Some naturally assume that all military members are trained in advanced survival tactics such as bush craft skills and various other skills that John Rambo so famously demonstrated in the Rambo series. Actually, this is not the case however, because only a select few are invited to take advanced survival training courses. The most well known survival-training program is the Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape course better known as the SERE program.
The United States Air force designed and implemented SERE training for pilots and other aircraft personnel in the 1950’s. Pilots shot down over enemy territory needed certain skills to survive on the ground. They needed to know how to evade the enemy while at the same time survive off the land. They also needed to know how to resist once captured and untimely escape. The course was a success and continues today with all branches of service providing the training.
Aviators, Special Operations Personnel, some military contractors and certain Department of Defense personnel would be candidates for the training. Those deemed a high risk for capture do need the highly specialized training.
The typical soldier can expect support personnel to be in rear units located close enough to make resupply not much of a problem in most cases. Usually a Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC) in the army for example, will have the needed service and support personnel to keep soldiers supplied, so this means military support units are located virtually everywhere in the world. Therefore, most military personnel do not need advanced survival training because they have support battalions that take care of the beans, bullets, Band-Aids and blankets.
Special operations personnel and certain others however do not operate in areas where there would be a support battalion located in the rear. Special operations teams are expected to operate independent of support personnel and thus, they need specialized skills to survive in any environment. The training is extensive and once a member goes through the training their knowledge is built upon daily and training session are ongoing, practicing the skills once acquired is essential.
What Does This Have To Do With You
If you as a Prepper have to bug-out you will not have a support battalion that you can call upon, in other words, you will be operating independently of all support services. Services you would normally expect from local municipalities will not be available. Grocery stores will be shuttered, gas stations boarded up, and law enforcement is not likely to respond.
Like Special Operation teams, you would need the tools and equipment that allows you to survive using what is available from your environment. Payload would include but not be limited to weaponry, ammunition, food, maps, navigational equipment to include GPS, water and various communications equipment. You could also expect team members to have state of the art night vision equipment, first aid supplies, multi-tools and fixed bladed knives. Knowing what environment they will be operating in allows soldiers to adapt their equipment for specific terrain, climate and even culture.
Unlike military missions, bugging–out is not planned around any specific timetable. You really have no idea how long you will be gone so emphasis must be placed on tools and equipment geared toward sustainability. In other words, you cannot carry enough food and water for an indefinite period. This means that you need the materials and equipment to obtain what you need from your environment.
Caches Can Be a Lifesaver
Specialized teams have been known to cache supplies in certain areas and all personnel on the teams are instructed on how to locate the caches. Caches may include weapons, cash, certain travel documents, maps and so forth. The contents of each cache would be relevant to the culture, terrain, climate, team members and other mission requirements. Keep in mind Special Operation teams are meant to operate in an unconventional manner.
As a Prepper, you must begin to think out of the box, you must begin to think in unconventional ways at times to be able to accomplish the mission, which is to keep yourself and your family alive during a crisis, any crisis.
You cannot carry it all on your back so you do need the means to resupply yourself eventually. Caches make perfect sense, and you should learn how to do them properly and know what to place in each one. Go with the assumption that you will come upon each cache with nothing more than the clothes on your back, in other words make each cache an independent resupply depot that has items for complete sustainability.
You do not want ammunition in one cache and then have to seek another cache for your weapons and the same goes for food and water and other supplies. This of course does not mean place all items in the same container, but have various containers in the same cache.
It is important to know the terrain, climate and other factors of the area in which you expect to be operating. Having cold weather gear in a cache in an area that experiences winters would be one example and climbing rope would be another example if your cache were in a mountainous region.
Keep in mind your home base may have an entirely different climate, in other words it likely to be a different environment from your bug-out location, so stockpile your caches with items needed for the area in which the cache is located.
Skills and knowledge will sustain you when all else fails. Your food and water supply will run out and ammunition may become scarce. You have to rely on your equipment to a certain extent but it cannot become a crutch. You cannot become complacent, just because the equipment worked yesterday does not mean it will today. Skills will always be with you, but you must first learn them.
Evacuating your home bases is not the same as a day hike over well-marked trails. Even if there is a walking trail, it is not the best of ideas to use one, because points along could be an ambush point. That is why it is important that you know how to survive “off trail” as it were.
Before you go packing your bug-out-bag with everything but the kitchen sink learn how to get from point “A” to point “B” without being seen. Learn how to acquire food and water and know how to make fire and shelter in any environment. The basics never change, and you cannot get started until you do know the basics.