Simple Survival Author - Gary Benton


About Author Gary Benton


Gary Benton received 15 Military Medals and Awards, with numerous clusters during his career.

Some of them are:

  • Meritorious Service Medal (4 clusters)

  • Air Force Commendation Medal (one cluster)

  • Air Force Achievement Medal (two clusters)

  • Presidential Unit Award

  • Outstanding Unit Award (Valor device)

  • Humanitarian Service Medal

  • Expeditionary Medal (star)

  • Outstanding Volunteer Medal


Military Bio of Gary Benton, SMSgt, USAF, Retired

Provided by Gary Benton

After completing basic and technical training, Gary was assigned to Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, 100SRW, for upgrade training as a Life Support Apprentice. He was quickly made responsible for instruction of aircrew members flying the DC-130, and T-33 aircraft, in parachuting procedures and survival skills as a Life Support Instructor. He was soon promoted to Airmen In Charge of (the) Training Section. He was promoted to E-3 (A1C) and E-4 (Sgt) while assigned at DM. Read about the Life Support Career Field.

1973-Assigned to U-Tapao, RTNB, Thailand. Gary taught the usage of survival gear, survival, parachuting techniques, and survival procedures to B-52 aircrew members. He lived in Bang Chang, Thailand and was with the 307th BW.

1975-Assigned to Cannon AFB, NM, 27th TFW and 481st TFTS, where he was responsible for teaching F-111D aircrew members egress and ejection procedures. Benton developed the first static F-111D egress and ejection procedural trainer in the history of the USAF. He used an ejected module to make this training device. Also, he used another module to teach water survival techniques to crew members (See image above). He was promoted to SSgt (E-5) and award his first Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) of five.

1979-Assigned to Pope AFB, NC, 317th TAW. Benton was responsible for keeping the Wing's aircraft configured with all required survival gear as well as conducting survival training, including parachuting techniques to aircrew members. Gary worked closely with the local Combat Control Team and other special mission units. His sill level increased to 1T171.

1983-Due to a cutback in personnel, he was cross-trained into Industrial/Occupational Safety. During his reassignment he was promoted to TSgt (E-6) and he spent the remainder of his career in Safety.


Author Gary Benton has an associates degree in search and rescue, survival operations, a bachelor's degree in occupational safety and health and a master's degree in psychology near completion.


Gary Benton

Senior Master Sergeant, USAF, Retired


Gary directly supported Operation Babylift and the Mayaguez incident

Gary has attended the following United States Air Force Survival Training:

Basic Survival Training
Water Survival Training
Jungle Survival Training
Arctic Survival Training


And over 11 years of classroom instruction as a Life Support Instructor, where he trained thousands of men and women.


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Our Author


(Gary's retirement photo above, he's on the right )

Author Gary Benton spent over 26 years on active military duty with the United States Air Force and spent the first 12 years of his career as a Life Support Survival Instructor, where he taught aircrew members how to use survival gear as well as how to stay alive in all parts of the world. Gary has over 45 years of hunting, hiking, camping, fishing, and meandering in the woods and is the author of two survival books, "Simple Survival, A Family Outdoors Guide" and "Impending Disasters." Gary also freelances outdoor and wilderness articles to various outdoor magazines and websites.

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