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Episode 25 S1-25

Preparing Novices for Battle


Special Guest:

Day After Disaster Ch 25

Ralph Swasey

In the Day After Disaster adventure the plot thickens as the team advances towards the Auburn Compound. Today, Ralph Swasey draws on his military and police background to help us learn how to prepare novices for battle.

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Assessing Someone's Mental Capacity:

Ask them general questions:

  • They need to understand the tactical basics.

  • They need to answer reasonably to situational relevance questions. Provide guidance if they are totally off base.

  • How do they answer questions? What is their general personality?Red Flags:Past experience

  • Trust your gut! Pay attention to what they say and do. How do they conduct themselves socially?

  • Watch out for someone who is over-zealous. This is known as "Tombstone Courage or John Wayne Syndrome" and can be just as dangerous as someone who is slow to respond.

Assessing Physical Capabilities:


  • Have they shot a gun before? Were they hunters in the past?

  • Are they physically fit?

  • No experience, give them a pistol, revolver or semiautomatic weapon.

  • Women or small framed individuals should have a 9 mm or a smaller caliper weapon.

  • Men with firearms experience or past hunting experience should be your long-gunners or spotter.

Preparing Someone Mentally For Battle:


  • Make sure they clearly understand it is us or them.

  • They need a strong commitment to survival of themselves and the group.

  • Comradery within the group is always a good thing and commitment to one another is of the utmost importance.

  • Understand you are putting your life in their hands.

  • Teach them the business end of the weapon and how to safely handle it.

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Day After Disaster Ch 25

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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