Ready FOR Something: Component two of three


When on place at ALTAIR Education Facility in the Florida Everglades, ASG contributor Brian M. Morris took benefit of some of their down time for the duration of a education video shoot to ask Mykel about his background, military expertise and his experiences on the a number of Television series he’s hosted.

This is the second of a 3-element series that assists us fully grasp a lot more about Mykel. He is a fascinating guy, and we’re seeking forward to bringing his ASG education segments to our viewers. Be certain to study the rest of the story in Component 1 and Component three.

American Survival Guide:  What drew you to the Army and to volunteer, not only for Airborne education, but then to volunteer for, and in the end develop into, a Green Beret?

Mykel Hawke: I was kicked out of junior higher college for fighting as a gang leader, defending ourselves against a lot of older, larger bullies.  I was a straight “A” student and in the chess club.  But I by no means went to higher college.

I was shot and stabbed just before I ever joined the Army.  I had buddies going to jail for murder and buddies who have been murdered. I knew I would meet the identical fate if I didn’t alter one thing.  It seemed to me the only way to break the cycle was to get an education.

The only way my poor butt was going to get an education was to join the military. I didn’t have a clue what a Green Beret was! I went in and got a lot of education in communications (05B [Army radio operator], 31C [radio operator-maintainer] and 31V [unit-level communications maintainer]). Then, a Specific Forces recruiter discovered me.

I was asked to join simply because I was a sergeant following two years with PLDC (Main Leadership Improvement Course) and Jump College. So, I study 3 books about them and decided that this is who I wanted to develop into. These males have been the true-globe heroes I was raised by and about whom I grew up reading and watching films. So, I attempted out and created it. It was the ideal selection I ever created.

When I went by way of the Specific Forces education for the fourth time—this time, as an officer in the Detachment Officer Qualification Course (SFDOQC) in 2002—survival education was not taught all through the education in the actual SERE Course (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape).  They only taught it for 3 days.  SERE had lately develop into an official element of the initial education received by these soldiers earning their green berets, which was a terrific addition.  Prior to this, SERE was offered as an sophisticated education course that only some Specific Forces soldiers would decide on to attend later in their careers and numerous chose to skip “Camp Slappy” education!


ASG: What sort of survival education did you acquire for the duration of your Specific Forces education?

MH: Today, all Green Berets acquire SERE trading as element of the SFQC (Specific Forces Qualification Course). SERE education teaches Specific Forces soldiers how to survive in a complete spectrum of environments, like becoming prisoners of war, hostages or getting detained by an additional nation for the duration of peacetime scenarios.

This also utilised to be a stand-alone sophisticated class that I took in 2005 as a captain and group commander. But now, it is incorporated as mandatory education, and it is an additional terrific improvement in education that resulted from our lessons discovered following numerous years of combat. The college teaches soldiers how to survive in the wilderness, how to evade capture and how to escape if they are captured.

Only military personnel can be prisoners of war, but all other types of captivity are applicable just as much—if not more—to civilians.  A lot of locations supply “SERE-like” education, but it fluctuates tremendously, and the levels of education competency differ rather a lot. 

Mykel Hawke has performed education presentations for foreign military units, as shown right here.

ASG: Soon after holding a number of military occupational specialties inside the Specific Forces, you decided to transition more than to develop into an officer. Why did you do that, and how challenging was it for you to not only get by way of that education, but to then re-qualify as a Specific Forces officer?

MH: This is a funny story.  I had truly gotten out as an 18D (SF healthcare sergeant), 18E (SF comms sergeant), 18F (SF assistant ops and intel sergeant) SFC.  I did 5 years of contracting in war zones such as Azerbaijan, Colombia, Haiti and Sierra Leone.  I was truly a nation manager in these conflicts and almost died numerous instances. This was nicely just before 9/11.

A single day in Colombia, I almost died 3 instances.  I was with a well-known SF basic.  Soon after it was more than, he told me I should come back in and share what I had learned with the new SF troops. When 9/11 occurred, I answered the get in touch with.  And that is the second funny element of the story. I was a producer for ABC, living in Los Angeles as a single father of two teenaged sons when 9/11 went down.  My sons and I saw the second plane crash into the second tower— reside on Television.  I told my sons at that moment, “This is war.  Gents, I can keep out as a single dad or go back in. What do you say?”  They each answered, “Dad, go kick some terrible-guy ass!”

So, I did.  I went back to Specific Forces Officer College as an “old” guy, non-rangertabbed,  noncombat arms (I was a healthcare service officer), and I was not only National Guard, I was a second lieutenant—the lowest of the low!

They attempted all the things to fail me.  They sent me to just about every sophisticated college, hoping I’d get kicked out, but I passed all the things with flying colors.  So, they lastly let me do the Specific Forces Officer course.  Once more, I did super in the course, with my peers and all the psych evals they threw at me.

Bottom line: When it was all accomplished, following my combat tour, they asked me to come back to the college and assistance update their course to fight the present threat, simply because they have been nevertheless teaching Vietnam-era doctrine at that point. Items are a lot far better now.



ASG:  Why do Specific Forces soldiers have to study an additional language? What languages do you speak?

MH: What sets (Army) Specific Forces apart from all other Specific Operations forces is that we are developed and developed to do unconventional (aka: guerilla) warfare. That indicates operating with, living with, living like and seeking like the locals. We have to know their customs, culture, religion and language in order to fully grasp how ideal to operate with them.  So, the most strong and optimistic proof of dedication to them and their lead to is to be in a position to communicate with them in their native tongue. This is why we study languages.

I was rated in seven languages, paid for 3 and studied a couple of other individuals. I have a ideal-promoting language book known as The Fast and Dirty Guide to Studying Foreign Languages Rapid. 

A single of the books Mykel has written: The Fast and Dirty Guide to Studying Languages Rapid

ASG: Let’s speak about tv for a minute. What is the most harmful scenario you have ever been in on camera, and how was it resolved?

MH: The most harmful injury for me was on Lost Survivors undertaking an improvised rappel on a blind descent when the rock face gave out. All I could do was handle my way down and burn up some flesh—or crash and burn. The most harmful illness was when I almost went down with heat stroke on the open sea. We couldn’t use a tarp to block the sun, simply because the film crew couldn’t see us below it. So, it was quit or take an enema.  I took the enema and survived.

The most harmful for Ruth [Mykel’s wife} was also heat stroke. The first episode we did, I told Renegade 83 (the production company) that we couldn’t film in the middle of the day in the desert. They made us, and Ruth nearly died.  I forced them to call in the medic. They started listening to me after that.  And we taught a good lesson on TV: Drink or die.

The ALTAIR Training Facility in the Florida Everglades was the location chosen for filming several American Survival Guide training segments with Mykel Hawke.

Mykel Hawke on location on Aitutaki, one of the Cook Islands in the Pacific Ocean

ASG: What do you think is the biggest problem with survival-based reality TV today?

MH: Too much is faked and too many frauds.  There are no real certifications for it, so any quack can claim to be a survival expert. TV is made by folks in Los Angeles and New York who have no clue about the bush, so we get B.S.!

 ASG: What are some important survival topics you rarely see covered on reality TV because they are not “sexy” enough or just don’t make for good TV but are important for our viewers to master in order to increase their chances of staying alive?

MH: I’m real big on navigation. After all, if you can get home, you survive. But it’s too boring for flashy TV execs. That is one reason we were very proud of our show, Lost Survivors; it focused on teaching navigation.

The other thing we like to focus on is edible and medicinal plants. We did some in every episode of Man, Woman, Wild—and it was always the first thing they edited out.  

ASG:  American Survival Guide prides itself on always advising our readers to be slow and methodical in a survival situation in order to conserve energy and minimize the risk of injury or illness. Quite often, we see so-called “survival experts” trying to walk out of a desert or climb a mountain at the hottest time of the day with little or no water.  Do you think they are potentially putting viewers’ lives at risk by teaching unsound survival techniques?

MH: Most of those “stunts” are faked and extremely wrong. Those folks would never have the energy or hydration to run up a mountain and get ice to drink,  and it’s damned dangerous to teach jumping off cliffs and going into caves,  tunnels and such. They do it for the drama and to look like big heroes, but they are zeroes in my book, because that will get folks killed.

Also, I hold those “experts”—and the networks—responsible for those dangerous teachings. If a network says this person is a doctor,  and they give bad medical advice, and it turns out they’re not a doctor,  then it’s a double wrong to the viewer, because they’ve been lied to and their lives put at risk.

 ASG: Other than yourself, of the most widely known and respected survival experts who have had or appeared on survival-based TV, whom do you think is the best overall?

MH: My personal fave of the celebrity survivalists is Ray Mears. He is truly into the art of survival. I love Lofty “SAS” Wiseman, but he’s kept out of the TV light.

 ASG:  There has been a considerable amount of controversy over the years involving survival reality TV stars staying in hotels each day after a shoot. How do you feel about that practice, and what was the longest you ever had to survive in the wilderness?

MH: It’s been well publicized about Bear Grylls in hotels. I think Bear is a great guy, but I never considered him a survivalist.

We had a great producer when we made our shows. He made sure we were able to speak truthfully and say we lived in the shelters we made. We did … and it sucked!

But that was the mission: Live it, do it, teach it. We’re proud our suffering entertained, but more importantly, it educated. We’re pretty sure the Dual Survival folks stay in hotels, because we’ve had way too many fans and friends tell us so. But that is between them and the public.

For us, the longest we stayed [in the wilderness] was 5 days. We typically attempt to do it in 3, but at times, we necessary 4 to make it. As soon as we got stuck. I consider it was Alaska at a terrible time of the year (the “thaw”). The climate was terrible. A blizzard coming in forced us to have to tap out for the second time, which I hated. But it was true, and we had to personal it. Often, people die.

ASG: You are a single of the couple of survival Television personalities who have aired their failures in an episode.  How critical do you consider that is in driving the point dwelling to persons that no a single, not even a accurate survival professional, is exempt from the energy of Mother Nature?

MH: The primary way we humans study, sad to say, tends to be by failure rather than by successes.  So, failure is an critical element of life and an very critical element of survival.  That is why it is essential that people study and practice.  When we by no means like to fail, we are proud to personal our failures and teach people the significance of preparedness, readiness—and most of all, respect for Mother Nature.

Climate is fickle, terrain can alter, disasters can come about.  We should all be mindful that we are but element of this life, and the universe does not revolve about us nor does it quit when we perish. The secret is to go with the flow and spend interest. Take your time although moving with a goal. Appear about and be situationally conscious. The a lot more you see, the a lot more possibilities you can exploit and the a lot more dangers you can steer clear of.

Mykel Hawke and his wife, Ruth England Hawke, for the duration of filming in a Louisiana bayou.

ASG: Each you and Ruth have accomplished fame more than the years.  What is the ideal and the worst point about getting well-known?

MH: I by no means set out to be on Television. I by no means imagined it and by no means cared. I was teaching survival to little ones in Costa Rica, and MTV Road Guidelines discovered us and asked me to assistance. I did, and it grew from there.

Ruth had devoted herself to photography and ended up in front of the camera. We each are truly private persons and enjoyed the anonymity prior to tv. On the other hand, it is a terrific honor when people like our operate and inform us how we united households.  And, as a teacher, it is a superb point to know I’ve been in a position to assistance a lot more persons study.  We look at it a blessing, for which we are thankful.

ASG: You are rather nicely identified in the tv business as a survival professional. Your name and image are plastered all more than the Net, and you have your personal line of survival merchandise. Have you ever had problems locating operate in other fields you are skilled in—such as the safety consulting field, healthcare field or the intelligence field— simply because of your fame?

MH: I held top rated secret clearance and I’ve been awarded State Division Smaller Contractor of the Year. I’ve taught soldiers, as nicely as civilians, for numerous years. It is fascinating how continuing to do so appears odd to some. They ask concerns such as, why are you teaching or operating? And my answer is generally the identical: I was me, undertaking this just before Television, for the duration of Television and even now, with out Television, I am the identical. Nothing at all has changed, other than they have observed me on Television!

ASG: You are a loved ones man. How challenging is fame on your loved ones? Have you or any one in your loved ones ever been stalked?

MH: The only point challenging about the fame was getting stalked by a former brother. I will not go into the information, but we feared for our lives and that of our son. Sad to say, we nevertheless do. There are so numerous approaches it impacts your life that only these who have been stalked can fully grasp.



ASG: Do persons typically recognize you in your day-to-day life? Do you nevertheless attempt to be the “gray man,” or have you embraced your fame?

MH: We do get recognized a lot.  I by no means seek it certain do not embrace it. I ignore it. If an individual says, “Man, do I know you?” I just smile and say that I do not consider so. If they can get in touch with me out for any of my shows, of course, I’ll personal it.  If I see they’re vexed, I do not leave them like that. Quietly, off to the side, I let them know and then ask them to maintain it low. They smile, I smile, we go on our way, and it is all very good.


Study the rest of the story in our Component 1 and Component three challenges.


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