This article is the first from the new category “Shit Your Dad Should Have Already Taught You – SYDSHATY”
*Or email, cold text/IM, or however you kids correspond with each other.
Running DVM and somewhat being known on the interwebs I get a ton of messages every month. Most are asking me for a job in contracting (for the one billionth time people I am not an employment agency). To general questions and advice to mad hate mail furiously typed from some dudes moms basement in New Jersey.
The thing that strikes me the most is how horribly formatted and written 99.9999% of all these messages are. They basically scream “I am lazy, give me, give me, me, me, me” and “I will not even bother to take the time to write you a proper letter”.
These letters read like shit and have zero formally as if they were texting someone from their fantasy football league. This is astounding to me considering they are almost always asking for something from me. It’s not like I sent an email or message to them first, they are basically sending me a “cold call” message or email.
I don’t even have to read these to know they belong directly in the trash can. Just one skim at a solid block of text signed with only the first name of the author means it gets no more of my time. Quite frankly it’s is a bit of a “fuck your face” that someone is completely unwilling to take the extra nine minutes to properly write a letter when contacting me.
To me this is just another example of how our society has decayed into a narcissistic, skinny jean wearing cesspool of people who “deserve” something without having to work for it.
Regardless, let me jump off my soapbox and throw some advice to you gents on writing a *cold letter.
*”cold” meaning you are contacting someone without previously speaking to them.
Gene Higdon from HSGI fame is at it again. His latest venture “Mean Gene Leather” is combining the old with the new with a unique approach to tactical belts. His flagship belt the “Barbarian” Belt combines Leather with a Cobra Buckle. Yup, you heard that right, a leather cobra belt.
The “Barbarian” Belt is Constructed of 2 layers of unsplit “Top Grain” leather for strength and finish. It is sewn together with 277 Bonded nylon threads, has 1” nylon webbing throughout the length of the belt to provide minimal stretching and a 3/4″ integrated leather belt loop sewn onto belt, as well as an internal belt loop for the tail of the 1” webbing. Available in Black and Chocolate Brown and in 1.5” and 1.75” widths. All belts come with Black webbing, stitching and Cobra Buckles.
I just got mine in and have been wearing it everyday despite running out of memory on my phone 6 times due to all the ladies giving me their phone number after seeing me wear it. I cant wait to see how it looks a year from now because I know this baby will only get better with time (just like the author).
John Wayne would kick you in your teeth if he saw you wearing a gun on a nylon belt. Do not anger John Wayne, never anger John Wayne, you would not like John Wayne angry
5 Reasons Why You Should Buy a Mean Gene Leather Barbarian Belt:
James “ARCHER” Price in Iraq next to a Bongo used to drive around Baghdad lo-pro
“Welcome to the Middle East, now throw your shit in the Bongo; I don’t have all day”
These were the first words I heard after a grueling 18 hour flight half way around the world for my first gig Security Contracting overseas. Besides immediately being annoyed by this little troll-looking shit with stains on his shirt and dirty sneakers, I didn’t know what the hell a “Bongo” was.
So after a “Hey Yoda, what the fuck is a bongo?” he begrudgingly pointed at what looked like a minivan that had been shrunk, had the rear 2/3 chopped off, then had a pickup bed from an old Datson PU welded to the back of the front 1/3. After tossing my bags in the bed and squeezing in between Yoda and another new hire, all I could think was “You are not in Kansas anymore young man”.
Here is the mission report and photo essay for our mission to Iraq Kurdistan that you all generously funded – We will add some more pictures as we organize them but this will give you a good idea of all the people we were able to help with your support
Check It out here:
Mmmmmm… I LOVE THE SMELL OF BACON AND BURNING VILLAGES IN THE MORNING!
One of the first things I had to figure out when a young James P. started contracting in Iraq was setting up my “kit” of armor carrier, rig, mag pouches, IFAC and a bunch of other crap I had never carried before. At that point in my career I was not in the tactical gear world and had pretty much never even owned anything ‘tactical’ except a black CamelBak. So when I had to buy a full load of kit I basically ordered a bunch of cool looking shit I saw online.
Two weeks later I got a big ass box that puked out the entire Blackhawk! catalog onto my hooch floor in the IZ. After putting every pouch I bought on my super cool SWAT vest I pretty much ended up looking like a Coyote Tan Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. My kit was also so poorly placed I could not even scratch my junk. I ended up fighting my kit on every mission for the next two weeks until I adjusted everything.
Like most people who have never been deployed to a war zone where they would have to wear full kit, I thought it would be all yelling “follow me lads” and burning villages when wearing all my ninja slick gear. I suppose I had fantasies of going from battle to battle pulling mag after mag while rescuing white women from the clutches of Ray Ban wearing dictators.
Nope, not even close – Even if you were on a mobile team running the most dangerous roads in the world like I was, in reality 99% of the time you are wearing full kit you are doing glamorous stuff like; frying eggs in oil for breakfast next to a Land Cruiser, buying 83 gorditas at Taco Bell on base because half your guys don’t have an MNFI badge or sitting in a truck trying not to fall asleep.
So if you are setting up your first all-out full kit I have the following suggestions:
Ok, Contracting is better than punching TPS Reports, but…
About 30 to 190 (yes, 190 is the record so far) times a day I get messages and emails from guys who want to break into the Contracting Racket. Besides the usual unreadable English from some Italian dude to outright rude emails demanding that I tell someone how to break into the biz “right fucking now”, no one ever asks the smart question of: “Are there any reasons why I should not consider a career in contracting?”
The short answer is “fuck yes there are”
Most folks think the life of an international security contractor is 6-figure paychecks, blowing shit up while yelling “FIRE IN THE HOLE” with a cigar clenched between your chompers with 30 day leaves in Bangkok banging beautiful gals and drinking fine scotch every few months.
To be honest it is that cool, but that’s about it. Forget about having any resemblance of a normal life, you will be an outlaw in the true sense of the Old West definition. So if you are considering a life shooting and looting around the world read everything below, you may change your mind.
Or you may want in the life even more if you are a nut like I am…
The 5 Things to Say Goodbye to if you Become a Civilian Contractor (in no particular order):
“If you jump really high the waves will just go under you bro”
After decades of studying, observing, experiencing and writing about everything Urban Survival, I have heard some serious fantasy about what people claim they would do during an Urban Survival situation. Not surprisingly most of this so-called ‘advice’ comes from people who have never been in a Urban Survival, ‘Fight or Die’ situation or have even stepped outside of the continental US with the exception of Bus Tours in their lives.
Most of the crazy shit I have heard comes from fake tough-guys, dudes who regurgitate stuff they have read on forums and keyboard commandos that make Bear Grills’s advice look reasonable. Having spent the past 10+ living, traveling and working in the 3rd world, I have seen people (including myself) survive the worst possible situations and do what they had to do to either survive or die.
From my experience, the current 3rd world is what the 1st world would be like after a prolonged ‘event’. That may be a natural disaster, civil war, overwhelming violent crime, financial meltdown or pandemics. In my opinion, the best place to study what people will or will not do when the SHTF in the 1st world, is to study what people in the 3rd world have and are currently doing to survive day by day.
If you have ever worked in the contracting biz then you have seen all the shady shit that PM’s, APM’s (Project Managers – Assistant Project Managers) and PMC’s (Private Military Company’s) do. Some of the nonsense PMC’s do so they can save a buck and PM’s can Cover Their Ass when they screw up can be as simple as fudging paperwork to outright criminal fraud. It can be a bit offsetting but most of us who work in this industry have no illusions that the PMC’s we work for are in any way the Salvation Army.
And what happens if they get caught with their hand in the cookie jar? The nearest working fool who is the lowest on the totem pole will eat a dick. Or if one of the PM’s buddies fucks up, steer clear because some poor chump will get thrown on a grenade – no way the PM’s bud is going home. Getting thrown under the bus by the PMC you work for in Civilian Contracting has become an art form to PM’s and APM’s. If you think because you have worked for a PMC for four years and have shown loyalty somehow means you are protected, then I have some beautiful beachfront land in Somalia to sell you.
So how do you CYA?
Before I start this review let me say upfront that I hate wearing shorts, been that way for as long as I can remember. I am the guy you see at the beach walking around in the middle of the day wearing slacks. And despite working in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for the past decade in a half I just never wore shorts no matter how hot it got, just not my thing.
I think my distain for shorts came from my pops who is old school, I remember seeing him wearing a tie while mowing our lawn in the great Commonwealth of Virginia when I was a kid – Old School Man proper style. The memories of my pops combined with seeing how ridiculous Brit soldiers looked wearing cammo combat uniforms with shorts walking around base in Iraq, I just wrote off shorts as a negative for my personal and professional wardrobe.
But about a year ago my buddy and one of the OG’s here at DVM, Thomas Moore told me about an outdoor clothing company called Railriders that he likes. Considering how I am a bit of a connoisseur of outdoor and tactical clothing he introduced me to them thinking it would be a good fit (no pun intended).
After talking to the good folks at Railriders they sent me some samples of their outdoor clothing to check out. I was impressed with the quality of their clothing and to this day I wear their pants pretty much every week – but in the bottom of the box I saw a pair of shorts that immediately got sent to the storage room at DVM Manor (Think the storage room at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark) where they sat for a year collecting dust and stripper glitter.
Fortunately for these fine shorts when I was putting together a list of gear I would need for the Death Valley Expeditionary Corps Humanitarian Aid Mission to the Philippines, shorts ended up on the list. It would turn out I would be traveling by boat in order to reach our destination. Depending on what time our team ended up arriving at our island of destination it could be low tide – and generally operating in a marine environment I knew that I would need a pair of shorts/swimming trunks.
I was going to just pick up a pair of cheap trunks at Walmart until I remembered that I had a pair of Railriders Jammin’ Shorts stuffed away in a gorilla trunk.
Created by Robert Young Pelton of The Worlds Most Dangerous Places fame, the DPx Danger Tab is a thin metal card with perforated edges on the back that quickly breaks away to form a blade.
Just snap off the edges and you have an instant WW II style OSS Thumb Knife with one Serrated and one Smooth edge with a needle like tip.
The DPx Danger Tab is a clever way to have a small back up EDC blade concealed in what looks like a harmless souvenir. String a dog tag chain through the hole and wear it around your neck, stick one in your wallet, in a book or in your shoe.
Includes a Rubber Silencer (like a dog tag silencer)
DPx DANGER TAB
Grab one at the DVM Gear Store Here: