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with that unchecked power of attorney,

•COLONEL ROWE’S SURVIVAL KIT and the thought of it drcwe him on.

S
ometime after I heard that story
hen Lieutenant Colonel James Rowe hits the trail, he carries three separate a meeting was arranged with
survival kits. The first-class model stays in his rucksack, but if that one gets Colonel Rowe, who would be in
lost or has to be abandoned for a lighter load, he has the second-class unit on his office at Fort Bragg. I had
a harness that hangs between his shoulder blades. If that one must be sloughed off, hoped to meet Rowe in the
there’s always his “last-line” kit in his shirt pocket. With this one, and his trusty woods somewhere to share a
knife, Rowe can live indefinitely. Bet on it. meal of fresh-killed snake and cattail roots,
but when you’ deal with the Army, you
a FIRST-CLASSKIT a take what you can get.
(About the size ofa cigurbox, weighs 24 ounces) He is a compact man, 48 years old,
probably 5 feet 8 or 9. Probably 170 or
Medical Equipment 175. Level, curious eyes and a face that is
IV tubing and dextrosesolution a Suture thread and needles (“Forget that friendly, intense, and.shows the scars.
Rambo garbage.”)a Scalpel blades a Betadine antiseptic solution a Tetracycline He shakes his visitor’s hand, firmly,
tablets a Bee sting kit (Epinephrine pills and injection) a Lomotil a.Aspirin and offers him the best chair. in his office.
Sunscreen a Alcohol wipes a Band-aids a Field compresses a Triangular bandage Among the pictures on his wall is one of
Eye-injury kit (ophthalmic ointment, eye pad, and eye wipe) Rowe, in his dress uniform, sitting in the
Food and Shelter Equipment Oval Office with Richard Nixon. Theywere
Small packets of curry powder (“for napalming your taste buds”) a Iodine tablets (for discussing the POWissue, says Rowe.
water purification) a Coffee and sugar a Signal mirror a Pen flare a Space blanket “He was interestedin politics, and we
Wire saw a Compassa Candle a Waterproof matches a Maguesium-block fire starter were interested in accounting for the guys.
Net hammock a Nylon cord a Five-quart water container with clamp and IV tube Sowemade a deal.”
to run directly from pack to mouth a Fishing kit (fresh- and saltwater hooks and Is he still active in the POW cause?
lures, gill nets, 25-pound test line, red felt, and sinkers) a Two ponchos and “No. I’m doing this instead. This is
a poncho liner a Army Survival Manual FM21-76 (Pocket-sized compendium of something positive I can,4o.”.
“everything you ever wanted to know about survival,” and Rowe wrote the book. He started the SERE~ograrnin 1981,
Literally. It’s available through the Government Printing Office.) he says~At the time h:’~.was a civilian,
active in the reserves. The Army had no
central school to teach survival and the
a SECOND-CLASS KIT a various skills a soldier wouldneed to make
(About the size ofa 3-by-5-card box; weighs 12 ounces) it as a POW A reserve military intelli-
Small folding knife with very hard carbide-steel blade (doubles as a scalpel) gence unit conducted an ad hoc course at
Fort Gordon, Georgia, complete with a
Suture needles a Antiseptic solution a Silk sewing thread a Waterproof matches
Strobe light a Iodine tablets a Coffee and sugar a Aluminum foil (for cooking, mock POW camp and interrogation ses-
sions. It was filmed by NBC, photographed
signaling, or fishing lures) a Bullion a Fishingline and hooks a Candle a Compass and written up by Star magazine as “Camp
Hell—Where Army Tortures Its GIs.” The
a LAST-LINE KIT a short exercise put some 20 troopers out of
/ (About the sizeof a band-aid box) 40 into the hospital.
“That’s when I came back on active
I~odinetablets a ~Compass ~ Fishing line and o Waterproof matches duty,” says Rowe, “and started the SERE
Band-aids a Antiseptic solution a Butterfly sutures program. My job was to come up with an
Army-wide school that would teach
OK, you’re stuck in the woods. And you’ve got the best-equipped survival kit people what they’ had to know without
in the territory so now just concentrate on Rowe’s Four Rules for Survival: doing dumb crap like that. And that’s
1. “Don’t Panic.”Being lost or hurt is bound to be unnerving, but panic is the biggest what we’ve done.’
killer. Sit down, count to 100 (slowly), and get a clear head. Survival is just a matter By we, Rowe means himself and his
of understanding your problems, considering your alternatives, and making logical instructors. He is intensely proud of the
decisions. Be rational. men he recruited to help him start his
2. “Assess the Situation.” Take stock of yourself and your surroundings. First, treat program. “They were the absolute best,”
any injuries. Ignoring even small cuts can lead to major problems in the woods. he says. “1 couldn’t have gotten them if I
Second, provide for the basic necessities: water, shelter, fire, food, and signaling, in didn’t have credibility.”
that order. If you have some water to drink, a means of getting food, a~1~ioget He came by it because of a firefight
out of the elements, and a fire for signaling and boosting morale, you’re going in the Mekong Delta. The action took place
to be fine. in 1963, while John Kennedy was still alive
3. ‘Work on a Plan.” Think things through. Where are you, where do you need to get and President. Kennedy’s solution to his
to, and what’s in between? Examine all available resources, and decide whether it’s problems in Vietnam had been the Spe-
bestto stay put and wait for rescue, or hike out. cial Forces—the Green Berets. Rowe was~
4. “Head to Water” Everything else does, so why not you? Besides being the obvious a Special Forces lieutenant when he was
source for drinking water, lakes and streams will be greatfood providers. Remember captured. Before he escaped, more than
that the human body is a remarkably resilient machine: You can go for about seven five years later, he had seen three other
days without food before your judgment will begin faltering. Don’t bother playing POWs die, at least one “because he didn’t
Jeremiah Johnson and tracking caribou; catch fish, snakes, and frogs. To set snares, believe the VC would just let him die. He
look for tracks on lakeside trails to determine what animals are in the neighborhood didn’t understand that if he was going to
and where’they’re drinking. Read their scat to see what they’re eating, and use it for live, it was going to be because of what
bait.’ Just a.tip: Don’t mess with raccoons—they’reawfully nasty. Please turn to page 86

46 .p~B~Ri986 OuTSIDE.

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