The Jäger Course

During my time in the Marine Corps, I spent a lot of long field ops living out of my backpack. This was the case in every unit I served with, from a division COC to an infantry regiment to ANGLICO teams. As an amphibious expeditionary force, Marines never get too attached to our vehicles, and remain prepared to transition to light infantry operations at any time.

The 5-day Jäger Course is designed to teach you how to conduct light infantry operations while living out of your pack in a patrol base. It’s one thing to grab a backpack and camp out for a night; it’s an entirely different experience doing it for several days while people are hunting you. That is why this whole course is spent living outside, using just what is in your pack. Along the way, I will share the tips and tricks that I learned over the 8 years I spent doing this on field ops and deployments.

This course covers the full spectrum of individual skills required to conduct an extended patrol. By the end of Jäger, you will be able to:

  • navigate with a map and compass, day and night
  • employ smoke grenades effectively
  • collect and treat drinking water in the field
  • engage targets out to 400m and direct other riflemen onto those targets
  • set up a covert, low-profile shelter
  • hide from thermal-equipped drones
  • and much, much more.

The full 5 days are treated like an extended patrol. We sleep outside under tarp shelters and resupply our water by filtering/purifying what we can collect. When our packs are not on our backs, they are camouflaged and concealed at an objective rally point or a patrol base. And no matter what we are doing, every man has their rifle either slung or within arm’s reach, fostering a mindset of constant vigilance. The vigilance is warranted, because the OPFOR will hunt for our patrol base, and we are not safe even when asleep.

On day 1, you are assigned to a fire team and squad. Everything you do, you do with your fire team. You plan your missions together, take turns standing guard while the others eat, and fight side-by-side. You will spend so much time working together that you will quickly mesh into a smoothly operating machine. And on top of that, you will develop a bond with your fellow Jägers that will last even beyond the course.

We will practice both using and evading drones. Drones are to the 21st century what machine guns were to the 20th; they’re revolutionizing how we wage war and we must adapt to this reality if we are to survive. A half day of this class is dedicated to using commercially available drones for reconnaissance, maneuver support, and psychological effects. In the process, you will also learn how to mitigate the effect that hostile drones have on your patrol.

Finally, the Jäger Course teaches you how to locate and hunt down an enemy force while remaining undetected yourself. Over the course of the week you will hunt down the enemy, observe their patterns of life, harass them with sniper fire and ambushes, and then raid their camp. The tactics taught in this course include:

  • Team-level fire and movement
  • Squad-level fire and maneuver
  • Immediate action drills
  • Ambushes
  • Observation post selection and occupation
  • Tactical employment of technology (drones, electronic warfare, and radios)
  • Patrol planning
  • Raids

I want you to see this course as a challenge. I am challenging you to grab that backpack you have in the corner and test whether you are ready to trust your life to its contents. If you accept this challenge, we will go to the field together and we will find the kinks in your setup. Then we will fix them, and you will make it the full 5 days. On Saturday, you will leave with a thorough knowledge of your equipment, confidence in your skills, and the Jäger tab on your sleeve.

I’ll see you in the field.

Published by vonsteubentraining

Mike is the owner and chief instructor of Von Steuben Training & Consulting (VSTAC). A self-described “Tactical Scholar,” he spent 6 years in the Marine Corps as a radio operator and small-unit tactics instructor. He has dedicated his life to honing the tactical prowess of himself and his fellow patriots, guided by the wisdom of his commanding officer, Jesus Christ. He can be contacted via email at

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