Joe Apolinar: Air Force Survival Expert, Talks About Planning and Preparing for Potential Risks and Threats

You’re in for a treat with today’s episode with my friend Joe. Joe is a SERE Specialist in the U.S. Air Force.

When a mission doesn’t go as planned, and military members find themselves in a remote, hostile environment, separated from friendly control, or even hunted by the enemy, they must be prepared to Survive, Evade, Resist and Escape. It’s the SERE Specialists’ mission to do just that, so others may “RETURN WITH HONOR!”

Joe and I discussed what you should do when your car runs out of gas at night during a blizzard, how to safely navigate within urban environments, what Joe did when he came upon a serious car accident in a tunnel, and much, much more.

After listening to this episode you’ll understand your basic needs, be more prepared to assess your preparedness for every day situations, and know how to start to build a basic foundation of skills and gear.

This episode is for each and every one of you. We all can and must do a better job of being prepared and knowledgeable and Joe will give you the tools to get started.

In this episode, you’ll discover:

-James and Emily have a dream to have land while having access to city amenities…02:10

-Prepare for what you can to mitigate possible risks…07:30

-Jazz Improvisation and Survival have much in common: preparation empowers improvisation…11:30

Air Force form 10-64-4…13:30

-Maintain life, Maintain honor, Return…13:45

-Criteria for Success: Personal Protection, Sustenance, Health: Physical and Psychological, Travel, Communication, Recovery, Evasion, and Escape…18:40

-Working from theoretical survival to real life training exercises…22:30

-Familiarity breeds complacency…25:15

-Real life scenario: driving through a blizzard and running out of gas…27:45

  • Don’t leave a known point without a good reason to travel…28:45
  • Emergency kit in your car is good preparation: down jackets, extra battery backup, blankets for warmth, freeze dried food, a cup to cook “water” (might be snow) to clean the water, a water purifying mechanism. Joe likes to maintain a small survival kit with multiuse tools…32:15
  • Laser pointers are great signaling devices…35:15
  • Determine if you are going to build a shelter or travel away from the car…41:45
  • Knowing when to stay or leave a vehicle(an airplane shell can become an icebox!)…43:20

-Joe’s recommendations for reading about scenarios to learn more preparation skills…47:00

-Another real life scenario: attending a baseball game in a big city…50:50

  • Build up confidence by building skills; like self defense classes…53:45
  • Maintain Situational Awareness; don’t bury your head in your phone…55:20
  • Things you can carry on your person: personal firearm, pocket knife, backpack with passport, coins, cash, pens, notebook, snacks, Covid mask, ID’s, airpods, and an extra charger for iPad…1:01:30

-Real life story from Slovenia where Joe is a first responder to a car accident and saved three lives…1:04:00

  • He had a medical kit in his backpack…1:05:40
  • He and his friend’s had the knowledge, the equipment and the willingness to help…1:09:15
  • Free community emergency response classes offered around the country to build your knowledge base to give you the confidence to act when disaster strikes…1:13:10

-Covid caused a wave of panic across the world; training and preparing for disaster can ease the stress of the unknown…1:18:20

-Mental preparation; how to train your mind to stay calm and sharp…1:20:10

-Joe’s forthcoming book…1:27:40

About the guest:

Joe Apolinar is a SERE Specialist in the U.S. Air Force attached to the 31st Fighter Wing at Aviano Air Base, Italy where he and his wife Laura are raising two children; Willow, who is six, and Wolf, who is three.

When a mission doesn’t go as planned, and you find yourself in a remote, hostile environment, separated from friendly control, or even hunted by the enemy, military members must be prepared to survive, evade, resist and escape. It is the SERE Specialists’ mission to do just that, so others may “RETURN WITH HONOR!” SERE Specialists serve in many capacities across the joint environment and specialize in the process of personnel recovery for those operations.

Joe is currently writing a book called “Developing Leaders: A Letter to My Replacement” that will be released early next year. The book is a compilation of stories, and lessons learned that Joe, and his fellow SERE brethren, experienced during training and the operational environment. The book’s premise is how we can build stronger leaders for a world that desperately needs them by building strong character in ourselves.

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