We were on vacation this past week down on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Taking a break from the beach in the room, my wife was stunned to see live footage of the tornado that devastated Moore. Her best friend from high school lives there. As soon as the news showed the tornado had ended, she got on Facebook and reached out to her friend. Thankfully, they made instant contact, and she and her family were safe. Her work was destroyed, but her home was unscathed. In the aftermath of the tornado, the photos were amazing. Entire square miles are destroyed and there are no recognizable landmarks. Chance Sanders put a comment on his FB page suggesting folks also record grid coordinates, along with addresses, of their family meeting or rendezvous locations. Great idea! But how do you do that without an old school map?
Here's what you do... Go to Google Maps and find whatever location you want to make a meeting location. Right click on it and pick "what's here?" The 16-digit coordinates will show up in the search box. Simply save these to your notes page on your smart phone, then, if you need to find the location after a disaster, just go to Google on your phone's web browser, enter the coordinates, and it will pop up in Google maps. You can then get directions to there from your current location.
For OPSEC, you can simply do a "plus 2" to each pair of numbers when you record it, and you can give them labels such as "gym combination" or "bank account #." Let's give it a try... using "plus 2," my "elementary school locker combination" is: 39.625758,-79.580219. Figure out where I went to 5th grade, and email it to me here. All correct answers received by noon on Saturday, June 1, 2013 will be entered in a drawing to win some cool prep gear from my bunker. It won't be huge, but it will be cool.
A word of caution - I also tried this with Google Earth. I got completely different grid coordinates for the same location. I used the coordinates that I got off Google Earth, and I ended up about 40 miles away on the other side of town.
Five In The Pocket
No, I didn't spend vacation in a pool hall. We were at the beach. How to ensure you have protection, even in the bare minimum of clothing (it's OK, you don't have to gouge your eyes out, I wasn't wearing a Speedo). I carried my NAA mini-revolver with five rounds of .22LR CCI Stinger in the pocket of my swim trunks and my Buck neck knife the whole time. Super lightweight and convenient, and while not much, it would have been a very rude surprise if anyone on the beach had nefarious intentions. NAA Mini-Revolver Review Buck Neck Knife Review
Memorial Day Message
Tomorrow is not for car and sheet sales. It's not for getting drunk at the ball park. It's not for having a hot dog on the grill. You can do all of those, of course, but only because others have given their lives for us to have that freedom. Have fun, but please take a moment to remember and honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Go to the local veterans' cemetery and render a salute. Visit a Gold Star mother and thank her for her son's or daughter's service. Read some Medal of Honor citations to your children. Please visit my last year's Memorial Day message and read about two Marines that I have had the honor of knowing.