Your First Reaction Will Probably Kill You If . . .


A gas leak in Bhopal India is considered the worst industrial accident with a death toll that has never been fixed, but was definitely over 5,000. Many died because they tried to escape. Running is the WRONG thing to do.

Disasters at plants like the one in Bhopal, train derailments, tanker truck crashes and other incidents make a chemical accident a possibility anywhere. While outlawed, chemical weapons are a reality of our world. Chemical weapons can be made more easily than the other two arms of the triad of weapons of mass destruction: nuclear and biological. Thus, they are a favorite of terrorists. They have been used. They will be used again.

Chemical warfare is the use of non-living toxins to incapacitate or kill humans, plants or animals. Chemical terrorism is the same, except not state- sponsored.

As long as there has been warfare, humans have used chemical warfare in various forms. Fire, in fact, is considered chemical warfare. Poison is another mode.

Chemical Warfare was used extensively in World War I. The French were the first to employ it. It is estimated there were 1.3 million chemical weapon casualties in the war, including civilians. Like biological weapons, chemical weapons are indiscriminate in who they attack.

In World War II, the Japanese and Germans employed chemical weapons in various ways. The Allies stockpiled them for possible use in the extreme. The Japanese employed them in China. (See my slideshare on Unit 731) The Germans didn’t use them in combat, but in concentration camps for extermination and killed millions.

There are some unique properties to chemical weapons and agents. There are over 70 different types and they can come in solid, liquid or gas form. Some act not only via the lungs but through contact with the skin, such as mustard gas. Agents are divided into lethal and incapacitating. Chemical agents are also rated according to their persistency: how long they remain active after being deployed.

Non-persistent chemical agents lose their effectiveness anywhere from seconds to hours after their dispersal. Persistent chemical agents remain for days and even weeks. For most of us, the biggest problem with chemical agents is detection.

The reality is it’s very difficult to detect a chemical accident or attack. The most important sign is the event that initiates the accident or attack. A train derailment is one example. Often, chemical attacks are done via an initial explosion. It was three hours into the Tokyo Sarin attack before they even realized an agent had been used. Always assume the worst. Observing other people and animals is the last resort of detection.

Besides industrial accidents, chemical agents can be delivered by a variety of means: Air Via the water supply Via the food supply. The bottom line is a chemical agent requires direct contact.

There are four main types of chemical agents: Nerve Agents: require ingestion, respiration or contact Blood Agents: absorbed through respiration Choking Agents: absorbed through respiration Blistering Agents: burns skin and internal tissues (mouth, throat and lungs) on contact.

These agents have various effects: Nerve Agents: loss of muscle control, respiratory failure and death Blood Agents: interferes with the body’s oxygen supply, leading to death Choking Agents: death from lack of oxygen Blistering Agents: causes blisters, lung damage, long term debilitating injuries including blindness

To prepare, there are several items that are of value: A gas mask. Many chemical agents act through the respiratory system. However, most of us don’t carry a gas mask around with us. Most are not trained how to use one and gas masks require maintenance of the filters.

Another way to prepare is to be ready to seal your house, or part of your house, off from outside air. For this you will need polyethylene sheeting and tape. It’s best to find a single room, deep inside your house for this; one with no windows and the least amount of doors. Seal any vents. Remember that agents tend to settle so going higher is better.

Shut all air intakes into the house. Turn off AC/Heating. Use wet towels to seal the bottom of doors. If caught in your car, stay in the car. Keep windows closed. Turn off AC/Heating. Turn off outside air circulation. Covers air vents.

Cover yourself completely. Remember, some agents act through the skin. Long pants, long sleeve shirts, masks, hats and gloves.

A huge mistake people make when caught in a chemical accident or attack is fleeing. This killed many during the Bhopal disaster. You are better off sealing yourself inside. Running will expose you more and also cause you to ingest the agent.

A free slideshow on this topic and many others about interesting history, survival, writing and other topics is on my web site at

The African Burial Ground and the History of Slavery in New York City

African Burial Ground

We tend to think of the south when we discuss slavery in America. In 1703, New York City had the second highest percentage of slaves in the colonies. After Charleston, South Carolina. More than 42% of households in the city had slaves.

Ongoing slavery began in New York City in 1626, when eleven Africans were unloaded from a Dutch ship. In 1644, these eleven petitioned the director general of the colony for their freedom. The colony was skirmishing with Native Americans and the fear was that the slaves might run away and fight with them. So they were granted partial freedom. They could purchase land and earn a wage from a master, and eventually earn full freedom. However, their children would be born into slavery. By 1644, those eleven, and others attained half- freedom.

They lived north of Wall Street. Which was named thus because there was a wall there. The defensive barrier for New Amsterdam. They were settled outside it to be a further barrier against Native American attacks.

They settled near Fresh Water Pond, also known as Collect Pond. You can see precursors to present day streets in lower Manhattan.

Later, this area became infamous as Five Points. Anthony Street veers off to the left. Orange to the right. Cross Street is across the foreground.

More slaves were being brought into New Amsterdam as the need for labor increased. These came from both Africa, primarily Angola, and the Dutch West Indies. In 1642, a French privateer, the La Grace, off-loaded ‘Spanish Negroes’ that had been captured from a Spanish ship. The men claimed to be freemen, but because they were black, they were sold as slaves.

In 1644, the English gained control of New Amsterdam. They continued to import slaves to New York City. In 1708, the New York Assembly passed the Act For Preventing The Conspiracy of Slaves. This prescribed capital punishment for any slave who attempted to, or did murder, their master. This was partly in response to the murder of William Hallet III and his family in Queens.

In 1711, a formal slave market was established on Wall Street, where it meets the East River. It was active for 51 years, until 1762.

In 1730, in fear of slave insurrection, the New York Assembly banned the gathering of more than three slaves unless under the direct supervision of their masters. Punishment for violating this was whipping, not to exceed forty lashes for each offense.

The Conspiracy of 1741: This was a supposed plot by poor whites and slaves to revolt. The city’s population at the time was 10,000. 2,000 of those were slaves. The War of Jenkins Ear, between England and Spain had begun in 1739 and last until 1748. This reduced the number of troops in New York City and the gentry felt threatened. Rumors of insurrection was rampant.

The Conspiracy of 1741: Much like the Salem Witch Trials, a wave of paranoia swept the city after several fires. A white indentured servant, Mary Burton, testified there was a cabal. Slaves and poor whites were arrested. They often implicated others to save themselves. 17 blacks and 4 whites were hanged. 13 blacks were burned at the stake. Many more were deported. Executions occurred at the then north end of the city near Chambers Street. With her reward, Mary Burton was able to buy her freedom from indenture.

During the Revolution, African-Americans fought on both sides, but predominantly for the British, because they were promised freedom for their service. Since the British occupied New York City for the duration of the war, blacks fled to it and their population grew to over 10,000 and it was a hub of free blacks. Two of them were escapees from George Washington’s plantation in Virginia.

The Treaty of Paris required all property, including slaves, be left in place and returned to their owners. The British commander in New York City refused to comply. He had over 3,000 black loyalists transported to Nova Scotia. A group of those then went from Canada to Africa to found Sierra Leone.

In 1781 the New York State legislature promised freedom to slaves who had fought for three years for the colonists. The African Free School was founded; the first formal education for blacks in North America. By 1790, one-third of blacks in New York were free. In 1799, the Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery was passed. It didn’t free any current slave. However, any slave child born after 4 July 1799 was free (18 years in the future); except they had to serve an indenture (males to age 28 and females to age 25).

African-Americans fought in the War of 1812 and defended New York. In 1817, the state freed all slaves born before 4 July 1799 to become effective in 1827. On 5 July 1827, African-Americans in New York celebrated emancipation with a parade. They chose the 5th because the 4th was not meant for blacks, as Frederick Douglas would lately famously say.

Despite freedom, African-Americans were mostly disenfranchised from the vote until the passage of the 15th Amendment in 1870.

In the early days of New York City, the main burial ground was the north graveyard of Trinity Church. However, after Trinity purchased the land at Broadway and Wall Street, they had a law enacted in 1697 that no Negro could be buried on their property. The “Negro Burial Ground” was established outside the city limits near their community at Collect Pond. (Note, this area, after the pond was filled in, became the infamous Five Points neighborhood) An image is on the next page. Note that it’s outside the city stockade.

This cemetery was closed in 1794. Eventually, the area was slated for development and the burial ground covered with landfill. Occasionally, bones would be found as new structures were built, but this was more a matter for curiosity seekers and souvenir collectors than any concern.

It wasn’t until 1991, when the federal Government Services Administration (GSA) began construction of a large federal office building at 290 Broadway, between Reade and Chamber Streets, that the situation changed. The environmental impact statement had predicted no remains would be found because of the long history of development in the area. They were wrong.

As the first remains were uncovered during construction, the African- American community raised concerns. Excavation recovered 419 remains. However, it became apparent that the scope of the burial ground was so extensive that it couldn’t be excavated.

After strong lobbying and protests by the African- American community, Congress passed a law to redesign the building, avoiding the area where the remains had been found, and to build a memorial.

After gathering over 100,000 signatures on a petition, the ground was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1993. An archeologist at the Smithsonian, Theresa Singleton said: “The media exposure has created a larger, national audience for this type of research. I’ve been called by dozens of scholars and laypeople, all of them interested in African-American archaeology, all of them curious about why they don’t know more about the field. Until recently, even some black scholars considered African-American archaeology a waste of time. That’s changed now.”

Of the remains recovered from the partial excavation, over half were children. This is a result of short life expectancy at the time. All were buried in separate coffins. It’s estimated at least 20,000 were buried in the old cemetery.

A memorial was built and completed in 2007. It was designated the 123rd National Monument.


The memorial features a map of the Atlantic area in reference to the Middle Passage via which slaves were transported from Africa to North America. It is built of stone from South Africa and from North America, to symbolize the two worlds coming together. The Door of Return, refers to The Door of No Return, a name given to slave ports set up on the coast of West Africa, from which slaves were transported, never to see their homeland again.

The Memorial is located at the corner of Duane and Elk Street in Manhattan. The visitor center is in the Ted Weiss Federal Building at 290 Broadway.

The history of New York City is an integral part of my new series, which starts in 1977. From the African Burial Ground, to Hell Gate, to Hart Island, to Ellis Island, to the Statue of Liberty, to Robert Moses, to the 10,000 miles of tunnels under the city.

New York City. 1970s. Jack Reacher meets the Equalizer by NY Times Bestselling Author, West Point graduate and former Green Beret One of the top five new series of the year.

A free slideshow on this topic and many others about interesting history, survival, writing and other topics is on my web site at

Who were the ENIAC Six? Why were these woman critical to computing?

 ‘Wanted: Women With Degrees in Mathematics . . . Women are being offered scientific and engineering jobs where formerly men were preferred. Now is the time to consider your job in science and engineering… You will find that the slogan here as elsewhere is ‘WOMEN WANTED!’ Recruitment ad for ENIAC, 1945.

ENIAC was formally introduced to the public on the Fifteenth of February, 1946. The press called it the ‘Great Brain’. The project was initiated by the military in 1943 to design a machine capable of rapidly calculating artillery trajectories under a secret project code-named Project PX

ENIAC could branch. Trigger different operations depending on the result of the previous operation. That was a new development in computing.

The ENIAC Six were computing pioneers. The ENIAC didn’t have a memory. It was essentially a bunch of adding machines connected by cables. It had to be programmed by hand to set various tables of numbers. This came down to setting 1,200 ten-way switches. Something, apparently, no man had the patience to figure out.

When ENIAC was introduced to the press on 14 February 1946, it was assumed the six women there were models for the unveiling.

Without these six women, ENIAC couldn’t have been programmed and kept running. Who Were What if those women had never done that job? What if the ENIAC was destroyed?

Moms’s Mission: Valentines Day: For her 24-hour bubble in time, Moms travels back to Philadelphia, 14 February 1945. The day the ENIAC computer is unveiled.


Nikola Tesla

When we turn a light on, or plug in any device, we owe a debt to Nikola Tesla for his contributions to the design of modern alternating current electricity. In essence: the power grid. Tesla was born a Serb in the Austrian Empire on 10 July 1856. His father was a priest; his mother was known for inventing things to make their home life easier. She was also known for amazing mind—she could recite epic Serbian poems from memory.

After seeing a demonstration of electricity, this ‘mysterious phenomena’, he became fascinated by its potential. In school he was known for being able to do calculus in his head. Which led his teachers to accuse him of cheating.

He failed out of University, partly because of his addiction to gambling. He subsequently suffered a nervous breakdown.

At 26, he ended up in Paris, working for Continental Edison, helping develop a rudimentary power utility.

Noticed by his boss for his hard work and innovations, Tesla received a letter of recommendation to Thomas Edison.

In 1884, 28 years old, he emigrated to the United States.

He went to work for Edison in New York City, trying to build a power grid.

Six months later he wrote in his diary: “Good by to the Edison Machine Works.”

He tried starting his own lab, but couldn’t find backers. He did small repair jobs and worked as a ditch digger for $2 a day.

He finally got some backers and worked on developing Alternating Current, as opposed to Edison who was a proponent of Direct Current.

He eventually cut a deal with George Westinghouse to design a motor and transformer. He received $60,000 in cash and stock and a royalty for $2.50 per AC horsepower produced by his motors.

When there was turmoil in the stock market, Westinghouse renegotiated the deal and Tesla lost out on potential billions by giving up the payment per horsepower.

Tesla and AC were pitted against Edison and DC. Edison declared AC current dangerous. He’d ‘prove’ this by publicly electrocuting animals.

This included publicly electrocuting an elephant in Chicago in 1897.

Tesla put on public displays to show that his invention was harmless.

Note that this photo is a double negative, as Tesla wasn’t averse to his own shameless publicity.

Tesla believe electricity could do more than just turn on lights.

Westinghouse won the contract to light the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Tesla designed the system.

Among many things Tesla invented was a radio-controlled boat. He tried selling it to the US Navy as a radio controlled torpedo. They weren’t interested.

Tesla’s main focus was the wireless transmission of power. He believed he could use the planet itself to conduct electricity.

Tesla also picked up what he believed were transmissions from outer space. NIKOLA TESLA

At the turn of the 20th Century, he shifted to Wardenclyffe on Long Island, NY, to pursue his ideas.

Tesla claimed he would be able to transmit to any place around the world. Also, that he could light up the ocean using electricity.

However, funds dried up and Wardenclyffe was shut down.

Tesla and Edison had opposite approaches to their research. Edison believed in experimentation. Tesla preferred to think out his problems.

Tesla never married.

But what if Tesla was someone else? What if Wardenclyffe was more than just an attempt to transmit across the Atlantic. What if it were a weapon?

In the Area 51 series we first learn of Tesla when he shoots down a Swarm scout ship in 1908 using Wardenclyffe. This caused the Tunguska incident when the scout ship crashed.

On 30 June 1908, a massive explosion over Russia, devastated an area of a thousand square miles. Tunguska is covered in a separate slideshow HERE.

In the Area 51 series, Tesla is part of the rogue Watchers. He interacts with the famed explorers Sir Richard Burton and Sir George Mallory. Part of an ancient order who draw their lineage from Myrddin. More commonly know in history and legend as Merlin.

In Area 51: Redemption, Tesla’s granddaughter is a key player. We eventually learn Tesla is much more than just a single man. It’s a key to our prehistory.

Preparing For, What To Do During and Surviving a Power Outage

Power Outage

Preparing For and Surviving

Power Outage Causes: Power outages can occur at any time for a variety of reasons. It’s not just downed power lines. Rolling blackouts during peak usage or high winds are common in many places. The power grid is vulnerable to a computer virus attack. Electricity is vulnerable to electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) from either a nuclear explosion or a solar flare. Recently cold weather caused a massive power outage across Texas. We’ll cover what to do before, during, and after an outage.

It’s too late to prepare once the outage occurs. After every extended outage, most people list these following items as things they wished they had prepared beforehand.

Keep a flashlight within reach of your bed. Keep an inexpensive D-Battery light; a lithium rechargeable lighter/flashlight, and a single AAA light I keep in a sheath with my Leatherman Flashlight & Spare Batteries

A headlamp so you can use your hands. Battery powered and rechargeable.

Since I list rechargeable items, power becomes an issue, especially in an outage. I’ve become a fan of solar, which allows a renewable power source from nature.

I have an entire slideshare devoted to basic Solar Power. One impetus for me to get interested in this, besides the practicality, was to have a power source that we can use as a backup. In our previous house we had a whole house generator, which was nice. We don’t have that in the house we’re currently renting. Also, a generator powers off fuel, which will run out. I have solar panels now, a convertor and backup batteries. At the very least I can run my wife’s CPAP machine all night and recharge the batteries. I also have power for essential items. This power is renewable so for an extended blackout I can recharge. I can also recharge my batteries off my vehicles. In fact, I have a GoalZero 400 in my Jeep with an extra battery. And a 100 watt solar panel on top.

CRITICAL!!!!! If you have medical equipment, particularly life-saving equipment, that requires electricity, it is ESSENTIAL that you have a backup power source. The key is battery power. During a Texas power outage, people died because their oxygen machines, which ran on power, failed. There are other life-saving devices that require power. If you do not have the means to keep them working for at least several days, you must figure out how to do it. Whether it’s a generator, solar, wind, water— get some other power source!

CAVEAT!!!!!  Carbon monoxide can kill. Be very, very careful when using a generator or even getting in your vehicle to run the engine. Do not run your vehicle in your garage. Make sure your generator is properly vented and outside. Don’t put your generator in your garage. I know a couple who died with a generator outside their mobile home, but the vent was near a window they kept open. They passed away in their sleep. Do not bring gas grills indoors to ‘warm up’. It will make you sick or kill you.

SOLAR POWER BASICS TO GET STARTED:  The key components are Solar panels, Convertor, Batteries, and Cables. Most people focus on the panels, but the chokepoint, not just for solar, but for all renewable energy, is the power storage: the battery. For more, view the entire slideshow HERE

If an outage is widespread, your pumping station might lose power. Also, your heating and air conditioning are dependent on power. For an extended outage, you need enough water for at least three days. During the recent Texas outage, potable water becomes scarce because of burst pipes. Minimum is one gallon per person, per day. Double that for warm climates. 8 average 500ml water bottles is just over one gallon. A case of water (24 bottles) is the minimum three days supply per person. I recommend at least two cases per person.

A water filter can be a life-saver. Even the water from our tap can be contaminated. We always have a water filter on the tap for our drinking water.

Non-perishables for three days minimum. Food that doesn’t require refrigeration. Don’t have food that will make you thirsty. Plan for infants and special dietary requirements. Note expiration dates. Mountain Home meals have a 25 year expiration, and are supplied by the company that made our Long Range Patrol meals in Special Forces. It’s what we have on hand and in our grab-n-go bags. Also good for camping. Food

I have a variety of ration bars: ER Bar Grizzly Bear Emergency Food Rations DaTrex 3600 Below are some before going into a ziplock bag and into my Jeep.

A small, portable camping stove is key. Make sure you have plenty of fuel which comes in various sizes from small to larger and heavier.

Know what the emergency broadcast stations are. Have a hand crank/solar radio/flashlight combo.

I carry a SpotX 2 Way Satellite messenging system. I’ve gone many places where there is no cell phone coverage. While going to Hole in the Rock in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, my clutch began to burn out. 120 miles from the nearest civilization. Luckily I managed to sustain in third gear out of there but it made me consider the situation. There are places all over the country, including in the Smoky Mountains, with no cell coverage. I view this as a potentially life-saving investment. Also peace of mind as my family can get hold of me any time and I can update them on my progress. If the outage is widespread, cell phone towers might no longer work.

While we’re all going cellular or wireless, a plugged in landline still works during a power outage. Rotary optional.

First Aid Kit: There are plenty of prepared ones you can buy. Below is one I have in house and in grab-n-go bags. Make sure you have medications to last a week. Extra glasses, contacts, etc.

When power is out ATMs won’t work Store computer systems will have crashed. It will be a cash environment for a while. Until it’s a Zombie environment.

Do you know where the manual release on your garage door is and how to use it? Don’t run your car in a closed garage for heating, cooling, or to charge phones. Always keep your car at least half topped off. Gas stations rely on electricity to pump. In an extended outage, a shortage of gasoline is always a factor. Story at least a five gallon can of gas outside your house, in your garage. Power Outage

DURING a Power Outage

Shuffle away from downed lines, with your feet close together and in constant contact with the ground. When a live wire hits the ground, power goes in all directions. The voltage decreases with distance. Water is a powerful conductor of electricity, so stay away from wet spots. Never drive over a downed line. Even if it doesn’t have power, it can become entangled in your car. Downed Power Lines

Do you have a way to keep warm in cold weather or cool in hot weather without power? A fireplace? Do you use gas or propane for heating? Do you know how to manually start the pilot light if its an electric igniter? In either situation close all shades. Go lower for cool; a basement is best. Do not use gas grills inside. For heat, wear clothes in layers. Never use your oven as a source of heat.

Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. An unopened freezer that is full will keep for almost 48 hours.

Turn off or disconnect appliances and electric equipment that could be damaged by a power surge when the power comes back on. Disconnect and turn off

A power outage that lasts more than a week can cause problems we need to consider. Think through all the things around your house and moving outward that require power. Do you rely on well water? Can you draw via hand pump? What about your septic system and pump? Cell phone service might well be down as the towers will be without power if the outage is widespread.

Generators are like car engines. The more power you draw from them, the faster they use fuel. Turn off all non-essential items drawing power. A portable generator must be vented. NEVER run one inside your house or your garage. Make sure the vent isn’t close to an intake in the house. Over half of the deaths in the last hurricane were from people running generators in their houses and near their houses that weren’t properly ventilated— be careful! Generators

I have a separate slideshow on solar power, but it’s something to consider. Even on a limited level, a few solar panels, convertor and a couple of batteries can run critical equipment such as CPAP machine and charge things like phones and laptops. There are also whole-house battery banks that charge off the grid and can also charge off panels. They are more expensive than a regular generator but they can work for much longer in an extended outage. Even with a large propane tank, eventually your generator will run out of fuel.

AFTER: Throw away frozen food that has thawed or that has an unusual texture, odor, or color. Check with your doctor if medications have spoiled. Restock your emergency supplies.

This information is drawn from a FREE slideshow on Slideshare that contains images and links to all equipment and gear mentioned. It is located HERE along with dozens of other free slideshows.

What You Need to Know for Cold weather Preparation and Survival

Cold Weather

Cold can kill. Without a regulated body temperature, a person can survive only 3 hours. Cold and wet is an even more deadly combination. There are some basics to keep in mind when facing cold weather.

I commanded an A-Team in the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne). 10th Group has the distinction of being the ‘cold weather’ Group, since it’s oriented toward high altitude environments. We learned to ski, then survive and operate in high altitude and cold weather. My first winter operation was an eye-opening experience for me– the image below is on a recon above 10,000 feet altitude in the mountains.

Winter Warfare

Wind amplifies the effect of cold. Your outer garment should be wind and waterproof.

There are two types of cold weather environments: wet or dry. New England, for example, is wet cold. The Rocky Mountains are dry cold. We took more cold weather casualties when we trained in the Adirondacks at lower elevation than when we trained in Utah at high altitude based on the difference between wet cold and dry cold.

Always keep your head covered. You lose a large percent of body heat from an unprotected head and more from the unprotected neck, wrist, and ankles. These areas of the body are good radiators of heat and have very little insulating fat. The brain is very susceptible to cold and can stand the least amount of cooling. I am a big fan of the wool watch cap.

The key to clothing is layering. You start with what’s closest to your body. It is critical to keep not only warm, but dry, no matter where you are. Often, in the desert, while the day might be hot, the night can easily drop below freezing, depending on the time of year.

Layering works in threes: INNER MIDDLE OUTER

Inner layer. Whatever is directly against your skin. The goal is to wick moisture away to the next two layers. Your body heat does the work, so the better the material for this, the less energy your body has to expend. This layer should have a snug fit around your body. The material used should absorb less than one percent of moisture. Common materials are polypropylene, silk, wool and polyester. Never cotton.

Middle layer. This layer is your insulation. Its primary purpose is to keep your warm, while it also helps wick away the moisture to the outer layer. This middle layer must move the moisture outward while keeping heat in. When you think middle layer, consider several garments instead of just one, so you can adjust as the temperature changes.

Outer layer. While the first two layers are focused on keeping warmth in and wicking moisture away, the primary purpose of the outer layer is to battle outside elements, primarily wind and moisture. It should also have some ability to wick away moisture from inside. If this layer only repels rain and wind, it’s called a shell. Usually, though, this outer layer will have an insert that can be added or removed as needed.

A key word to remember is the acronym COLD. C: keep Clothing clean O: avoid Overheating L: wear clothes Loose and in Layers D: keep clothing Dry. Cold Weather Preparation

C: keep Clothing clean This principle is always important for sanitation and comfort. In winter, it is also important from the standpoint of warmth. Clothes matted with dirt and grease lose much of their insulation value. Heat can escape more easily from the body through the clothing’s crushed or compressed air pockets.

O: avoid Overheating When you get too hot, you sweat and clothing absorbs the moisture. This affects warmth in two ways: dampness decreases the insulation quality of clothing, and as sweat evaporates, your body cools. Adjust your clothing so that you do not sweat. Do this by partially opening your parka or jacket, by removing an inner layer of clothing, by removing heavy outer mittens, or by throwing back your parka hood or changing to lighter headgear.

L: wear clothes Loose and in Layers Wearing tight clothing (other than the innermost layer) and footgear restricts blood circulation and invites cold injury. It also decreases the volume of air trapped between the layers, reducing its insulating value. Several layers of lightweight clothing are better than one equally thick layer of clothing, because the layers have dead-air space between them. The dead-air space provides extra insulation. Also, layers of clothing allow you to take off or add clothing layers to prevent excessive sweating or to increase warmth.

D: keep clothing Dry. In cold temperatures, your inner layers of clothing can become wet from sweat and your outer layer, if not water repellent, can become wet from snow and frost melted by body heat. Wear water repellent or waterproof outer clothing. It will shed most of the water collected from melting snow and frost. Despite the precautions you take, there will be times when you cannot keep from getting wet. At such times, drying your clothing may become a major problem. On the march, hang your damp mittens and socks on your rucksack. Sometimes even in freezing temperatures, the wind and sun will dry this clothing. You can also place damp socks or mittens, unfolded, near your body so that your body heat can dry them.

Hypothermia is the lowering of the body temperature at a rate faster than the body can produce heat. The initial symptom is shivering. This shivering may progress to the point that it is uncontrollable and interferes with an individual’s ability to care for himself. This begins when the body’s core (rectal) temperature falls to about 96 degrees. When the core temperature reaches 95 to 90 degrees F, sluggish thinking, irrational reasoning, and a false feeling of warmth may occur. Core temperatures 90 to 86 degrees F and below result in muscle rigidity, unconsciousness, and barely detectable signs of life. If the victim’s core temperature falls below 77 degrees F (25 degrees C), death is almost certain.

Hypothermia: Some people are more susceptible to hypothermia: the elderly, children, and those under the influence of alcohol. Children and thin people loss body heat more quickly. Hypothermia Symptoms: Shivering. Confusion. Uncoordinated actions. Treatment: Get into shelter. Build a fire if you don’t have a shelter. Remove wet clothing and replace with dry. Put in a sleeping bag or cover with blankets. Sip on a warm beverage (nothing with caffeine or alcohol). Do gentle exercises. If necessary, have someone who is not hypothermic cuddle up, to give their body heat. If you have hand warmers, put them in the same place ice would go for heat stroke: neck, armpits and groin.

Frostbite: This injury is the result of frozen tissues. Light frostbite involves only the skin that takes on a dull whitish pallor. Deep frostbite extends to a depth below the skin. The tissues become solid and immovable. Your feet, hands, and exposed facial areas are particularly vulnerable to frostbite. The best frostbite prevention, when you are with others, is to use the buddy system. Check your buddy’s face often and make sure that he checks yours. If you are alone, periodically cover your nose and lower part of your face with your mittened hand. Frostbite can happen fast. I had a touch of frostbite simply be removing my gloves to help load a casualty onto a Blackhawk helicopter in freezing temperatures. The combination of cold and the wind produced by the blades exacerbated the situation. Frostbite

The following pointers will aid you in keeping warm and preventing frostbite. Maintain circulation by twitching and wrinkling the skin on your face by making faces. Warm with your hands. Ears. Wiggle and move your ears. Warm with your hands. Hands. Move your hands inside your gloves. Warm by placing your hands close to your body. Feet. Move your feet and wiggle your toes inside your boots. A loss of feeling in your hands and feet is a sign of frostbite. If you have lost feeling for only a short time, the frostbite is probably light. Otherwise, assume the frostbite is deep.

Frostbite Symptoms: Stinging pain that turns into numbness. You might not even feel the pain, depending on the circumstances and what else is going on in an emergency. The skin becomes cold to the touch and white spots develop.

Frostbite Treatment: As with everything else, medical attention ASAP if possible; frostbite can cause permanent injuries and even amputation. If medical attention isn’t available within the next two to three hours, get into shelter or build a fire. Submerge body parts in water that is between 104 and 108 F; tepid water, not hot. Submerging in hot water will cause extreme pain and even shock. Do not expose frostbite to flame. This tepid water will cool quickly, drawing the cold from the body. Change it often. When drying frostbite injuries pat them. Don’t rub. Rubbing causes more damage. Blisters may appear. Do not pop or lance them as that increases the chances of infection. Apply a loose sterile dressing over the affected area.

When bundled up in many layers of clothing during cold weather, you may be unaware that you are losing body moisture. Your heavy clothing absorbs the moisture that normally evaporates in the air. You must drink water to replace this loss of fluid. Your need for water is as great in a cold environment as it is in a warm environment even though you don’t feel as thirsty. We often don’t want to drink water when we’re cold.

Dehydration: One way to tell if you are becoming dehydrated is to check the color of your urine on snow. If your urine makes the snow dark yellow, you are becoming dehydrated and you need to replace body fluids. If it makes the snow light yellow to no color, your body fluids have a more normal balance. You can also smell the sharp odor of the urine when someone is dehydrated.

You can also do the pinch test. Pinch a portion of skin on the back of your hand and let go. If it remains pinched for longer than usual, you are dehydrated. Dehydration

Shelter is critical. A snow cave or snow trench work well. Get out of the wind. Cold tends to settle in low areas, so avoid the bottom of gullies or ravines. Operating In Cold Weather

Everything takes twice as long as it normally does. Snow is extremely difficult to move through. Food and water freeze. We carried our canteens inside our outer garments and next to your bodies. The same with our next meal. Weapons sweat if you keep them near you when sleeping. They will then freeze. Leave them outside the shelter where they won’t warm up.

Bottom line? Be prepared and be smart.

Valentines Day: Same day, six different years. Six Time Patrol Missions

Valentines Day

“The point in history at which we stand is full of promise and danger. The world will either move forward toward unity and widely shared prosperity—or it will move apart.” President Franklin D. Roosevelt

To change our timeline requires changing six events on the same day in different. The Time Patrol’s mission is to keep our timeline intact, no matter what the cost.

14 February. Valentines Day 1929 1945 1946 278 1779 1945 What do they all have in common? A day when history stood in the balance.

Travel back in time to Chicago, 14 February 1929. The day seven men are machine-gunned in a massacre that will change the public’s perception of the mob. What if that day turns out very differently with seven different victims?

Travel back in time to the Great Bitter Lake on 14 February 1945. The day on which the Roosevelt becomes the first American President to meet a Saudi King and the future of the Middle East is set. Think of the future that can be changed if that meeting turns in a different direction.

Travel back in time to Hawaii on 14 February 1779. The day the great explorer, Captain Cook, is killed. What if he lives?

Travel back in time to Dresden, Germany on 14 February 1945. The day Dresden is firebombed. Where he meets POW Kurt Vonnegut. What if Vonnegut dies?

For her 24-hour bubble in time, Moms travels back to Philadelphia, 14 February 1945. The day the ENIAC computer is unveiled. What if this critical stage in computing, largely worked by six special women, the ENIAC Six, fails?

Travel back in time to Rome, 14 February 278. The day a priest named Valentine is executed and a myth begins. What if the priest isn’t what he appears?

Time Patrol (Valentines Day)


USS Reuben James

“Have you heard of a ship called the good Reuben James, Manned by hard fighting men both of honor and fame?”

The USS Reuben James was a Clemson-class destroyer, built just after World War I in 1919. Clemson-class, also known as four stackers, were the most common destroyer ever built by the US Navy, with 156 built, until the Fletcher-class in World War II.

It was armed with 4, four-inch guns, and 12 torpedo tubes. It also carried depth charges for anti- submarine warfare. The USS Reuben James was commissioned on 24 September 1920.

The ship was named after Reuben James, a sailor who gained fame for stepping in front of Lieutenant Decatur during a battle in the Barbary Wars and taking a sword blow to the head that was intended for Decatur, who went on to gain great fame in the Navy. Interestingly, it appears in retrospect, that story might be in error and another man actually took the blow.

In 1921, she helped escort the remains of the Unknown Soldier of World War I from Europe back to the United States.

The Reuben James was commanded by Lieutenant Commander Heywood L. Edwards. A 1926 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, Heywood had wrestled in the 1928 Summer Olympics, placing 4th in the light heavyweight division.

Prior to the outbreak of World War II, she was assigned to the Neutrality Patrol, escorting convoys sailing to Great Britain. They escorted as far as Iceland, whereupon, security was taken over by British ships.

23 October 1941, she was one of five destroyers escorting convoy HX 156 from Newfoundland. As they approached Iceland and the handoff, they were required to spend an extra day in order to insure the task was completed.

On 31 October 1941, Hallows Eve, the USS Reuben James was torpedoed by U-552, commanded by Erich Topp.

The torpedo hit the port bow, detonating the forward magazine, blasting the destroyer in two. Every officer was killed.

The ship went down quickly. Of 144 on board, there were 44 survivors.

Due to the fact that the United States was not at war, the sinking caused a large outcry. However, it was not until 7 December, over 5 weeks later, that the United States entered World War II.

Woody Guthrie wrote a song, The Sinking of the Reuben James.

“Have you heard of a ship called the good Reuben James Manned by hard fighting men both of honor and fame? She flew the Stars and Stripes of the land of the free But tonight she’s in her grave at the bottom of the sea.” Woody Guthrie

But what if the Reuben James encounter with U-552 turns out to be something altogether different?

That is the premise of one of the missions in Hallows Eve (Time Patrol)

Day 324: Pandemic. Are We Seeing a Slow Rolling Larger Disaster in COVID-19?

Reported Cases

I haven’t written about the pandemic in a while; perhaps I’ve been numbed out like many of us. But first, note its day 324 since I started writing about it. What hasn’t happened? We still can’t get an N-95 mask. That seems simple, doesn’t it? Why not? Because the previous administration never had a plan for this. We’re only a couple of weeks into the new administration but I’m seeing worrying signs in the midst of a turnaround in the government response.

We knew there would be mutations of the original virus. That happens in a pandemic. But as we slowly roll out vaccines (my wife and I are hoping for April, maybe???) we’re also seeing variants of COVID that are more contagious. Also, one that seems to be more serious. The new Johnson and Johnson Vaccine that should be rolling out soon isn’t as effective against the new South African variant of COVID-19. That’s troubling.

We’ve lost half a million Americans to COVID (officially 434,000) and I really believe that number is on the low side. Lots of bodies found alone in homes and apartments that haven’t been autopsied. Lots of secondary deaths due to triage and medical appointments and checkups canceled. There are third level deaths from suicides and financial hardships. Overall, it’s been the worst health disaster in the United States since the 1918 Flu. And it’s still peaking. We’re not in a second wave. We’re still climbing the first wave.

The map above is pretty stunning. We’re getting better at treating COVID and keeping the fatality rate down, but it’s spreading like wildfire.

A distressingly high percentage of our population still has willful ignorance of the threat and refuse to change their lifestyle. Or wear masks. Governors are still floundering and in some cases making extremely stupid decisions, such as re-opening indoor dining. Seriously? People can’t do take out? It’s so important to actually sit in a restaurant and eat?

We are in a race against time with the vaccine. Can we get enough people immunized to turn the numbers positive? Much more worrying to me, and why I titled this post the way I did, is whether we might see a COVID variant that won’t be stopped with the current vaccinations, causing us to go through the entire process again? On top of the current variant? What if one develops in reaction to vaccinations that is much more deadly? Every time a new variant pops up, it’s never isolated. Within a week it’s all over the world. I don’t know what fatality rate would cause a panic, but I suspect even a 5% mortality rate would cause a significant breakdown in society. I’m not saying its likely, but I’m picking up a lot of worrisome vibes from experts in the field. It’s what they’re not saying that concerns me. Many economies are already fragile and people are numbed out. Not just by deaths in the hundreds of thousands, but also a year of constant stress.

Hard as it might be, now is the time to get prepared for the possibility of things getting worse. Essentially we’re living downstream from a very large dam and the water is flowing over the top. Hopefully the level will go down and the dam will hold. But there are two frightening possibilities: the water will pour over the top or, worse, the dam will break. And if it does, things will happen fast.

Prepare now. Survive later.

The Green Beret Pocket-Sized Survival Guide

Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide.

The Vulnerabilities of GPS


The NY Times ran an article yesterday about the vulnerabilities of GPS. It’s here if you desire to read it.

It mostly reiterates what I’ve written in The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide. Bottom line: we are way too dependent on GPS– and its used for much than navigation. We use GPS signals for time-keeping. Thus the stock market and many other parts of our society are dependent on it. The one interesting thing the article covers that I don’t touch on is that it’s getting easier to spook a GPS signal. I often wonder if some of those Navy ship collissions occurred because the GPS navigation was spoofed? I hope all naval officers still know how to use compass and sextant? Anyone know?

GPS stands for Global Positioning System. A basic understanding of GPS is useful so we understand what it can and can’t do.

Let’s get a little geeky. The GPS receiver gets a signal from each satellite with the exact time it is sent. By subtracting the time the signal was sent from the time it was received the GPS receiver can calculate how far it is from the satellite. The receiver knows where the satellite is in orbit so it has a fix on that satellite. For our GPS receiver to work it needs to make contact and get a fix with at least 3 GPS satellites for a two dimensional fix (latitude and longitude) and 4 satellites for a three dimensional fix (adding in elevation). If you are only getting 3 satellites and aren’t at sea level, your actual location could be different from what the GPS is showing. If you’re up at a high altitude in the mountains, this can become significant. Usually, though, this isn’t a problem. Of the 31 active GPS satellites, there are usually 6 in range from most places on the Earth’s surface.

Ever notice that it takes your GPS varying amounts of time to get a fix? If the GPS hasn’t been on recently it could take as long as 30 seconds. Tall buildings or other obstructions can also make it take longer. Most GPS accuracy is to within 5 meters.

Cellphone GPS units act a bit differently incorporating Assisted-GPS to get a fix quickly. They use cell phone tower data to assist. Sometimes they can give you a fix without even accessing satellites. This only works though it you are in cellphone and Wifi coverage.

Another thing to consider is whether the map coverage you’re using is in your device’s memory or downloading. Ever have the GPS map become blank when you’re out of coverage? We should always download our local area tiles for whatever mapping GPS we use. When I plan trips, I download the map tiles into memory for the route and destination. This allows the GPS to work faster and gives me a map even if I can’t download it live. For your vehicle’s GPS, are the maps you’re using in the memory or downloading? Put them in the memory.

I’ve noticed when biking and using GPS that every so often it will tell me it has lost the signal. Some of these ‘dead spots’ are the same, but others seem random. Which brings me to this significant point: you can’t count on GPS!

There are other problems with GPS:

They need the satellites working. EMP—electro-magnetic pulse, whether natural (solar flare) or man-made (nuclear weapon) can wipe those satellites out.

The GPS receiver, whether in your vehicle, a cell phone or handheld GPS receiver, requires power to work. Cell phones and batteries can die. Commercial airplanes are required to have backup navigation to GPS. Just in case. We need to do the same.

Sadly, many people no longer carry paper maps in their car. Beyond that, many don’t know how to read a road map, never mind a topographical one.

When I was a brand new butter-bar second lieutenant in the First Cavalry Division, I was told succinctly that a platoon leader had to do two things well: Maintain communications on the radio and navigate. Failing either of those two and your time as leader was limited and your career in the Army over.

In a survival situation, especially moderate to extreme, it is highly likely you will have to move from point A to point B. It also possible you won’t have a GPS to do that with.

The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide