Below I have identified common basic survival skills that would be beneficial training doctrine for a good working survival group, or for an individual. A knowledge of common basic skills should be an integral part of any survival group. This will insure a good working and training foundation. Also a group that trains together will know what each other will do in certain environments and in this way these skills will be integrated into the group. This also builds confidence on a personal and group level.

Further if training is conducted properly everyone should train to lead the group in tactical environments. This builds leadership skills for everyone and if anyone is injured or killed, other members can take charge (as should be done in training exercises anyway i.e. your now dead or injured someone tell me your plan of action). Another benefit of training is that if everyone trains the same way, the reaction of the group will be faster, (any cut-down of reaction time is a big plus) more precise and there will not be as much need for discussion as to what and who is to do what i.e. less confusion.

I will start off with common basic tactical survival skills, as security should be the number one priority for any group, for if you cant keep your group and logistical supply secure then there is no survival. I will also list where this training can be found i.e. FMs, books, etc. Persons with military training should recognize some of these skills.

This list is not all conclusive and of course can be modified to fit ones groups desires, training, motivations and standards. Also keep in mind that this is only a list of basic skills everyone should train on, and any group should have an Advanced Skills Training list structured to their group and or individual.


1. Perform Individual Camouflage.
2. Move Under Direct Fire. *
3. React To Indirect Fire While Dismounted. *
4. React To Contact. *
5. Break Contact. *
6. React To Ambush: A). Near Ambush. B). Far Ambush. *
7. React To Flares. *
8. Basic Movement Techniques: A). Fire Team and Squad Wedge. B). Fire Team and Squad File. C). Traveling. D). Traveling Overwatch. E). Bounding Overwatch. **
9. Move Over, Through, Or Around Obstacles.
10. Select Temporary Fighting Positions.
11. Construct individual Fighting Positions.
12. Challenge Persons Entering Your Area.
13. Perform Surveillance Without The Aid of Electronic Devices.
14. Practice Noise, Light and Litter Discipline.
15. Clear A Field of Fire.
16. Identify Unexploded Ordnance.
17. Hand And Arm Signals. (These can be set up as the group deems appropriate).
18. Construct A Range Card.
19. Report Information of Potential Intelligence Value, i.e. SALUTE Report.
20. Conduct A Reconnaissance.
21. Locate Mines By Probing.

* These designate what are called Immediate Action Drills or Battle Drills. These skills cant be emphasized enough as they create unit cohesion, fighting sprit, and enable the group to react and move as one solid unit. The better the group is at performing these drills, the greater their chances are of survival if these skills are ever needed.

** These movement techniques would not be called Battle Drills as such but would be the formations used when training the Battle Drills

BASIC FIREARMS SKILLS (The FMs these are taken from are designed for the M16A1 or A2 rifle, of course this training can be set up to include all group weapons).

1. Zero Ones Assigned Weapons.
2. Engage Targets With Ones assigned Weapons.
3. Maintain Ones Assigned Weapons.
4. Perform A Function check On Ones Assigned Weapons.
5. Safely Load and Unload Ones Assigned Weapons.
6. Correct malfunctions Of Ones Assigned Weapons.

BASIC VOICE COMMUNICATION (This skill will enable group members to use proper phrases and good radio voice communication, also everyone will be on the same sheet of music when it comes to wire or radio commo).

1. Perform Voice Communication


1. Identify Topographic Symbols On A Map. From the FM this could also be a Military Map.
2. Identify Terrain Features On a Map.
3. Determine The Coordinates Of A Point On a Map. From the FM this would be grid coordinates on a Military Map.
4. Determine a Magnetic Azimuth Using A Lensatic Compass.
5. Determine A Location On The Ground By Terrain Association.
6. Measure Distance On a Map.
7. Orient A Map To The Ground By Terrain Association.
8. Determine Direction Without a Compass.


1. Evaluate A Casualty.
2. Clear An Object From The Throat Of A Conscious Casualty.
3. Prevent Shock.
4. Give First Aid For Burns.
5. Give First Aid For Heat Injuries.
6. Give First Aid For Frostbite.
7. Put On A Field Or Pressure Dressing.
8. Put On A Tourniquet. ( This is still a Army task, only two occasions when used).
9. Apply A Dressing To An Open Abdominal Wound.
10. Apply A Dressing To An Open Chest Wound.
11. Administer Nerve Agent Antidote To Self. *
12. Administer First Aid To A Nerve Agent Casualty. *
13. Apply A Dressing To An Open Head Wound.
14. Splint A Suspected Fracture.
15. Transport A Casualty Using A One-Man Carry.
16. Transport A Casualty Using A Two-Man Carry Or An Improvised Litter.
17. Perform CPR.
18. Basic Sanitation, Preventive Medicine and Health Maintenance.

* These techniques are U.S. military skills for NBC, (Nuclear Biological Chemical) most groups will not have available to them counter-nerve agents. A group can still setup certain training to treat yourself and others in these areas. Also these skill should be trained upon as a group may come upon this equipment in a worst case scenario (WCS).


(I feel that due to the global threat today this in an important area to train in, even though many survival groups may not possess MOPP gear or even gas masks).

1. Protect yourself From Chemical And Biological Injury/Contamination Using your Protective Mask (Pro-Mask) With Hood.
2. Maintain Your Pro-Mask With Hood.
3. Protect Yourself From NBC Injury/Contamination When Drinking From Your Canteen While Wearing Your Pro-Mask.
4. Decontaminate Your Skin And Personal Equipment.
5. Protect Yourself From Chemical and Bio Injury/Contamination While Eliminating Body Waste when Wearing MOPP 4.
6. Identify Chemical Agents Using M8 Detector Paper. ( This can be found from most U.S. Units and National Guard Units, I still have quite a bit form Desert Storm).
7. Protect Yourself From NBC Injury Contamination With Mission-Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) Gear.
8. React To Nuclear Hazard.
9. React To Chemical Or Bio Hazard/Attack.
10. Detect Chemical Agents Using M9 Detector Paper.
11. Protect Yourself From NBC Injury/Contamination When Changing MOPP Gear.
12. Protect Yourself and Others From NBC By Using A Collective Protective Shelter. (This task can be modified to fit your groups shelter operating procedure).


1. Evasion.
2. Survival.
3. Navigation.
4. Water.
5. Plant Food.
6. Animal Food.
7. Shelters.
8. Fire Building.


1. All group members should have training in the area of Nuclear Survival, this should include aspects of the threat area in which they live, fallout patterns, shelter construction, storage of food and water, daily routine and aspects of shelter environment, use of dosimeters and radiation meters, decon procedures, dose rate affects and first aid in this area.


1. All group members should have training and a basic understanding of water storage, water treatment, food storage, and food preparation. This should be an Essential part of ones basic survival training.

All of the above skills can be found in STP 21-1-SMCT Soldiers Manual Of Common Tasks, SH 21-76 Ranger Handbook, FM 21-11 First Aid for Soldiers, STP 21-24 SMCT Soldiers Manual of Common Tasks Skill Level 2-4, Live After Doomsday By Bruce D. Clayton, Ph.D. Additional information on inexpensive ways to buy, store and grow food plus many other survival topics can be found at Kurt Saxtons web site (use webcrawler searching and type in Kurt Saxton).

Anyone conducting training with a group should give a safety briefing, and limits set on certain actions to ensure safety. Also anyone conducting training or operations should work out a Risk Assessment Worksheet (US Army), and the results should be explained to the group. Additionally if your group is large enough to have junior leaders in it they should also fill out a Risk Assessment Worksheet and all results analyzed, since everyone can come up with different numbers.

Before you e-mail me or post anything on this training outline, read it over carefully, as I stated in the fourth paragraph, this training outline can be modified to fit ones groups desires and standards. So before you post you should add this or I would not have put that in our training, change it to the way you want it! Any other comments or constructive thoughts from experience is quite welcome.

Please feel free to copy and or print out this training outline for your group or individual use. This outline is for training purposes only and may not be used in any way to benefit monetarily from. The author assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of any information in this training outline. Safety is totally the responsibility of any group or individual training. The author holds all copyrights. DW.