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Episode 24 S1-24

Civilian vs. Military Leadership of Your Survival Group


Special Guest:

Day After Disaster Ch 24

Ralph Swasey

In the Day After Disaster adventure the plot thickens as a voice from the past arrives and tough decisions must be made. Today, Ralph Swasey draws on his military and police background to help us debate the issue of civilian vs. military leadership of your survival group.

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For Tactical or Non-Tactical Situations Military Leadership is Best In Ralph's Opinion:

In a tactical situation:

  • Not all branches of the military train tactically.

  • Not certain about all branches of the military but marine and police training were very effective for tactical situations.

  • People die if they are led by individuals without proper training.

  • The leader needs to have leadership skills, understand basic tactical methods and be able to plan ahead for unforeseen circumstances.

Non-tactical situation:

  • A military leader can oversee the whole camp and appoint civilian or military squad leaders for smaller teams within the group.

  • A natural leader usually emerges on their own and will need approval from the group.

How a Civilian Can Self-Train To Get This Tactical Knowledge:



  • Play paintball

  • Play air-soft

  • Video games like Call of Duty teach tactical basics. Although these games may not have a positive influence on children. See link with Lt. Coronal Dave Grossman.

  • Find a local trainer

Pros and Cons of Military Leadership:


  • Their level of tactical and defensive training can be far superior depending on experience.

  • Their leadership skills may far surpass a civilian level for this high stress circumstance.



  • Can have very rigid thinking and not be open to outside input. 

  • People want to feel they have a say in what is going on. Trust needs to be there when dealing with civilians and needs to be earned not ordered.  

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Day After Disaster Ch 24

Ralph Swasey

“I graduated high school in Santa Maria, CA. Upon graduation I joined the United States Marine Corps Reserve. My training included Boot Camp at MCRD, San Diego, CA, Infantry Training Regiment, and Basic Infantry Training School at Camp Pendleton, CA.


"I joined the Santa Maria City Police Department as a Reserve Officer in 1974. In 1975 I reenlisted in the United States Marine Corps as a Military Police Officer MOS 5811 at El Toro Marine Corps Air Station. Honorable discharge December 1976.


"Upon my return to Santa Maria, CA I completed the Basic Police Academy at Alan Hancock College. I was hired as a full time police officer by the Grover City now Grover Beach Police Department. After a year at the GCPD I made a lateral transfer to the Red Bluff Police Department. In 1977 I returned to my home town of Santa Maria joining the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department. In 1980 I was appointed to the North County Special Enforcement Team (SET). Our team was very active in the years that I was assigned as a Lead Entry Operator. In 1985 my partner and I were awarded the H. Thomas Guerry Award for Valor based on a barricaded suspect who had his wife as a hostage. The hostage was successfully removed and the suspect succumbed from injuries sustained in the gun battle. After numerous close calls I took a lateral transfer to Northern California joining the Amador County Sheriff’s Department.


"Upon my retirement from law enforcement I worked as a High School Athletic Director, Assistant Principal, and Principal. My last ten years were spent teaching high school students Law Enforcement in a Regional Occupational Program in the Sierra Foothills of California."

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