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If you aren’t familiar with the famed military SERE school, it stands for Survival Evasion Resistance & Escape. It’s the school they send people to when there’s a higher than normal chance they might be caught behind enemy lines.
Today I’m talking to Mike Moore, a former SERE instructor for the US Army Special Forces SERE school. While we don’t get into the evasion, resistance, and escape portions, we do spend a lot of time talking about survival.
Links Mentioned in This Episode
There’s a lot of knowledge bombs in this episode, so it’s hard to narrow down to just a few. But if I had to pick, then it comes down to two main items.
Not Everyone is Going to Make it
This was a harsh truth, but one that I’m honestly glad Mike made. He’s trained a lot of people and been part of a lot of search and rescue operations. The bottom line is that not everyone has the proper mindset to be a natural survivor.
That’s not to say that people can’t develop those skills, but it comes down to practice and building confidence. That doesn’t happen by accident. If you want to develop a survival mindset, then it starts with getting out into the kinds of places you need to survive and practicing.
The most important things Mike things people need to learn are land navigation, basic fire craft, and learning to recognize wild edibles in their region.
Something else he mentioned was that poor survival attitudes are contagious. If even one member of your group begins complaining and panicking, then it will spread to others. It’s best to shut it down as soon as you start hearing it.
It’s About What You Find Along the Way
Mike is big on teaching yourself to recognize multipurpose items. A trashed tin can is not just any old food container, but something you can boil water in, cook with, and use for storage. A discarded plastic bottle is a water container or can be fashioned into a basic water filter.
A lot of people think that they’re going to get by only on the “two is one and one is none” mentality, but that ultimately leads to unsustainable ruck weights. In truth, it’s not about thinking of all the possible things you can carry with you, but knowing how to do enough things with the basics that you can utilize whatever you find along the way.
We also go into a good conversation about building your own homemade survival kits with common items all-around your home. I’ve never thought about it, but picture-hanging wire is great for building snares, shelter construction, and even fabricating basic weapons.
Another key point here was not to take anything you don’t know how to use. It becomes more of a liability than an asset.