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Freddy Osuna is a Marine Combat Veteran and accomplished tracking instructor. He has taught with some of the best schools in the country and abroad and worked with everyone from LEOs, ESAR and SOF units.
Spending years perfecting his craft, Freddy is considered an SME (Subject Matter Expert) when it comes to tracking and the merging of old world skills with new technology and techniques. We caught up with Freddy to ask him a few questions about his tracking methodology, his book and the gear he uses.
What started your deep interest in tracking methods?
I’ve always had an interest in the survival/self-reliance skills industry; even attended my first formal survival/tracking school at the age of 13. As a boy I spent much of my time in the desert studying the tracks of coyote, bobcat, javelina, rabbit and quail. I taught myself to follow these trails for short distances in grade school. In 2002 I attended the USMC Jungle Warfare Training Center in Okinawa Japan where I was first introduced to military survival/tracking training. Patrolling and small unit maneuver warfare was something I excelled in as a Marine serving with 1st Bn 6th Marines and 1stBn 4th Marines. Later I would graduate Marine Corps Scout Sniper School where basic tracking is also taught and joined a community of likeminded bushmen who ate, shit and slept the hunting of gunmen. Since Vietnam the USMC Scout Sniper Community has preserved a visual tracking capability, some generations more so than others. In 2006 I coordinated with the U.S. Army Combat Tracker Course to provide a mobile training team for 1stMarine Regiments Scout Snipers. This was ran by the Tactical Tracking Operations School (TTOS). I was reinvigorated to the fact there may be work for me as a professional tracking instructor upon honorable discharge. I taught tracking while in active duty for TTOS. In fact when I got off of active duty I was called and asked if I would teach for TTOS fulltime. I have to thank TTOS for giving me my first civilian gig after getting out. I’ve seen this skill save lives while active duty in combat.
What would you say is the major principal behind the tracking method you teach and promote?
I would say my method is different because it is complete. Now what do I mean by this? There are many tracking schools in the U.S. and U.K. for that matter. The British have ran a survival/tracking school in Brunei since the end of WW2 largely based on jungle warfare. For this reason their 5-7 step tracking drill is designed for very thick vegetation and tight formations. Since 2003 they have updated to include other tracking concepts like the Rhodesian method gleaned from the Tactical Tracking Operations School as just one example. Tactical Tracking Operations School (Where I worked as a lead instructor 2008-2010) introduced to the USMC and U.S. Army in 2006 the Rhodesian method. Introduced by a former Rhodesian Selous Scout this method can be described as a highly dynamic, fast paced sign cutting and tracking technique designed for open desert terrain. The TTOS cadre and the British Royal Marines at Brunei have often shared ideas and if the Brits have gained from the TTOS method than TTOS has gained equally from theirs. There have been many other important innovators in tracking history like Ab Taylor for instance and Jack Kearney both Border patrol agents utilizing a very similar process to that of TTOS which I would describe as highly dependent on open terrain with natural or man-made breaks which trap impressions making it easier for the sign cutter to locate and ID. So historically we see a trend….terrain greatly influences tracking tactics development.
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