Universal Survival Innovations (USI) is an Advanced Survival Training and Program Development company which deals in cutting edge technologies, practices and doctrine used around the world to protect human life and physical assets.
USI understands that Wilderness Survival Training is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the protection and well-being of individuals, especially women. Through years of training, research and experience, USI designs courses around the needs of individuals, groups and organizations that may be in harm’s way or need to better prepare themselves for an uncertain future.
USI currently conducts instruction in three states. Columbia South Carolina and Savannah Georgia are the preferred venues for Street Smarts, a PROACTIVE women's survival course focusing on threat detection, threat avoidance, and defeating common restraints. The Cochran Facility in central Georgia is the primary location for Get Off the X and MISST. Get Off the X is an escape and evasion course designed specifically for families and groups that focuses on defeating common restraints, escape, evasion, and basic survival while self-extracting or signalling for rescue. MISST is an in-depth survival course designed with traveling missionary groups in mind that combines the skills of Street Smarts and Get Off the X. The mountains of Georgia, South Carolina, and Virginia are the primary venues for wilderness survival. If travel is not an option for your participants then USI will come to you with a Mobile Training Team (MTT) reducing overall cost associated with travel and lodging.
USI cadre is comprised of S.E.R.E. Specialists, Communication and Electronics Experts, Military and Security Professionals, Psychological Consultants, and Administrators for Non-Profit Development. USI has 30+ years of continuous skills and experience in survival training. Our experts developed the USI 7+1 Survival Priorities, which have been applied to every survival training program.
Supplying fully tested products AND training is an innovative approach to the Survival Industry. Combined with USI's experience in corporate, government, military, and communications operations, this makes USI the first choice in personal safety, survival, emergency preparedness, and disaster mitigation. USI Programs are NOT rehashes of old outdated materials but specifically designed NEW survival training programs using 21st century information, research and techniques. THERE ARE NO OTHER COURSES LIKE THEM. PERIOD!
Ben has been teaching Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) since 1981 when he joined the USAF as a “Survival Instructor”. In that Thirty plus year period he has taught all aspects of SERE, trained at both domestic and international schools, written SERE doctrine and instruction, researched and developed cutting edge techniques for dealing with both psychological and physical challenges and injuries, tested equipment and wrote evaluations on results. He is a Master Instructor.
The groups and individuals whom Ben has instructed and/or developed programs for include people from various military branches, government agencies, and civilians from all different backgrounds. Members of the Rangers, Green Berets, Pararescue, Combat Control, Navy SEALs, Air Force Crew Members and MARSOC are just some who Ben has taught. Outside the military he has taught people from the DEA, Local Law Enforcement, Department of Natural Resources, the FBI and other Federal Agencies. Equally adept at teaching civilian groups, Ben has instructed various lessons and developed programs for groups such as the Girls Scouts of America, South Carolina public schools, Covenant Heights and others.
Unlike many Instructors in the “survival training” world, Ben brings to the table both experience from training as well as experience from some of the toughest streets and locations in the world. Ben has won Instructor of the Year three times, nominated for twelve outstanding Airman awards, awarded numerous decorations and developed some of the most complex and sophisticated training courses in the world. Based on this, Ben has created courses in Travel Safety, Hostage Survival, Field Survival and now exclusive to the Universal Survival Innovations World, “Street Smarts” and “Get of the X”, both of which have their bases in real training for highly specialized people.
Ben just isn’t another Instructor. In many cases He wrote the book.
There are courses and there are COURSES and the difference is the experience and people developing them. In a nut shell the world of Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape is a vast and complex matrix of field craft (basic survival), urban, interrogation, defense, escape, camouflage, movement, etc. It is all designed around the survivability of an Isolated person(s) and their ability to “Survive and Return with Honor”.
In this Survival Training arena there are two groups of Instructors. Those who have built their courses based on what they remember from their training and what they have learned from books and those who are professionally trained and made a career of being a “Survival Instructor”. The difference is obvious.
Instructors who have taught courses, at the many Military and Governmental facilities, come from many different branches, commands and agencies. To a person all of these people are highly dedicated and professional individuals. However, with the exception of one group all are controlled short term tours and none have a career field designated as SERE except one, The United States Air Force SERE Specialist.
SERE Specialists are “born and bred” into the career field and their Air Force Specialty Code AFSC (MOS) and permanent assignments are SURVIVAL (SERE) related 100%. Their indoctrination course, instructor course and subsequent training are all related to protecting human life and training people to return. The Instructor qualification course is 6 months long with a 4-6 month certification follow up.
All in all it takes up to a year before an USAF SERE Specialist is qualified to teach basic field training and its components. Parachuting, Resistance, Water, Academics and the rest all have their individual “ramp ups” and it can take years to accomplish them all. Overall it is the longest continual training process in the military.
If an instructor develops enough expertise, experience and background then they may be assigned to research and write doctrine and lessons for the USAF and the rest of the military through the USAF SERE program development unit simply known as Curriculum. This is where USI stands out!
The lead Instructor of USI didn’t just teach SERE he wrote the doctrine on what many “survival schools” are now teaching and has continued to develop and produce curriculum based on 33 years of experience an thousands of hours of research for government agencies, military units and civilian courses.
NOW he is developing cutting edge 21st century training programs to help you survive in a very uncertain and unstable world. We are not just another training group we are USI and not one can do what we do.
USI and its instructors have been involved in or have been the sole providers for some of the most innovative and far reaching survival training programs in existence.
Starting in the early 2000s, USI (previously SOS Inc.) instructors developed adventure programs for at-risk students in the Lancaster SC school district. These first of their kind survival training programs taught students wilderness survival skills and team building, all in a safe environment. Many of the participants were later re-integrated into their primary grades and graduated on time.
During this time period, USI instructors also worked hand in hand with Boys Scouts of America troops in South Carolina to develop proper wilderness survival skills and techniques. Through proper survival training and equipment selection, these young men were prepared for safe and responsible adventures in the wild.
During the War on Terror, USI staff members were responsible for the development of Special Operations survival training programs and Government courses. These programs were designed to protect individuals from harm and provide them with advanced procedures and methodology for survival.
In 2013, USI was invited by the Girls Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington to develop an eLearning survival training program designed to train the Girl Scout adult guides in the proper methods of Fire Craft Instruction. This innovative and cost saving program called “Train the Trainer” was successfully run in the summer of 2014, received rave reviews, and as a result additional survival training has been requested in support of their new “Wilderness Program”. Also in 2013, USI began producing survival training videos addressing the USI 7+1 Survival Priorities. Working in conjunction with Crater Lion Productions in Hollywood, USI constructed their own production facility to support the growing need for videos in the training arena.
In 2014, USI introduced two new courses designed around the safety and protection of human life. Street Smarts, originally designed as a proactive women’s safety and personal protection course, is based on the very successful government counter surveillance courses. Street Smarts not only trains individuals what to look for and how to avoid conflict, but also how to defeat common restraints if they do become captive. This non-combatant course is the first of its kind to “hit the streets”. The second course, Get Off the X, is a bonding course for parents and their children. Participants learn the basics of field survival while relying on their child or parent as their team mate. Utilizing a “Combat” format parents and their children learn how to build fires, navigate, procure water and many other survival tasks just like our soldiers do in their SERE courses. It’s all about having fun, bonding, learning trust and getting a little dirty.
Universal Survival Innovation’s unique and proven programs are cutting-edge and stay current with the world we live in. USI is the perfect choice for groups and individuals who desire to have fun, become educated, and wish to participate in the highest quality survival training available!