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Does alien life have to look like us? Or even be intelligent? This is an excellent book all about survival. That is the survival of the human spirit against adversity.
When the chips were down Andy and the other men with him had to escape and evade detection across hundreds of miles of open desert in the extreme cold before they could get to safety. What happened was they were sent behind enemy lines to do what we call an OP, which means an observation post on an MSR — main supply route. They were really looking for the movement of Scud missiles because you can put a launcher on an articulated truck and it moves across the desert. Unfortunately, they were dropped off in the dark and when it became light they saw that they were practically on top of an Iraqi position.
So they were compromised and the balloon went up and they had to what we call bug out, which is when you have to get all your equipment together rather sharpish and make a run for it! They made a run for it and it was a good few days before they made it to safety. All the time they were being pursued across the Iraqi desert in vehicles and Andy and his gang had to escape and evade, which we are trained to do as part of our SAS selection.
With lesser men, the whole lot of them probably would have died. As it was, one of the guys froze to death but nearly all the rest either escaped or were captured.
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So this is a real survival story. The guys who escaped and are alive today had all done SAS selection and were fit guys so they are around today to tell the story. I know that many of you from the SAS say that it is really impossible for civilians to understand the type of situations you go through, but can you try and describe what it is like. It was hot at night and during the day it gets up to 40 degrees. Well, this is all about the Cold War. It is a similar story to what Gaz Hunter was into — going across the East German border, lurking around, possibly getting captured and tortured by the Russians.
There was just stuff in there that really grabbed my attention.
Category:British science fiction novels
For example, when they were being covertly filmed while they were making love in the hotel. That is stuff that can be used against you. It has been known and, of course, there are some willing locals around Hereford where the SAS are based. When you are getting bitten by mosquitoes in some stinking jungle or dying of thirst there is no glamour there.
The SAS look after him.
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And when you left the SAS and worked for one of the private security firms, who are part of the circuit of ex-SAS people, you had some pretty glamorous jobs. I thought we would have an armoured car and protection, but no. They belonged to the Sultan of Brunei and they were a present for his brother. And this is another illustration of the human spirit and what SAS guys have to put up with. In fact, he has now got the record for the longest escape and evasion in the SAS, which was previously held by someone in the Second World War who did a similar thing in the Western Desert.
So, he was part of the Bravo 2 Zero patrol and when they had to bug out they were laying up during the day and marching at night. Chris Ryan eventually somehow got detached from the rest of the group in a blizzard. He wandered off and got lost. You have to remember this is during some of the worst weather they had had for 30 years. He went it alone and decided to go for the Syrian border and, by sheer luck, in the end he made it and crossed the border to freedom.
I think it shows a huge amount of spirit and stamina.