Survival Actions

This manual is based entirely on the keyword SURVIVAL.
The letters in this word can help guide you in your actions
in any survival situation. Whenever faced with a survival
situation, remember the word SURVIVAL.


The following paragraphs expand on the meaning of each letter of the
word survival. Study and remember what each letter signifies because
you may some day have to make it work for you.

S - Size Up the Situation

If you are in a combat situation, find a place where you can conceal
yourself from the enemy. Remember, security takes priority. Use your
senses of hearing, smell, and sight to get a feel for the battlefield. What
is the enemy doing? Advancing? Holding in place? Retreating? You will
have to consider what is developing on the battlefield when you make
your survival plan.

Size Up Your Surroundings

Determine the pattern of the area. Get a feel for what is going on
around you. Every environment, whether forest, jungle, or desert, has
a rhythm or pattern. This rhythm or pattern includes animal and bird
noises and movements and insect sounds. It may also include enemy
traffic and civilian movements.

Size Up Your Physical Condition

The pressure of the battle you were in or the trauma of being in a
survival situation may have caused you to overlook wounds you received.
Check your wounds and give yourself first aid. Take care to prevent
further bodily harm. For instance, in any climate, drink plenty of water
to prevent dehydration. If you are in a cold or wet climate, put on
additional clothing to prevent hypothermia.

Size Up Your Equipment

Perhaps in the heat of battle, you lost or damaged some of your
equipment. Check to see what equipment you have and what condition
it is in.

Now that you have sized up your situation, surroundings, physical condition,
and equipment, you are ready to make your survival plan. In doing
so, keep in mind your basic physical needs—water, food, and shelter.

U - Use All Your Senses, Undue Haste Makes Waste

You may make a wrong move when you react quickly without thinking
or planning. That move may result in your capture or death. Don’t move
just for the sake of taking action. Consider all aspects of your situation
(size up your situation) before you make a decision and a move. If you
act in haste, you may forget or lose some of your equipment. In your
haste you may also become disoriented so that you don’t know which
way to go. Plan your moves. Be ready to move out quickly without
endangering yourself if the enemy is near you. Use all your senses
to evaluate the situation. Note sounds and smells. Be sensitive to
temperature changes. Be observant.

R - Remember Where You Are

Spot your location on your map and relate it to the surrounding terrain.
This is a basic principle that you must always follow. If there are other
persons with you, make sure they also know their location. Always know
who in your group, vehicle, or aircraft has a map and compass. If that
person is killed, you will have to get the map and compass from him. Pay
close attention to where you are and to where you are going. Do not
rely on others in the group to keep track of the route. Constantly orient
yourself. Always try to determine, as a minimum, how your location
relates to—
The location of enemy units and controlled areas.
The location of friendly units and controlled areas.
The location of local water sources (especially important in
the desert).
Areas that will provide good cover and concealment.
This information will allow you to make intelligent decisions when you
are in a survival and evasion situation.

V - Vanquish Fear and Panic

The greatest enemies in a combat survival and evasion situation are
fear and panic. If uncontrolled, they can destroy your ability to make an
intelligent decision. They may cause you to react to your feelings and
imagination rather than to your situation. They can drain your energy
and thereby cause other negative emotions. Previous survival and
evasion training and self-confidence will enable you to vanquish fear
and panic.

I - Improvise

In the United States, we have items available for all our needs. Many of
these items are cheap to replace when damaged. Our easy come, easy
go, easy-to-replace culture makes it unnecessary for us to improvise.
This inexperience in improvisation can be an enemy in a survival situation.
Learn to improvise. Take a tool designed for a specific purpose and
see how many other uses you can make of it.
Learn to use natural objects around you for different needs. An example
is using a rock for a hammer. No matter how complete a survival kit you
have with you, it will run out or wear out after a while. Your imagination
must take over when your kit wears out.

V - Value Living

All of us were born kicking and fighting to live, but we have become
used to the soft life. We have become creatures of comfort. We dislike
inconveniences and discomforts. What happens when we are faced with
a survival situation with its stresses, inconveniences, and discomforts?
This is when the will to live–placing a high value on living-is vital.
The experience and knowledge you have gained through life and your
Army training will have a bearing on your will to live. Stubbornness, a
refusal to give in to problems and obstacles that face you, will give you
the mental and physical strength to endure.

A - Act Like the Natives

The natives and animals of a region have adapted to their environment.
To get a feel of the area, watch how the people go about their daily routine.
When and what do they eat? When, where, and how do they get
their food? When and where do they go for water? What time do they
usually go to bed and get up? These actions are important to you when
you are trying to avoid capture.
Animal life in the area can also give you clues on how to survive. Animals
also require food, water, and shelter. By watching them, you can
find sources of water and food.
Keep in mind that the reaction of animals can reveal your presence to
the enemy.

If in a friendly area, one way you can gain rapport with the natives is to
show interest in their tools and how they get food and water. By studying
the people, you learn to respect them, you often make valuable
friends, and, most important, you learn how to adapt to their environment
and increase your chances of survival.

L - Live by Your Wits, But for Now, Learn Basic Skills

Without training in basic skills for surviving and evading on the battlefield,
your chances of living through a combat survival and evasion situation
are slight.
Learn these basic skills now –not when you are headed for or are in the
battle. How you decide to equip yourself before deployment will impact
on whether or not you survive. You need to know about the environment
to which you are going, and you must practice basic skills geared
to that environment. For instance, if you are going to a desert, you need
to know how to get water in the desert.
Practice basic survival skills during all training programs and exercises.
Survival training reduces fear of the unknown and gives you selfconfidence.
It teaches you to live by your wits.


Develop a survival pattern that lets you beat the enemies of survival.
This survival pattern must include food, water, shelter, fire, first aid, and
signals placed in order of importance. For example, in a cold environment,
you would need a fire to get warm; a shelter to protect you
from the cold, wind, and rain or snow; traps or snares to get food;
a means to signal friendly aircraft; and first aid to maintain health. If
injured, first aid has top priority no matter what climate you are in.
Change your survival pattern to meet your immediate physical needs
as the environment changes.
As you read the rest of this manual, keep in mind the keyword
SURVIVAL and the need for a survival pattern.