Black Powder Red Earth – PMC Comic Book, yes - comic book, not graphic novel

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BPRE1 Back in the day like many of you who grew up before video games and 400 channels on TV, I was an avid comic book reader. Believe it or not you could almost guarantee seeing a prepubescent James at any comic convention held during the summer on the east coast. But lately not so much, as my time is more limited and tastes has changed from big-titted anime broads and the Punisher blowing everything up, to smarter and more engaging comic stories. I also have sex now and that broke into 99.9999% of my comic reading time.

Due to the above it has been a while since I have found a series that was good enough for me to put down the vagina for a bit and pick up a comic instead. The last good one I read was Transmetropolitan, and that set such a high standard in the “entertaining and smart” category I can rarely get past the first three pages of other comics these days.

So when I first heard there was a comic about PMC’s plying their trade in a future Iraq I prepared myself to be disappointed and possibly angry. Even having the pre-conserved notion that it would make me sad, I went ahead and ordered the Black Powder Red Earth series from Amazon because I found an Amazon gift card that was about to expire.

When it arrived my first surprise was that it was written by an Asian guy with a mad FOB name, “Jon Chang” – that's real original mom and dad Chang. In my contracting career I can count how many Asian contractors I have run into without having to take my shoes off, so how much could this dude know about doing cool contractor shit? (I am Asian so I can make fun of other Asian people and you can't, ha! nanny nanny boo-boo stick your head in doo-doo). My second thought was “who is this ass-hole think he is writing a comic about my mother-fucking world son!?

Well guess who is the ass-hole this article turned out to be?

Me Son! - because Black Powder Red Earth (or “BPRE” because every nerd has to fucking use an acronym for anything cool) is one of the smartest and engaging comic series I have read.

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Jon Chang wraps BPRE around a realistic portrayal of a pair of PMC contractors in the not so near future Iraq, who are high speed professionals on the job but do stupid contractor shit like buy expensive sports cars and mountains of guns despite being home for less than a month a year.

And don't let the “future” part scare you off, you won't see flying motorcycles or Contractors shooting laser rifles (fuck you CODMW). This is just far enough ahead to see what is basically happening to Iraq now. Regional powers destabilizing Iraq until it splits apart, home grown militias sweeping in during a power void, and Corporations taking advantage of it all to make a buck. I swear it's like Jon Chang was staring into a crystal ball looking at the future with his squinty eyes when he wrote this. It's almost eerie how accurate his portrayal of Iraq is in the few years down the timeline where this story takes place.

The artwork is masterfully penned by Josh Taylor in a unique but familiar style that perfectly blends the combination of heavy border lines and the dramatically contrasting dark and bright color palate together beautifully. For the non-comic nerds out there that basically means “this shit looks pretty”.

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While we are on the subject I want to take a second to explain why this is a “Comic Book” and not a “Graphic Novel”.

There is no such fucking thing as a “Graphic Novel”, that term was started in the 90’s around the time that The Dark Night Returns came out and the Watchmen series was added to Time Magazine’s 100 Best English-Language novels list. This was the dot com boom equivalent of the comic world when comics became mainstream, more mature, darker and had deep, complicated character development.

It was because pusses and snobs were embarrassed to say they read “Comic Books” so they made up the term “Graphic Novel”. Somehow they thought saying “I am reading a Graphic novel” instead “I read comic books” would make them sound refined and not the closet nerd they really are.

So don't be a puss, if you read comic books then say “I read comic books, if you have a problem with that I will skull-fuck your terrierdoodle” – own up to your inner nerd.

And buy the whole Black Powder Red Earth “Comic Fucking Book” Series at the same time. Don't be that comic guy who just buys the first one to see if they will like it when everyone else on the planet says it’s a great read.

Seriously, everyone hates that guy, that guy is on Facebook right now arguing with people on the Star Wars page about how you would cut your fingers off if your light saber had laser hilts, you don't want to be that guy. Save yourself time and shipping costs and just buy the whole series in one bang, curl up with your cats and read it in one sitting.

BPRE at Amazon.com: Buy BPRE HERE >>> BPRE on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BlackPowderRedEarth BPRE Website: http://www.blackpowderredearth.com/

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~James "ARCHER" Price Founder – Editor in Chief DVM

James P. is a Veteran Civilian Contractor who has worked in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for way too long. He spends his off time in Southeast Asia and Virginia getting drunk, shooting guns, writing poorly written articles and despite taking a year to write this review it still has typos in it.

SYDSHATY: How To Write a Damn Letter

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This article is the first from the new category “Shit Your Dad Should Have Already Taught You - SYDSHATYletter

*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.

RECIPIENTS NAME AND INFO:

There is probably no other single thing that is more rude than to call someone by their first name if you have never in your life spoken to them before. Never start off a cold letter with “Hi John” or you come off sounding like an arrogant prick.

Also, only use their proper first name. The second I see someone start out a letter to me with “Jim” instead of “James” I block them forever. I don't know you, so who the Fug are you to talk to me like we have been buddies for twenty years?

First write the full name, title (if you know it) and company of the person you are writing to each on a separate line. Don't forget to put a “Mr.” Or “Ms” in front of the name.

Mr. John Fuckerberry HMIC Acme Dildo USA

Or.

Mr. James Price Chief Dragon Slayer Death Valley Magazine

INTRODUCE YOURSELF:

It makes me cringe when I read a letter and the person sending it never introduces themselves. Unless you are Arnold Schwarzenegger then no one knows who the fuck you are.

“Hello my name is James Price, I am the HMIC of DVM, a magazine for bad mother fuckers and tang slayers.”

Or.

“Hello my name is Joe Doodoocan, I am a former Army Ranger with two deployments in Iraq and a graduate of the Mall Ninja Inc school of bodyguards”

WHY THE FUG ARE YOU SENDING THE LETTER:

This is usually the first thing people write, that is the equivalent of having your hand out the second someone opens their door. Hence the reason for all of the above.

“The reason I am contacting you is my company is interested in co-branding a Dildo with Acme Dildo USA featuring the logo from my company DVM.”

Or.

“The reason I am contacting you is I am interested in becoming a security contractor and would like your advice”

Remember you are asking for something, so be polite. Compare the below to the above:

“I want you to make a dildo with the DVM logo on it”

Or.

“Help me get a security contractor job”

Do not tell people to help you, ask them to. This is shit you dad should have already taught you.

HOW DO THEY HELP YOU?:

Why are you bothering to ask for something if you never suggest a solution? Again that is rude and lazy, why should they have to figure everything out when you are the one asking for another bowl of gruel?

“We would like to start out with 100 co-branded dildos with a 50% deposit and the outstanding 50% paid on delivery. We will send a high resolution image of the DVM logo for you use on the dildos”

Or.

“Could you please suggest 10 company's that hire security contractors with my professional background? Additionally any advice that you consider 'must know' for someone wishing to break in to the industry would greatly be appreciated”

BEST REGARDS AND THANK YOU:

If you are contacting someone for something then guess what? Their time is more valuable than your time, or they would be the one contacting you. So thank them for taking their valuable mo-fuckin’ time reading your shit son.

“Thank you for your time regarding this matter, I am looking forward to your response.”

YOUR SIGNATURE:

Never end a letter with:

“Joe”

Who the fuck is “Joe”? I sure as squat don't know, let me ask my dog who Joe is...

ARF-ARF, WOOF-WOOF, Grrrrrrrrrr...???

Nope, rover has no damn idea who Joe is. And why does Joe only have one name, is he Indonesian or something?

You must also leave your address and phone number, this not only shows you are a real person, it gives the person you are contacting another way to contact you if they do not want to write out a 9000 word response.

James Price Chief Dragon Slayer Death Valley Magazine 666 Deaths Door Rd. Hell, Hawaii 66666 1-800-EATDICK

Or.

Joe Doodoocan 2nd Ranger Battalion (03-05) 111 Moms Basement Pl. Sucks, New Jersey 12345 123-555-1212

PARAGRAPHS:

You were undoubtedly told about these easy to read blocks of text by Ms. Smith, your Subaru Forester driving, flannel shirt wearing English teacher back in the day. So use them.

Every two sentences hit the 'return' key. No one wants to look at a two hundred word block of text, it hurts the eyes.

SENTENCES:

Just like no one wants to look at a two hundred word block of text, no one wants to read a mile long sentence. So unless you are William Faulkner the period is your friend.

SPELL CHECK:

Use it.

PROOF READ:

Read your letter three times before sending it. You won't catch every typo or mistake but the fewer you have the better it will read.

Notes:

I am hardly a master wordsmith – I bet this article has typos and misspelled shit in it. But if a high school drop out like myself can half-way manage to do the above than anyone can. It is more about the show of effort and Old School formality than writing everything perfectly - “A for effort” as the saying goes.

So take that extra nine minutes to write your next cold letter or email properly and I guarantee you even an asshole braggart like myself will respond 100% of the time 5% of the time. Well, honestly I probably** still won't respond to your “get me a contractor job” emails. But everyone else you send a message to will appreciate the effort.

*Note: The above is assuming you are communicating electronically and not on 105 lb embossed correspondence stock with proper letterhead.

**Note: 100% I won't respond to any “get me a contractor job” emails. I get 50 a week so until I learn how to clone myself I don't gots’ the time to answer hundreds of emails a month.

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~James "ARCHER" Price Founder – Editor in Chief DVM

James P. is a Veteran Civilian Contractor who has worked in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for way too long. He spends his off time in Southeast Asia and Virginia getting drunk, shooting guns, writing poorly written articles and not answering ' How do I get a contractor job" emails.

Introducing the Mean Gene Leather Barbarian Belt

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mean gean leather barbiran belt 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 your teeth in if he saw you wearing a gun on a nylon belt

5 Reasons Why You Should Buy a Mean Gene Leather Barbarian Belt:

-Men Wear Leather Belts

Your dad wore a leather belt, his dad wore a leather belt, you wear a belt made of nylon and Velcro – and quite frankly it is embarrassing. Leather is Old School, over time it absorbs the character of the man who wears it. Every scratch tells a story, every stain is a reminder of your past, only leather can build pedigree like this over time. This is something you will hand down to your son.

-Nylon Tactical Belts are Vagina Repellent

If you do not like to have sex with attractive women then throw on that 5.11 Tuxedo and Nylon Tactical Belt. All the more ladies for me.

-Only Vegans beat their kids with a Nylon Belt

One of the things I remember most from growing up was my dad’s leather belt hanging up behind his bedroom door. This served both as a reminder not to fuck-up but also a “Man” was in charge of the house.

Your child is not afraid of the coyote tan nylon and Velcro belt hanging on your closet door next to your skinny jeans and hemp shirt.

-American Leather

Only the finest hides are picked from god-fearing republican cows before it is tanned under the hot freedom loving American sun (not that cold Commie sun they use in Russia) and dried with air that has passed through a field of American flags.

-Its Handmade by Gene Higdon

If you do not know who Gene Higdon is then Fuck You.

MGL

You can grab one of these bad boys at G-Code or War Sport Ind. or by contacting the man himself Mean Gene at: info@meangeneleather.com or on Facebook

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~James "ARCHER" Price

Founder – Editor in Chief DVM

James P. is a Veteran Civilian Contractor who has worked in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for way too long. He spends his off time in Southeast Asia and Virginia getting drunk, shooting guns, writing poorly written articles and beating Applebee's Hostesses with his Barbarian Belt.

A 3rd World Icon: The Bongo Truck

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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”.

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This was the first of hundreds of drives I would eventually take in a bongo, officially known as the “Kia Bongo”, all over the world. From crashing a Bongo head on into Soviet era Yugo in Cambodia, which I somehow walked away from unharmed, with a bottle of 1 dollar Super Whisky as the only casualty. To riding around in Baghdad low-profile with my translator driving and an AK at my feet in 2006.

The Bongo is as basic as it gets. This ugly bastard has a 2.7 liter engine that you are practically sitting on, a small walled in pickup bed and tiny tires that remind me of the donut tires cars used to come with. No airbags or any safety features of any sort outside of the seatbelts that are surely buckled up (so the driver won’t be annoyed by the “bing-bing” of the seatbelt alarm) and slung over the headrests.

The thinly insulated engine compartment beside you keeps the inside just comfortable enough for you to fall asleep, until you are woken up with the left side of your body knowing what an egg in a frying pan feels like.

A Chinese Bongo copy (yes, they even knock-off trucks) modified into a Technical

Despite its little four-banger motor and small bed, if you have enough twine you can strap on and haul the possessions of an entire village up the side of a mountain in a Bongo. By some sort of sorcery, this SOB somehow has the ability to cross over hundreds of miles of busted up dirt roads that would kill a Jeep.

And then turn around and go all the way back home.

On one tank of gas.

After spending as many years working and traveling in the 3rd world as I have, there are always the little things that make you suddenly feel at home no matter where you are. Like having a scotch with a lady friend at an expat pub in Kurdistan, eating a pizza in Thailand, or going to McDonald's in Mexico.

But nothing gives me that baby in a basket feeling like wrapping a Shemagh around my neck, jumping in the back of a white Bongo and driving through a crowded Souq with the sounds of hajji music blaring out of the single working speaker in the background and a rusty AK bouncing around on the floorboard.

Ahhh, there is no place like home…

A Bongo full of Humanitarian Aid supplies being unloaded by DVM D.A.R.T. team members in Iraq Kurdistan

The Post-Apocalyptic World Sucks Balls

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“Sweet, I can’t wait until the SHTF and America is just like this Mumbai slum” – Said no one who has actually been to a Slum in Mumbai Question: If you really want to live in the post-apocalyptic world then why don’t you just move to Pakistan?

Answer: Cuz It sucks balls there.

With 5000 “friends” on Facebook I see all sorts of “tough guy” nonsense flash across my news feed every day. Lately I've been seeing this “would you survive the post-apocalyptic world?” Q&A tests where you answer some mind-numbing multiple choice questions and, BAM, you can proclaim that you and Robert Neville will rule the wastelands.

This is of course followed by “Fuck Yeah bro, I’ll be shooting and looting in the post-apocalyptic world. It’s gonna’ be awesome” by whoever took this test. Next comes a legion of other people also saying something to the effect of “I can’t wait for this to happen” to “it is only a matter of time before it collapses and it can’t come sooner” in the comments below.

Now obviously this is just internet bravado that has spilled over from forums to Facebook, but there are quite a large amount of people in the tactical/prepper community that honestly believe there would be nothing better than to have the SHTF and the US plunge to some sort of Mad Max style post- apocalyptic wasteland. In fact, I am sure many of them are reading this right now as they relax during their post refractory period after jacking-it to Night of the Living Dead.

Well, if you want to live in the post-apocalyptic world it is only a plane ticket away folks. Pick any shitty 3rd world country where the “President” wears Ray-Bans and pack your bags. Besides being born in a post-war impoverished (at that time) 3rd world country, I just spent the past decade living and working in the post-apocalyptic world in places like Iraq and a dozen other impoverished countries.

And guess what folks? It is not nice.

All the stuff you see in your favorite post-apocalyptic movies is going on right now as you read this article – gang rapes, militias run by psychos who used to repair fax machines before the war, 3 day police response (but you would never call them anyway because they will also rob you), no food, no clean water, no medicine, no job, dally raids by hordes of bandits and people trading cat blubber for 10 minutes of electricity so they can charge their iPod.

And this is not even including coming home to find out that some guy in the next village over blew up your house for the 8th time because your father's, cousin's, sister's, uncle's, niece's husband killed his cousin's, sister's, uncle's, 2nd cousins-brother-in-law in 1936. But don’t worry, your wife and daughter didn't get killed. He sold them to another village for two boxes of 9mm.

Do you still feel like packing your family up and heading to Angola so you can live in the post-apocalyptic world?

So as exciting as it sounds to drive a dune buggy wearing football shoulder pads with a bleach-blond gal wearing a leather thong hanging off the side shooting people with a crossbow through the remains of your town, in practice there are a lot of downsides. Just ask the average Joe in Mogadishu, no, not that guy, the fella with one arm because he sneezed while General, President, Dr., Prime Minister, Supreme Ruler “Mad Dog” Mobuto was giving a speech and it was macheted off as a punishment for interrupting.

After working in Iraq and other war torn 3rd world countries and seeing what a miserable hell hole the post-apocalyptic world is, all I can do is let out a big old sigh every time I hear someone says they wish the apocalypse would happen. Quite frankly here in America I thank Ronald McDonald every time I drink a clean bottle of water I bought at Walmart and come home to a house that has not been burned down by marauders.

Why the hell would anyone subject themselves, no less hope and pray that someday, they will live in the post- apocalyptic world when hot pizza is a phone call away and you can spend Sundays hitting on the single moms at Starbucks instead?

Wait… I just got an email for a gig that pays $18,500.00 a month to live in Afghanistan and run security convoys.

Never mind, forget everything I just said.

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~James "ARCHER" Price

Founder – Editor in Chief DVM

James P. is a Veteran Civilian Contractor who has worked in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for way too long. He spends his off time in Southeast Asia and Virginia getting drunk, shooting guns, writing poorly written articles and selling out to the highest bidder.

The Problem with Most H2H and Tactical Training: You only get one chance to see if it works

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fbc I was recently coaxed (bribed) by a friend into attending a H2H (Hand to Hand) seminar in a fighting style that I won’t name here and I've never trained in before. It was taught by a nice enough fellow who confidently spouted out the benefits of learning a “street proven” way of defending yourself at the beginning of the class.

Throughout the seminar he was very attentive to all the students and made sure everyone understood what to do after he showed us a bunch of techniques to fight and/or disarm people.

And then we started practicing all of the moves he taught us at 1/2 speed.

With no actual contact when punching or kicking.

After the seminar I asked the instructor how many real fights he has been in, only to be met with a blank stare…

It reminded me of another class I was coaxed (again, bribed) into attending a year ago that was led by an instructor teaching a tactical pistol class. Like the H2H seminar above, it was also taught by a nice enough dude who was not a bad instructor, despite being somewhat inexperienced (but he was an NRA certified instructor!). Now, before you hear me complain, let me make it clear this was not an entry level “how to shoot” class, it was supposed to be a class that would teach you how to shoot in a shootout.

And then we started running through all of the drills he taught us at 1/2 speed.

At paper targets.

After the class I asked the instructor how many real gunfights he has been in, only to be met with a blank stare…

My issue with the above way of training is this: the only way you will find out if what you learned will work, or if you will even be able to remember it under stress – is when you get into a shootout or some meathead comes at you with a broken pool cue the first time.

And despite my smart-ass comments to the instructors I hardly expect every instructor out there to have killed people in shootouts or had been in a bunch of fist fights. Quite the contrary, I believe if someone is taught by a skilled professional instructor who has killed people in shootouts, and has been in a bunch of fist fights then that instructor is good to go and able to effectively convey the skills from his instructor to you.

And then after you've learned the fundamentals from whatever instructor, that instruction is then put into practice against a real person(s) at the same speed and level of violence (or as close as you can get) that would happen in the real world. And then you do it 100 more times until you reach a level of acceptable proficiency from experiencing the stress, pain and mistakes made. Just like if you faced someone who wants to kill or hurt you or your loved ones.

Herein lies the problem, the second half of the above is missing in most people training.

This is not necessarily the instructor’s fault either – in my opinion it is 99% the students own fault because they choose to only get ½ of the instruction they need to realistically survive a fight.

In the tactical firearms training world I have talked to instructors who have tried to convince their students to take Force on Force training (with Sim Rounds or Airsoft). But when they announce a class for airsoft Force on Force training, where a student will have the chance to get into a shootout with another person who wants to “kill” them they only hear crickets, while at the same time, the live fire class where all people do is blast away at stationary paper targets fill up.

The same is even more prevalent in H2H or Martial Arts training. I see a ton of people flocking to so-called “Reality Based” H2H training where there is virtually zero contact. And what little contact is never full on. So basically people “learn” how to fist fight without ever actually knocking someone out (or at least trying to). But unlike in tactical firearms training, you will rarely see a martial arts instructor telling a student to seek out full-on training at another Boxing, MMA or Muay Thai Gym where they will have a chance to eventually jump in a ring and punch a guy in the face full-steam or choke a fool out.

I don’t know when this “learn everything, but omit actually doing it” way of learning and teaching started or why it is practically the standard of defensive/offensive training these days. Today I see this mostly being perpetuated by students choosing to get ½ the training they need by voting with their wallet (why would a school or instructor have a class that never fills?). Combine that with the years of disciplined training it will take to become proficient in a H2H skill where you actually beat people up like the above mentioned Boxing, MMA or Muay Thai. It’s no wonder people choose to take the easy way.

How do you train so you can use the fundamental skills you know and test yourself against another person who wants to kill you at the same time? Easy, get in a shootout or a fist fight – over and over and over again; Repeat.

Obviously you cannot go down to the local 7-11 at three in the morning with your pistol stuffed in your pants, hoping someone comes in to rob the joint so you can get into a shootout. Nor can you walk up to some random fool in a bar and slap them across the face so you can get in a fist fight.

And if you did not get into 100 fist fights before you were 16 because you were the only Asian kid in your entire Grade, Middle and High School classes in some boondock Southern County in the late 70’s, who then later went into the Security Contracting Industry, Shooting and Looting his way across the 3rd world like I did, it is OK. You still have some great training options available to you.

Here it is:

After you have learned the fundamentals in the first 50% of the training you need, take as many Force on Force classes as you can where they use Sim Rounds or Airsoft (that is hopped up so it hurts) and also spend the next couple of years in a Boxing, MMA or Muay Thai Gym. Have some amateur fights or sign up to be a sparring partner (punching bag) for a pro. Hell, they even might pay you 50 bucks.

Fortune, Glory and knowing you will Survive a Fight is right around the corner and all it will cost you is some money, sweat and a shitload of bruises.

Or you can forget about all the above and just join the Army Rangers, both should get ya about the same results.

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~~James "ARCHER" Price Founder – Editor in Chief DVM

James P. is a Veteran Civilian Contractor who has worked in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for way too long. He spends his off time in Southeast Asia and Virginia getting drunk, shooting guns, writing poorly written articles and getting into fights at night clubs despite being way to old to still be going to night clubs in the first place.

DVM H.A.S.F./La Cima World Missions IRAQ KURDISTAN Humanitarian Aid Mission 1 and 2 – Mission Report and Photo Essay

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Here is the mission report and photo essay for our 2 missions 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:

Mission 1: http://hasfmissions.org/2015/09/30/hasfla-cima-world-missions-iraq-kurdistan-humanitarian-aid-mission-1/ 

Mission 2: http://hasfmissions.org/2015/09/30/hastla-cima-world-missions-iraq-kurdistan-humanitarian-aid-mission-2/

CIVILIAN CONTRACTORS: Newbie’s, Respect, and the Contractor Circle of Trust

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CCOT Being a newbie at a job site sucks!

You will be known as the “new guy” for a few weeks, don’t take it personal. You are in the time immortal judgment phase of your new job. Your reputation starts on day number one. You better ask yourself right now…How do you want to be known?

“The most valuable thing you own is your reputation.”

To put it mildly, contractors are a cantankerous and cynical bunch who will judge you quickly and harshly. They’ve seen all types of wannabes and bullshit artists come and go and you are the fresh meat who just got off the bus for your first day at school.

Your actions and what comes out of your mouth will be put on your permanent record. The world of contracting is a very small one and a person’s reputation precedes them.

Now, I know I can’t help everybody. Some people are just retarded and won’t listen. But that’s good news for you, if you are not completely retarded and you are someone who can follow advice. You might have a chance to move ahead.

The first concept you must get through your head is the concept of respect. I know this seems simple but to many it’s extremely difficult to comprehend.

Respect is not given it’s earned. It doesn’t matter what you did back home. It’s now day one at your new job site and nobody cares what you did before. A major problem with people today is that they believe they deserve respect just because they were this or that in the military or somebody important at the job they left or took such and such tactical shooting course. All that doesn’t mean you get respect handed to you on day one.

Much of our culture believes that you do not have any obligation to respect someone unless or until they respect you first. This is completely ass-backwards wrong and the main reason why so many get labeled an ass-hat and never get “in” on the inside information. I’ll talk about the inside information later.

But first, like it or not, it works this way. Those who are already on the job site before you are your elders in the village. To prove you’re worthy of their approval and enter into manhood, you must be polite and give their accomplishments respect. It’s not ass kissing. By showing your respect for the dues they (your elders) have paid, and perform your job well, then you will in turn “earn” their respect. It’s their world. You’re the new guy.

It’s also important to realize that it’s not a sign of weakness to not know what the fuck you’re doing on the first day. We’ve all been there and the veterans will help you learn your job. They know you've just been dropped into an alien environment and you may be wondering how the hell you got yourself into this mess.

Here are the top 3 biggest rookie mistakes to make:

#1. If you have never been a Special Operations soldier, don’t say you were.

You are judged on how you perform and what you can do now. Not what you did “back in the day.” Unless you’re extraordinarily charismatic, the quickest way for you to lose all your credibility and have people to talk about you behind your back, will be to talk about yourself and what a “bad ass, been there done that” kind a guy you are. I guarantee they will be talking about what a jackass you are the minute you are out of the room.

#2. Don’t tell every person you meet your life story.

It’s boring and most people are just waiting for you to stop talking so they can talk about themselves. Be a listener.

#3. Not following the chain of command.

Circumventing (going behind your supervisors back) the proper chain of command always results with management solving the problem with draconian, knee jerk measures. This will suck-ass for everybody. This only causes dissension on the team and labels you as a trouble maker, not to be trusted.

Since this relatively new career path is still evolving, the weeding out process to keep all undesirables out of the contracting world has yet to be perfected. Some companies hire people sight unseen. They hire on documentation only with no face to face interview. Even companies that have a strict weeding out process can’t stop all the bone heads from getting through.

There is such a thing as guilt by association.

So with that in mind, I have created the following rules on how to protect yourself from these negative individuals. I’ve also included rules to help you navigate through the fast paced political dynamics that occur within these small companies that have a very fast personnel turnover rate:

Rule #1: It’s a cliche but it’s true. Maintain a great positive attitude. It will be noticed.

Rule #2: Don’t bitch, whine or complain. There is no shortage of negative people to do that. No one wants to be around that type of person. The five minutes you just spent complaining is five minutes you just wasted.

Rule #3: Don’t believe every rumor you hear. Also don’t repeat or spread rumors. When in doubt go to the source.

Rule #4: Error on the side of caution, with trust.

Rule #5: Don’t underestimate people. Looks are deceiving. Just because they “talk the talk” and have all the high speed gear doesn’t mean they know their stuff.

Rule #6: Know who the power players are. I hate the politics that go on in the office just as much as the next guy. You don’t have to be involved in them, but you at least better understand the dynamics of your workplace pecking order.

Why you ask? Sometimes there is a fast turnover rate of personnel within some of the companies. Alliances can shift overnight. When this happens it should be looked at as an opportunity for advancement. The people who stay with a company at least one year or close to it and have proven they are reliable, and are now in a far better position to move up in the company.

Rule #7: Always keep your eyes and ears open to spot an opportunity.

Rule #8: Do not give the benefit of doubt. Be suspicious of everyone until they prove otherwise. Assume something is wrong with your co-workers. Why are they working outside of their home country?

Rule #9: Be very careful of what you say and do. I’ve witnessed more than one person drop a dime on someone for their own advancement. Nothing stays confidential forever. Some people repeat what you said just to have something to say and feel important.

Rule #10: Be a mentor to the new guys. Be the genuine friendly face that welcomes a new team member and gives them advice on how things work around their new job environment. First impressions are everything. This also helps build alliances for the future.

Remember: Network! - Network! - Network!

I mentioned earlier about inside information. The first candidates to be hired for a job are people who are referred by other employees of the company.

The goal of a professional contractor is to keep working and make piles of money. People in the know about other jobs usually don’t want jackasses or retards on the job site with them. Any veteran contractor can tell you, it takes just one asshole on the team to make life miserable for everyone.

If your reputation is that of a dickhead, you can be sure that you are outside the inside track for opportunities.

“The most valuable thing you own is your reputation.”

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jo

Jeffrey M. Olson is a USAF veteran and former war mongering, Civilian Contractor of Qatar and Iraq, who’s now the head Thermo-mechanical Manipulator of Metallic Molecular Structures and owner of Olson Iron Works Blacksmith shop. Jeff is also an author. His book “The S.H.T.F Art of War” that deals with an apocalyptic disaster scenario is available on Amazon. Jeff continues to write and provide FREE content on his website www.shtfartofwar.com

DEPLOYED: "Hello my Name is Bob, and I am a Rip It Addict"

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5it9Ejt We all know that guy who wherever he goes, he has an energy drink. But have you ever seen this on a large scale? Anybody who has spent time in the sand box has, it is called mass Rip It addiction. It is a weird phenomenon, either you never tried one or are shaking in a corner with one in each hand.

I was first exposed to this evil on my first deployment, these little innocent looking 8oz cans in the galley. We used to walk to the chow hall with empty back packs just so we could load up. Just thinking about it makes me itch and twitch.

We would grab a bite, and then walk to the cooler. We then would clean out the cooler of Rip It. My ruck would weigh 30lbs in Rip It's alone. Many times we got chased by chow hall staff for cleaning them out. At one point I was knocking back 18 a day, how my heart didn't explode I will never know.

The best part is they are free. Yup, you don't have to pay a dime for all the heart popping goodness of Rip It. The thing is they don't taste that great,  and they don't even give you energy, they just make you awake.

But when you leave the AOR what do you do? Buy them locally.

When you are back from that sandy place, you no longer have free access to these bad boys. But rejoice Rip It addicts, you can get them cheap. I have found them at dollar stores, and the Commissary for .89-.99 cents.

Rip IT

Rip It addiction is something harsh, and you will zero in on one if you see it. When I came back from my first tour we had none locally available. I had to endure cold sweats, general lack of alertness, and trying to fill the gap with monster and red bull.

Well it wasn't the same, they actually gave you energy. Not to mention they tasted good and were expensive. Luckily I wasn't alone, and we stood together. Lots of hang in there man, and "I would suck your D for a rip it", not that I ever did. Six months later I had kicked the habit cold turkey.

A short while later we were gearing up for deployment, was supposed go to Japan. Then at the last moment we saw boxes of desert camo. Then you heard the word that caused a great many to do the junky scratch:

Back to the Sandbox.

A short time later we were touching down in the sandy shit hole again. Many were shaking, twitching, and scratching. After we in processed there was a hard dash to the chow hall. The madness began again.

001 - Copy

Fridges full of Rip It at work, cans all over the shop, on the aircraft, and people walking with a tool box in one hand, Rip It in the other.

Shortly thereafter I was moved to another site where we didn't have a Rip It supply. So when we got supplies from the main site, the Rip It was half the load. We began doing trades and deals with Rip Its and processed MRE cheese. I swear you could trade for anything with that bacon cheese.

Then the deployment ended, we went home ready to face the detox. But when we got home we found them in the commissary and the dollar stores.

Even now I drink and offer them to returning people from the sand box. I love walking into the shop back home, Rip It in hand. I have many young guys getting ready to go out the door and I warn them all the same. Don't drink these or you might offer to suck some contractors D for another.

Oh by the way, they really don't taste like ass. Sort of...

~Easy C. Military Aeronautics Correspondent Easy M. is a sailor in the US Navy who busts his knuckles on airplanes. When not chasing wires, he is often found with Rip It in each hand. (Easy is active duty military, for his personal security he is using a pen name)

KNIVES: Hardcore Hardware Australia

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Last week two boxes suddenly showed up on the doorsteps of DVM HQ USA and DVM HQ Bangkok simultaneously, as if they were delivered by an Australian SAS Regiment on a highly coordinated mission.

Always suspect of unexpected boxes here in Southeast Asia, I paid a massage gal from a parlor down the street 200 Baht to vigorously shake my box up and down just in case it was a bomb from one of my ex-wives.

Fortunately for Ms. Yum-Yum, no boom (well, not yet), so I tore open that box (get your mind out of the gutter pervert) to find some bad ass pieces of killing steel from our friends at Hardcore Hardware Australia.

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For those of you who don’t know, Hardcore Hardware Australia is a premier manufacturer of mission specific tactical tools for Military, Law Enforcement, Fire, Search & Rescue personnel. And I have to say these tools of destruction are some serous heavy duty pieces of life-takers.

You can feel the quality and workmanship the second you pull each one out of the box. The Tomahawks are especially pimp, they make you want to get your Benjamin Martin on.

Expect to see some comprehensive reviews and mad field testing on all of the blades you see here. And a few other surprises (hmmmm… who wants a free one?).

Below are the links to each blade and Hardcore Hardware Australia US dealers (and oddly they are available on Amazon.com)

MFK02-G (Mid Field Knife G10) MFK03-G MFK04-G The LFK LFT01 Tactical Tomahawk

Hardcore Hardware Australia: http://www.hardcorehardware.com.au/home.php

USA DEALERS: http://www.hardcorehardware.com.au/dealers/usa.php

Hardcore Hardware Australia on Amazon.com

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~James P

Founder – Editor in Chief DVM

James P. is a Veteran Civilian Contractor who has worked in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for way too long. He spends his off time in Southeast Asia and Virginia getting drunk, shooting guns, writing poorly written articles and getting massage gals to vigorously shake things for him.

SURVIVAL MINDSET: Dealing With FUCK-UP'S

SURVIVAL MINDSET: Dealing With FUCK-UP'S

Too many contractors and adventurists tend to dwell on the mistake in front of them and lose the immediacy demanded in combat or crisis to recover in swift fashion. They dwell on the ‘oh shit’ moment too long giving a decided advantage to their adversaries. This negative distraction and self talk invites disaster.

MEDICAL: Ottowa Ankle Rules - Are you hurt or injured?

MEDICAL: Ottowa Ankle Rules - Are you hurt or injured?

In a wilderness survival or tactical environment how can you tell if you’ve sprained or broken an ankle? The distinction may seem minor, but the implications are dramatic. In a wilderness environment it means the difference between wrapping the ankle and the patient can walk out, or immobilizing the limb and carrying the patient out. Tactically, the distinction is the same, but instead of having another shooter, you have a casualty.

MILITARY: Comfortable or complacent?

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c130 dvm Working as a sailor in the Military aviation business you get comfortable in some pretty crazy places. Being 20 feet from a thousand pound propeller spinning at 13 thousand rpm. Or wedged in a microwave sized area three feet deep with electrical wires all around you. Hell, with the military in general you work in some less than favorable conditions. Problem is you get too comfortable. Eventually you get complacent and shit turns into a shitstorm. You work those lines near death, and you start to lose the fear. That fear can be double edged. Too much or too little and bad decisions get made.

Complacency is part of our everyday lives. You want proof? Look at your daily drive to work. How much goes into auto pilot? Are there moments where you cannot remember going from one stoplight to the next? You get so wrapped up in your head all else blurs by. My favorite example of complacency is cell phone zombies. I have witnessed the zombie horde bang, crash, and fall in the streets because of facebook. These are great examples of shit that kills people. The reports of the driver never saw the person in the street he ran over, but was answering a text. The person who swears their attacker came out of nowhere but was nose deep in snapchat.

Work and complacency have no place together, in my line of work and many others complacency kills. I have spent the better part of seven years in the aviation maintenance industry. Few things cause an airplane to go down. Most think pilot error or terrorism for a crash cause. Truth is maintenance malpractice is #1 in bringing a plane down. Changing a part but not doing everything in the manual because you have done this hundreds of times. You just fucked away some tolerance or torque value. Now the engine falls off or the flight controls snap off. Boom you just smoked some good people. Or leaving a tool on the aircraft.

You did that flight control job or engine, but forgot to make sure you had your screwdriver when you left. The plane is on approach and they need to pull up, but that screwdriver got wedged in the works. Now you are digging bodies out of a pile of flaming wreckage. Both are insanely simple to avoid. Follow the steps to the T, check your tool box and make sure everything is there. Our boxes have clips and paint to show every tool belongs, and makes it easy to identify if the tool is in the box. Easy, easy to fuck up. If you fuck up, people can die

People think of fear as a weakness. Truth is, a little fear is a strength. You keep that small ‘what if’ in the back of your mind and it acts as a reminder. Did I torque that right? Is that pair of pliers in the box? Did I check my blind spot before I started to change lanes? Has that motherfucker walking behind me been there for a while? Does this asshole on his or her phone see my blinker? But don’t overdo it, because too much can cause hesitation in crucial times.

Really all we have to do is slow down. Take a second to think about what is going on around us. Keep a small amount of the fear in the back of your dome. Do not get caught up in the moment, or facebook.

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~Easy C. Military Aeronautics Correspondent Easy M. is a sailor in the US Navy who busts his knuckles on airplanes. When not chasing wires, he is often found soaked in rum chasing tall tattooed women. (Easy is active duty military, for his personal security he is using a pen name)

TACTICAL GEAR: Making Bacon in Full Kit

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making bacon in full kit 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:

-Wear your kit at home for one week.

The 4th day on a mission outside the wire isn't where you want to find out your kit pinches your neck whenever you lay on your back or you are constantly bumping into things with your side mounted IFAC. Like I said before, 99% of the time you won’t be shooting people when wearing full kit, you will be walking around, sitting or eating.

Usually something annoying about your kit won’t start bothering you until 10 hours after you are wearing it. Your kit also needs a ‘break in’ period for it to settle and that will not happen until you have worn it for a while. So everything may seem ok at first, but 6 days later your helmet strap starts annoyingly curling around the sides and cutting into your face.

So this is why I suggest you wear your kit while doing everyday things for at least a week. This is when you will really get to know it. Every time you try to walk through a door and every time you bend over to pick something up, you will make an adjustment or just throw it away and start over with a different brand or style.

This is much like the first time you make angry love to that stripper you picked up on leave, you will learn every dirty nook and cranny – and how to adjust your movements to make it lay down and do what you want. You are now building muscle memory that may save our live someday (or give you super AIDS).

I am sure most of you have seen pictures of SF, Rangers and Security Contractors in the field with worn out looking kit and thought “dag, they can’t get new shit?” – Nope it’s not military cutbacks - look closer,  like a fine wine they have aged their kit. The right-hand mounted IFAC has now has a slight divot on the corner where his arm was rubbing against it (but no longer does) and the left-mounted flap double M-4 mag pouch now has a crease on the right side from tearing it open so many times.

Vintage Kit Baby.

-Please do not take out the garbage or pick up your newspaper while wearing your kit.

It will freak your neighbors out and scare children. Also having to constantly take on and off your gear will let you know if the way you set up all of the pouches and shit interferes with getting your kit on and off smoothly. This is the exact reason why I only use he H-Harness for my rig, it is easier to get on and off - but some guys think the X style strap is faster, this is where you will figure all that out.

Constantly taking your kit on and off all day long is something you will do if you are ever in a situation where you have to wear full kit for an extended period of time. Tape down or move around stuff until putting it on and off is as easy as putting on your Members Only Jacket before hitting the clubs. Duct Tape is your friend, who cares if it looks like shit - it works for you.

-Do not sleep in your kit

Don’t even bother, no matter how squared away your kit is you will be uncomfortable sleeping in it, so no need to be uncomfortable for no reason but to be uncomfortable. It takes months and for some guys years before they can get a proper night’s sleep in full kit, and some dudes never get used to sleeping with all that crap on.

The only advice I can give you for this is: if you have access to a vehicle sit in the passenger or driver’s seat, notch the seat back 3 clicks. That’s as comfortable as you will get sleeping in full kit

-Do not take a shit indoors in full kit

I don’t care how many times the C-RAM sounds you will take your kit off to crap indoors no matter how dangerous it is, you just will.

-Do pop and squat

The only time I ever wore my full kit while pinching one off was when we would pull over on the side of the road because one of the trucks broke down or we were taking a break. Prepare to have poo everywhere, but with practice you can eliminate or limit the amount of poo on your kit and hands.

Hint: Wipe reaching between your legs unless you have gorilla long arms. Try not to get poo on your balls.

-Buy an expensive heavy duty Backscratcher

You are welcome

-In Conclusion!

I know many of you pimps won’t be in a situation where you will wear full kit 24/7, but many of the problems you will work out while wearing your kit for a week are the same problems you will encounter while under stress. You will also build the before mentioned  muscle memory. How many times have you been to a training class where your fellow attendees unnaturally move like they just popped out of their mom yesterday? That is because they do not have the  muscle memory built up from wearing kit for an extended period of time.

A mag pouch one inch out of place for your particular body movements, a pinch that will distract you, or just needing to take a deuce half way through a training class and getting poo all over yourself are all things you can work out beforehand by doing this.

If you do this please let us know in the comments below what you learned, thanks.

DISCLAIMER: If your girlfriend or wife leaves you because you wore you kit every day for a week at home and you refused to take it off DVM accepts no liability, but your welcome, now go angry bang that stripper with a clear conscience.

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~James P

Founder – Editor in Chief DVM

James P. is a Veteran Civilian Contractor who has worked in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for way too long. He spends his off time in Southeast Asia and Virginia getting drunk, shooting guns, writing poorly written articles and referring to himself in the 3rd person.

HEALTH and FITNESS: Survival of the Fittest

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  Welcome to the gym in Fuckanistan

A large part of the audience here at DVM consists of individuals that are in positions requiring physical and mental preparedness for the rigors of dangerous situations. Often times in any aspect of life, fitness is dismissed from the daily regiment. Whether it be an issue of time or lack of equipment, fitness will often get tabled for the Xbox.

You may be located at various ports of call that may not have the traditional gym environment to work on a max bench press or a new personal record of treadmill. I am hear to tell you that your fitness does not require that type of pursuit.

I am a big believer that the best piece of fitness equipment is what nature gave all of us; our own bodies. That said, fitness pursuits do not require an equipment-laden, lycra-uniformed mega-gym (i.e. Bally’s and the like).

You only need a pair of sweats, a Tshirt, sneakers (preferably Nike [sorry, shameless product plug]), and you own imagination as far as the types of body weight exercises you can perform.

Over the coming months, I will be providing articles that will outline exercises, workout formats, and fitness applications for this very unique audience. It will focus on the many areas of fitness to include combat conditioning, interval training, functional strength, high intensity cardiovascular training, and circuit training.

In almost all of these cases, the only requirement will be time, a little bit of space, and your own physical self. An iPod with your favorite music ripping through your ears will help as well.

I hope to help take the guess work out of this for you by introducing you to a number of exercises and formats that will be brutal yet brief and beneficial in ways to keep you tip top for the challenges of the various duties you undertake.

If you are unsure about your present fitness level, seek the advice of a physician or other health care professional to ensure your ability to pursue an exercise regiment.

To get the ball rolling, let’s start here.

BEGINNERS

4 Rotations: - 25 Push Ups - 25 Crunches - 25 Body weight Squats - 50 yard Sprint 1 Minute Rest between each rotation

ADVANCED

5 Rotations: - 50 Push Ups - 50 Crunches - 50 Body weight Squats - 100 yard Sprint 30 Seconds Rest between each rotation

Happy New Year, DVM Nation! Now go tear it up!

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~Paul Zelinka Chief Martial Arts Industry Correspondent

Paul Zelinka, is the owner of Titan Fitness & Martial Arts, a MMA, boxing, and fitness business located in State College, PA. Paul has been involved in the martial arts business since 1993.

CIVILIAN CONTRACTORS: 5 Things to Say Goodbye to if you Become a Civilian Contractor

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LP 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):

-Say Goodbye to Your Marriage

Very few marriages survive the contractor life, and the few that do are a shell of what they used to be and will most likely end in divorce eventually. I don’t even know why guys think a marriage will survive when you only see your wife once a year, 3 times if you are lucky.

That combined with the “shit I might die tomorrow” feeling that builds up until you think banging that Private in a Coms Unit you met at MWR Tango Night under a guard tower isn't cheating is pretty much the nail in the coffin for your marriage.

But don’t worry, your wife would have spent pretty much every one of your paychecks up until that point so its not like you have any savings to loose anyway.

-Say Goodbye to Empathy

The combination of seeing death all the time and being constantly being switched-on basically turns off your empathy switch. No matter how hard you try for most folks it just happens, they can’t even help it, it is simply your mind protecting itself from an emotional sensory overload that would end up with you drooling in the corner of a padded room or eating your glock if your brain did not turn that switch off.

This is the very reason why Cave Men never had to have a good cry, they were too busy looking out for saber toothed tigers and knocking broads over the head with clubs to think about their feelings.

You will most likely experience this the first time you go back home and go out to dinner with your soon to be ex-wife and her stupid friends when they start talking about a school bus of pregnant nuns that ran off a bridge and burst into flames at the bottom of a quarry yesterday – all you will be able to think about is “did I order extra cheese or extra pepperoni? Man I really wanted extra cheese, damn”.

At that point you will not be able to relate with anyone that has not been in a combat zone for more than five years, which is sort of fucked up if you think about it – good thing you won’t think about it anyway, because you are now dead inside. Now have a slice of extra cheese and watch a good comedy flick like Schindler's List and go to bed early, you have a 8AM appointment with your divorce lawyer tomorrow.

-Say Goodbye to Having a Credit Score Grater Than 320

Despite making 6-figs a year you will always have fucked up credit, like 19 year kids that suddenly make it big in the NBA you will be shit with your money and constantly miss payments or just default on stuff for no reason other than next week you will get another 13,000.00 dollar paycheck so “fuck it”.

That combined with all the money you spent on your divorce, cutting a check to your ex-wife every month so she and her new hippy boyfriend can keep up the payments on your former house and spending a chunk of your paycheck on building a house in Issan, Thailand for your bargirl second wife you will be in the exclusive group of people who make more money than surgeons but cannot even get a secured credit card.

-Say Goodbye to Doing Any Other Type of Work Again

If I had a dollar for every time someone in contracting said “I am out bro, I am going to get a gig stateside” I would have enough money to bring my credit score up to 400. Lets face it, you pull triggers, before you got into security contracting you worked at Home Depo.

You know what that means?

You will go back stateside and spend the next 9 months burning through your savings until you finally go back to working at Home Depo for 400 bucks a week taking orders from some dick head who drives a Prius with a “Change” bumper sticker on it.

And about the 60th time some housewife asks you where the “white putty stuff that, you know, goes in the sinky thing, hehehehhee I don’t know my boyfriend like, you know, needs it, you know” you will fucking snap and quit. Then you will burn up the rest of your savings buying stupid shit and drinking until you have no choice but to do “just one more contract”.

-Say Goodbye to Loyalty from Your Brothers in Arms

Remember how the man next to you in your unit back in the day would jump on a grenade for you? Well welcome to contracting where the guy next to you will still jump on a grenade for you, but 3 days later he will rat you out to the project manager for no other reason but to rat you out to the project manager.

Unlike being in the military where your families all live together on base or in a tight knit military community, in contracting the guys you work with all live in different states and could give a rat’s ass if your kid has a baseball game next week. This is the very reason for the “Little Try and Fuck me Now Book” – contracting is a Dog-Eat-Dog world.

When it comes down to getting that next 13,000.00 dollar paycheck or being ‘loyal’ to a co-worker guess what prevails?

Now I am not saying this is the rule, I worked with hundreds of dudes in the decade plus I was a contractor, and many of them I now consider brothers. All 3 of us still keep in touch.

In Conclusion…

Ahhhhh Fuck It, Contracting beats punching a clock any day. Go for it.

bread

FYI: The first stupid fuck that makes a comment asking for/how to get a contracting job is an idiotic retard

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~James P

Founder – Editor in Chief DVM

James P. is a Veteran Civilian Contractor who has worked in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for way too long. He spends his off time in Southeast Asia and Virginia getting drunk, shooting guns, writing poorly written articles and applying for secured credit cards.

URBAN SURVIVAL: 5 Dumb Things People Say They Can or Would do in a Survival Situation

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- and Why They Won’t Based on Recent 3rd World Urban Survival Events

"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.

The following are 5 Things People Say They would do in a Survival Situation - and why it will not work based on what has already happened to millions of people in the 3rd world:

Bug Out on Foot

During an Urban Survival situation, I give someone about 15 minutes of walking down the street with a big-ass backpack and an AR on their chest before they get shot and robbed.

During the Jakarta, Indonesia Riots in 1998 people could not even make it 3 blocks without running into a homemade roadblock manned by a group of knife and club-wielding thugs looking to strip them of everything, and that was only a day after the riots started.

Given, the US (or the 1st world in general) is a bit more civilized, but I still give any major metropolitan city in the US 10 to 15 days before it is at the same level of chaos that a city in the 3rd world would be at after only a day under the same circumstances.

FYI: Considering the amount of firearms in the US replace ‘knife and club’ with 'AK-47 and Chrome plated .32 autos'. Now I know you are a bad ass and everything, but you can not take on 13 armed dug-in people, just not gona’ happen.

Even discounting all of the above, can you walk 100 miles carrying 50 pounds of gear, gun, kit and ammo – and forage for food and water along the way? No, literally millions of people during civil wars have tried and failed; the numbers are against you.

Look at any historical Urban Survival event in the 3rd world where people had to abandon their homes and go on foot seeking refuge somewhere else. How did that work out for them?

Drink their Piss

Take a Gatorade bottle, piss in it, leave it on your back porch for 2 days, do not drink any water during those two days and take a big gulp of warm piss.

Did you bust a blood vessel in your eye throwing up?

I have helped negotiate the release of (or to make their stay more comfortable) a dozen guys in 3rd world jails. Many times by the time I arrived weeks have passed by and the only water they had access to had been from a bucket shared with 20 other dudes. Despite the water giving them the most brutal shits they have ever imagined, they still drink the bucket water over a pee shake.

Trade for Goods

Ok, it has been a few months after some whacked event has caused your city to turn into Mogadishu and you need some supplies. You get into your moms car or hoof-it 30 miles to some unfamiliar and densely inhabited area. Next you toss your box of .22’s, Johnny Walker Black and issues of Hustler on the counter hoping to make a trade for Milk and Tampons.

Guess what happens to the bright eyed and bushy tailed new guy in every 3rd world Black Market?

If they are lucky, they only get robbed - shanked and man raped if unlucky

3rd World Black Markets are a necessary evil in my line of work - I have bought Booze on the black market in Indonesia, guns out of the back of a Land Cruiser in the Middle East and worked undercover in the counterfeiting biz in the US. They are environments where amateurs get killed or jacked on a daily basis.

So good luck with walking into a post-event black market with a backpack full of the most sought after and desperately needed supplies expecting people to obey the honor system.

Eat Someone

Sure, sure I know what you are thinking. Those soccer players who crashed on a snow topped mountain had a pot-luck on their friend’s asses when they got hungry. Well you are not on the top of a mountain after your prop plane took a nose dive. You are living in a city, and you are hungry for a Big Mac.

In an Urban Survival situation, you will not be held up in the hull of a crashed plane while your buddies die from exposure. More likely than not, you will be in an apartment or house, in the middle of white-bread USA.

For 99.999% of people, the act of taking a chainsaw and sawing off an arm, throwing it in a pot and digging-in, is not something they could do. Even in the cases of people who have been adrift for months at sea or Iraqis trapped in their homes during the awesome invasion of Iraq, no one resorted to cannibalism.

Why? Eating Long Pig is fucking disgusting, it is a psychological thing that the majority of people can not do no matter how hungry they are. It’s humanity baby, it’s what separates us from the dogs (and why eat Aunt Jenny when dogs are so delicious?).

Defend their House

During the Jakarta riots, thousands of Chinese tried to hunker down in their houses and apartments. No matter how well fortified or heavily armed they were eventually the human waves of rioters broke in and raped, robed and/or killed them. Secure US Embassy's, Military bases in Afghanistan and drug lord Houses in Mexico have all been taken over in resent times, proving that all buildings can and will be taken over if the opposing force is overwhelming.

No matter how well fortified you are you can not hold back hundreds of people, desperate people will crawl over body’s to get you.

Also - Have you watched the end of Young Guns 2 where the gang is held up in an old house? Now you know how to take a house filled with people who are superior warriors.

It’s called a match.

Eat Cat Food

This is the only one that I have seen someone do in the 3rd world, back in the day I saw an old dude eating cat food on the side of the road in Cambodia. Lord knows if he was actually starving or just a crazy hobo who ate handfuls of Meow Mix between bouts of yelling at mailboxes.

The big difference between some dude in Cambodia eating cat food and you Mr. Joe USA digging into a can of Liver and Kibbles cat chow is the Cambodian dude has been eating fried spiders for snacks since he was six years old.

Just like the Piss Bottle above I wish to invite you to dig into a nice room temperature tin of cat food and keep it down.

In conclusion:

Yep – you are fucked

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~James G

Founder – Editor in Chief DVM

James G is a Veteran Civilian Contractor who has worked in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for way too long. He spends his off time in Southeast Asia and Virginia getting drunk, shooting guns, writing poorly written articles and eating dogs

CIVILIAN CONTRACTORS: The Little “Try to F-me Over Now” Black Book

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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?

On my first contract in the PMC world way back in the day I had an old timer for a hooch-mate who previously worked 20 years in the LAPD before getting into the contracting biz. On my first day in-country he sat me down and threw some serous Old School knowledge at me over a bottle of cheap scotch.

He tossed everything out from: don’t drink too much, don’t let a broad get you hemmed-up on a gig, stay away from the cliques that form on contracts and be cool to everyone because you never know who will be the PM on your next contract.

But the number one thing he taught me that I have done on every single contract after then was:

“Get a notepad, and every time you see anything shady happen no matter how small it seems at the time -  write down the date, time, place, the people involved, companies involved and everything that happened to a T. So if they try to screw you over someday, you have a black book of ‘Try And Fuck me Over Now' to pull out and wave in their faces”

He learned this from seeing so many of his LAPD buddies get tossed away like yesterday’s trash at the tiniest sign of trouble. But, the guys who pulled out their little “Try to F me Over Now” Black Book and started reading it out loud got a letter of reference and had no problem getting a new job.

With your little “Try to F me Over Now” Black Book as leverage, you can at least strong-arm your bonus check and they can’t screw you when the next PMC you apply to calls for a reference. The Little “Try to F me Over Now” Black Book is everything from a shield to a cannon for the working man.

To this day I have a big ass stack of Little “Try to F me Over Now” Black Books from every contract I have even been on over the past decade plus sitting in a secure location, just in case...

This does not just apply to guys in the PMC world, how many times have you seen shady stuff in your job? And how many times have you seen good dudes you worked with get the shaft for no reason but to save the company a buck?

So train and shoot and network, but be smart. Cover your ass with a Little “Try to F me Over” Black Book in your pocket.

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~James P

Founder – Editor in Chief DVM

James P. is a Veteran Civilian Contractor who has worked in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for way too long. He spends his off time in Southeast Asia and Virginia getting drunk, shooting guns, writing poorly written articles and covering his ass

FIELD TESTED: Railriders Jammin' Shorts

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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.

So after digging through stacks of gorilla trunks and containers I yanked out the Railriders Jammin' Shorts and gave them a look over to make sure it had all the features I needed for the mission:

-Quick Drying Material? Check – 100% Nylon (but feels like cotton) and double needle construction means they would dry out fast and not get all fucked up by the salt water and hard use.

-Pockets that won’t turn into balloons when I get into the water? Check – It never gets old to to press the air bubble out of swimming trunks while yelling “Check out this big ass fart bubble” to your buddies, but there is a time and place for that. And an Aid mission was probably not the place. Both of the two front pockets and the back pockets have a mesh back, and the two cargo pockets have two grommets for drainage.

Railriders

 

Railriders (2)

 

-They don’t look overtly Military Ok I was hardly going to be Grey showing up for an American Humanitarian Aid Mission wearing U.S. Flag patches, but I didn’t want to look like I was raiding Omaha Beach either. The Railriders Jammin' Shorts look like. Well, shorts – nothing ominous about em’ at all.

- Gusseted Crotch so my junk does not get all bunched up? Check – nothing worse than gargling your nuts every time you sit down, the generous Gusseted crotch gives your no-no box plenty of room.

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- Elasticized waist Check – While the Elasticized waist is normally the preference of old guys circling the local shopping mall, it makes sleeping while wearing your shorts way more comfortable.

-A Pocket that will fit my phone I knew that the team would not have a phone signal where we were going, but I still use my phone for everything from checking what medications I should use to taking pictures. Having a convenient pocket to shove my phone into where I won’t have to constantly fight with Velcro is a feature I wanted. These shorts have a nice slide in pocket with a small Velcro tab to secure your phone.

-Not so short that I will look like Magnum PI Yes Magnum PI is a pimp and rocks a Hawaiian shirt like no other mustached man in the 80’s ever did, but I wanted to spare people the sight of my balls every time I bent over. The Railriders Jammin' Shorts have a 9 inch seam that properly hides your nuts from the world when picking up your pack.

So with a half a dozen yes ‘Checks’ I threw my Railriders Jammin' Shorts into my pack and headed to the Philippines...

On the first day of the mission the team had to load up a pontoon boat with our Aid Supplies, but due to the rocky shoreline bottom and a low tide the boat was 40 feet off the beach so we had to walk through the water to get our supplies and kit loaded.

Much to the amusement of the 20 locals watching me I dropped my slacks and threw on my Railriders Jammin' Shorts. This would be a common theme every time we had to upload or download the boats that brought our Aid Supplies over the next 3 weeks.

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A bonus plus to these shorts is when they would get soaking wet from taking a wave crashing over the bow or from constantly unloading Aid Supplies in 20 minutes later they would be dry. And even better than dry, they would not have that dried slime or salt stiff feeling that most shorts have when they get nasty sea water on them after days of not being washed.

Another clever addition to the Railriders Jammin' Shorts is a zippered semi hidden pocket on the left side to hide your cash or whatever you don’t want the local cops in Ourpresidentwearsraybansistan to find. Zippered pockets can also slow down pickpockets a bit, or at least slow them down enough for you to notice some kid is stealing yo’ shit.

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In Conclusion...

The Railriders Jammin' Shorts are a great choice if you need to have a pair of Adventure or Mission shorts that double as daily wear and/or bathing trunks. And as much as I hate to admit it these puppy's have changed my mind when it comes to shorts. The next time I am forced to wear shorts, these bad boys will be the only ones I throw in my pack.

RailRiders

Railriders Jammin' Shorts 60 to 70 Bucks

 

 

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~James P

Founder – Editor in Chief DVM

James G is a Veteran Civilian Contractor who has worked in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for way too long. He spends his off time in Southeast Asia and Virginia getting drunk, shooting guns, writing poorly written articles and buying Hawaiian shirts