ON A PER­SONAL NOTE

American Survival Guide - - NEW PRODUCTS -

I would like to share an ex­am­ple of my per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence with the stress in­oc­u­la­tion train­ing be­ing used suc­cess­fully in the mil­i­tary.

I have al­ways been deathly afraid of heights. But when I de­cided to join the U.S. Army, I re­al­ized that this was one fear I would have to over­come if I were to be­come an ef­fec­tive war­rior.

That said, in my 25 years in the Army—start­ing as an in­fantry sol­dier, then as a para­trooper and ul­ti­mately serv­ing as a Green Beret—i had no short­age of chal­lenges that took me well off the ground. On the low end, I had to ma­neu­ver over high ob­sta­cles, climb 50-foot ropes and rap­pel off of 100-foot tow­ers. I got to soar above the trees in a SPIES (Spe­cial Pa­trol In­ser­tion/ Ex­trac­tion Sys­tem) rig af­ter a jun­gle ex­trac­tion and did some fast-rop­ing out of he­li­copters hov­er­ing 90 feet above the ground.

By us­ing the tech­niques I learned in train­ing, I was able to do some static line parachut­ing with full com­bat equip­ment into drop zones around the globe from 800 feet.

My great­est chal­lenge came when I jumped from a per­fectly good air­plane at 25,000 feet into the dark of night.

I had oxy­gen, 80 pounds of equip­ment and a ram-air para­chute on my back and my weapon strapped to my side. I flew my­self at high al­ti­tude for over an hour and then landed in a postage stamp-sized land­ing zone many miles away from where I had ex­ited the air­craft. I was able to do all these things—not be­cause I am par­tic­u­larly coura­geous, but sim­ply be­cause I learned how to in­oc­u­late my­self from my own fears to de­velop the dis­ci­pline needed to con­trol them to a point at which I could do my job.

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