Militia vs Prepper/Survivalist
Ive been planning this post for a few months and now the furor is basically over with the militia group incident in Oregon.
We can look at and learn a bit about what things they overlooked, and how we can all learn from the event.
So what is the difference between Militia vs Prepper/Survivalist mentalities?
This post is not intended to be disparate against any of the involved parties but as a learning tool.
Logistics of any type of movement or a fixed position is one of the MOST overlooked factors in any incident. Its great to go somewhere and do something but you cant order take out once you get there and expect to be taken seriously.
Im going to use examples from ham radio clubs as a good baseline for deployment to an incident because the ham deployment teams are almost always self funded, and expected to function without support from the outside, from 3 days to the end of an incident.
And the lists and strategies of ham clubs are posted online and available for viewing.
We are going to look at the level of preparedness a ham organization deploys with and then the way a militia deployed so we can compare the obvious differences and how to improve our own preps to function both short and longer term.
Im also using the ham groups as an example because while not every ham is a prepper they do have a realistic standard of gear and equipment that parallels most prepper ideas.
These are ham radio organizations set up and implemented to provide communication support to agencies all the way to the federal levels. The provide voice and digital message trafficking as well as personal message traffic when they are able.
These guys are supposed to be packed and ready to deploy with 14 days to 24 hour notice to disaster areas and other events when they are called up. There are a LOT of lists posted up online by different groups who are active.
FEMA requirements as well as training recommendations which are good to have as a base of performance, but not part of this observation.
List for deployment for a ham radio team under whatever guise they are members of.
This list is not inclusive, its just one I spent about 30 seconds looking for. There is a reason for my lack of time researching as will come up later
I copied this from http://www.w4vld.com/a-r-e-s-be-prepared/ which is as good a list to start from as any, and not inclusive for every event.
Suggested Items for Amateur Radio Operators to have during Emergency situations.
- IDENTIFICATION and DOCUMENTATION
- Original Driver’s License or ID Card Issued by State Government
- FCC Amateur Radio License (Copy OK)
- ID CARD of Specific Group (ARES, AREC, REACT, Etc.)
- If your ID Cards do not have your home address on it, have Utility Bill, Insurance Bill, etc. that shows your home address (you may need it to gain access to your home).
- Optional: Photo of your family and yourself
- Personal Address Book w/radio contacts
- Small Binder with Important Information
- Net Frequencies and Functions (Keep it Current)
- Simplex Frequencies and Functions
- Plans for Repeater Failures (Simplex on Ouptut? Alt Simplex)
- Outline for Net Operation and Traffic Handling
- Packet Frequencies and Identifiers (Digipeat Set-ups,etc)
- Whatever materials you need to do your best work.
- Blank Paper that fits this binder
- Consider Plastic Page Protectors for some references
- Detail Map of your area, Map of nearby area
- RADIO & Portable Station EQUIPMENT
- Note: Separate VHF/UHF and HF complete inventories
- VHF/UHF Radio, HF Radio (Per your requirements)
- Microphone, Headphones,Earphone, “Y” adapter for 2nd Headphones
- OPTIONAL: Additional Headset with microphone
- POWER SUPPLIES- High Current Batteries(GEL/NICAD/ALK), Power Suppy, DC charger, DC Cords Extra Batteries & Spare Fuses (Make list of REQ)
- DC Power Center- Cable to Main Battery meets connectors for muliple connections (Scanner, TNC, VHF, UHF, HF, Light, etc)
- VHF/UHF ANTENNA- Portable and Fixed Portable (for each band used or dualband)-
- Spare Fuses for Amplifier and other accessories
- 1/4 wave or 5/8 wave magnetic mount antenna with adaptors to BNC,SMA,PL-259
- Wall Chargers for HTs
- Gell Cell 12 volt Batteries for AMP & ACC, w/connectors and Cigarette Lighter Jack
- Extra 1/2 wave 2mtr antenna for HT
- Extra AA Alkaline or Lithium Batteries (also AC fast-charger w/batteries)
- Dozen Cable Ties, misc types.
- Pencils,pens,erasers,markers,pen-knife,paper,binder,white-out,Carbon Paper,plastic Envelope
- Flashlight- 3- “D”Cell type(spare batteries/lamp), Lantern w/batteries/Lamp
- Compass and ability to use it.
- Misc.Personal Items- W/case: Safety Items, First Aid,Sun glasses,Spare reading Glasses,Matches,Tweezers, Insect repellant,Kleenex,SunBlock,Sewing Kit,adhesive tape,Gause Pads 6- 4″,handi-wipes,
- ARES Field Manual, and other refrences as required.
- MARS Members- appropriate references (report format,net procedures,refrences,etc.)
- FRS Radio- one or two w/batteries w/plan to contact family, local FRS Plan,etc
- ARES/MARS VEST- Safety Vest (reflector Tape),etc.
- WRITING & Traffic Handling
- Spare Glasses in Hard Case
- Zippered See-Through Case for misc. items
- Pens, Pencils, Erasers (White-out?)
- Water-Resistant container for your papers
- Message Forms (Help List if required)
- Log Book (wear wrist watch, or have clock nearby)
- Clip Board with Paper (3 ring binder type best)
- Spiral Notebook (Organization, Name and Callsign on Book)
- Computer Disc with duplicate programs used, and Important information for display.
- Notebook Computer if required, 100% paper back-up
- TOOLS & MISC.- MINIMUM Short Duration
- Assorted Wire Ends w/Crimp Tool for extending or repairing wires
- Roll of speaker wire and Power Wire
- 6″ Diagonal Cutters
- 6″ Needle Nose Pliers
- Wire Crimper/Cutter/Stripper
- Roll of UL Black Plastic Tape
- Roll of Duct Tape
- Screw Drivers- Standard and Phillips
- Locking Pliers & Vice Grips
- Wrenches and Drivers
- Regular Pliers
- Hex Wrench,Spline Wrench,Square-Drive
- Wrench Suitable to turn off Gas Valve (8″ Adjustable Crescent Wrench)
- BAG of connectors,plugs,jumpers,Coax Crimp-type Connectors,etc.
- Volt Ohm Meter & spare battery
- 12VDC Soldering Iron and solder
- Flashlight with spare bulb and batteries
- Case or Zippered Bag to store tools
- Inventory List of Contents of All Bags/Cases
- TOOLS & MISC.-EXPANDED Longer Duration
- PRY BAR
- Claw Hammer, Assortment of Nails
- Assortment of Hooks, Eyes, Screws, Nuts, Bolts, and stiff wire.
- Tool Box Saw or Hack Saw with spare blades
- Folding Shovel
- Plastic Bags (HD Garbage..Small and Large) Clear or Black
- Folding Tarps (1 small, 1 medium)
- 50′ of Hemp Rope (3/8 min) Poly OK if no hemp
- 50′ of Poly Twine
- Siphon and container to transfer Gasoline or Kerosene
- Axe or Hatchet
- Jumper Cables for Car (Extra Long Best, in Bag because of acid)
- Road Flares
- Lanterns and Stove of Coleman type, with spare fuel, mantle and burner jet.
- 2 to 5 Gallons of Gasoline in Approved container with spout.
- Fire Extinguisher (ABC 3 to 10 lb)
- AC Generator (W/12V DC) with spares and fuel
- 2- 50 3wire Grounded AC Extension Cords 1-#12GA, 1#16GA
- Binoculars- Opera Glasses
- Roll of Paper Towels, TP (in plastic Bag) and 10 cotton Shop Rags
- Whistle on lanyard (signal mirror?) ID CARD ON LANYARD?
- PERSONAL ITEMS- MINIMUM Short Duration Events
- Personal Medications (in adaquate supply with written descripton
/ Prescription Copy of drug and size tab,etc.)
- Extra Prescription Glasses and hearing aid batteries
- First Aid Kit (See Red Cross List for Recommended Contents)
- Snacks (High Energy, etc.)
- Liquid Refreshment- Water, Soda, Juice (No Alcohol)
- Throat Lozenges (Cough Drops,etc)
- Headache Medicine (Aspirin,etc)
- Water Resistant Windbreaker/ Jacket
- Hat and Sunglasses and sunscreen (if required)
- Space Blanket, Plastic Drop Cloth,
- Spare Keys to your vehicle
- Back-up Credit Cards,Cash,Coin,PhotoCopy of Radio ID, DL, etc
- PERSONAL ITEMS- EXPANDED Longer Duration Events
- 3 day supply of water (canteens, etc. transportable)
- Cooler with 3 day supply of food (w/prep.supplies etc)
- Camp or Military Style “Mess” Kit, and cleaning suppies
- Expanded First Aid Kit
- Foul Weather Gear, Poncho, Rain Hat, Regular Hat
- Sleeping Bag or Blanket/Pillow w/2 slips, (sit on it too)
- Toilet Articles (Over-night type kit) & TP supply
- Wind-up or Battery Alarm Clock
- Lantern or Flashlight with spare bulb and batteries
- Candles with waterproof matches
- Extra Underware and Socks
- Work Gloves
- Folding Chair with Name on It (antenna Base?)
- Electrical Tape, Duct Tape, Poly-Rope, Nylon twine
- FOOD ITEMS
- Water- personal carrier, bottled, canned, bagged,(washcloth in baggie)etc.
- Canned Soda- Ginger Ale, Coke, 7up,Fruit Juice,etc
- Canned: Soup,beans,Chili,Tuna,Ravioli,Tortias,Crackers,etc.
- Peanut Butter,Crackers,Jam/Jelly,Cheese Spread,Chicken/Ham Spread,hard Candy
- Large Zip Lock Bags, Roll of Foil, Napkins(in Baggie)
- Can opener,knife,spoon, fork, Vegetable scraper,beer can opener,2nd Spoon
- Napkins/Paper Towels
- Instant Coffee, Hot Chocloate Packs, Soup Packs, Tea Bags,
- Hard Candy, Protein Bars, Gum, Favorite Candy,
- Sterno Stove, Spare Sterno, Pellet Stove, Pan w/handle & Lid,W/Bar or Tablet Fuel
- MRE,dried Food, Dried Fruit, Powdered Milk, Lemonade,etc.
- Boxing and inventory for the above items.
- Roll of Antacid Tablets,Bismith Liquid,
- 6- Garbage Bag for Trash (45 GAL), Rain Poncho, cover radios, bedding
- Paper Towel Roll for Napkins/Clean-up.
- OTHER EQUIPMENT TO BE CONSIDERED
- Plan with family where to meet or how to communicate after or during the emergency. Even Designate relative out of area to check in with to coordinate in worst case
- FRS Radios (2) for Family w/spare batteries (plan to use it)
- Phone Patch with proper Plugs/Jacks and Phone Interface Connections
- 12vdc High Current PS for 12V HF Radio Transceiver.
- Binder with Photocopied References of Value
- Sturdy Shoes and Protective Clothing
- Umbrella- Rain or Sun Shade (Antenna Support?)
- Golf Shirt, Pants, Belt,
- PAD / CUSHION for folding Chair
- Travel Alarm Clock,
- Portable radio with earphone and spare batteries
- Reading Book, Bible, pocket video game
This is a list, for ONE operator to function for 3 days, independent of outside support. Teams do not always deploy together and are set up so each operator can function as a self contained communications section with minimal support.
These teams understand there will be zero support from outside organizations for a minimum of 24 hours and as long as 3 days. After 3 days they either have prepacked sustainment boxes ( Rubbermaid containers usually) ready to be pushed forward by the stay behind members of their organization or they bring food and water forward to the deployed areas as needed.
The most important things to take away from this example is
- They planning to be where they are for the duration and pack accordingly.
- They have support in place BEFORE they move an inch.
I used this list specifically because like most well organized groups they are required to have this on hand and ready to go or they don’t get to play with the big boys.
It took me 30 seconds to find a list of gear to load out and deploy to an unknown event, and be self sufficient for 3 – ? days depending on the quantity of consumables.
That says the militia which went to Oregon had absolutely no clue about logistics and rate of consumption consumables.
And everything on this list to pack is on the wish list they didn’t pack below, except maybe the Vanilla Creamer
Unprepared groups are a burden on supply chains, prepared groups provide a benefit with minimal loss to the supported larger group.
This is a sore spot for some people who think in a military mindset but don’t understand logistics. The Oregon incident is a prime example and Im using what happened , because what they did is so easily researched online.
The following is not a list of things they deployed with, its a list of things they needed on DAY 2 of the incident.
They literally arrived with the clothes on their backs and not much else. No logistical planning, no prepacked supplies and no plan for getting more simple sustainment items.
They literally would have starved if the authorities had thrown a ring around the area and just let them sit there.
Jackets Large and Extra Large
Thermals Medium Large
and Extra Large mens
Hand and Feet Warmers
Women Thermals Medium
and Large Top and Bottoms
Slippers Small, Medium Large
Snow Pants Medium and Large
Snow Boots 7/12 to 8, 9, and 10
Buns / Bread
Any Canned Foods
Camp dry water Repellent
John Radios Ham
Digital Camera with charger
Boxer Briefs – Medium/Large/and Extra Large
T Shirts M/L/XL
Queen Sized Bed Sheets
Twin Sized Bed Sheets
Midland Radio from Walmart
Throw Rugs any & all size for doorways
Shelf Units to store food
Antibacterial Hand Soap
Chisel Point Markers
Clorox Lysol wipes
120 Grit sand papers
Eggs (Needed badly)
French Vanilla Creamer
Cigarettes Marlboro Red 100’s
Marlboro Lights 100’s
Pall Mall Menthol 100’s
My question? Who in their right mind went to a place known to be cold without cold weather gear, sleeping bag or other sleeping gear? Who went with a rifle and ammo but no food or water? No stove or way to heat meals? Tobacco? Apparently it wasn’t that big a need if they didn’t bring it with them.
No radios, or commo gear? Good idea, remove all contact with the world deliberately. The first item on their “to do ” list was set up commo but they brought nothing to do it with.
This is a logistic nightmare. Total Amateur hour at its finest. Think about it. If you had people show up to “help” but they became a drain on your limited resources what good are they?
What’s the solution?
The solution is the prepper philosophy and not the militia ideas.
For every trigger puller you may have, you need multiple people dedicated to providing support. Food, water, batteries etc. Every person needs to be self supported before they move an inch from where they are.
All of their needs have to be packed and taken with them or all the guns and ammo in the world are just decoration.
Resupply will not fall from the sky from the majic C-130. It has to be brought in by the people who will use it
Poor Prior Planning
I remember the events leading up to the events, how online the hype was the heroes who were laying it all out to rescue the ranches.
And that’s fine, everyone has the right to protest.
However, when you protest out in the middle of nowhere with no stores to loot, you have to consider there is nothing but what you bring with you, or truck in by supporting people. Relying on phantom supply people is a serious mistake and long before the event was over, the local people had enough of the militia.
The majority of whom were not from the area.
I cant emphasis this point enough.
NOT FROM THE AREA
There were no ties to the local people, they had no relatives or friends in the refuge and had literally no reason to help them at all. The militia can only function with support of the people especially when they didn’t even bring underwear or socks. Let alone boots and cold weather gear.
Take the Black Lives Matter movement as example of the other end of the spectrum.
- They never moved away from their lines of support. The inner city had food, water, places to loot so it was profitable for the participants.
- The areas were accessible to every news organization with minimal fuss or inconvenience. You have to make it easy for the message to get out and control the flow of information.
- Logistically it was easy, the supply chain was very short and hotels/lodging was provided by the supporters behind the scenes. None of which came to the militia members who literally arrived like refugees.
The militia is the tip of the spear, but without the logistical tail provided by either internal logistics people or outside support it is doomed to failure. It is unable to plan, execute or sustain medium to long term operations because the membership cannot plan further ahead than what gun to buy next. The failures of this and other similar actions have the same things in common. The logistical tail is never considered before acting.
They run around playing army and want everyone to call them Colonel or General but they fall flat when it comes to keeping things moving. Much like 3rd world militaries do the world over.
I know I am not the first to observe this fact.
What the majority of militia groups need:
- Dedicated logistical people and leaders who support them. Everyone loves a cool new rifle. But the $1000 spent on the rifle could buy a years supply of freeze dried rations for 1 person, or a months supply for a 12 man squad. Rifles are cool, but eating is better.
- Training on the basics of self contained operations. In bags at my house are sets of cold weather gear suitable for artic conditions. I can see Mexico from where I am, but I know when its cold, pack gear for it.
- Specialized skills verses light infantry emphasis- trigger pullers are useful but basic. Communications, S-2 and S-4 level operations should be considered before anyone thinks about moving anywhere. If you don’t understand S-2 and S-4 google it.
- Break militias down into specialized teams, use them to create the integral support without the Colonel mentality. Reality is, for every Colonel you need 4 people who actually know what is going on, and are able to make a decision and act on it.
As opposed to planned operations by people like ham groups. Like the militia they are self funded but understand the need to be self supporting in the short and long term. They are more technically organized and from my experience have military backgrounds allowing them to see the big picture from past experience.
A single squad communication section can cost upward of $10,000 for 12 people, not counting individual radios which I think are more a liability than a help. Every member should be trained at the level of the commo guy, and medic and any other internal specialist they have.
Yet photo opportunities are what you see most of them prepared for and little else. http://quietsurvivalist.com/volunteer-security-at-recruiting-stations/Here
Preppers are experienced in the whole gamut of logistics because that’s what they do. The store food, fuel and sustaining supplies for their groups. They know in the winter you need boots and gloves, and hygiene items to wash themselves and clothing. They believe prior planning will allow them to continue long after the ones who bought a new rifle instead of food or garden tools and supplies.
A Militia member must be a prepper first before being anything else. Self sustaining in the field is more important than all the cool guy tac gear hanging on his vest.
Its just that simple in the big picture.
Militia vs Prepper/Survivalist