My dear SHTF friends. I’ve really missed you and would like to apologize for not letting you know how we are surviving in Africa.
I asked one of my friends to write down one of his personal survival experiences. . He said he would like to join SHTF School soon.
This is Joe’s story
“When I was asked to put my experience down for others to read, my thoughts went to where to start ?
You do not just become a survivalist over night. It takes years of training, preparation and mistakes. It takes you succeeding and failing for that incident, that incident that gets you a sit down face to face with the grim reaper. Where does my story start?
I grew up in South Africa in an era when everything was crazy. My father was a Police officer. Back then they were attacking police officers houses, our Police force was not very much liked then or now. My dad decided there are no way that we will, and I quote: “Become victims” and “go quietly into the night” So we started training with weapons. People seeing us every weekend on the range got to know us and my father started training the wife’s of shooters that came to the range. And at a ripe age of fourteen, I was training people how to use weapons.
My childhood was awesome ! I screwed up like anyone else. Played team sports and did well, but wasn’t keen on doing the group thing.
The constant in my life was my shooting and from my father I got the love for nature and the bush. We use to go out on long hikes and just be quiet, taking in our environment and all that’s around us.
The day I got my grade 12 certificate, I was sworn into the Police. My dad being a senior officer, swore me in…and that was the last he had anything to do with my career.
I started my career in a unit that was called “Die Dapper Duisend” (translated- The Brave Thousand also called UNIT 19). This unit’s primary job was to be deployed to all violent hotspots in South Africa. I was 18 years old, well trained. Hard fear became a constant companion and I learned to harness it to become more efficient in what I was doing.
Being young and going through a lot (I spent only about a week sleeping in my own room at my barracks in a 3 year period) I started getting cocky; I started thinking screw this, I am immortal. We, the team I was working with, all started feeling like this. We were about 21 years old, battle tested and hard! Then the worse thing happened to us. We were broken up as a team. They did this because we went out looking for fights, getting drunk, just messing up. PTSD was only something some soft pencil pusher got, because he was too scared to continue fighting.
We fell apart, some guys took their own lives. Those that survived this period was given an option, stand down from the teams or get a transfer. I opted for the last, getting a post closer to home to a unit where I had friends not just team mates. Starting a clean slate .
All went well for a good period of time, then I got bored . A new unit started up 100 high performance BMW vehicles, 200 men with specialized training. The job would be high speed pursuit. I did the selection course and passed and started working on the vehicles. Not long afterwards, we were joined by a helicopter and I started working as a tactical crew on the choppers. With me flying everyday, I was sent on a medical course and became a medic. Being a medic I was pulled into the dive team (I was qualified as an advanced sports-diver) I were sent on a Police commercial divers course with our special forces units.
Through all of this, I had both good and bad experiences – for instance, I nearly drowned on a deep zero visibility dive. But also learned how to slow down my breathing and heart rate while diving to preserve air and have a longer down time.
In 2004 I left the Police force. I now was an Instructor specialising in weapons and tactical policing. I did the Iraq thing, then Angola; Congo; Guinea. I was getting tired and got a job at a security company in South Africa.
We were doing low profile cash in transit runs, using unmarked vehicles , not attracting attention with rifles hanging out etc. etc.
We just did a pick up, my scout car called an all clear to get on the freeway. As we took a turn we got caught up in a traffic jam, I was sitting as the passenger ….THEN IT HAPPENED…..the shots and my body being slammed d into the dashboard seemed to happen at the same time, I saw a man running towards us with a rifle. I grabbed my pistol that was between my legs with my left hand and shot him. With my right hand I grabbed our radio and called the contact. It seemed like all hell then broke loose, vehicles were moving trying to get out of the way. I wasn’t hearing much at this point for two reasons (1) I get auditory exclusion in a gun fight, this I know from previous gun fights. With this comes an added advantage that everything slows down and (2) A rifle was just fired at me, so being deaf was expected. I debussed out of the vehicle changing my weapon to my right hand (my strong hand) I saw another male standing with a rifle, this was the guy that shot me, I promptly send him to hell. From my peripheral vision I saw a vehicle come racing up, I did not see much else than the recognizable flash hider of an AK47, but before dealing with them I had another problem. There was an armed security guard trying to get into the fight. He had a shotgun. I was not sure if he was part of the ambush or just doing his job. I persuaded him not to join the fight by firing a round into the ground at his feet and nicely asking him in my loudest outside voice to f_cking drop it or die. My request was followed by me pointing a pistol at his head -I was bleeding like hell, shouting and pointing a gun at him. He decided not to join the fight, he left his shotgun right there and ran as fast as his legs could carry him.
My driver was busy engaging another vehicle that came racing from our front. I cannot comment much about what was happening there as I was running to the front of our vehicle where the first guy I shot disappeared t o. He still had a rifle and I was not sure what his status was -for I shot him with my weak hand and my muscles were all messed up from the gunshots I took.
As I came around the front of the vehicle, he still had the rifle. I shot him through the shoulder and pelvic area. He started screaming and curled up in the foetal position. I kicked his rifle into a drain. From cover I engaged the vehicle, the occupants promptly got out and returned the favour. I dropped to the ground and fired again and then I couldn’t see anyone .
I did a quick mag change and went looking for targets. I moved around the vehicle and saw a fat guy s crack sticking out yellow shirt riding high shooting at my driver. I gave him a double tap just above his crack on the red string he was wearing. Holy crap, you should have seen his face, he also started screaming like an air raid siren….In al this my driver also wounded a guy ……and I personally feel this is what saved us , these guys were screaming like mad, they had one dead and a few wounded by now and the screaming seemed to have an effect on their mates (Robbers usually goes to a sangoma (witchdoctor) before going out to rob to have their guns and themseves blessed so that nothing can harm them. This is called getting muti. They usually get a red string tied around their waist to protect them.) These guys must have been thinking their muti was no good.
I saw them pull my driver out of the vehicle; throw him on the ground. The guy standing over him had my drivers weapon in his hand and pointing it down towards him. I lifted my pistol, I saw the guy look up, run to a vehicle and suddenly all was dead dead quiet .
*They had the time to pick up the dead guy as well as the wounded, the Police found a vehicle with the dead guy about 5 minutes drive from the contact area, the robbers left 2 rifles on the scene. The guy that shot at me had 3 thirty round magazines taped to each other, the stock of the rifle was folded up. The theory was that he went for my head but flinched badly and got my shoulder and lungs.
THE CONTACT LASTED ABOUT 90 SECONDS .*
This is when I started assessing our wounds-remember I am a medic?- My driver took a hit in his arm. My whole torso was full of blood, my breathing was racing. This was because of adrenaline in my body but also my lung was shot to hell. I was too weak to get into our vehicle which was a pick up. Our scout vehicle arrived on scene and between the two guys I was loaded into the car. In our mission brief our plan was not to wait for any ambulance. I would stabilise and work on the injured. This plan went all to **** with me being the injured. When they loaded me, I turned onto my INJURED side. I knew I was drowning in my own blood and that my lung collapsed, because there was air in my lung cavity- Hemopneumothorax -I needed to stay on the injured side so that the blood would not flow to my good lung.
Remember I spoke about my diving and the breathing techniques I learnt? Well that came in handy now. I used those techniques to slow my heart and breathing. I knew if I didn’t get this right that I would be dying at a faster pace as my heart was beating faster and I would be loosing blood faster.
We raced directly to a level 1 Trauma unit, this was part of the mission plan. The reason being not all hospitals have a resus unit.
What did I learn from this ?
Train in various aspects, do not think because you are good with a gun, you do not need medical training, use “other” experiences to survive.
When something bad happens to you, learn a lesson out of it. You never know when you might use it again.
Have a plan, if the plan doesn’t work, adapt to your circumstances .
Train and keep training – you are never good enough not to train”