Green Beret and outdoor survival expert Myke Hawke provides practical skills for how cope in any extreme situation in the outdoors. During his 25-year career, he honed his skills as a captain in the U.S. Army Green Berets, using his knowledge to start the survival training company Spec Ops Inc. He serves as a frequent survival expert on TV.
His book, "Hawke's Green Beret Survival Manual: Essential Strategies For: Shelter and Water, Food and Fire, Tools and Medicine, Navigation and Signaling, Survival Psychology and Getting Out Alive!" also includes more than 200 how-to illustrations.
Read an excerpt of the book below, and head to the "GMA" Library for more good reads.
A bit of background before we begin . . .
I was born a po' boy in Kentucky. My Pa was a soldier and my Maw was a waitress and we didn't have squat. That's it.
We lived like lots of soldiers' families in the 1960s, especially the young ones like my folks: very, very poor. We literally had outhouses and well water. But hey, it wasn't bad. And like a lot of families during the '60s when the free-love and war-time mentalities separated the nation, my folks split up when I was young. So most of my childhood was spent living all over the Southeast with many different friends and relatives, whoever could take me in for a while.
What this meant was a lot of poverty and lot of hardship for my family, and a lot of time for me to try to escape all of that and explore the world away from all the troubles at home, whether it was in the country woods or the city areas not safe for the general public, let alone a child.
Now, much of the time, I'd be with my mother, back and forth in between spells with relatives, boyfriends, neighbors, sitters, and other friends or co-workers. My mother and father were both good-hearted people, but both had a rough childhood themselves and so, as very young parents, there were a lot of things they could've done better.
Many times, we had electricity or gas or heat or water cut off, or were evicted from our home. We lived in shacks, cars, and trailers with no utilities. We even lived one winter in a house under construction with nothing working, no doors or windows, buckets to catch the rain in the bedroom which only had one bed that we all slept in under one car blanket in all our clothes that we'd then wear to school the next day and all week.
So, many days I spent trying to scrounge food for my brothers and sisters since I was the eldest and the adult(s) were often nowhere to be found. Sometimes we'd have gas and water—shoot, if we only had flour, I'd make flat bread—and sometimes, I'd just go steal some food from the local store. Can't count how many times they caught and kicked me out of stores, haha! But when they found out what and why I was stealing, they'd usually just let me go.
Now, I could speak a lot about falling in with wrong crowd and all that, but that is another story. The key in that part of my growing up was that I had a lot of near-death experiences, from car crashes to shootings, stabbings and a whole lot more. In all that, I developed an approach to life that comes down to this: Never Quit. But what really set me on the path to cultivating a deep interest—and eventually, expertise—in survival, was the winter my mother went away.