This weekly column is a collection of short snippets: practical self-sufficiency items, how-tos, lessons learned, tips and tricks, and news items — both from readers and from SurvivalBlog’s editors. We may select some long e-mails for posting as separate letters.
Simon in England passed along this instructional video link: BaoFeng Ham Radio From Noob to Skilled in 60 minutes.
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Andre reminded me to mention this, about the Cumbre Vieja volcano, in Spain’s Canary Islands: La Palma’s volcanic eruption is going strong three weeks later.
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This reporting runs contrary to the “Fauci wisdom”: Amish Covid. (Thanks to D.S.V. for the link.) Here is a quote:
“Then, last March, remarkable news. The Lancaster County Amish were reported to be the first community to achieve “herd immunity,” meaning a large part of a population had been infected with Covid-19 and became immune. Some outsiders are skeptical, and solid proof is hard to come by.”
This message was a reply to an article by an M.J., by Mike in Alaska:
Re: “I’ve thought about joining the State Defense Force.”:
“After 12 years of active duty (Army) and several years in the National Guard (Army) and Army Reserve, then I transferred to the ASDF (Alaska State Defense Force) as a Warrant Officer (Communications) and from there went Commissioned Officer (Communications). Every State in the union has by Federal Constitutional Law and by State Constitutional law, the authority to establish an organized militia, they used to be called just that; State Militias until the Dick Act in 1903
which Federalized the various state militias into what is now known as the National Guard.
The main difference between a State Defense Force and the National Guard is the issue of funding. Defense Forces are funded by the State in which they are organized, and the National Guard receives Federal Funding in addition to State Funding. This can make a huge difference in the efficiency of the Defense Force and many, like Alaskas, have 501c3 tax-exempt fundraising entities which raise funds for equipment needed for their mission. This also allows them to access to surplus state equipment (usually at a very small transfer fee cost) and to DRMO items on request prior to those items being sold to the public.
The training is by law held to the same standard as the National Guard, the rank structure is the same. My Warrant appointment was the same as the regular Army, and my Officers Commission was the same; I completed the last two years of ROTC via the University of Alaska (UAF) by challenging the tests, prior service documentation, and civilian educational degrees / skills documented. When I was called up to active duty I had troops under my command from the Army Guard unit, Air National Guard, Marine Corps Reserve, and a few Naval reserve troops as well.
ASDF enlisted and officers complete drills every month and are not paid for drill time. Officers must purchase their uniforms and their weapons, where enlisted (usually the lower ranks) are issued their uniforms and weapons, but must use only that which is currently used by the regular U.S. Army. They train to the exact same standards as the regular army does in their branch specialty. We often trained with the National Guard units, and on occasions I trained them as well when needed. One could only tell who was who by looking at our uniforms; the National Guard or active duty Army soldiers had the tags U.S. Army on them, our uniforms simply said Alaska. That did on occasion draw a few odd stares especially when we were on an active duty base or deployed to active duty with other units.
No matter the setting, military discipline was always the standard. The Guard or Active soldiers had the UCMJ, and the ASDF had the AUCMJ (Alaska Uniform Code of Military Justice) which mirrored the UCMJ with provision for when the State had primary jurisdiction or the DMVA (Alaska Division of Veteran and Military Affairs). Yes I did hand out Article 15s and one general court-martial while I was in command … it is always sad, but necessary. A member of a State Defense Force can walk away at any time and for no reason without penalty … and a lot do. It’s very difficult to keep people especially when they aren’t being paid if a tall. We were paid only when called to active duty, and there were times I was called to active duty for training or for special deployment’s around the state without pay; but I volunteered to do so knowing that I was gaining great experience and building cohesion with my National Guard fellow soldiers at the same time. It was a great ride. But, at 70 years old, and 52 years of total service I was finally aged out … the Federal and State governments are the biggest violator of anti-aging laws aimed at protecting from age discrimination.
The State Defense Force troops can only be activated by the State Governor, are not allowed to deploy out of state unless called to another state by that state’s governor, and the cost is paid for by the contracting states. My detachment ( Communications detachment) was deployed to Puerto Rico from September 2017 to December 2017 after Hurricane Maria for rescue operations. I had 137 troops total under my command from several states including Puerto Rico (both National Guard and the Puerto Rico State Defense Force) and from different branches, Air Guard, Marines, Army and the Puerto Rico Naval Militia (barge detachment only). Our job was to set up and provide Island-wide communications to replace the loss of comms following the devastation of the island which was as severe as the end of the battle of Fallujah…
While activated and deployed I was paid the same rate as any active duty soldier would have been paid, including almost 50 years of time in service. My employer was required to keep my job open for me as any deployed soldier, and in fact, he paid my health insurance for me while I was gone at his cost.
The ASDF can have up to 15% of its members come in as non-prior service, this is to recruit talent such as doctors, engineers, etc. and the rest of the force (up to 5,000 soldiers statewide) must be prior service with valid DD214s submitted during recruitment. My commissions were by the Governor of Alaska, and approved by the DOD. The primary use of the defense Forces are up to the individual states. In Alaska they have reactivated the WWII unit known as the Alaska Territorial Guard Force (the predecessor to the ASDF) and are now known as the Eskimo Scouts. Every new Governor can, and most likely will, reorganize their defense force according to the political whim of the day, they are the most “political” of political animals. Every branch of the military regular units, and Reserve / Guard units, are political entities no matter what one may think, So if politics isn’t your bag then I suggest you steer clear of that idea.
There is also in every state of the union the “unorganized State Militia” .. that is all citizens from age 17 to 45 not already in the military, which can be drafted by the Federal or State government when needed … however it is also possible for individuals to form mutual defense groups and training cadres for preparedness purposes. Just don’t wear current uniforms of the military, don’t have a set in stone rank structure … and train harder, and better than the regulars. That is up to the individuals and SurvivalBlog has had many an article about this. I suggest they read JWR’s novels to get a good idea of what is needed. May God richly bless, protect, and surround you and yours with HIS love.”
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Reader K.B. mentioned this over at Study Finds: Revolutionary hydrogel tablet can purify a liter of river water in an hour.
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“I have a few stubborn Guineas who won’t go in the coop at night. I heard a couple packs of coyotes yapping one morning very early and my heart sank. I saw the carnage when the sun came up – but only 2 were dead. It’s legal to hunt coyotes here and last night I heard everyone’s dogs for miles around out barking (unusual), and no coyotes howling this morning. The sound of gunshot is a regular and common occurrence here. Good job Neighbors! My German Shepherds sleep inside with me at night – thinking about getting a Livestock Guardian dog.
The Chimney inspection was very bad, so I’ve requested a secondary inspection from someone who has expertise in Masonry because I suspect they just wanted to sell me a $7,000 “chimney liner”. I purchased a Weber grill and charcoal (I have wood) for secondary cooking since I can’t use the fireplace. I’m not worried about being cold here – it’s so much warmer than Idaho! Meat bird chics (heritage breeds) should be here next week. I still don’t know if I can kill a chicken, and if not, I’ll have a heck of a lot of eggs! This is going to be one of those forced adventures in order to improve my self-sufficiency skills. I may, pardon the pun, chicken out. Driveway gate going in next week. Reading the scriptures and prepping continuously. May the Lord bless and keep all of us through the hard times coming.”
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In response to my mention of shooting a skunk in a trap, McQ. wrote:
“Just a quick, handy tip, about live trapping skunks. If you put the trap into an old army duffel bag with the bottom cut out, the skunk can still enter easily. The benefit it that it won’t see you approach once caught. And therefore won’t spray.
An easy dispatch method is to place the trap into a pond or deep tank and drown. Once again, it won’t spray. Some say this isn’t humane. But then again, most deaths in the wild aren’t.
Keep up the great work.”