1LT Alexander Garcia (back, second from left), A-team Assistant Detachment Commander with some members of his team prior to parachute operations. Co. C, 3rd Battalion, 20th SFG (Airborne).
Training a platoon of the Panamanian Defense Forces (PDF), 1983. Tense times as U.S. military commanders knew they would soon be fighting the trainees. Our fears became a reality on December 20, 1989 (Garcia in foreground, third from right).
Taking a much-needed break from training on a hill overlooking the Panama Canal. Panama is a beautiful country rich in resources and wonderful people. (Garcia, center).
The heat is on! EarthSkills instructor, Alex Garcia, demonstrating the bow drill fire for a large group of visitors.
for EarthSkills instructor, Alex Garcia
EarthSkills LLC instructor and outdoor enthusiast, Alex Garcia, is a 21-year U.S. Army and National Guard veteran now retired with the rank of Major. Early in his career as a newly commissioned officer, he led a 44-member light infantry platoon and subsequently served as the executive officer of a rifle company. He later joined the Army’s Special Forces and served in the position of assistant detachment commander of an elite alpha team. In 1987, Garcia received extensive jungle survival training at the Jungle Operations Training Center in Panama. Here, he later served as an instructor to the Panamanian Defense Force in civil disturbance and guerrilla warfare operations. Briefly assigned to the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virgina, he taught military intelligence methods to the senior class of officers there. In June of 2001, after serving two years as the brigade staff intelligence officer for a mechanized combat maneuver brigade, he retired from military service.
In civilian life, Garcia continued pursuing his education in wilderness skills. While attending survival schools in 2010, fellow students urged him to teach some of the skills he had mastered. Garcia and these students later organized what he calls his “tribe”, a group of self-instructing wilderness skills students. The tribe met monthly in the appalachian forests to share and practice the skills each member taught. Soon after, professional groups began to offer Garcia speaking opportunities at meetings and social gatherings to share the art of living in nature. Garcia’s passion for the natural world and his long experience as a military instructor and survival student uniquely prepared him for a greater role in life: teaching.
Early in May of 2013, Garcia proposed an idea for a wilderness skills workshop to the director of Pickens County History and Art Museum. His concept for facilitating a primitive skills class was heartily accepted and lesson plans supporting a year-long curriculum were written. In July of the same year the school — now named EarthSkills, LLC — commenced with its first class of six women and four men.
Military Training & Experience Relevant to Teaching Wilderness Skills
• Graduate, U.S. Army Infantry School: (Leadership, Instruction (41 hours), Combat Survival, Organization, Land Navigation & Orienteering).
• Graduate, Battalion Training Management System (BTMS) "Train the Trainer" program: (Curriculum, Organization & Presentation Skills; Public Speaking (24 hours)).
• Graduate, Combined Arms Service Staff School: (Preparation, Research, Organization, Training Aids, Muti-service Coordination
• Graduate, Officer Candidate School: ((11 months) Leadership, Survival, Map Reading, Navigation, Class Presentation, Public Speaking).
• Graduate, Jungle Operations Training Center: (Survival, Escape, Resistance, Evasion (3 weeks)).
• Graduate, Military Intelligence School: (Terrain & Enemy Analysis, Weather Analysis, Preparation of Command Briefings, Presentation & Public Speaking).
• Training Officer: (Infantry company training schedules, Organize, Prepare & Conduct training for 140 + soldiers (2 years)).
• Army Training Liaison: (Two tours to Panama conducting training in civil disturbance & guerrilla warfare operations (1 year)).
• Battalion Language Support Officer: (Scheduled and organized training cadre for Spanish language training (1 year).
• Instructor, Joint Forces Staff College: (Military Intelligence Instructor (4 months).
• Instructor, Palmetto Military Academy: (Military Intelligence Instructor (1 year).
• Team Training Officer: (Prepare & coordinate special operations training for 12-man Special Forces detachment (1.5 years)).
• Mobilization Officer: (Organize, coordinate movement & deployment into theater of operations (2 years)).
Civilian Training & Experience
• Wilderness Skills Instructor: (Write, organize and conduct survival & wilderness skills learning (5.5 years, 4+ professionally)).
• Wilderness Survival Training: (Three separate schools in the southeast and mid-west (6-years)).
• Wilderness Emergency Medical Training (W.E.M.T): (Wilderness rescue & first aid (2 days)).
• Herbal Remedies: (Identification, harvest, preparation and storage of wild plants for medicine (5 days)).