Friday, July 8, 2016

Don't Be The Hunted: E & E

I’d like to tell you a story. This sounded to me like an episode of “The Unit” when I first heard it. But it came from a good friend of mine. Mac (his call sign) and I went through jump school together. He was an operator for almost his entire career in the military. He turned down at least two promotions, that I know of, to stay in the field with his team. He has had missions in almost every South American country, and several Middle Eastern countries from Syria to Pakistan to Yeman.
He told me this story of a mission he lead in the middle of the Afgahn war. He and his team were inserted into a remote part of Afghanistan for a “snatch” mission. This was to be a high profile target capture. They knew where the target would be and that there would be a minimum security for them to deal with. His team of 6 made their way through war torn Falluja to the location of the target. They were just about to execute their mission when they were told to stand down. They waited for 10 minutes and asked for a sit rep on their standing down and informed higher that their window was being missed. After another 10 minutes they were told to abort their mission and to meet at a safe location for further instruction. They then found a semi-secure building where they asked for an extraction. They were told to call their TOC (tactical operations center) on their SSAT Phone (secure satellite phone). They were then told from some G2 officer (Army intelligence) that they were to exfil (exfiltrate) on their own to secure locations. They were alone and left to their own expertise to get out. They had predetermined routes and each picked one and they separated. To make things worse, somehow the team was compromised and were now being searched for by insurgents. They were not to have any contact with American forces because they were never there. Without going into detail that would give too much information about this mission away, they all made their way to safety having different experiences along the way. In the process of telling me this story, Mac told me about many different ways to be hunted, but to never be prey.
I’m not sure you or I will ever be in a situation like this, but it’s always good to learn these things and never need them instead of the other way around. Here are some of the things I learned.
Have A Plan
Think on your feet. Always improvise and be thinking in that way. Sometimes you have to choose between survival and escape. You must be able to weigh the outcome of your choices. The elements may be your choice over being caught. Don’t allow circumstances to control you if you can make a difference. Don’t let emotions cloud your judgement or get you off plan. Things will not be easy and you have to keep your wits about you.
In 1973 there was a sequel to the first “Dirty Harry” movie called “Magnum Force”. These were the Clint Eastwood movies where he played San Francisco Inspector Harry Callahan. A quote from that movie applies here: “A man's GOT to know his limitations.” You have to know yourself. You have to know what your body will handle and what your mind can handle. You have to know your realistic limitations.
Take every opportunity that arises to eat, drink, or even rest. You do not know when you’ll have an opportunity for these things so take advantage when they come.

Environmental Melt
You should melt into your environment whatever it may be. Wilderness, urban, whichever you are in or all. Camouflage takes a big role in wilderness survival. Breaking up your outline, using cover and concealment, using foliage and terrain. Reflective surfaces and movement can be seen for miles. Sometimes you must be hidden in plain sight. If you look like you should be where you are, you’ll find it will be easier to move. Do not draw attention to yourself. Changing your appearance from time to time is also a good practice. Something as simple as removing or adding a hat, coat, or glasses can make a big difference.
Trusting locals is a risky game to play. But if you trust your instincts and find someone to trust, that can get you far. Knowing where you are, the culture, the language always helps.

Perhaps a E and E kit? (escape and evade)

Baseball cap of local sports team-worn in - not brand new
A metro or local map
50 dollars in ones, 500 bucks in twenties
A metro card or bus pass
A pistol with at least 2 spare mags
A good knife
Pepper spray or something non-lethal
A good, small medical kit
A small notebook with needed contact info - coded (this can be simple - such as add 1 to the first digit, 3 to the second digit, 5 to the 3rd digit, 3 to the 4th digit and 1 to the 5th digit - whatever - be creative)
A few different pair of sunglasses
A reversible jacket of some type
A change of clothes - for me this would be old blue jeans, a hoodie, old sneakers - nothing new and nothing worth mugging me for.
A small bottle of water
A couple of cliff bars

Some "pocket litter" – ie. - a brochure from a public place near where I am. This is to explain what I was doing there if I needed a reason.
Headphones - even if I didn't have anything to plug them into - just having them on, especially with sunglasses - explains to most folks why they shouldn't try to talk to you - because you are "zoned out" listening to your tunes - plus they can't make eye contact with you to get your attention if you have shades on.

Also - if I wanted to blend in I would be careful NOT to walk like a warrior - I would not walk with my posture upright and my head on a swivel in a way that exuded confidence and purpose - I would walk in a loser shuffle to blend in with all the other losers of the world.

Navigation with maps and tools and without them is an important skill to learn. If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never get there. If you escape or don’t want to get caught, you need to know where you’re going. Running blindly may get you caught.
These are just ideas. Maybe you have something to add.

Semper Paratus
Check 6