewalk, or the entrance to the cul-de-sac where your child is trick-or-treating. Don’t forget to maintain regular communications with your candy scouts, or to pool resources with other families, and have fun.
2. Route security.
Based on the reconnaissance and your designated route, utilize the fifth principle of patrolling: common sense. Avoid highways, railroad tracks, or cemeteries, particularly pet cemeteries. For the older candy scouts, have them back brief you on their routes and call in regular checkpoints. The mission isn’t over until everyone is home on the couch eating candy.
3. Actions on the objective.
Violence of action is key to a tactical victory. On Halloween night encourage your child to take decisive action, but make sure they aren’t a jerk. Don’t advocate pushing over small children in a rush to the candy bowl. If you come up to a house that doesn’t want to interact with the public and leaves a bowl of candy on the porch, just take one, don’t be greedy. Like the legendary Marine Corps leader Gen. James Mattis once said: “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to…” well, let’s adapt that last part to read: “get candy from everyone you meet.”
4. Get involved in perimeter defense.
Halloween is a great opportunity to dust off your ghillie suit and hide in the leaves. Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter and Army National Guard Special Forces veteran Tim Kennedy provides an excellent example.
— Tim Kennedy (@TimKennedyMMA) October 31, 2014
Decorations, lighting, and well-stocked candy are all important home-defense preparations. If you have teenage hoodlums in the neighborhood, hiding in your ghillie suit can provide a lesson on personal responsibility if they mess with your pumpkins.
Instead of being the parent crying to the media, your town, or school district to ban the dangerous “whatever the trendy problem is this year” item for Halloween, be an active contributor to the fun and safety precautions in your neighborhood. Dress up with your kid. For instance, last year I wore a unicorn mask while my daughter rode on my back as a princess. We had fun and made some memories. Get involved, but give your kids the space to develop as a child and fight the costumed demons. Good leaders and parents are the invisible hand guiding actions for mission success without their knowledge.
A tip for adults.
Don’t drink too much. Costumes, bar crawls, and booze generate some memorable pictures for the internet and your current, or future employer.
Generally, Halloween costumes do not make for a good walk of shame outfit.
Former Defense Secretary James Mattis, who led a Marine task force to Afghanistan shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, said the Washington Post's recent reporting about the U.S. government's pattern of lies about the war over the last two decades is not "revelatory."
Mattis, who was interviewed by the Washington Post's David Ignatius on Friday, also said he does not believe the U.S. government made any efforts to hide the true situation in Afghanistan and he argued the war has not been in vain.
Here are 10 key quotes from Mattis regarding the Washington Post's reporting in the 'Afghanistan Papers.'
The Taliban may not have breached the walls of Bagram, but they damaged the hell out of its main passenger terminal
Blasts from Taliban car bombs outside of Bagram Airfield on Wednesday caused extensive damage to the base's passenger terminal, new pictures released by the 45th Expeditionary Wing show.
The pictures, which are part of a photo essay called "Bagram stands fast," were posted on the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service's website on Thursday.
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
Shortly after seven sailors died aboard USS Fitzgerald when she collided with a merchant ship off Japan in 2017, I wrote that the Fitzgerald's watch team could have been mine. My ship had once had a close call with me on watch, and I had attempted to explain how such a thing could happen. "Operating ships at sea is hard, and dangerous. Stand enough watches, and you'll have close calls," I wrote at the time. "When the Fitzgerald's investigation comes out, I, for one, will likely be forgiving."
So, am I forgiving? Yes — for some.
Editor's note: a version of this story first appeared in 2015.
Most people haven't heard of an elderly Belgian-Congolese nurse named Augusta Chiwy. But students of history know that adversity and dread can turn on a dime into freedom and change, and it's often the most humble and little-known individuals who are the drivers of it.
During the very darkest days of the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, Chiwy was such a catalyst, and hundreds of Americans lived because of her. She died quietly on Aug. 23, 2015, at the age of 94 at her home in Brussels, Belgium, and had it not been for the efforts of my friend — British military historian Martin King — the world may never have heard her astonishing story.
More than $20 million of the Pentagon aid at the center of the impeachment fight still hasn't reached Ukraine.
The continued delay undermines a key argument against impeachment from President Trump's Republican allies and a new legal memo from the White House Office of Management and Budget.