Mr. and Mrs. India
Ages: 34 & 33
SOs: Three children 6 and under
Profession: U.S. Military Serviceman
He: Grew up in Florida, raised in a self-reliant family, attend and commissioned from a military educational institution, married his sweetheart, completed pilot training, and is currently stationed at his sixth military installation.
She: Grew up in Idaho, raised by a self reliant and second amendment loving family, moved off to school, took work as a nanny, worked as an accountant, is currently a loving mother and supportive military spouse. For the most part she lives the self reliant lifestyle with things like grinding wheat and making bread while he spends money on the latest and greatest gadgets. Present Home: 4 bedroom/2 car garage, government house on a northern tier military installation. I would get paid a housing allowance if I lived off the installation and there could be lots of self reliant benefits to doing this, but at this station we choose to live on the installation. This is a choice we have to make during every move and consider many things such as housing availability, local market conditions, commuter costs, school zoning, and the areas grade based on the book “Rawles on Retreats and Relocation“.
Income: $60,000 year not including benefits.
Additional Income: An occasional eBay sale, the Mrs. teaches piano, and extra cash from my frequent temporary duty (TDY) tours – I normally return from a TDY with more than half of the per diem by being frugal with food and not over indulging in entertainment. And when I say entertainment I mean not spending too much at the new-to-me gun stores, junk yards, used book stores, pawn shops, and Army/Navy stores.
Investments: We sold most of our IRAs early in 2008 to pay off debt. I now consider survival prep my top investment- food, ammo, extra magazines, extra receivers, books, and junk silver. We are currently saving to start a Swiss America gold account, and eventually purchase $1,000 face vale junk silver bags for each family member.
Vehicles: Primary – 80 series Toyota Land Cruiser. Grocery Getter – Honda minivan. We also have a Gen 1 Suzuki King Quad (slow but capable and carbureted), bicycles and bicycle trailer. Ideally I would own a complete spare primary vehicle but the frequent moves and lack of space make this difficult. For now I perform a lot of preventative maintenance to keep the vehicles in top condition and try to stock critical spares.
Firearms: Custom Remington 700 .308, four FALs with configuration ranging from Izzy HB to 18” carbine, M1A worked over by Smith Enterprises, S&W M4gery, DMPS M4gery, Mossberg 590, Winchester SX2 tactical, three Ruger 10/22s, Beeman HW77 .177 pellet rifle, Ruger SP101, Springfield Armory 1911, Glock 22, Browning Hi-Power, Ruger Mk 22/45, Scout rifle built on .308 Ishapore Enfield action, FR8, Savage 24C. The frequent moves are going to force me to shrink and further standardize my armory. I also made the mistake of buying a normal gun safe and moving it has been a huge and heavy pain. I plan on selling it and replacing it with one of the Zanotti Armor [6-piece modular] gun safes that you recommend. I would also like to add a crossbow to the collection for the silent gathering of meat if the Schumer hits the fan.
Ammo: Over 50,000 rounds with the bulk of that in .22 LR. One of my top priorities at this station is to finally unpack all my reloading supplies and purchase whatever is required to complete my setup so I can have an operational reloading bench. I am also on the lookout for a .177 pellet mold for my Beeman. I know accuracy would be way down but I think I could have an unlimited supply of pellets when old tire weights and discard car batteries are considered.
Fuel: 25 gallons in 5 gallon Scepter [current US mil-spec] gas cans, roughly 30 gallons of propane in various tank sizes. This is about as large of a supply as I can store, rotate, and do a permanent change of station (PCS) with. I have printed plans for a portable 12 volt DC fuel pump and will have parts when this year’s snow melts off the local junk yards.
Water: On the grid but we have a two week emergency supply (90 gallons stored in 15 gallon water barrels) and a Big Berkey water filter with buckets for carrying water from a local source to filter if needed.
Property tax: $0/year (one positive aspect of living in military housing)
Gardens: Allowed on military installations with restrictions. In the past I had been skeptical about planting a garden because the yard had to be returned to sod when changing stations. From a financial sense, rolling out sod when we leave would probably be more expensive than the money we would save in crop production. However, after considering several posts by fellow SurvivalBlog readers, I now think the expenditure will be a wise investment in learning the ends and outs of gardening. Keep in mind that on some military installations they have set aside large lots near housing that are opened for families to plant gardens – this would be the best of both worlds. We have a collection of hand tools to do the gardening but are limited on spares due to space and household good weight limitations.
Livestock: Not allowed on installation but I have seen people get away with having a hutch or two for the ‘pet’ rabbits.
Dogs: Allowed in military housing but I do not have one at this time. The spouse/kids/neighbors have to be supportive of a dog to make it work in the military. When the kids get older and can help out when I’m TDY, it will be an addition to our family.
Security: We live in the ultimate gated community provided by full time military police/security forces. When off the installation, personal security provided by sidearm and concealed carry permit. House has normal doors and locks but the family is usually in a low state of awareness due to the gated community feel. Five sets of various adult sized Kevlar vests and helmets. A 2nd gen night vision scope that is waiting for a rifle mount. My top priority in this area is to get the stars to align (namely: fly out grandma to watch the kids and find some reasonable transportation/lodging) so that I can use my long stored certificate and purchase an additional course so my wife and I can attend Front Sight together.
Food storage: Close to a year of staples (grains, beans, rice, powdered milk, honey, and salt), At least three month’s worth of canned/perishable goods that is constantly rotated, and 2+ weeks of MREs. I also have a collection of traps that Buckshot recommends and feel confident I could add meat to the table at any large military installation. When notified of a PCS, my wife starts using the canned and perishable goods almost exclusively so we can minimize our household goods weight. The household weight limit is something we always struggle with. We have averaged 1/3 more than the allowed weight on our last three moves but we have come up with a solution that has worked for us. We do a partial Do IT Yourself move (DITY move) where the military pays a contractor to move part of our goods and they pay us to move the rest of the goods (up to the maximum allowable weight based on rank and dependents). When the contract movers show up we have them load all the large and bulky items such as furniture, bicycle trailer, and empty water barrels. This usually amounts to about 2/3 of our belongings based on size but only 1/3 based on weight. We then pack the rest of the goods in a rented moving truck ourselves. The stuff like food storage, books, and the safe easily fit in the rental truck and adds up to about 2/3 of our total weight. Although we only get paid for about half of what we move we still make more than enough to cover all our expenses and avoid having to pay a carrier to move the excess weight.
Communication: HF base station is a Yaesu FT-840 with every factory option. I also have a Realistic Pro 2006 scanner, a Yaesu FT-8900 for the Land Cruiser, and a couple Yaesu handhelds. Exterior antennas are not allowed in military housing so I have to get by with low profile dipoles and a good antenna tuner. Right now I am encouraging my wife to get her Technician license. Besides wanting a VHF radio for the base station, I also need a battery backup system that can serve as our emergency electrical power supply. I want to be able to feed the battery bank with a small generator as well as a fairly large but portable solar panel(s).
Survival Library: Extensive with all the SurvivalBlog Bookshelf recommendations as well as most of the books recommended by readers.
Hobbies: Family adventures, church activities, vehicle maintenance/upgrades, Scouting, “$200 stamp collecting” (AWC and AAC firearms sound suppressors), increasing food storage.
Next project: At our current location I need to develop an emergency home heating plan. I wish we could add a wood stove but will probably have to settle with a kerosene space heater. I am also developing my exit strategy from the military – hopefully more to follow in the form of another writing contest submission.
I have deviated from the normal profile format and added a couple paragraphs to sum up the pros and cons of living the survival lifestyle while serving in the military.
Pros of active duty military: The opportunity to serve with many like minded selfless patriots, job security, benefits such as medical and commissary, requirement to stay physically fit, installation amenities such as gym and auto hobby shop, and a good retirement if I can make it to 20 years. I’ll be honest, the retirement plan will probably keep me in. I’ll be 44 when eligible to retire and I like the idea of being able to move to our desired retreat location, take a low paying job if nothing else is available and count on the immediate retirement income to make up the difference.
Cons: Not being able to live at and develop our desired retreat location, frequent/extended TDYs keeping me away from my immediate family, being stationed away from extended family, frequent moves, and the possibility of living in a state not up to the Constitutional standards of firearm and suppressor ownership.