The Mason Dixon Survivalist Association


So there I was, 12 years old, and reading the book “1984” by Orwell. Let me tell you what. The thought of that book coming true scared the crap out of me (and look where we’re at today)! I vowed I’d never be caught off guard by “Big Brother” if I could do anything about it. Thus began my journey into the world of Survivalists, and living a lifestyle called Survivalism.

At that point in my life I had started to take serious notice of the Cold War going on between the Soviet Union, and the United States. I started reading about nuclear war, and wondered if it was even survivable. My first book on Survivalist related skills was “Life After Doomsday” by Bruce Clayton. Clayton made it sound as if it was not only survivable, but that the hype in the news was all a commie conspiracy to make us give up by making us think the arms race was ridiculous and resistance was futile.


The original, and a newer copy

Clayton mentioned Mel Tappan in his book in the firearms section, so that’s where I went next with “Survival Guns”. Now keep in mind, I have been a gun “nut” since I was about seven. I was a gun nut, because I wanted to be a paratrooper, and everyone knows paratroopers use guns, right? I found out that there was so much info out there, and so many different guns available that it truly would make you nuts thinking about all of it (so many guns, so little time).


Next up was “Small Arms of the World” by Smith, and “Nuclear War Survival Skills” by Kearny (ironic how two of my MOS’s in the Army had to do specifically with those two books). SAotW gave me the academic understanding I would put to use later when I got to my first unit in the Army. NWSS gave me a practical understanding of the threats in a nuclear war, and ways to mitigate those effects with readily available materials.


Besides what I was learning in the numerous survival oriented or weapons related books I was reading, I was reading “(American) Survival Guide” (in the beginning it was just “Survival Guide”), “Survive”, and “Soldier of Fortune” magazines. The first two published plenty of skills geared towards Survivalist knowledge and skillsets, and the last one gave an understanding of what was going on all over the world militarily.


I was fortunate enough while growing up on a dairy farm to be able to hunt and trap as much as I wanted to, and I took advantage of that opportunity. I fished when I could, but hunting and trapping was “My thing” as a teenager. I did a brief stint in college where I learned to fly (my major was commercial aviation), and after I realized college wasn’t for me, I went into the military.

The military taught me to always have a plan, and to plan for the unexpected. These were not new concepts to me, but the military just reinforced what I already knew was important. While in the military I was tested in many ways that most will not understand unless they’ve done it. I was very fortunate to be able to serve with great men who taught me many things that would eventually make me a better Survivalist.


After my time in the military, I realized that passing this knowledge on was very important. I did it for a while here and there with different groups, and in 2010 I decided to start a business geared towards teaching civilians wilderness survival and defensive tactics. It has been very rewarding to be able to help those who need it and are willing to put the effort into learning the skills needed for survival.


We train and prepare for a worst case scenario we hope never comes to fruition. We should be training in all kinds of conditions, simply because we never know when our skillsets will be called upon. It’s simple, if you can do it in bad weather, you can do it in good weather. You don’t have to be in the shape that those in high speed low drag military units are in, but by God you need to be in the best shape you can possibly be in, based on a realistic assessment of your ability and health.


The Mason Dixon Survivalist Association is a gathering place of those who want to begin, or expand on, learning and developing skills designed to sustain ones self and their loved ones after the trappings of what is considered “normal” society are gone. I will strive to provide direction in those areas and to give “hacks” for using or modifying gear to make it more efficient and usable to you, the Survivalist.  We are always preparing, and always training. Anything other than that is irresponsible. Being a Survivalist is not an easy lifestyle, but it’s reward is knowing you are as ready as possible for that worst case scenario that you hope never comes. Initially, I will be posting pieces I wrote over at Mason Dixon Tactical that are relevant to the reason this blog was created.


J.C Dodge


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