Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Survival Tools

"Birdshit and fools, sergeant!" And cell phones.
We mentioned this last week. Anyone who ever had military-issue flight gear already knows this one.
For those who don't, I once wondered why surplus flightsuits and aircrew survival vests (of which I own a number) always had little lengths of high-test string sewn inside the pockets.
They did that, for the same reason the dummy in the above video should have attached his phone (and the idiot stick), and anything else he was fiddling with to himself, or his airframe, with dummy cord. (This is someone too stupid to be allowed to fly, even a paraglider, IMHO.)
Because dummies drop stuff. And you will, too. Usually something important, and irreplaceable. (FFS, they even cover this in a vintage 1960s USN aircrew survival film {which I can't find on YouTube to link you to because of so many uploaded vintage films}, where Ensign Dumbass leaves his compass behind.)
So, the knife you had to cut parachute shrouds, in case of a tree landing, was dummy-corded to your flightsuit. Because if you dropped it, you could retrieve it, instead of watching it fall 50' down into forest or jungle, as you continued to hang from a tree.
Perhaps with people looking for you who didn't have your best interests in mind.
It's why both the M1911A1 Colt .45 and M9 Beretta 9mm pistols have lanyard loops built into the butt of those pistols. And the .Mil issues pistol lanyards to the brighter folks, so they don't lose their pistols.

Good ideas are always in style.
It's why your mother gave you "Idiot" mittens, with a cord running from L to R across your shoulders, so the Idiot wouldn't lose his mittens.
In a survival situation, got something small, high value, and very likely irreplaceable?
27 other odds and ends*?
Dummy cord that sh*t to your body, or item of clothing, so you don't lose it!
Military vests back in the day, it turned out, used high-test fishing line. Like 100-150# braided Dacron, where 100 yds on a spool will set you back $10-20. Strong enough to catch marlin, strong enough to hold your survival gear on you.
And, bonus for you, if you had extra, you could also use it to, you know, catch fish.
Make snares*.
Lash things together.
You can gut paracord*, and use the interior strands, in a pinch, but you're far better off saving that for other uses. Get the fishing Dacron. Or go online shopping from somebody like Atwood Rope, and get some of their Micro-paracord line.
It comes in camo colors, solid colors, whatever. Or just buy the 325 paracord at WallyMart, Hobby Lobby, Michael's, etc., in whatever shade floats your boat.
Then, tie it to your important items, with a bowline*, and fasten or machine sew the other end to your pack, vest, belt, or other load-carrying gear, so you don't drop important things off a cliff, into a river, lake, or ocean, or like our exemplar dumb @$$ above, from 7000' and onto someone's head.
You can learn from the opening dipsh*t, or you can be that dipsh*t.
It's your gear, and your life.
Save your gear, and save your life.
*The Sergeant Major notes "You will see this material again."


Anonymous said...

When my Uncle left Vietnam he had the Airforce lower the rear ramp of the Hercules so he could take a photo. They thought it'd be funny to drop it right down and he fell dropping his camera, his expensive camera. The aircrew thought it was hilarious and they dragged him back into the aircraft.

Totally unrelated but apparently in countries that restrict personal firearm ownership. Freeman that kept their firearms over time tend to have lost the magazines for them. Or so I've heard. There's a lesson there. I hope it's "Buy a Ruger No.1 or similar"

Anonymous said...

Is it weird that my first thought after watching the video was, "That'd be a way to go, get killed by some idiot's cellphone falling from 5,000'".

Anonymous said...

I LOLed when you mentioned a bowline. Dad, before he joined Uncle Sam's Misguided Children, was a merchant seaman. I could tie a bowline, square knot, clove hitch or sheet bend before I could read. Amazed my brother in law once when we needed a loop in a rope and I tied a bowline without looking, just held it up as we were talking.

Never really got the hang of the back splice though. Can do one of I'm careful and pay attention, but most times a bowline does the job and is quicker.

Anonymous said...

Damn I usually sign my comments. Consider this a continuation.

Mark D

Old NFO said...

Yep, dummy cord works. Going through survival requal in the Pacific off San Diego for three hours in the water with NO wetsuit, you become so numb your hands don't work well. BUT thanks to dummy cords, I didn't lose anything out of my vest or my flight suit. Even my water bottle was dummy corded in...

Anonymous said...

Dummy cording and lanyards are very familiar to me. The marlin line is new, thank you! Good point about not stripping 550 but using the fishing line. Buying a roll or two tomorrow.
I found something similar to the thin 100# cord but don't immediately remember where.
Always good stuff, thanks once again brother
Boat Guy

LSWCHP said...

Don't forget your hat. If you're outdoors you should be wearing a hat. If you have a contact, or even if you walk through thick scrub, your hat will come adrift, and that's a bad thing. Dummy cord your hat to a button hole or epaulette on your shirt.

Anonymous said...

I went through the dummy cording ritual for Ranger School, dummy cording canteens, compass, weapon (even the M60 gunner) and special equipment to my LBE (yes I'm that old). One of my OBC classmates famously "lost it" on a long roadmarch in FLorida. Walking down the side of the road, decidedly non-tactical, with his M-16 dragging along in the mud behind him. The RI asked, "Ranger, where the hell do you think you are?" "San Diego, Sergeant."

RandyGC said...

Dummy cord everything, even stuff (such as canteen covers and mag pouches) that are supposedly attached to LBE etc. Because the attachment gear (clips whatever) can work open and stuff can drop off, especially when moving through heavy brush. (ask me how I know).

Anonymous said...

I have found a lot of dive lights, slates, snorkels, knives etc where all the newly anointed divers made their first dives. All sorts of bits and pieces strewn about the bottom. Usually just after a rough water weekend.

Anybody want to buy a dive knife cheep? You'll need your own sheath. :D


Anonymous said...

Working in the entertainment industry, we had a rule... if you dropped something from height, you went home. Period. Full stop. If you took it up in the truss, you attached it to your harness.

For a while, every crescent wrench I owned had a springy cord and 'biner or dog clip on it...


Anonymous said...

Back in the day M1895 Nagant came with a lanyard.
It also works with other sidearms that came with an attachment for such.
We now return to regular programming.

The Gray Man said...

I’m convinced this is what 550 cord was actually designed for.

Larry Geiger said...

When you are in the top of the VAB working on something getting ready to fly into space you must tether everything that is loose. Particularly tools. These are called "tethers". They save your tools. They save lives of those below you. They save you when you are trying to survive.