But You Should
Jack spent his 19th birthday stepping lightly through the ankle deep grasses. Jack was on point because no one else wanted it. The heart stopping click and the feel of upward pressure on the foot was enough to make anyone want to weep and pray before each patrol.
The sound of the click would metaphorically stop your heart and one more step ahead and your heart would literally stop. The others on the team were convinced Jack could sense trouble, so he was point on most patrols. The team moved forward, ready to fan out if they heard the click, even though they maintained their 15 meters spacing.
Jack stepped lightly as others dutifully followed in his steps. Green eggs and ham made up his birthday meal. He had to trade his John Wayne bar and a can of apricots just to get them. Jack was what the military called STRAC (Skilled Tough and Ready Around the Clock).
Jack earned his blood stripes the hard way as they all did. Sometimes parents, wives, partners, sisters and brothers were given the stripes and medals not to pin on the soldier but to display in honor of. Some things you just cannot take with you.
Jack did not pay any attention to what others thought. Jack just wanted to be prepared because not being prepared meant the sound of a zipper closing you off, preparing you for the long sleep. Jack was not tired just yet.
Twenty-five years later with countless missions behind him, Jack put his papers in. It was time to prepare for another war, one not clearly defined but Jack knew the world was changing.
Jack had left the spit and polish 10 years ago but he maintained his readiness and discipline. Slack in the line would cause it to break or jerk you out of the harness, so he was continually pulling the slack tight. He had finished his safe room, his bolthole if you will and was now ready for his next project.
He knew when to back away and when to move forward. Jack was covering all bases and having a place to go to when the SHTF meant he would live to fight another day. Jack knew some preppers and most of them would have considered him one as well. He never hung that name on himself though he just simply wanted to be prepared.
One day soon after buying and fixing up his cabin, Jack was in town stocking up on supplies and he was asked if he was one of those crazy survivalists like the ones shown on television. Jack looked at the customer who was waiting to pay and asked him what he had done that day. The customer looked confused, so Jack asked again. Finally Jack said well you survived the day up to this point, you survived by your actions is that correct, the man nodded so Jack said well then you are a survivalist yourself, are you not.
Jack went on to say everyone is a survivalist in his or her own way. People prepare for job interviews and they take college courses to help them with promotions, people are prepping everyday to survive, and to survive better than yesterday. The customer struck out his hand and introduced himself. Jack shook the hand, shouldered the flour he bought, and started for home. No one ever asked him again.
Jack called it a cabin but to anyone else it was a fine looking home. Jack over the last 10 years had added two bedrooms, a drilled well, had finished his safe room, added a septic system and a water turbine for generating power was hidden up stream. The home was in the middle of 20 acres and surrounded by woods.
Jack hated to cut trees to prepare a field of fire so he compromised. He dug spider holes in various places so he could view the field of fire from various angles. He knew it was against common sense and tactics to give the enemy a place to hide but he wanted the overhead cover the trees provided and he may need them at some point for fuel as well.
He decided it was acceptable to exit the cabin under fire and move from spider hole to spider hole instead of trying to repel intruders from inside the cabin. To do it properly he would have cleared the forest for 100 yards in all directions to allow him a field of fire but he reasoned he could only cover 180 degrees at one time anyways.
He was working on solar panels today and wondered about the cost effectiveness of them. Jack always looked at things from a tactical standpoint. What if someone had the cabin under siege, the first thing they would do is isolate the occupants by shutting off the power. In the case of solar panels, they could easily destroy them and any lines connected to the grid would be cut as well.
Jack reasoned those attempting to take the cabin would not burn it down or not burn it right away because they would be after his supplies and weapons and would likely want the cabin for shelter.
Jack wanted a secure power source that could not be easily discovered and thus tampered with and so he had installed a water turbine system and had buried all the lines. The solar panels while functional were also a decoy. The idea was anyone attacking the cabin would assume the cabin would be in the dark if the attackers destroyed the panels. Misdirection was a tactic often used to give the defensive position a tactical advantage. Intruders tend to get sloppy, let their guard down if they assume the ones they are attacking are hampered by events.
Jack’s Safe Room
Jack had rented a backhoe in town and told the rental person he was digging up his septic tank. The clerk could have cared less but Jack always practiced operational security, no need to tell anyone your plans unless you have too. The hole was 15 feet deep by 15 feet wide and 20 feet long. Jack considered digging a tunnel to the cabin so he could make his way to the safe room from inside the cabin but he realized that if someone managed to take over the cabin, they would discover the tunnel.
He dug the safe room, trenched 20 feet away from the cabin for the entrance, and dug two more trenches 20 feet away for emergency exits. It was laborious work even with the backhoe because of the tree roots and he was afraid he may have killed a few trees but there was no help for it. It took some careful planning to dig the room without removing too many trees.
Once dug he shored up the dirt walls with preserved wood beams, and I-beams stretched the length from wall to wall to hold the walls in place. Then he built another wall two feet from the first wall and filled in between the walls with chipped limestone for water drainage. Then he laid I beams he had gathered over the years over the top and then filled in between them with more wooden beams. Wooden beams where placed in various places to support the I-beams.
Before closing off the top, Jack had lowered a 1,000-gallon water tank down using the backhoe and chains. Jack then adapted the fill tube with a spigot and then ran PVC aboveground to fill the tank. Once underground he could shut off the spigot to prevent contamination. Jack ran PVC pipe underground to a point in the stream where it was easy to uncap the end pipe to allow the rushing water to fill the underground tank if he needed to.
On top, of the I-beams and wooden beams, he laid metal plates he had salvaged over the years. Jack wanted to close off the room quickly before someone dropped by. When he finally filled the top in his room was covered with five feet of soil and he planned to lay flagstones on top to make a patio for camouflage. The room was not perfect nor would it last as long as he would have liked it because of the wood, but Jack felt he would get his use out of it fairly soon.
He then covered the 20-foot trenches, with beams and metal plates and laid soil on top, which made them into tunnels. He covered the entrances and exits temporally until he could figure out the next move. Jack worked 18 months on the safe room and now it was finally done.
After laying the flagstone, Jack built a cupola over top and ran air vents inside hollow beams that held up the cupola. He placed some outdoor furniture underneath the domed roof for added effect and called it done.
The entrance was a steel door from an old warehouse laid over a wooden frame buried two feet down. Jack had built a tool shed over the entrance and then made a hinged door in the wooden floor of the shed. All he had to do was pull up the door made in the floor of the shed and then pull the door open to the tunnel.
The water turbine was hidden in a crevice. The streambed was narrowed considerably as it flowed through the crevice thus creating enough force to operate the turbine. The lines ran to the safe room and cabin. The lines were buried 24 inches down. Jack realized that if someone looked hard enough the converter box would be discovered and then the turbine but again there was no help for this. Security was all about being secured long enough to give you time to make an exit or to put together a plan. Any lock, building or safe room could be broken into; it was all about how quickly.
What Jack was doing was no different from what he had done all of his life. He prepared for the next phase. There was always a next phase, a storm was always coming, the financial markets could collapse, or the country could implode because it cannot stay this bloated for long. The world was ready for a change and Jack needed to be ready.
It was not a matter of if in Jack’s mind but simply a matter of when, and if the chatter from the ham radio operators was any indication, trouble was on the way and Jack looked off and asked himself if he was ready.