SurvivalBlog Staff Biographies

Senior Editor: James Wesley, Rawles (JWR)

I’m a survivalist author and lecturer. I’m the founder and senior editor of I’m a former U.S. Army intelligence officer, and now work as a full-time blogger and freelance writer. This blog reflects my interests. I’ve been an enthusiastic survivalist since my teenage years. I grew up in the Bomb Shelter era, and that mind set just never wore off.

I have authored several best selling nonfiction and fiction survivalists books. My expertise is primarily in retreat security, food storage, firearms, communications, first aid, and off-grid power systems. I have a B.A. degree in Journalism from San Jose State University with minor degrees in Military Science, History, and Military History. I served as a U.S. Army Intelligence Corps officer and held a Top Secret security clearance with SCI access. I attended the Army NBC defense officer’s course, as well as Northern Warfare School at Fort Greeley, Alaska. Before resigning my commission as a Captain, I worked numerous live intelligence gathering and analysis missions overseas at the tactical and strategic levels.

SurvivalBlog has more than 320,000 unique visitors per week, and it is considered the Internet’s premier source of information on family preparedness and survival topics.

I am of primarily English ancestry, a Christian, and hold to Reformed doctrine. I am saved by God’s Grace and Christ’s blood, and not ashamed to say so!

My view of history is of the geographical determinist school. My view of economics is of the Austrian school. Politically, I am a conservative/Constitutionalist libertarian. These outlooks have shaped my views on preparedness.

My initial civilian career was as a journalist and technical writer. During that time I wrote a full-length survivalist novel, titled Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse.” I later authored several sequels to that novel, one of which reached #3 on the New York Times bestsellers list. I also wrote the very popular non-fiction book “How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times”. I eventually wrote four sequels in the “Patriots” series, and three other nonfiction books.

I started using the Internet in the late 1980s, before most Americans had even heard of it. I began posting about survival topics to Usenet newsgroups (such as misc.investing, rec.guns, and alt.survivalism) in the early 1990s.

In 1987, I married The Memsahib. She passed away in 2009 and is greatly missed. Through God’s tremendous providence, I remarried in 2010, to “Avalanche Lily”.

We homeschooled our children. We live at the Rawles Ranch “Somewhere in The American Redoubt.” Our family enjoys hiking, rockhounding, hunting, kayaking, and target shooting.

As part of our charitable works, we support Baan Shufan, an ophanage in northern Thailand. We also send “care packages” to troops deployed overseas through Any Soldier, and we support Compassion International. I highly recommend all of these charities.

I was on the staff of Defense Electronics magazine for four years. I researched, wrote, and edited more than 60 feature-length technical magazine articles on a wide range of high technology subjects including component technologies, computer hardware and software, foreign military organizations and equipment, high technology terrorism, aircraft, air defense, missile guidance, digital flight controls, intelligence gathering and analysis, antisubmarine warfare, satellites, and communications equipment. I concurrently held the position of Managing Editor of The International Countermeasures Handbook and The Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (C3I) Handbook. I’ve also written for Defense Computing magazine. I’ve also worked for several high technology companies.

I was commissioned as an Army Intelligence Officer–35A(5M)–in 1984. I specialized in signals intelligence and electronic warfare. Other than my Officer’s Basic Course at Fort Huachuca and a couple of stints of temporary active duty (TDY), I spent my commissioned time as a reserve officer, with the 519th ASA Company. (It was later re-designated Co. D of the 373rd CEWI Battalion.) My duty positions included: Operations platoon leader, Electronic Warfare Officer, Intelligence Analyst, NBC Officer, Supply/Service Platoon Leader, and the umpteen other additional duties that the Army loves to heap upon company-grade officers. I also served as a Special Security Officer (SSO). It was my privilege to work “live” Guardrail signals intelligence gathering and analysis missions in West Germany.

I resigned my commission when Bill Clinton was first sworn into office as President. I resigned because I didn’t want to serve under him as Commander in Chief. At the time I was a Captain, and my six-year obligation to the Army had already lapsed.

Memberships (Past and Present):

The Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC)
Gun Owners of America (GOA)
Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO) (Gentiles can join, too!)
The FALFiles (I’m Member #133)
The National Rifle Association (NRA)
The Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO)
The Association of Old Crows (AOC)
John Birch Society (JBS)
Society for Technical Communication (STC)
The Washington Arms Collectors Association (WAC)

In SurvivalBlog, my posts are often identified by my initials, “JWR“.

Hugh J. Latimer (HJL)

Hugh Latimer (a pen name) served as Managing Editor for SurvivalBlog from January 2014 to January 2019. He handled the day-to-day operations at SurvivalBlog, including editing letters and articles, compiling column items, writing some feature articles, creating and updating advertisement graphics, and posting the blog. In January 2019, Hugh stepped down from the Managing Editor position to focus his attention on his family’s blog and his Bible rebinding business. He still operates as the Information Technologies Manager of SurvivalBlog, ensuring that the servers are operating at their optimal efficiency and fending off the numerous hacking attacks that afflict SurvivalBlog from time to time. He also continues to manage the advertising programs on the blog.

For those who are curious, his pen name was chosen to honor Hugh Latimer (1487-1555), a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, and Bishop of Worcester before the Reformation, and later Church of England chaplain to King Edward VI. In 1555 under Queen Mary he was burned at the stake, becoming one of the three Oxford Martyrs of Anglicanism.

Here are a few details about Hugh:

  • Has three college degrees (Electrical Engineering, Metallurgy, and Education), including one Master’s Degree.
  • Worked as a Technical Editor for five international technical journals, where he edited contributed articles as well as wrote more than 100 feature articles.
  • Holds a gunsmithing certificate from the Colorado School of Trades.
  • Certified as a firefighter.
  • Certified as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT.)
  • An Eagle Scout and Scoutmaster.
  • A Libertarian, conservative Christian who attends regularly with two congregations.
  • Worked for a major astronautics company where he did engineering work on the Titan IV missile program and several NASA programs. (Yes, he really is a Rocket Scientist.)
  • Has several years of experience in RF, digital, and analog circuit design for both rocket flight hardware and ground support hardware. He has also designed custom magnetics for the space program.
  • Worked as a Technical Editor at a national laboratory.
  • Ran his own photography and graphics design business.
  • Created and managed his own rural high speed Internet access company, where he also developed solar-powered remote relay communications sites.
  • Has done web site design using native HTML and has used a variety CMS software.
  • Formerly worked at a high school teaching Honors Physics. He also wrote the curriculum for several science courses.
  • A former Unix Administrator and both a TCP/IP and Unix Instructor.
  • Many years of experience as a system manager for 14 different operating systems.
  • Computer system security expert.
  • Lives in a small town.
  • He was the owner-builder of four homes, including a large log home, and one that is geothermally heated.
  • His family gardens, cans their own food, raise chickens, make candles, and bind their own books.
  • He and his wife have homeschooled their children.

Pat Cascio – Field Gear Editor, Emeritus:

Pat Cascio has been a gun and knife writer for more than 18 years. He has written for monthly issues of American Survival Guide, Handguns, Gun World, American Handgunner, as well as annual publications for Guns, American Handgunner, Guns & Ammo, and Knives Illustrated. He has also designed several knives that are currently being produced. Pat spent many years a private investigator and police officer. He is a former chief of police in a small American town. He also did a stint in Rhodesia with British South African Police (BSAP), at the height of Rhodesia’s Bush War. He has spent more than 35 years actively in the martial arts, and holds Black Belt rank in five different styles of martial arts, with a 6th Degree Black Belt in one art. He also also spent three years working for the late, and legendary, Col. Rex Applegate, who taught him a lot about knife fighting and knife design.

Pat summarizes his product review philosophy: “I don’t pull any punches in my Test and Evaluation, and if a gun or knife isn’t up to my expectations – you simply won’t be reading about it. I don’t waste my time writing about junk guns or knives or any tools, for that matter. I plan to write gun and knife articles for Survivalblog on a fairly regular basis. If you have any questions, please e-mail SurvivalBlog, and I’ll do my best to answer them for you, if I have an answer. Please don’t send questions about what is the best gun, or best caliber to use for self-defense, since there is no “best”. It all comes down to shot placement. People have been stopped dead in their tracks with a lowly .22 LR, and others have stood after taking several hits for a .44 Magnum. So, there is no magic bullet or perfect gun. Any gun or caliber is a compromise.”

E-mail: fieldgeareditor “at” survivalblog “dot” com

Thomas Christianson – Field Gear Editor:

Thomas Christianson is a long-time contributor to SurvivalBlog, who became a paid Field Gear Editor. He previously wrote articles under the pen name “The Novice.”

His motto as Field Gear Editor is taken from 1 Thessalonians 5:21: “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”

Tom grew up in a small town in a semi-rural area in the Midwest, where everyone was acutely aware that food came from a farm before it ever came from a grocery store. He learned gun safety in school, and on the first day of hunting season, all the young men were absent from school.

He began writing as a stringer for a local newspaper while still in high school, and has enjoyed writing ever since.

After college and seminary, he and his wife spent a decade overseas as missionaries. They returned to his hometown where he joined the staff of his sending church. One of his responsibilities there is to care for their missionaries. He often has opportunities to test field gear while on trips to work with missionaries.

Avalanche Lily (Mrs. Rawles):

By God’s providence, there was a strong response to my late wife Linda’s July 2009 Bucket List post. One of the responses came from a lovely young widow. She is a committed Christian, a homeschooling mom, and very outdoorsy. (She is a gardener, a target shooter, and enjoys hiking and kayaking.) In SurvivalBlog posts, my new bride is known as Avalanche Lily. She chimes in on various blog topics, and she edits articles. She writes most of the weekly  Editors’ Prepping Progress column that is posted on Saturdays. It was abundantly clear that it was God’s hand that put us together. We both stand amazed at the foresight and selflessness of my late wife (“The Memsahib”) in writing the post that was instrumental in bringing us together. Avalanche Lily is an amazingly energetic lady, and I’m thrilled to have her as my wife and as co-editor of SurvivalBlog.  God is so wonderfully provident, and we feel tremendously blessed. You can e-mail Avalanche Lily with questions or comments.

Our Domestic Correspondents and Editors:

Michael Z. Williamson – Editor at Large:

Mike Williamson is a well-known science fiction writer, a custom blade maker, and occasional historical re-enactor. Since his interests often cross-over into SurvivalBlog territory, he has been a frequent contributor to SurvivalBlog, since 2006. His extensive practical and tactical experience–including visits to “The Big Sandbox”–give him a unique insight into preparedness topics. Here is is his Wikipedia page.

Everett Millman – Precious Metals Columnist:

Everett Millman is deeply interested in the history (and future) of gold and silver as money. He has worked as the Chief Markets Analyst at bullion dealer Gainesville Coins since 2013 and researches the evolving role of precious metals in the financial system, both throughout history and in the current day. In addition to writing and editing for the Gainesville Coins blog and appearing as an expert guest on various news programs and podcasts, his work has been featured in Forbes, Reuters, Bloomberg, ZeroHedge, CNN Business, and The Wall Street Journal, among other publications.

Cynthia J. Koelker, MD – Medical Editor:

Dr. Cynthia J. Koelker is the author of the book 101 Ways to Save Money on Health Care, which explains how to treat over 30 common medical conditions economically, and includes dozens of sections on treating yourself.  She also hosts the popular medical prepping blog at She recently authored the book Armageddon Medicine, for laymen.

Foreign Correspondents

Our foreign correspondents kindly send us their e-mails and articles without any compensation other than the occasional free book. I’d appreciate reading the insights of folks who have survived the hyperinflation in Zimbabwe, secessionist turmoil in Kashmir, convoy IED attacks in Iraq, the civil war in Libya, or kidnappings in Colombia. Please e-mail your letters here.

We are currently seeking additional foreign correspondents.  Letters from residents unstable countries would be great, but we will settle for mundane.  (We can learn just as much from the insights of a sheep rancher in Australia’s Outback as we can from someone living in war-torn Ethiopia.)

Some Other Friends — See The Profiles

Biographies of several of my friends and acquaintances are included in the Retreat Owner Profiles.


You can e-mail Jim here and Avalanche Lily here. Note that because of the high volume of e-mail (250+ daily!), we cannot always respond personally.

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