Read Part 2 of Surviving Delta Force Selection here. 

Thousands of Barbed Wire Fences

There was a strict protocol for crossing the thousands of barbed-wire fences that delineated boundaries of the local private land to prevent damage to them. On a particular day, I felt quite clueless of my position on Earth. I crossed a fence and wandered out in a nice grassy field. I moved some 50 meters into the field and took a knee for another fruitless gander at my map. I thought I felt a vibration in the ground below me. I was certain I felt vibrations under me.

I looked up to see a bull, in full gallop, bearing down on me. I was in his field, and I had a bright orange panel (VF-17) spread out on the back of my rucksack.

I got lost and made a new friend.

I thought my ass was dragging in the dirt and that I couldn’t go any farther, but I was wrong! I stood and turned, sprinting back toward the wire. When I thought I was close enough to the fence, I launched my rifle over it and dove over the top strand of wire. I came down hard on my side and just laid there. I looked up at the bull snorting at the fence, mucus oozing from his nostrils. I looked over at my rifle and decided it was much too far away for me to get up and go get it. I did so nonetheless, eventually.

I found myself at the edge of a vast open expanse of cleared land. There were many large spots of just dirt. It reminded me of a parachute drop zone. To my front, at 250 meters as the crow flies, was the hulk of a Volkswagen bus. I studied my map. Nothing! I deduced that I had to have walked myself off of my map sheet; it happened often to candidates in this course.

It was time to seek assistance, so I flipped a mental coin, and it said to go that-a-way. On I marched at an easy speed until I came to a house, a house with a local gentleman sitting in a rocking chair, whittling a morsel of hard oak, hound dog sprawled lazily at his feet. Several long guns leaned against the walls: a shotgun, a lever-action, and a bolt-gun. There was a table littered with empty longneck Rolling Rock beer bottles.

Not Quite “Deliverance,” but Close

I paused momentarily, straining to hear over the breeze. My ears strained hard against the faint white noise of the day, filtering out the sound of scurrying squirrels, swaying branches, the rattle and buzzing of insects. My ears drew in all available audio wavelengths like finely tuned instruments, searching, searching for the flat, tinny sound of plucking banjos. None detected, I continued my approach as if walking through the film “Deliverance.”

As I closed with Jethro, he made no attempt to meet me halfway. Social skill was not the big thing up there on that porch. With a bite of humble pie, I uttered in my finest Appalachian accent, “Howdy!” No response whatsoever. I continued on with the story of my plight. Spying the map in my hand, he asked to have a look. We both looked at the map, and he nodded and “uh-huh-ed” several times in a seemingly knowing manner. “Well, I can run you in ma truck where ya need ta go.” He offered. I eagerly accepted and threw myself and my ruck into the back of his truck.