Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A Green Berets EDC

Several years ago I served in the LDS Church as a Branch President. While serving there I got to know some wonderful people. The Branch was as big as any Ward, in fact we were just made a District and so became a Branch after being a Ward for several years. Anyway, this particular Branch is a transient one. Being near a military base we had people come and go a lot. While there I met a great guy, George, who is a retired Green Beret. With my military background he and I got along very well. He is a Special Forces vet who spent time in Viet Nam, and just about every South American country you can think of. He spent a considerable amount of time in Panama and taught at the Army’s Jungle Warfare School down there. He and I talked a lot and I picked his brain on several occasions about being prepared and trained.
He had a philosophy he lived by that I’d like to share with you. These are his EDC recommendations.
A Green Beret’s EDC
1. Always Carry
One thing we talked about a lot was concealed carry. I had started carrying before it was legal in the mid 1980’s. I finally decided to become an honest person and became licensed. George had carried a gun for defense for most of his life, on and off duty.
He told me over and over again, “You must always have a weapon. I have seen people who were subjugated to horrible things because they were not armed. Don’t be fooled by those who want to make you safe.” That was one of the reasons I had decided a long time ago to have a weapon at my disposal always.
Do not be fooled.
2. Carry A Spare Magazine
Depending on your caliber, keep at least 1 spare magazine loaded with hollowpoints. Do not ever carry without a round in the chamber. Do whatever you must do to be safe with yourself and with others. Get whatever training, practice whatever drills, do whatever it takes to be safe and to carry with a round in the chamber. I cannot emphasize enough, so I am repeating it a third time, carry with one in the chamber. Like “Hoot” Gibson in the movie “Blackhawk Down” who said the line “This is my safety, sir!” meaning his finger, trigger discipline is safer than any mechanical safety on a weapon. Be dangerous to the enemy, do not make collateral damage.
Carry your weapon in a good holster and a mag pouch. This will make you safe and deadly.
3. Flashlight
Being able to see in low light conditions and dark is imperative. You will use this for everything. Target identification is most important so having a light, well maintained, was a big recommendation. There are many good lights on the market. They have become less expensive than they used to be. I like tactical LED lights of at least 200 lumens.
4. Tools
There are many ways to carry tools. Some use the keychain tools that are out there, and others use a multi-tool. If you do not use a multi-tool carry a good folder knife. I would recommend a Gerber or Leatherman multi-tool. I’ve carried both of these brands and can attest to their quality. Do not use them if you have access to other tools. Keep your tools clean, dry, and serviceable. You want your EDC tools to be as immaculate as possible.
5.Fire maker
George carries a Zippo lighter. He’s from a generation of military that used Zippos a lot for tobacco use. I carry a Fire Steel and striker. The point is, carry something to make fire. There are “peanut” size lighters out there and other small devices. Whatever you decide to carry be proficient with it. Use it and know its limitations or your limitations with it. Practice fire making regularly. I make a small fire in my charcoal grill at least every 3 months. We heat our home with wood so during the winter months I may make a fire every day.
6. Clothing
Being in the military for 30 years and then teaching on Army bases you get used to dressing a certain way. George recommends cargo pants for everything! I’m trying to figure out how to wear black cargo pants with a suit coat and a white shirt and tie for being prepared at church! He also recommends carrying in your vehicle gloves (shooting gloves). I like Mechanix brand gloves because they give good dexterity and are reasonably priced. Sometimes I use golf gloves when I can find them on sale. Flyers gloves (nomex) are great but expensive. George recommends some kind of hat or head gear. I like shemaghs. They are very versatile as head gear or other configurations. I like boonie hats also.
Loose fitting clothing is easy to move in and breaks up the outline of your body. Remember that if you need to blend in, removing or donning headgear can help disguise you quickly. Remember if you need to not be found to change your appearance quickly. Use subdued colors in your clothing choice to blend. Avoid camo clothing unless you will be in a wilderness setting. Make sure to blend into your environment whether it be urban or wilderness.
Footwear is very important especially if you are travelling on foot. Good, broken in boots are what George recommends. Color and style vary. As do quality. Find some boots that work well for you and keep them in your vehicle if it is not appropriate to wear them. Make sure your footwear is sturdy. I live in the Southwest. Rocks and cactus are pretty plentiful. Boots that can handle that terrain are what I need. Boots are a good choice over running shoes, because they support your ankles and will hold up well.
Most people don’t think much about socks. Good socks make a huge difference. George said that when moving on foot in combat his commanders would make sure they had at least one spare pair of socks. If you get your boots wet or have been walking for a long distance, just changing your socks makes a big difference in caring for your feet. I would recommend a good foot powder too.
Keep a hoodie and a raincoat in your vehicle
7. Miscellaneous
Safety pins – pinned in hats, clothes
Paracord – bracelets, 10 to 20 feet
TP – toilet paper for the obvious, and for fire starting, etc
Cash – George likes $100 and he never touches it. You might want to keep it in a place other than where you normally keep money.
Compass – A decent, durable one
Glasses – If you wear glasses have a basic fix kit and some super glue
A small backpack to keep it in.
I like George’s list. I think I would add a few things to it.
First aid kit, water, water filter
My get home bag is similar to George’s items. Here’s what I carry in every vehicle.

Water- 3 gls (separate from bag)
Emergency poncho
Emergency blanket
Nylon spork
Can opener
1 Roll of TP
Pepper spray
Feminine supplies
Level 1 first aid kit
Water straw filter
550 paracord
Light stick
Firestarting kit: Matches, striker and sparker, Fire starter
Fishing kit: Bobs, line, bait, hooks
Leather gloves
N95 Dust mask
Shower cap
Chap stick
Hand lotion
Toothbrush, toothpaste
Liquid soap
Pack of baby wipes (change often-goes dry)
Camelbak bladder
Sun block
2 sets of hand warmers
1 Trash bag
Tube tent
“Yard light” recharger


Can of tuna
Tuna pouch
MRE crackers
1 pac Jerky
2 Freezedried meals
2 Spam pacs
3 Mylar rice meals
2 Gatorade powder pacs

Make sure food is in separate zip-locs

Being prepared is a life-long process. Being preparedness minded is a mindset that is developed over time. Don’t over think things and don’t think you can be prepared for all things. Your goal is to be prepared for most things and have training and skills to make up for and improvise where you lack.

Semper Paratus
Check 6