Back in the early 80's, there were two writers that really got me in to survivalism. One was Mel Tappan with his tome, Survival Guns, which I checked out of the library dozens of times over several years. The other was Jerry Ahern, best known as the author of the series of novels, The Survivalist.
The Survivalist was "men's adventure," science fiction, and survival skills training all rolled into one. Jerry wrote as someone who truly understood the guns and gear that his vivid characters used. The protagonist, John Thomas Rourke, was instantly recognizable with his Ray-Ban Aviators, blue chambray shirt, blue jeans, USGI leather combat boots and battered, leather bomber jacket. In his double Alessi shoulder rig, Rourke carried a pair of twin Detonics Combat Masters with extra mags on his belt in a Milt Sparks Six-Pack and in the musette bag slung over his shoulder. The Metalifed and Mag-na-ported Colt Python on his hip was joined by the A.G. Russel black chrome Sting 1A at the small of his back. He rode a black Harley Davidson Low-Rider and told time with a Rolex Submariner. Rourke was everything a teen aged boy could hope to be... doctor, CIA agent, survival expert... with unbelievable skills. Jerry could spin a heck of a good yarn with amazing descriptions and details.
I devoured The Survivalist stories as they came out for well over a decade. To this day, I still have part of the series and reread them every now and then.
Jerry also authored dozens of other novels, both series and one-offs. He was a prolific magazine writer, with thousands of articles in gun, survival and knife magazines, as well as a monthly column in the Dillon Blue Press.
Among his more recent books were the time-travel adventure, "Written In Time" and the how-to book, "Survive!: The Disaster Crisis and Emergency Handbook."
In the past couple of years, I got to know Jerry a little bit on Facebook where he interacted with folks on his personal page, as well as in a group dedicated to fans of The Survivalist. A few months ago, his daughter came on his page and told everyone that Jerry had taken ill, but that he was fighting. Today his family announced that yesterday he lost his battle with cancer. He taught thousands how to survive everything from a flood to a nuclear war, but he met his match. I always meant to see if I could send him a couple of books to autograph, but I never got around to it. I really wish I had.
Jerry was devoted to his family, including his wife of 43 years, Sharon. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. The survival/prepper community has lost a legendary leader, but they have lost a loved one. I thank them for sharing him with us for so many years and for the positive influance he has had on the past 30 years of my life.
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