Rodney Dial lives in Ketchikan. The former U.S. Army Ranger appeared on National Geographic Channel’s Doomsday Preppers last season and has spent most of the profits from his tattoo parlor to protect his wife, Lisa, and daughter, Megan, from a potentially massive earthquake and tsunami (most of Southeast Alaska sits on the Ring of Fire). Dial, an experienced diver, has a tankless, solarpowered scuba system and has hidden many of his emergency supplies underwater, in part to prevent possible looting.
He also has a customized but street-legal tank he calls the “WarMachine.” We caught up with Dial and got a detailed look at his operation: Chris Cocoles Was there an event in your life that prompted you to decide to do this?
Rodney Dial I am a life long Alaskan and remember being told at a young age of how my family was involved in the (Anchorage) Good Friday Earthquake in 1964. My grandmother was working in the downtown JC Penney Building that collapsed. It was a memorable moment for my family that stressed the importance of being self-sufficient in an emergency situation. Growing up,my family learned how to harvest local resources, prepare for disasters and become familiar with the Alaskan environment.
CC Would you call prepping a passion or obsession?
RD Some would probably see our level of prepping an obsession, but for us it is just good family planning.We are concerned that too many Americans and even some Alaskans are becoming too“soft.”(They’re) relying on someone to save them in an emergency, expecting water to always flow out of the tap or electricity to always be on. Many people have never experienced any real hardships in life and, for some reason, believe they never will. We find that method of thinking dangerous and potentially a life endangering gamble. In essence we see prepping as the duty of every good American/Alaskan.
CC Has your Army Ranger career and diving background been a big aid in your prepping ability? RD My Ranger training and subsequent Jungle Expert Certification pushed my boundaries as a young man and made me realize that with proper planning and the right mindset, I could survive in any environment. Tobe certified as a U.S.Army Jungle Expert I received training in the jungles of Panama and had to survive for three weeks with the supplies I carried on my back. My 24 years of diving experience have given me a unique ability to obtain significant resources in an area most people are unable to access. This allows a constant ability to provide food and other resources for my family.
CC You spent a lot of time in Central American jungles. Can you share some of that experience?
RD In 1985 I joined the U.S Army and became an Army Ranger. I did several deployments in Central America, including Honduras and Panama. As a Ranger, we were expected to jump in (parachute) into remote locations with only the supplies on our back,be able to complete missions, survive and return. In Honduras and Panama the focus was preparation for a guerilla style war in a jungle environment.
CC Does it take a creative mind to figure out the best ways to protect your family from a major catastrophe?
RD To some degree a creative mind is important to identify risks that a family may face in an emergency and unique ways to prepare. Of more importance however, is knowledge; the knowledge of how to prepare and provide the basics to support life. For example, the woods and ocean around Ketchikan are filled with plants and animals that can be harvested to provide food. Without that knowledge a person could starve in an emergency or eat something poisonous.
CC Your “WarMachine” is insane. Do you take pride in that vehicle like an owner of a classic car would?
RD War Machine is like a member of our family – we take care of it and know that someday it may take care of us. We look at it this way: in any protracted emergency, no matter how well a person has prepared, there will ultimately be a need to obtain some critical item or resupply; perhaps it’s something as simple as antibiotics. In that moment, you can expect that many other individuals will also have resupply needs, some far more desperate than you. People in a life-or-death survival situation can become dangerous and unpredictable. War Machine will help assure that when we have the need to resupply we will not be an easy target for those who would contemplate violence towards us as a means of their own survival. War Machine is a constant work in progress. In the near future we will be repainting the vehicle in an urban camouflage pattern, adding communication devices and other protective upgrades.
cc Do you and your family travel much or do you stay mostly around Ketchikan, just in case?
RD We do not travel much and use nearly all available discretionary funds to improve our self-sufficiency.
CC Iwould guess a nAlaska earthquake similar to the 1964 Anchorage quake your family lived through, would be more worried about an ensuing tsunami than the actual quake given what those waves have done in other parts of the world?
RD We agree.Our current home is located over 200 feet above sea level and the home foundation is anchored to bedrock. Since Ketchikanis a coastal community, the concern is that a tsunami could damage our ports and ability to receive supplies from the outside world. For the show we proved a “proof of concept” that we could store and recover supplies cached underwater. We have refined that process and now store supplies in bays and protected waterways largely protected from the areas a tsunami would likely affect. We use GPS coordinates to mark the supply cashes in case a tsunami were to obliterate terrain features used to identify drop locations. We also assure that our supplies are deep enough to be protected from the surge of a tsunami.
CC In watching the show, is your daughter, Megan, who seemed a little unimpressed with your planning, coming around to what you are trying to accomplish?
RD Megan, like most children, has lived a comfortable life and it is difficult to convince her of the need to prepare. She has however, been exposed to far more survival information than the average child her age. We feel confident that she has the knowledge necessary to identify local resources she could obtain in an emergency situation. As she grows older we hope to involve her more in the prepping process.
CC Talk about the four P’s you have targeted in terms of prepping:plan,prepare,position and provide. What are the challenges each of those variables throw at you when trying to prep for something catastrophic?
RD The greatest challenge for most people who are new to prepping is knowledge and money. Knowledge is the most important and only takes effort. We were able to obtain significant knowledge on the natural food sources by just asking local native elders. Our current efforts harvesting and processing devils club are a prime example. Knowledge is free in most cases and just takes effort to seek it out. Knowledge will allow you to plan and prepare. “Position and providing” requires money inmost cases and can present difficulties for some in reaching an acceptable level of security in a short amount of time. When money is tight, I recommend that people take small,but constant steps to improve their survival abilities, such as saving one can of food per week or one other action item as funds allow.
CC What was your experience like on Doomsday Preppers?
RD Our experience on Doomsday Preppers was challenging, but very rewarding. In a way it was a full-scale drill for our family, putting to use the skills we have learned and, at the same time, identifying areas we needed to improve. After the filming we reevaluated our family disaster plan and identified several areas for improvement. We have worked on improving our family skills and supplies ever since.
CC Do you hope the show has opened people’s eyes about the idea that you should be prepared for whatever curve balls are thrown your way?
RD One of the great things about Doomsday Preppers is that it is forcing people to think about thewhat if’s and realizing that some level of family preparedness is a good thing. Not all of the potential disasters prepared for on the show will apply to all people; however, something positive can be learned from every episode.
CC Is it important for anyone, even if they don’t go the measures you’ve taken to be prepared, to just have some kind of plan in place, even if it’s a simple plan?
RD We really feel that it is the duty of every American to have at least a minimum capacity to survive some unknown(incident), for at least 72 hours. A person’s failure to plan will likely endanger others who may be tasked with risking their lives to save them.
CC You’ve mentioned Alaskans are always preppers of some degree. Is that a case of you have to be hearty and resourceful to make it in your state? And you can’t afford to not be prepared for the unexpected?
RD The Alaskan mindset seems more independent than our fellow Americans in the Lower 48. The high cost of living has also helped spur Alaskans to become more self-sufficient, from something as simple as knowing how to hunt/fish or even harvest wood to heat their home. Most of my friends and neighbors have enough supplies to survive for several weeks and the ability to defend their homes if needed.
CC You seem like a level-headed guy. Do your friends and neighbors think you’re a little eccentric?
RD Probably, although we have always felt that most Alaskans are preppers by Lower 48 standards. Most Alaskans I know have enough food and water to survive for at least a month or two and have some knowledge of the local environment. War Machine probably is seen as a little intense by some; however, you know you live in a great state when your community doesn’t have a problem with you owning and driving a tank down Main Street. Only in Alaska!
In the video below prepper Rodney Dial briefly explains his method of hiding his survival cache underwater, obviously locations are marked only he knows where its at.
Rodney: “I’ve a plan to hide caches my preps in a place no-one would ever think to look.”
Rodney:”I’m building underwater caches for my preps, so when the *bleep* hits [the] fan, no-one will ever find ’em.”
Rodney:”We wanna keep caches under the water because it’s ultra-secure location Best place to put something you don’t want others to find.”
Rodney: “Alright, here we go, moment of truth, huh?.”
Man: “Yup. So far so good” “Seems to be holding”
Rodney: “Yeah look at that! Good job!”
Woman: “So we’re at fifteen so far.”
Woman:”We’re at fifteen.”
Rodney: “That’s perfect, here we go!”
Rodney: “ok this is perfect, no-one’s going to be able to come out and get a hundred-fifty pound tube a minimum of thirteen-fourteen feet underwater.”
Rodney: “So basically, if we find that and walk straight out, we’re gonna be able to find this tube.”
Rodney: “Ok help me lift it up.”
Megan: “How much does this thing weigh?”
Rodney: “It’s about a hundred and fifty pounds right now. Ok, ok there we go. Alright! Ok here we go Megan!”
Rodney:”That’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout!”
Rodney: “I’m not a quitter, this family doesn’t give up. So if that makes this weird, well then we’re weird. But you know what? We’re gonna be the people that are gonna come to when the *bleep* hits the fan, or when things get really bad.”
Story by Chris Cocoles – AmSJ Photos from National Geographic
Video Transcribed by Sam Morstan
James Talmage Stevens knows more about the preparedness movement than probably anyone alive. He’s been a leader in it since 1974, when he wrote the book, Making The Best of Basics. The handbook has sold over 800,000 copies since hitting the shelves at Kmart during the gas crisis. Over 500 pages long, it’s considered an encyclopedia on preparedness, everything you need to know. It is even made out of rice paper, in case you need to eat it.
Talmage tells me we’re undergoing a “doom boom” currently, due to the
lingering poor economy. There are all kinds of things popping up related to preparedness – even prepper dating sites. Talmage has been putting food away since he wrote the book – and it’s still good. I asked him what are the most important things people need to know about preppers.
RACHEL ALEXANDER What is the prepared movement?
JAMES TALMAGE STEVENS It’s being ready for inevitable catastrophic situations. You can’t go back to kindergarten, you know too much now, you’ve got the knowledge that things are going to happen. You’ve been there, you’ve done it. Your life has changed forever as you knew it, and it will change again. Most TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It) is positive. If you possess additional knowledge, you’re now more responsible, if you care to use this knowledge.
TEOTWAWKI doesn’t really mean the end of the world. It means things change for you positively or negatively, mostly positive, such as
getting married, having kids, etc. It’s not about just being prepared for a catastrophic world event, but life catastrophes, e.g. your car gets hit in the parking lot. It allows you to continue as if nothing happened. Of course, no one is truly self-sufficient except God. Look at it as triages that need to be sustained. For example, a garden is composed of the three Ps: produce, prepare and produce food. Unfortunately, people aren’t focusing on the right words. Not everyone
can plant a garden on the third floor of an apartment building. But you
can have indoor plants on your countertop. It also provides healthier,
raw food with more nutrition; and as long as you can flush your toilet,
you don’t have to leave your home other than to get water.
RA How should gun owners keep their guns prepared?
JTS I was raised shooting squirrels and rabbits, and I served in the military. People should have guns if they want to. I hate people like Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) who drive around with their armed guards – but I can’t. There is no legislation that will ever stop people from using guns. We have a right and should take advantage of it. I have a .22 long rifle, an AR-15, a 12-gauge shotgun, a .45 pistol and a .32 Franz Stock pistol.
RA What do you think about the recent hype over a zombie apocalypse?
JTS Do you know what zombie means? Hollywood has created this image that a zombie is an undead person. It ain’t gonna happen, God’s in charge of this earth, and nobody’s rising from the grave. Now here’s what zombie means: If you were addicted to something, you’d do anything for a fix. You would lose control of your ability to be rational. Similarly, in the case of a massive disaster, if you needed water or food, you’d do
anything to get it. If you know anything about the psychology of predators, they almost always go for the weakest and easiest target.
RA While researching preppers, I came across comparisons of the chaos and crime in the aftermath of a hurricane to what could happen on a
worldwide scale should there be a huge disaster. What do you think of
all the prepper shows out now? There’s Doomsday Preppers, Doomsday
Bunkers, Armageddon Arsenals, and Meet the Preppers.
JTS They’re taking everything to extreme. Someone learns something
and thinks they’re as knowledgeable as someone else, yet they have no experience. They are living the Walter Mitty life [someone living in a fantasy world].
RA What do you think are the biggest threats that could result in doomsday? A biological attack? Financial collapse? A natural disaster like a massive earthquake or volcano? Nuclear weapons?
JTS The biggest threat is you; it’s other humans. Because they believe the system is going to take care of us. I believe this is the greatest country on earth, set up with religious overtones to provide for all this freedom. The greatest threat is the devil. Everyone gets a blue ribbon just because they played? I don’t think so. There is competition for limited resources. Obama can write all the executive orders he wants taking my stuff, but he cannot take my food, savings and life earnings within the system. I pay property taxes, taxes on my employment, and I choose to be frugal and thoughtful and considerate, and you want to come and take it just because you wasted your resources on playing golf? I’m coming to get your golf bag.
RA How do you respond when people accuse preppers of being fringe?
JTS Mormons and Baptists are fringe. Republicans are fringe. It depends on what the conditions are. Everyone has some fringe in them. What about the people who buy a Prius? It’s like former vice-president Al Gore flying around in his private jet urging people to save gas – get a life! He sold a major asset to Al Jazeera.
RA What are your thoughts on preserving game meat?
JTS I made a lot of deer and turkey jerky. There are many ways to preserve. You can even freeze dry at home. Pickle it, salt it. Refrigeration and freezing are the most expensive and risky ways to store food. Our house doesn’t need air conditioning.
RA How has the prepper movement changed over the years?
JTS It’s shifted from tactical to practical. There are more people “living ready” now. Although there are now more guns and camo, you don’t need to include that aspect.
RA What are the “WAGs” you refer to?
JTS WAG stands for “Wrong Agenda Group.” These people have all the answers, but they just don’t under the question. They take (borrow) information and get into ruts. You’ll see things like “101 things you need to have when SHTF” – yet that particular article doesn’t even apply. It came from Argentina, which has vastly different needs than we do here. The WAGs simply repeat what others do. The top prepper blogs are merely aggregators of feeds.
RA Tell us about your radio show, which I enjoyed being a guest on.
JTS Preparednessradio.com on Blogtalkradio is all preparedness; there’s no politics or religion, except spirituality. There are no conspiracy
theories, or things that may offend ladies, who are 85 percent of our listeners. It is teaching and instructional. I used to do 40 hours a week. I am also a regular guest on the radio show Freedomizer [patriot topics].
RA Where did the term “prepper” come from?
JTS Shawn Dutton, who runs the Phoenix Militia, came up with it. Note that the Phoenix Militia is not the same as the types of militias that were prevalent in the 1990s, that were more anti-government. The Phoenix Militia is all about preparedness.
RA What is the difference between a prepper and a survivalist?
JTS Survivalists are a bit more radical than preppers. Preparedness is practical, it’s a way of living. You can live anywhere. It’s an attitude for dealing with the unknown. Additionally, there are bushmen and homesteaders, which include urban, suburban and exurban homesteaders.
RA Any final thoughts?
JTS Final thoughts: It’s our responsibility as parents and citizens to take care of our families, to teach and feed them. It’s not a governmental responsibility. The government was doing it for awhile, and back then they did a good job. Fairly good lifestyle 50 years ago, easy society to live in. My childhood was idyllic. Now it’s very difficult,
they keep whittling away with what made it great. We’ve let other people run our lives for so long that we don’t recognize the fact that we’ve given up rights. Today there’s much legislation you can’t buy a chainsaw without a permit. It’s Satanic, it’s evil, it’s not just opportunism, or free enterprise gone mad.
Do not rely upon first responders. You are your first responder, your first line of defense. You can’t always depend on your neighbor, or your partner, professor, school. We now live in a changed world. AmSJ
Editor’s note: Visit Stevens’ websites at preparednessradio.com.
Article by Rachel Alexander
If you couldn’t afford a real pistol could you make one out of ordinary metal pipes? Obviously, yes for many of us preppers are into DIY (do it yourself) and there are lots of instructions that you can find on the internet.
The .410/45ACP pistol is a very simple design all required is a barrel fitted for either a .410 shotgun shell or a 45ACP round. The other part is the receiver that houses the plunger with the pin on the inside, this sits on top of the grip.
The grip handle is hollow which can hold a couple of 45ACP rounds or .410 shells. To shoot just screw the barrel with a round in it to the handle. Pull back on the plunger to cock the gun and squeeze the trigger.
When not in use, you can take off the barrel and now the pistol is in two parts which can be placed into your “bug out bag“. You can have as many barrels as you’d like with shells or rounds inserted when ready to go. Its definitely a poor man homemade pistol, what do you all think?, please comment below.
Please use caution and exercise all safety, if you don’t know what you’re doing then do not try this at home.
Welcome everyone to another epsiode of Royal Nonesuch, today we’ve got my survival pistol, this thing is completely done, modified exactly how I want it. It comes with two barrels, and one is a 45ACP barrel, the other is a .410 shotgun barrel. So let’s just go ahead and take a couple shots with it.
Bottle on the left, 45ACP.
Ah, hit the top.
We’ll have to finish that one off. Just simply unscrew the barrel here, and we’ll swap out barrels, we’ll shoot the .410 next. So you just screw the barrel in, and go ahead and just pull this plunger back, and set it. That’s how this works. So we’ll just go ahead and finish that bottle off.
Since this is a survival pistol, I tried to design it as simply as I could. Obviously, the barrel screwing into the receiver is very simple, and also the trigger mechanism is simple, as I’ll show you in just a second here. So this thing has already been fired, so it’s safe. You just pull this plunger back, here, and you lift up the trigger, so, just like that. You can see the trigger catches in this notch here, and when you pull the trigger, it swings out of the way and fires. Really really simple and easy to use. I also wrapped the handle in paracord, and covered that with electrical tape, and then in the bottom here, actually, this handle is hollow, and I stuck a 45ACP shell inside there, along with a .410 shot shell in there. So, it’ll hold two rounds, so, all you need is just the pistol. In a survival situation, just stick it in your backpack, you have it, it breaks down very small, and you can carry two barrels if you’d like, but you just go ahead and un-tape this, and the rounds will fall out, and you can use ’em. so that’s pretty awesome.
Let’s go ahead and do some more shooting with this.
We got a 45ACP loaded up, we’re gonna go ahead and try to take out that other bottle.
Woah. That thing sprayed back all the way to here. Even without sights on this thing, it’s pretty easy to point and shoot at close ranges, but I could add some sights for some added accuracy. We hit the bottle right here on the top, and it just completely obliterated it. That’s one of the great things about the 45ACP, it’s just such a powerhouse, anything it hits it pretty much destroys. And also, there’s no need for really an extractor or anything mechanism, because the rounds just fly right out of the barrel. So that’s pretty cool, too.
Alright, let’s shoot one more .410 at that bottle down there, it’s got a little bit of drink left in it still, let’s go ahead and finish it off.
Heh, literally a hand-cannon!
Let’s go ahead and see how this .410 barrel patterns. We’re shooting some 2 1/2-inch shells out of this thing, and we’re gonna see what happens at about five yards. So let’s go ahead and give this a try. We’ll shoot the top at five yards, and then the bottom at ten yards.
Ok, let’s go take a look.
As you can see, a pretty large spread. The barrel is rifled, it’ll shoot .410 and 45 long colt, so it has to be rifled, so the shot does spread out more than it would if it was smoothbore, but at this distance you could pretty easily take a squirrel or something with it for sure. Or a rabbit.
We’re just gonna go ahead and shoot instead at three yards instead of ten, because at ten it’s just gonna spread out way too much. So this would be about the distance if you’re dispatching an animal or a snake or something, you know, this is what will happen, so, let’s see what kind of result we get.
Alright, let’s take a look.
As you can see, we’ve got maybe about a one-foot spread right here of pellets. So that is a very good killzone for this pistol. Let’s go ahead and do some more shooting with a 45ACP barrel.
We’ve got a 45ACP loaded up, this is about 15 yards, we’re going to see if we can get some hits. No sights.
Ooh. Just gonna take a couple more shots.
Let’s go ahead and see just how fast you can reload this thing. So we’re gonna go ahead and shoot, and then load the next round and see how fast we can do that. Alright, so, let’s see if we can stay on-target, too.
Here we go.
So there’s the first shot, unscrew the barrel, fling the round out, put the round in, screw it in, and cock it.
Pretty cool! Fifteen yards, it is very easy to hit the steel with it, for sure.
Thank you very much for watching, everyone. This is a really awesome pistol to shoot, hope you guys enjoyed the short overview of it, it’s gonna be in my backpacking bag any time I go on hikes or anything, because it’s just a really simple and easy-to-build little powerhouse, that’s for sure. I’ll just take one more shot with it and close this video out.
Thanks a lot for watching, everyone, I’ll see you next week.