Monday, September 28, 2009
Here is an advanced survival test written by my good friend Mtn.Mel Deweese, I have to admit there were a couple questions I had to think about before answering.
I do not consider myself an expert in the field of survival instruction but I can definatly hold my own. Mels test made me think twice and realize there are some areas of wilderness knowledge i need to focus on.
Take the test and see how you do, you will find the answers at the bottom of the test. - good luck!
Tomahawk - scouts out!
ADVANCED SURVIVAL TEST:
So! You think you know enough survival skills? Well -- try this one! This test is intended as a challenge of survival knowledge to those whom express the “human denial factor” towards learning survival knowledge. Statements such as “I’ll never get lost” -- “I already know that stuff” -- “I could do that if I had to” are mumblings due to over-confidence. This attitude could cost ones’ life. Therefore, I have composed this test in hopes of creating an awakening awareness that we are NOT naturally born with -- survival skills knowledge -- it must be learned.
This test is designed on a global aspect and in conjunction with the “survival pattern to maintain life,” this is not intended to be an average test, nor a fair test, as it does require survival knowledge with experience plus survival sense. The answers are what I consider exact and correct according to the listed references and my experiences. I understand there may be acceptable variables to the answers. Sorry, no easy multiple choice questions as we want you to think this out. Print out this test, gather up your pen and paper, write out an answer and compare with ours. Good luck!
1. List 12 edible USA plants.
2. List 8 edible tropical plants.
3. What part of a “polar animal” should not be eaten and why not?
4. Which “snack” would you select in a cold weather environment -- a snickers candy bar or a
can of sardines?
5. What is an Australian “yabby”?
6. List 6 traps/snares.
7. Name 2 USA tree/plants used for fish poison.
1. Explain the “fire triangle” required to produce fire.
2. List 6 modern fire methods.
3. List 3 primitive fire methods.
4. List 4 primitive-tropical-jungle fire methods.
5. List 8 modern fire aids.
6. List 2 primitive fire aids.
7. List 5 natural tinders.
1. List 6 ways to purify water
2. How much water will a “desert solar still” produce in 1 day?
3. List 3 tropical plants used to provide water.
4. List 4 possible indications of a water source.
5. Urine can be used as an emergency drinking water? True or false?
1. List 4 possible winter shelters which can be considered in a snow environment.
2. What is the most effective shelter in a snow environment?
3. What is the suggested shelter to build in a tropical jungle environment?
4. What are the key factors in constructing a shade shelter in a desert environment?
5. How is a snow shelter vented?
1. In one word, explain what a signal is “in a natural environment”.
2. What natural signal method could be used during daylight in the Arctic Circle?
3. Why is the screened viewing hole an important part of the signal mirror?
1. What is the best method to stop the bleeding?
2. Name the plant used by Native Americans for mosquito repellent.
3. What plant is used as headache medicine?
4. Should a person in a survival situation apply the “cut & suck” method for a rattlesnake bite?
5. What is an early indication of dehydration?
6. List 5 tropical jungle plants used for medical purposes.
1. List 10 uses of bamboo in a tropical-jungle environment.
2. Why would a flashlight be considered a high priority item?
3. What is the best tinder for the bamboo fire saw?
4. List the required items/materials used in making a bow/drill fire set as to produce fire.
5. In a cold weather environment, the majority of heat is lost through what area of the body?
6. Name the simple-to-construct and use weapon preferred by Native Americans in a desert
7. List 3 excellent plants for making cordage.
1. What could a large plastic soda bottle be used for in survival?
2. A piece of rubber inner tube could be used in what skill area?
3. What could an aluminum soda can be used for?
4. A deer rifle cartridge would serve what use?
5. A metal coat hanger in conjunction with one other item could be used for what skill?
6. What could a paper cup and small stones be used together for?
7. What could a bird breast bone be used for?
This “advanced test” information, questions and answers are selected from two excellent
survival reference books:
1. Camping and Wilderness Survival, by Paul Tawrell.
2. U.S. Air Force Survival Manual.
Plus the addition of 30 years of instructing wilderness survival skills experience from the arctic,
desert, jungle and mountain environments. I have tested and applied this information with
actual hands on application.
1. Cattails, dandelion, watercress, yucca, acorns, nettles, burdock, onion, cactus, mallow,
2. Bamboo, taro, breadfruit, papaya, palm, guava, santol, rattan.
3. The liver of polar animals are extremely high in vitamin A -- a health hazard.
4. Sardines will provide longer lasting heat for the body. Candy is quick energy.
6. Trigger four, Piute trigger, drag snare, pole run, Ojibwa bird snare, treadle snare.
7. Mullein leaves and green walnut husks.
1. Oxygen, tinder/fuel, spark/friction.
2. Flint & steel, magnesium/flint stick, battery and steel wool, magnifying lens, chemicals, fire
3. Bow/drill, hand drill, pump drill.
4. Bamboo fire saw, fire thong, fire plough, fire piston.
5. Wax paper, glue, Vaseline, rubber, nylon spoon, cotton balls, candle, popsicle sticks.
6. Pine sap and pitch pine stick shavings.
7. Dry grass, birch bark, inner cottonwood bark, pine needles, cattail fuzz.
1. Boiling, filtering, household bleach, iodine, purification tablets, distilling.
2. Not enough to survive! The solar still is a waste of time, sweat and energy.
3. Taboy tree, rattan-water vine, banana tree.
4. Greenery areas, insects/bees, animal trails, flying birds.
5. False. Never!
1. Snow cave, fighters trench, quinzee, igloo.
2. Snow cave.
3. Sleeping platform with overhead cover.
4. Digging below the ground surface and using two layers of material with an airspace.
5. Make a 3 inch diameter hole at 45 degree angle from inside wall to outside, plus a small
opening near door snow block as to create air movement.
1. Contrast! (Orange trash bag on white snow)
2. Shadows -- digging a trench, making a wall with the snow blocks.
3. For sighting -- as it creates a fire like bright ball for aiming.
1. Direct pressure bandage.
2. Wild onion/garlic rubbed on skin.
3. Willow bark (tea).
4. Yes. Although this method is not recommended in a regular situation -- a person in a
survival situation would have no other choice.
5. Dark urine.
6. Bamboo, papaya, coconut palm, emamale, calebetbet.
1. Fire making, pressure cooker, cup, cook pot, canteen, knife, eating utensils, shelter
building, traps/snares, edible shoots.
2. You would have night time signals, thereby extending your signaling capabilities.
3. Fuzz scraped from the backside of the saw.
4. Socket, spindle, fire board, bow stick, string, tinder nest, ember tray.
5. The head. Approx. 75% goes out through your chimney.
6. Rabbit stick for throwing.
7. Yucca, dogbane, milkweed.
1. Container or construct into a funnel type trap for catching crayfish, minnows, etc.
2. In fire making as a “fire-aid”.
3. Container, a cooking utensil, making into a signal whistle.
4. Gun powder can be used in fire making.
5. (You’ll have to attend our program for this answer).
6. Heating water.
7. Fish hook.
“Fire aids” are items which “assist” in burning. Example -- petroleum jelly.
“Tinders” are small fuel materials which will catch a spark in the step towards adding flame to
create the actual final results of fire. Example -- cotton ball.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
My good friend NWManitou over at bushcraftusa forums
has given me permission to post this excellent write up and photos of a hammock he has recently made.
lately I have been scouting around looking for information on how to make a hammock and found this post, it is packed full of info and links on the subject of hammocks and their construction.
I hope you enjoy it as much as i did. got to go now and work on my hammock - Gotta have it for my next adventure.
Tomahawk - Scouts out!
(A personal note for me from NWM on hammocks)
First of all, a netting hammock might cause some difficulty at it will catch on every button or bit of gear you have on. Also, makes it easy for the skeeters to get you sans the mozzy net. However, depending on the thickness of the lines, it may be quite comfy. I've slept well in a cheap net hammock before.
Another option is to buy a queen sized bed sheet. It may prove to be a bit more comfortable. For attaching the webbing regardless of the hammock material, I've found that bundling the ends and tying it to the rigging with a sheetbend to work nicely. Also, you'll want a couple bits of rope or paracord to tie to the webbing a foot or so from your hammock ends, leaving couple inches dangling to act as a drip line. It will prevent rain from running down the webbing and soaking you.
Next you are going to want a ridge line if you are going to use the mozzy net. Tie some paracord to each end of the hammock around the webbing just before the knot. On one or both ends of the paracord I might include a taughtline hitch or some other tensioning knot so that you can adjust the ridgeline while in the hammock. Some just use a small carabiner or hook on the end of the ridge line cord to snap it to the webbing. This will keep the mozzy net out of your face when draped over the line. It will provide you a place to hang your gear like a headlamp, knife, gun, even your boots. And thirdly, it can act as a guide to help get the same sag to your hammock each time you hang it.
An alternative to the ridgeline on the hammock is fastening the top of your mozzy net to the ridgeline of your tarp.
I'd also include a light fleece blanket or sheet. Hammocks can get chilly, even in the jungle.
carabiners are not necessary for the webbing to be tied to a tree. I just had them lying around and decided to threw them on. Webbing is nifty in that I've been able to securely fasten it to painted, square, metal pipe and other equally slick supports. You wrap the webbing around the support, go around your main line, then back around the support, around the main line, and back around the support. 2 or 3 times should do it, then just tie a slippery hitch to lock it off.
I've had a bunch of requests to show a little more info on my hammock. So here goes.
First the back story and credit where it's due. Back in scouts I spent a week sleeping in those cheap mesh hammocks up in Canada through torrential downpours. Quite warm, comfortable, and dry. Fast forward to a couple years ago. I bought an inexpensive parachute material hammock from cabelas. I tried it on two trips and froze my butt off at 60 degrees. Even with a -20 degree sleep system. I didn't know then to use a pad in a hammock thinking it'd be the same as the hammock I used in Canada. I gave up on hammocks for a while until I read Marmoset's fantastic posts on using a hammock in the Swiss Alps:
(this guy's a master of the jungle as well... Check out his French Guyana trip with more hammock goodness: http://www.hoodswoods.net/IVB/index.php?showtopic=24507)
Through correspondance with a few forum members eventually I was lead to:
The Hammock Forums www.hammockforums.net (thanks Halcon)
Just Jeffs Hammock Camping Page http://www.tothewoods.net/HomemadeHammock.html
and DIY Tactical http://diytactical.com/blog/ (thanks Muddyboots)
I set up my wife's crappy old sewing machine, bought some fabric and thread, and started experimenting. Mind, I had never used a sewing machine before and this one is especially horrid to work with. The hammock shown is actually my 3rd attempt. Just Jeff's page and the Hammock forum led me to numerous other pages, youtube videos, manufacturers, etc. I tried to glean the features I though were the best.
The hammock is made of 2 layers of untreated, breathable,1.2 oz ripstop nylon. The interior is coyote tan an the outside is Woodland Marpat. The fabric dimension are ~11 foot by ~5 foot. The dimensions may vary a little due to hemming. I bought grosgrain ribbon at Joann's to use seal up the hem on both layers. Then I sewed the two layers of the hammock together for 2 feet from each long side corner towards the middle of the hammock. This created an inner space that I could fit a ground pad into.
Then I gathered the ends as outlined on Just Jeff's page and tied them in a square knot to a set of 2 foot loops of spectra rope. The spectra is tied in a prussic knot to two aluminum descender rings. I covered where the spectra line and hammock ends are tied together with a sort of waterproof fabric cone with stretch cord on the large end. There is a tutorial on the hammock forums on how to make them. I use the rings as a buckle for the 10 foot of 1 inch tubular webbing hooked to each side of the hammock. The ring buckles allow me to change the sag and tension of the hammock quickly
Some people use rope on the end of their hammock and tie it to a shorter section of webbing called a Treehuggers, but I made the entire suspension out of webbing instead, works the same way though. Then I tied caribiners to the end of the webbing for ease of hooking it around a tree.
II also got the idea for the double ended stuffsack from the forums. I didn't have enough material to make snakeskins so I opted for this method. So far so good. The stuffsack is made of the same waterproof material as the hammock end covers.
I've been on many trips with this hammock so far. And I've loaned it out a bit too. It is comfortable, lightweight and compacts very well. I am able to sleep on my side in it as well. My stuffsack contains the entire hammock and rigging.
My findings so far:
I should have made at least one layer from 1.9 oz ripstop. I'm a heavy guy at 275lbs. I cause the fabric to stretch a little more than I like, sometimes resulting in the sides of the hammock squeezing my shoulders. It'd be perfect if I were under 230lbs. My other prototype is made of two layers of 1.9oz and 2.2 oz waterproof fabric, constructed in the same manner as the one I use now. It's very comfortable because the fabric doesn't stretch at all, but it is very bulky and a bit heavier. It is warmer on it's own than the lighter hammock due to it stopping the wind, If I could find a breathable yet wind stopping material in 1.7 or 1.9 oz ripstop and in marpat or multicam I'd be all over it.
Wherever your body weight compresses your bag against the hammock material you get a cold spot. A really cold spot. The options are stringing insulation under the hammock like an underquilt, or using some sort of pad inside the hammock. Pads in hammocks can be a real pain, they change the lay of the hammock and slide around. I was warm on the trip in Canada because my sleeping bag bulged out through the netting allowing it to retain loft and thus insulation quality. I'm tempted to weave a hammock from paracord. My next project is to create a pad extender and perhaps an underquilt with the same camo material.
Over all though, hammocks are infinitely more comfortable than sleeping on the ground. They are also extremely convenient, greatly expand your options when choosing a camp site, and are low impact leaving virtually no trace. If you can solve the issue of being cold then you have it made. I know that an underquilt would do the job, I'm just stubborn about using the gear I already have.
On a side note, I could have gone out and purchased a nice hammock with a bug net and fly for the money I've spent on material. But then I wouldn't have learned anything.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Hey, I saw the film "Castaway on the moon" on a recent international flight and thought you guys and gals might get a kick out of it.
you might be able to locate it at some of the asian or korean markets in the USA. I liked it for the comic relief and the psudo survival stuff in it. I think you all would enjoy this film.
for more info check out this link: http://asianmediawiki.com/Castaway_on_the_Moon
Tomahawk - scouts out!
REVIEW: Like most things in life, it’s rare that you’ll come across a film that doesn’t seem derivative of another work.
The new South Korean film “Castaway on the Moon” isn’t one of those rare film either as you’ll likely pick up on its influences like the 2000 film “Cast Away,” Joon-ho Bong’s “Shaking Tokyo” from the 2008 omnibus film “Tokyo!,” and Pen-ek Ratanaruang’s 2003 film “Last Life in the Universe.
” If “Castaway on the Moon” was structured just to recreate these prior films than you should expect a stinker, but like a great hip-hop track that spins out a few well placed samples into a song of its own, “Castaway on the Moon” easily spins out these influences to make a film that can stand on its own.
The film is directed by Hae-jun Lee who turns in a stellar sophomore effort after his brilliant debut “Like a Virgin.” There’s also well known actor Jae-yeong Jeong turning in his most appealing performance since “Someone Special” and the up & coming young actress Ryeo-won Jeong making a splash as a reclusive hikki mori.
The movie starts off with Seung-keun Kim (Jae-yeong Jeong) standing on the ledge of an overpass bridge above the Han River. He’s in way over his head in debt and he’s ready to end his life right then and there.
Mr. Kim then jumps off the bridge, but due to his own misfortune or good fortune, he ends up washed ashore on a small nearby island. At first, Mr. Kim looks for every conceivable way to get off the island – which is in plain view of several nearby high rise buildings and apartment complexes.
After a few days, Mr. Kim becomes acclimated to his solitary existence & he even finds comfort in his primitive surroundings.
Meanwhile, a young reclusive lady named Jeong-yeon Kim (Ryeo-won Jeong) sits in her room addicted to the online world of “Cyworld” home pages. She hasn’t left her apartment in three years and she doesn’t plan to leave her room anytime soon. In the evenings, when Jeong-yeon is finished updating her Cyworld home page, she dabbles in her other hobby which is photgraphing the moon.
During one of those evenings, when Jeong-yeon is taking shots of the moon, she notices a “HELP” sign scrawled into the sand of a nearby island. She then notices a strange man walking around the island and Jeong-yeon starts to think of this man as her own personal alien.
As you might guess by now, “Castway on the Moon” turns out to be a good ole fashion love story told from an unusual vantage point. Because of the distance between the main characters the pair rarely communicates in real time. This allows the film’s director, Hae-jun Lee, to integrate several charming vignettes on Mr. Kim’s plight as a castaway and Ms. Kim’s plight as another type of castaway.
The heart of the story really unfolds in the third act once the pair makes overtures to meet face to face. Unlike most commercial Korean films, Hae-jun Lee leaves excessive melodrama alone and gives the actors room to bring about emotions more naturally. Kudos goes out to Jae-yeong Jeong for turning in his best performance since “Someone Special” and Ryeo-won Jeong for exhibiting more of her unique charms that she already displayed in “Two Faces of My Girlfriend.”
“Castaway on the Moon” turns out to be a charming & highly unique film – especially considering its origins as a mainstream Korean film.
The film elicits a surprising amount romance (one that’s geared especially for lovers of oddball & misfit characters) and also judicious amounts of smiles & laughter. Not sure why, but “Castaway on the Moon” did flop at the Korean box office selling only 700,000 tickets.
But don’t let that little fact deter you. Take it as more of a confirmation that majorities don’t always know best.
A couple months ago my Good friend Matt in gave me permission to post a story about his trip into the surrounding forests near his home in Finland. I asked him if I could post a list of the equipment he carried on his scout.
Reading over Matts list I saw that he has well made multi functional equipment and knows how to use it.
If you like reading about gear and are interested in how it is used I think you will enjoy this post.
It is a companion post to "Foraging and Hiking in Finland"
Please find Below a detailed list of the equipment my friend carried into the forest.
Tomahawk - scouts out!
The gear I use is a mix of old, new, military surplus, traditional and international items. I tend to like wool, canvas, steel, wood and leather over more modern materials, but by no means am I a purist or traditionalist. Plastic is lightweight, flexible and has its advantages as well.
Whether I'm going for one night, several days or longer, I always take the same setup (for Finland, which is where I do most of my camping etc. these days). What changes is the amount of food, clothes etc.
I bring along, as well as sleeping gear, which obviously varies by season. I'll also toss in fishing gear if I know I'll be throwing out a few lines. Some would definitely say that my setup would be overkill for just an overnighter, but at 20 - 25 pounds, I figure why not have it and not need it than the other way around.
Doing it this way also means that I don't have to go through all my gear each time I go out to custom tailor it to an outing. I just grab my stuff and go, since it's always packed and ready.
So, here goes:
Swedish military surplus rucksack (60's era?) containing:
• Cooking gear: Pocket Cooker, fire grill, cook pot, Trangia frying pan, kettle, cutlery set w/ can opener, plastic spoon, Victorinox food-prep. knife, spatula, plate, kuksa, folding cup, scrub brush, dish soap, paper towels, salt/pepper mix, olive oil, plastic bags
• Dry bag: toiletries, towel, toilet paper, repair tape, paracord clothesline, backup Mora No. 1, extra matches
• Misc.: sitting pads
Finnish military surplus shoulder bag containing the following (I take this bag, my belt tools and belt pouch on hikes and leave the other stuff at camp):
• Fire: matches, lighter, tinder lichen, birch bark, fatwood sticks, tea lights in a leather pouch
• Navigation and survival: Suunto compass, glowstick, headlamp, space blanket, 1st-aid kit
• Misc.: various sizes of needle & thread, bug spray, lip balm, Finnish sharpening stone, paracord, bandana, plastic poncho, Swedish military snare wire, toilet paper, plastic baggies, backup folder
Belt pouch made from an old leather backpack pocket:
• Cord, mini compass, Swedish fire steel, mini fishing kit, whistle, flashlight, Swisscard knock-off, tin foil
• Warm weather: small YP Taonta puukko, Wetterlings hatchet or Roselli leuku and Fiskars saw
• Cool/cold weather: small YP Taonta puukko, Roselli axe and Fiskars saw
• Skinning: Nessmuk knife
• Lapland: small YP Taonta puukko, Roselli leuku and Fiskars saw
• 2 L Spanish wineskin
Shelter and sleeping:
• I used the following setup this season (the "tipi"-looking tent): 2 German army ponchos, 1 – 2 wool blanket(s) (Italian military surplus and US Navy) depending on the temperture, dry bag for blankets, ground sheet (plastic poncho), mosquito hat (summer)
OR• Last week I picked up a "laavu"-style tent, which is very similar to a Baker tent/Nessmuk shanty tent. I tried it out this past weekend, and I think I'm in love...
My gear choices have changed a lot since I got back into doing outdoors stuff about 6 years ago, though at a slower pace recently. By no means are all these items "necessary", as much can be improvised in the bush, but this list represents a good balance between comfort, weight and versatility to me. I'm very happy with this setup and don't see it changing too much...until next season.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Lt. Colonel Robert Mackenzie
Bob Mackenzie is another interesting red blooded american boy who answered the call to arms from the tiny southern African country of Rhodesia.
I am very impressed with the ability of this man to enlist in the ranks as a Private in the Rhodesian Light infantry, earn a commision as an officer, complete training and be assigned to C squadron Rhodesian 22 SAS regiment.
His Military achievements are exemplary and the number of awards he earned is very impressive.
I hope you enjoy reading about this gallant american who died in sierra leone in 1995 fighting for a cause he believed in.
tomahawk - scouts out!
Robert Callen MacKenzie (November 30, 1948–February 24, 1995) was an American professional soldier whose career included service as an infantryman in the United States Army during the Vietnam War, the C Squadron 22 (Rhodesian) SAS, the South African Defense Force, and the Transkei Defence Force.
As a contributing editor for unconventional operations for Soldier of Fortune magazine, he was sent to cover conflicts in different hot-spots around the globe, including Mozambique, Central America, Croatia, Bosnia, Russia, Thailand, Suriname, Taiwan and Cambodia. At the time of his death, he was in command of and training the Sierra Leone Commando Unit (SLCU).
After finishing high school at the age of 17 in 1966, MacKenzie was awarded an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy. He, however, opted to join the Army, not wishing to miss out on the Vietnam War. At the Army Recruiting Station in San Diego, California, he enlisted as an infantryman.
By 1967, he was airborne-qualified, had completed the jungle operations course in Panama and was sent to Vietnam. On May 29, 1967, a bullet wound suffered storming Mother's Day Hill ended his army service. After a year in the hospital, the US Army declared him 70% disabled and he was permanently retired.
SOFs Robert K. Brown gave MacKenzie a job as a contributing editor for unconventional operations, and MacKenzie continued his unconventional career. In Mozambique, he worked with RENAMO, securing the release of seven Western hostages.
He also trained and fought in Central America, Croatia and Bosnia. In February, 1995, at the behest of Sierra Leone's leader, Valentine Strasser, MacKenzie took command of a training troop, the Sierra Leone Commando Unit (SLCU) in cooperation with Strasser's right-hand man, Major Abu Tarawali and sixty Gurkhas of the Gurkha Security Guards.
Their opposition in that African country was the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), a group of armed bandits/rebels who were plaguing Sierra Leone.
MacKenzie arrived in Sierra Leone in the end of January, 1995.
The country's leader, Valentine Strasser had begun to organize a force to counter attacks by the RUF rebels and his right-hand man, Major Tarawali had contracted sixty Gurkhas of the GSG (Gurkha Security Guards Limited) to train approximately 160 green troopers that would form the nucleus of the SLCU.
MacKenzie's first order of business was to locate an appropriate camp on which to base the troops. On a scouting patrol to assess possible locations for the training camp, MacKenzie, Tarawali and an escort of would-be SLCU came upon a village that had been burned by the rebels.
McKenzie and the co-director of GSG, Borlace, wanted to pursue the rebels, however, the green troops were reluctant to do so. MacKenzie, Borlace and Tarawali went ahead, leaving the troopers behind, who later decided that it was scarier to be left behind on the road than it was to join their new Colonel. They reluctantly followed. Surprised by such determined action, the bandits broke and ran. This incident infused the SLCU with new confidence.
On February 17, MacKenzie led a convoy of vehicles from their base camp 91 miles from Freetown, the capital, to Mile 47, a town which had a government garrison. This stretch of road had to be secured if they had to hold onto their training camp (Camp Charlie) deep within bandit country.
On this particular mission, they were ambushed by RUF bandits. Marshaling the Gurkhas and the SLCU troops, MacKenzie drove through the kill zone and began flanking maneuvers, surprising the enemy at the aggressiveness of their response. The bandits turned and broke contact.
Thick undergrowth prevented effective tracking, but three blood spoors were found, indicating that the bandits took some casualties.
These successes in the field, however, deluded the government hierarchy into believing that the RUF would crumble in the face of any organized resistance. They ordered MacKenzie to attack the RUF base camp in the Malal Hills. MacKenzie countered that the SLCU had not been trained yet and that it would not be ready for such a major engagement.
Back came the word that MacKenzie should take the Gurkhas on the mission, and leave the green SLCU troopers to be trained later. MacKenzie again countered that legally this would not be possible, since the GSG were contracted for training alone and not for combat. Finally, the army chief of staff personally wrote MacKenzie, ordering the attack for the 22nd or 23rd of February. Determined to do his duty, MacKenzie agreed to investigate the possibility of attacking the Malal Hills.
MacKenzie gathered what little intelligence he could in the face of the government's impatience.
In preparation for the assault on the hills, jets borrowed from the Nigerians were to drop cluster bombs on the rebel positions in order to soften them up. However, the Russian pilot flying a Mi-24 helicopter tasked with bringing in the Nigerian commander who would communicate with the jets, without any explanation simply hovered over the camp on the 23rd and left.
Calls to HQ fell on deaf ears, and when the Nigerian jets arrived the next day, they bombed the wrong hill. Alerted by ordnance falling on unoccupied terrain, the rebels were ready for MacKenzie's group when they approached their objective.
MacKenzie, leading from up front with Tarawali and Lieutenant Andy Myers, came under fire from a bandit ambush. Tarawali was killed in the first volley, and an attempt to carry his body back was made. Fire was heavy, coming from the enemy hidden deep in the undergrowth.
The SLCU dropped Tarawali's body and ran, actually trampling the Gurkha medics who were a little behind the command group. MacKenzie ordered that everyone should retreat and the senior Gurkha medic saw MacKenzie take two rounds through his legs and one through his back.
MacKenzie dropped his rifle as Lieutenant Myers bent over him to give him assistance. This was the last time anyone saw of either. Intercepts of bandit radio revealed that they had taken Tarawali's and MacKenzie's bodies, but there was no word on Myers. He would be later presumed dead.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
When I was a kid back in the 70's I enjoyed reading about WWII in the south Pacific, shoot, I still do! specifically in the Philippine Islands. One of my Favorite stories is about General Fertig and his command of the Filipino and american resistance fighters on Mindenao.
In The Book "An american guerilla in the philippines" there are many excellent descriptions of how these freedom fighters made weapons, clothing, gathered food, used obsolete equipment to their advantage etc.
My personal favorite is the manufacturing of a radio set from the parts of a broken movie projector and cast off radios. The resulting Radio sent a signal strong enough to reach San Diego California from the Mountains of Mindenao - pretty impressive to me.
But what I enjoyed the most is reading about the Filipino scouts, As a kid I had the privlidge of meeting an actual filipino scout who had immigrated to chicago.
He wasnt so old back in the 60's but Im sure he is gone now. He possessed a wonderful collection of bolo knives, bows and arrows, maps, baskets etc. I can still see it all in my minds eye.
I began to research the origins of the filipino american scouts in WWII and discovered that they trace their roots back to the Macabebe scouts of Luzon.
I find the Macabebe scouts interesting, some say they are Yaqui Indians from Mexico brought over to the philippines by the spanish to act as scouts and trackers - cool stuff!
Please find below some Information about the Macabebes Filipino scouts, WWII army scouts and the Current Scout Ranger "Black Panther" units of the philippine army.
Tomahawk, Scouts out!!
The Macabebes are truly an enigmatic tribe. When they first appeared in written history, they were fierce freedom fighters who fought off the Spanish invaders in 1571. Ironically, it was the Tagalogs who eventually welcomed the Spaniards while the Kapampangans had to die fighting in the Battle of Bangkusay.
Years later, Macabebes helped the Spaniards drive away the Chinese pirate Limahong, and that was the start of a friendship that would endure to the very last day of the Spanish Period. The Macabebes helped the Spaniards colonize the rest of the archipelago and invade countries like Vietnam, China, Thailand and the Malaya Peninsula.
Without the Macabebes, the Philippines would have been colonized by the Dutch and later by the British, two Protestant nations. This is the reason the feast of the La Naval is celebrated only in two places, Manila and Pampanga.
When the Revolution broke out, the Macabebes sided with the Spaniards even while the rest of Pampanga threw its support for the quest for independence.
Macabebes protected the retreating Spaniards, rescuing friars and the families of the Spanish Army. In retaliation, Antonio Luna's troops burned the town of Macabebe and massacred its residents. When the Americans bought and colonized the Philippines, Macabebes enlisted in the US Army by the hundreds.
These events fueled the enmity between Kapampangans and Tagalogs, climaxing in the sensational capture of the Tagalog general, Emilio Aguinaldo, President of the Republic of the Philippines. The entrapment was carried out by American officials disguised as prisoners of Macabebes disguised as Tagalog revolutionaries.
Many Filipinos would not forgive the Macabebes for selling out the nation to the Americans, but as some historians point out, the Macabebes were mere foot soldiers who only obeyed orders from their officers. Since they were never in Aguinaldo's Army, they could not be accused of treachery.
The real traitors were the non-Kapampangan Tal Placido, Segismundo and Segovia, ranking officers of Aguinaldo who had defected to the Americans and who helped hatch the plan.
At any rate, the US President and US Congress, jubilant over Aguinaldo's capture, authorized the inclusion of the Macabebes into the US Army; they were called the Philippine Scouts. They were some kind of a celebrity in the US military; American officers considered it a prestige to be assigned to supervise the Scouts.
In 1908, the US Congress allowed the Scouts to attend the US Military Academy at West Point. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s they were considered by the US Inspector General as the most efficient unit in the US Army.
When World War II broke out, all Filipinos joined the Philippine Scouts in supporting the Americans' war against Japan. All talk of connivance with the Americans vanished in the face of a common enemy. After the war nothing more was heard from the Macabebes.
All that remains is the tag dugong aso, which originally meant blind loyalty, then morphed into treacherousness--quite wrong since dogs, of all animals, will never betray their master.
The Philippine Scouts was a military organization of the United States Army from 1901 to World War II. Made up of native Filipinos assigned to the US Army's Philippine Department, these troops were generally enlisted and under the command of American officers, however, a handful of Filipinos received commissions from the United States Military Academy. Philippine Scout units are given a suffix of (PS), to distinguish them from other US Army units.
The first Scout companies were organized by the US in 1901 to combat the Philippine Revolution led at that time by General Emilio Aguinaldo.
In 1919-20, the PS companies were grouped into regiments as part of the US Army and redesignated the 43d, 45th, and 57th Infantry Regiments, plus the 24th and 25th Field Artillery Regiments, the 26th Cavalry Regiment (PS) and the 91st and 92nd Coast Artillery Regiments. Service and support formations were also organized as engineer, medical, quartermaster and military police units.
The infantry and field artillery regiments were grouped together with the U.S. 31st Infantry Regiment to form the U.S. Army’s Philippine Division. At this point, the Scouts became the U.S. Army’s front line troops in the Pacific.
The Philippine Department assigned the Scouts to subdue the fierce and warlike Moro tribes on the island of Mindanao (see Moro rebellion), and to establish tranquility throughout the islands. In the 1930s, Philippine Scouts, along with the 31st Infantry Regiment, saw action at Jolo, Palawan.
"There are only 2 types of units in the philippine army, the scout rangers and the rest" This is the Army's most celebrated breed of figthing men, the men far away from home, up in the mountains where they roam. They are the men claded in black fatigues, berets and balaclavas (the men in black) depicting the skin of the panther whose image appears in every ranger patch sewed in the shoulders of their fatigues. It is the emblem of the jungle figther, the night stalker, the commie-buster.
It is a family circle of a well-trained closely-knit unit delivering the main punch in the counter-insurgency campaign - primarily a strike-anywhere force with troops scattered all over the country.
Their barracks notoreity as a day and night, all weather, all terrain, RANGER all the way figthing force made them legends in the Army. Based and trained in Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal Province, whose gates will emerge "the greatest guerilla fighters in asia", it is an organization of about 2,500 men and forms the National Maneuver Force (NMF)which can deploy to any active sector to form a strike force or act as a reserve for local commanders.
Established in the 1950's by General Rafeal Ileto, known as the "Father of the Rangers" they were the heroes of their time who sealed the fate of the Hukbalahap guerrilas. However, it was abolished when their members became so proud and cocky and went around abusing people with impunity.
They hit the fan when rangers abuse military courtesy refusing to salute men even with higher rank who did not wear the patch of the ranger. Then in the 1970's, it was temporarily re-established as part of the Philippine Army Special Warfare Brigade with combined strength of the special forces whom they fought with stiff competition. It was resurrected in 1983 as an independent ranger unit.
Eager to reclaim its rightful title, it proved itself as the Army's best unit through its achievements and colorful combat records and it wasn't too long they became again the elites among the elites.
Their commanders, names like Ileto, Sang-laan, Brawner, Blando, Javier are legends in the Army. Their officers are the finest trained and educated ones, schooled in places like PMA, West Point, Fort Benning, PORTSEA and the finest of Philippine ROTC units. The rangers in snappy postures glimmers with medals hanging in their chest like knights in shinning armors. Their units are decorated by the commander in chief and voted as the best unit in the entire Philippine Army.
They have been portrayed in Philippine movies with the rangers played by the prominent and celebrated actors Philippine cinema can offer.
Yesterday while browsing around a local book store I found this book "Glory Denied" it is about Jim Thompson - the longest held american POW during the Vietnam war.
so far it is an interesting read and has bits of survival information in it.
here is an publishers note for your enjoyment;
On March 26, 1964, barely four months after arriving in Vietnam, Special Forces Captain Floyd "Jim" Thompson was captured by the Vietcong. He would spend the next nine years in jungle cages and dark prison cells, attempting escape five times, and surviving torture, disease, and starvation. When he was finally released in 1973, he returned to a nation he no longer knew -- and to a family that no longer knew him.
Thompson's epic story -- and that of his wife and children, who also paid dearly for his sacrifice -- is brought to life in this searing reconstruction of one man's torturous journey through the unspeakable horrors of war and its aftermath. Weaving together interviews with Thompson and his family; comments from friends, fellow soldiers, and other POWs; and excerpts from service records, medical reports, and intelligence briefings, journalist Tom Philpott creates a moving and compelling portrait of a complex and heroic figure. Combining the rich historical detail of Neil Sheehan's A Bright Shining Lie with the pathos of a James Jones novel, Glory Denied is a monumental work of oral history and a much-needed reminder of how far we have come -- and how far we have yet to travel -- in understanding one of the defining moments of our generation.
Friday, September 18, 2009
When i was a kid I remember finding this story in the local news paper and cut out this article, it is about the Japanese ww2 hold out found living on Guam in 1972.
His clever use of available local materials and cast off American junk ranks him up there as one of my favorite survivors.
I Like this Sgt. Shoichi Yokoi better than Lt.Onoda in the Philippines, where both were excellent and clever in the ways of survival but Sgt.Yokoi was not the fanatical soldier blindly following orders like Lt.Onoda was.
Like Onoda, Sgt Yokoi still had his weapons and ammunition , Using his Tailor skills he made clothing from fabric he wove himself from local plant fibers, he dug himself an underground shelter with a trowel he made from an old artillery shell, cleverly constructed a smoke filter in his hide out to prevent detection during his cooking.
His book is an excellent read and can be found on amazon
"my 28 years in the jungle"
It was January twenty-fourth, 1972 in the woods of the Talofofo Basin in Guam.
Sgt. Shoichi Yokoi, one of the last Imperial Soldiers from Japan was discovered under ground. Yokoi thought that WWII was still going on for eight years.
But Yokoi was in hiding for twenty-eight years under ground. So why was he in hiding for an extra twenty years? That was for two reasons; first, he was afraid that the Americans would kill him if he came out. Second, he was reluctant to try and return to Japan due to the old custom of the Japanese to serve the Emperor and not surrender.
Sgt. Shoichi Yokoi went into hiding on July twenty-first, 1944 during the American Invasion and Liberation. His family was notified in September of 1944 that he was killed in action.
There were originally ten other people that lived in the underground cave but ten eventually died from reasons such as diseases. Yokoi himself avoided illness and infection by keeping extremely clean by use of the river for washing.
Sgt. Yokoi had to make due with what he had in the wilderness to ensure his survival. He ate things such as nuts and fruits from plants and trees, and shrimp and fish that he caught himself. Before he became a soldier, Yokoi was a tailor. He used these skills to make his own clothes.
He even kept track of what day it was. Sun up to sun down was one day, and every new moon was one month. When he was discovered, he knew that it was the year 1972.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
2nd Lt. Hiroo Onoda has got to be one of the most fanatical and bullheaded Japanese soldiers to emerge from ww2. His dedication to duty to me is a bit staggering, I served my country for 16 years in Army combat arms and worked "Down range" for 5 years as a military contractor but I always looked forward to my tour being over.
This fellow continued to "fight" for Japan for 29 years and sincerely believed that the war was still going on, he had no Idea when his tour would be through.
His survival skills were exemplary and I appreciate his ability to keep his weapons and ammunition in working order for such a long period of time in the Philippine Jungle.
His Fire making skills were similar to the Native people of the islands using a slightly different version of a bamboo fire saw, his shelters were practical and functional, his clothing was cleverly made from cast off clothing or stolen laundry from the locals.
He made traps for rats and wild chickens in the jungle, built a smoker to preserve beef out of a 5 gallon metal can, stole rice, sweet potatoes, and an occasional cow from the locals. He foraged for bananas ,coconuts, bamboo shoots, ferns and other wild edibles in the forest.
I would love to sit down and talk with this cat, I'm sure id learn a thing or 2.
Please find below a bit of information on this man, His book , No Surrender: My Thirty-Year War
is well worth the reading time and is crammed full of great illustrations on his traps, shelters and clothing etc. and also contains numerous decent photos.
Born in the town of Kainan, Japan in 1922 and when he turned seventeen, he went to work for a trading company in China. In May of 1942, Onoda was drafted into the Japanese Army. Unlike most soldiers, he attended a school that trained men for guerilla warfare.
Assignment to Lubang Island, Philippines
On December 26, 1944 (age 23), Hiroo Onoda was sent to the small island of Lubang Island, approximately seventy-five miles southwest of Manila in the Philippines. Shortly after Americans landed, all but four of the Japanese soldiers had either died or surrendered. Hiroo Onda was also with three other holdouts, who all died over the decades: Private Yuichi Akatsu, Corporal Shoichi Shimada (died 1954), Private Kinshichi Kozuka (died 1972).
Onoda was trained as an intelligence officer by the Nakano School, and on 26 December 1944 was sent to Lubang Island in the Philippines. He was ordered to do all that he could to hamper enemy attacks on the island, including destroying the airstrip and the pier at the harbor, his orders also stating that under no circumstances was he to surrender or take his own life.
When Onoda landed on the island, he linked up with a group of Japanese soldiers who had been sent there previously. The officers in the group outranked Onoda and prevented him from carrying out his assignment, which made it easier for US and Philippine forces to take the island when they landed on 28 February 1945.
Within a short time of the landing, all but Onoda and three other soldiers had either died or surrendered and Onoda, who had been promoted to Lieutenant, ordered the men to take to the hills.
Time in hiding
Onoda continued his campaign, initially living in the mountains with three fellow soldiers (Yuichi Akatsu, Corporal Siochi Shimada and Kinshichi Kozuka).
The first time they saw a leaflet which claimed that the war was over was in October 1945; another cell had killed a cow and found a leaflet left behind by islanders which read: "The war ended on August 15.
Come down from the mountains!" However, they mistrusted the leaflet, since another cell had been fired upon a few days previously. They concluded that the leaflet was Allied propaganda, and also believed that they would not have been fired on if the war was indeed over.
Towards the end of 1945 leaflets were dropped by air with a surrender order printed on them from General Tomoyuki Yamashita of the Fourteenth Area Army. They were in hiding over a year at this point, and this leaflet was the only evidence they had the war was over. Onoda's group looked very closely at the leaflet to determine whether it was genuine or not, and decided it was a hoax.
One of the four, Yuichi Akatsu, walked away from the others in September 1949 and surrendered to Filipino forces in 1950 after six months on his own. This seemed like a security problem to the others and they became even more careful.
In 1952 letters and family pictures were dropped from aircraft urging them to surrender, but the three soldiers concluded that this was a hoax. Shimada was shot in the leg during a shoot-out with local fishermen in June 1953, following which Onoda nursed him back to health, On 7 May 1954, Shimada was killed by a shot fired by a search party looking for the men.
Kozuka was killed by two shots fired by local police on 19 October 1972, when he and Onoda burned rice that had been collected by farmers, as part of their guerilla activities, leaving Onoda alone. Though Onoda had been officially declared dead in December 1959, this event suggested that it was likely he was still alive and search parties were sent out, though none was successful.
On 20 February 1974, Onoda met a Japanese college dropout, Norio Suzuki, who was traveling the world and was looking for "Lieutenant Onoda, a panda, and the Abominable Snowman, in that order". Onoda and Suzuki became friends, but Onoda still refused to surrender, saying that he was waiting for orders from a superior officer.
Suzuki returned to Japan with photographs of himself and Onoda as proof of their encounter, and the Japanese government located Onoda's commanding officer, Major Taniguchi, who had since become a bookseller.
He flew to Lubang and on 9 March 1974 informed Onoda of the defeat of Japan in WWII and ordered him to lay down his arms.
Lieutenant Onoda emerged from the jungle 29 years after the end of World War II, and accepted the commanding officer's order of surrender in his uniform and sword, with his Arisaka Type 99 rifle still in operating condition, 500 rounds of ammunition and several hand grenades.
This makes him the second-to-last fighting Japanese soldier of World War II, before Teruo Nakamura. Although many sources[who?] in modern culture poke fun at Onoda for "not believing the war was over", the primary motivation related to his devout belief in military discipline and honor: he had been ordered to never leave his post until he received a specific order enabling him to do so. Those orders did not arrive until 1974.
Though he had killed some thirty Philippine inhabitants of the island and engaged in several shootouts with the police, the circumstances of these events were taken into consideration, and Onoda received a pardon from President Ferdinand Marcos.
Onoda was so popular following his return to Japan that some Japanese urged him to run for the Diet. He also released an autobiography, No Surrender: My Thirty-Year War, shortly after his surrender, which detailed his life as a guerrilla fighter in a war that was long over.
However, Onoda was reportedly unhappy being the subject of so much attention and troubled by what he saw as the withering of traditional Japanese virtues such as patriotism and in April 1975 he followed the example of his elder brother Tadao and left Japan for Brazil, where he raised cattle.
He married in 1976, and assumed a leading role in the local Japanese community.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
" Learn to Return.”
This is a brief write up about my friend Mountain Mel Deweese, It is not only my opinion but the opinion of many others that he is the best instructor in modern day survival skills.
His Knowledge skills and abilities in the field of survival are unmatched by anyone I have ever met and Mel has the ability to make all of his classes interesting.
I first met Mountain Mel at the Rabbitstick rendezvous in Rexburg, Idaho back in 1990, there were other colorful characters running around, rascals like Mors Kochshanski, Dave Wescott, David Holliday and cody Lundin just to name a few.
With the exception of Mel and Mors or perhaps David Holliday I find most of these bare footed self proclaimed "survival experts" a little annoying, I can remember seeing a lot of these so called experts working at a popular survival school in Utah or working for the guy in Jersey who claims to have learned his skills from a mysterious apache.
It never fails to amaze me how people flock to follow characters who claim to have all of this unsubstanciated experience.
I was looking on youtube at some videos of a guy some people are calling a "Bushcraft god" - personally i cannot sit through one of his videos. He has an annoying rapid fire "Used car dealer" voice which is very irritating.
This guy has created an illusion of being in the wilderness, it appears he goes out along some rail road tracks or in his neighbors woods and pretends to camp and hunt.
There must be a lot of gullible folks out there in need of a leader.
If you want Real Leaders and experts in the field of survival education you need to work with Mountain Mel or Mors, these guys have actually lived the life, been there done that, and do not need to create a false personna to sell "survival skills" to the unaware.
Mel Deweese, “Mountain Mel,” has more than 30 years of worldwide experience teaching survival skills. He is an internationally known and respected expert in nature awareness and survival techniques.
As a military Survival Evasion Resistance Escape (SERE) Instructor (Retired Navy), he has created, developed, written, attended and taught courses from the Arctic Circle to the Canadian Wilderness, from the Philippine Jungles to the California desert.
He has trained more than 100,000 students - civilians, Naval aviators, the elite SEAL teams, DEA personnel and students from other U.S. government agencies.
Mel is always looking to improve his instruction techniques and subject matter by communicating and trading tips with other renown experts.
In 1995 Mel was requested by the Swedish government to represent the United States at the First International Survival Instructor Conference in Sweden.
In 1996, Mel traveled to Brisbane, Australia to visit local museums and attend the annual Aboriginal Peoples Gathering.
In 1997, Mel returned to the Philippines - 20 years after he had taught at the United States Navy Jungle School - to visit his friends in the Negrito Village.
Two years later, he returned to Sweden where Mel assisted in training 17 countries in Search and Rescue survival (SAR) information.
In 1999, Mel appeared on TBS' Movies for Guys who Like Movies and the NBC television show "To Tell the Truth." Last year, he was featured in a special issue of People Magazine as an expert in worldwide survival techniques.
The guy has been around the world teaching Survival skills to a wide variety of different folks and continues to learn skills from others.
Mel recommends Wilderness way magazine for good information on primitive survival,
You can read more about Mountain Mel, his courses and videos on his website at:
"LEARN TO RETURN"