From the Desk of John Rourke – October 2nd, 2015

A Dry Run. I am looking at getting several of my fellow group members together for a “bug out excursion”. The idea would be to head to a predetermined location and set up camp. We would treat the event as if it was the real deal and for whatever reason we had to evacuate our normal living quarters. Part of this dry run would be to delegate responsibilities such as water gathering/filtration, perimeter security/guard watch, communication/intelligence gathering, food prep, sanitation, and maintenance.

I suspect that a lot would be learned from doing this and would help immensely if the time came and it was for real.

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The mass shooting yesterday is tragic. Praying for the victims and their families.

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Hurricane season this year is already much more active than the past few years. Hurricane Joaquin is heading for the east coast but where it will strike is still up for grabs. It is going to be a wet weekend out my way.

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Just received a custom made Kydex holster for my Canik TP9SA. Fits great. One negative about the Canik is it lack of aftermarket support. No worries as I found a great custom holster manufacturer on eBay. HERE is a link to their eBay store.

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  1. Your dry run Rourke sounds like a very practical idea.
    Hurricane is up to cat 4 .May all of you in its path be safe. We may or may not be affected=time and Mother nature will tell.
    The people in the Bahamas are getting pounded. Arlene

  2. Rourke, it is always a good idea to do “dry runs” of bugging out before the actual need. A suggestion, if you have the person to do it, is to assign a dedicated person, if not yourself but I assume you might be directing things and be too busy, to document everything that goes on during the exercise. They should have pen and paper at all times and possibly record via video or still photos what struggles (and positives) each member has while performing their task. Then that person can interview each member during and after with set questions so at a later meeting said person can present their findings to the group as a whole and lead a discussion for better preparedness. Just a thought.

  3. It is always a good idea to test your preps. I regularly use mine while hiking and camping. That being said, this year during our state’s worst wildfire season ever my BOB was tested. In some areas it excelled, camping, food, water, extra clothing, tools, all got regular use. First aid did OK but I realized my old body working long days and sleeping on a variety of surfaces a few extra meds would have helped. Nine days is beyond what my kit was designed to handle but it did make everything easier and gave me options – like camping apart from the “symphony of snoring” at the fire base or the community shelter.

    The shortcomings – communications. No cell, no internet. Radios we had worked OK when used by those who knew how to use them. Combine that with bad intel and a lot of time and fuel was wasted not to mention putting folks in danger checking on bad leads. A group skilled in communications (HAM) will find themselves VERY useful in emergency situations.

    We did have some security issues. Amazingly we had to deal with looters. Not your typical mob of opportunists but methheads/tweakers and other low life types robbing evacuated homes, cabins and vehicles. They even stole fire fighting equipment… My BOB includes a 22 caliber pistol but there were times I wish I had a larger caliber and a long gun, even if it was part of my vehicle kit and not specifically integrated in my BOB gear it would have been nice to have the option should a need arise. For me it was not needed.

  4. Myke-what an exc. idea !!! Mo- wow I never would have thought people looted during wild fires-very -talk about
    the lowest of the low. Arlene

  5. Mo, I just picked up a Kel-Tec PMR-30 .22 Magnum pistol in June. It comes with two 30 round magazines. Even loaded, the weapon is extremely lightweight! It also has a thin profile. It will definitely fit in a backpack. I believe .22 WMR is considerably more powerful than .22 Long Rifle. Although this ammo is somewhat scarce, I did manage to purchase over a 1000 rounds between online and gun show shopping. The Hornady 45 grain Critical Defense loads have a similar penetration as a .38 Special. Just a suggestion, in event you’re looking for something different in your Bug Out Bag. I keep a Henry AR7 and Ruger 10/22 Takedown in my vehicle at all times. Since my EDC weapons are .45 ACP and/or .45 LC/.410 GA, I don’t feel the need to lug around a large caliber rifle.

  6. One of the first things we do when ‘camping’ or in your case practicing ‘bugging out,’ is to set a bug out point for which everyone to rally in the event one needs to bug out.


  7. To keep our annual “practice” bugout interesting, our resident JarHead threw in some interesting challenges that thoroughly tested not only our plans, but our resolve. All planned routes to the “farm” were simulated to be blocked forcing a bactrack and alternate route determined. After all day trying to find a route out of dodge, (no fuel or resupply stops were allowed to simulate nothing was available at any price) two of our three vehicles were now considered lost due to malfunction or attack. With only one vehicle we had to decide what to leave behind, and what to take. The “lost” vehicles and supplies were driven back home by two members who were now considered awol/lost. Continuing on, JarHead next stopped us 12 miles from the farm and declared the last vehicle was no longer available and we would have to finish the trip on foot. Everyone geared up for a long ruck, but realized it was getting late and would be traveling/hiking in the dark. We decided to make camp off the the highway since it was in a rural area. After a quick camp setup, JarHead allowed us to return to the vehicle and finish the trip safely. But it was understood that the long ruck was expected if this was for real. Again we had to decide what to carry and what was to be left behind. When we finally arrived way after sundown, the was gate chained and locked simulating our location was now occupied. Rather than blindly attempting to enter an unknown situation in the dark, we had to retreat to a nearby location to regroup and plan what to do. Forced to spend the night out in the woods in a rough camp, two members went to surveille the farm to try and figure out who was occupying our BOL and whether we should try and retake the farm. Recent rainshowers and the heat made the humidity nearly unbearable. Morning brought the news the farm was occupied by two armed local hooligans (our formally awol/lost members). Plans for this scenario were to continue on to a family members small place another days drive north. But with the loss of all the vehicles, supplies and a realizing we might be on foot at this point with only our packs, we were stuck with some hard choices. When we finished the exercise, we headed up to the farm for much needed showers and some serious soul searching and re planning for the Bug Out when it’s for real. JarHead has been informed he won’t be invited to Thanksgiving this year. The fate of two hooligans is still in doubt since they spent the “occupied” night grilling steaks and drinking beer…

    Lessons learned: Everyone needs to know each plan (Plan A/B/C/D…) but needs to know where the group will try and meetup when all plans are exhausted. This is especially true if the group is split up or arriving at different times. We seriously need more enroute caches planned. Practice for completely unexpected problems and solutions, including not even being able to make it to your BOL during your practice run.

  8. Elvis….wow. As i read the account of your practice run i realized how “iffy” any plan can be. The resolve and ability to keep going outweigh our physical preps and i wonder if there are enough individuals with THAT to make our plans into realities. I’m thinking of all you individuals out there wondering why you have been to hell and back in your service to our country-military or otherwise, paying a higher price than most of us will ever know or be able to acknowledge. For such a time as this you are here to lead/encourage those of us who would fail otherwise. Thank You !!! Let’s all keep going……

  9. Hi Mr. Rourke,
    Bug out practice?
    Well, sounds like a great idea.
    May I suggest that the location for the exercise be a motel in Florida.
    Glad to learn that you were not in the worst hit parts of the storm.
    If you had been more in the path, and you were told to evacuate, would you
    have headed for the woods, or for a safe and comfortable place to stay a
    couple hundred miles inland, say with a relative, friend, or a motel room
    with cable, and wi-fi? I’m thinking it would have been the latter.
    Why does everyone assume that heading for the woods is a great plan?
    Not that bushcraft skills are a bad thing. But realistically, wouldn’t
    practicing the skills needed to restart your life in another state, out of the
    danger area be far more practical, and likely?
    Practice how to get your kids into school in a strange town.
    Practice how to get a prescription filled in a strange town.
    Practice how to stretch whatever money you’ve managed to bring along to keep your
    family going until you can find a job in the new town.
    Practice how and where to apply for emergency benefits in the new town.
    Not trying to bring down your idea of bug out practice in the woods. I’m sure you’ll
    find plenty you folks who want to join you in the woods.
    But every thing I know, tells me that trying to hid in the woods for more than 72 hours
    is just not a good idea for most people. And it bothers me that no one ever seems to
    question the initial concept, wherever that came from.

    • Lou – the specific idea of the practice is a grid down, SHTF situation – not just relocation due to a a localized event only effecting our immediate area. Good thinking though. Everyone in my group are “bugging in” as their main plan for the most part. Looking at the scenario that if for some reason relocation becomes necessary that the group travels together.

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