In the Land Warfare/Urban Warfare portion of BUD/S, my class had 18 Trainees left, with roughly half of the training left to finish. Most of the other 81 had quit, a precious few were academically rolled out, or medically rolled back to a later class.
Eighteen gave us 2, large squads, or 3 small squads. There were 3 officers remaining…do the math.
We were running 3 different missions in the sloughs below Imperial Beach, CA. We were loaded for bear. All were ambush missions. We bounced around the muddy, mostly watery landscape. Part of the education of the evolution was night land navigation, and multiple ‘changes’ to our routes, to tell if those in charge could navigate in the dark….when SEALs are their deadliest.
Once in our ‘destination’ locations, we all sat, and silently waited for our ‘target’ to pass into our ‘kill zone’.
Over an hour went by. Zip…
A second…nada. We were beginning to think this was the only purpose…to sit, wait, shiver, and do nothing.
After a third hour went by, my squad detected sounds of approaching foot traffic, coming right into our zone. This was it. We all prepared our weapons, quietly slipping them off ‘safe’ and closely watched the ‘kill zone’….Overlapping fields of fire, that deliver an inescapable hail of bullets, grenades and explosives. (All blanks and simulators for this one… it’s Basic SEAL training.)
The enemy patrol moved into our kill zone, and as the first was about to exit it, the last entered it, and we lit up the night with gunfire, and explosions. The ‘targets’ began running…but they never shot back. That seemed curious, but we didn’t care. We had accomplished our mission. Every target would have been dead.
The squad officer in charge (OIC), scrambled to the radio, and at the same time, we were being called. The Instructor on the other end screamed “What on God’s green earth are you guys shooting at?” The OIC explained the situation. The Instructor said “We know of no movement in the area, and WE control the area…wait one!!!”
He told us we’d blown our location, and would have to move. Puzzled, the OIC restated, ‘We just opened fire on approximately 8-10 on foot.” The Instructor asked “Any return fire?”…OIC, reluctantly… “No.”….
A pause…. when the instructor came back on, laughter could be heard in the background…
“You just ambushed a bunch of Mexicans looking for greener pastures in California… pack up, and relocate to coordinates given, you’re blown…and call when on station, at that location!!!” Each word, the Instructor was fighting back his own involuntary chuckling, but trying to sound stern.
In all probability, those poor Mexicans didn’t stop running till they got to Canada. They literally dodged not ‘a’ bullet…but a hail of them.