You don't get off this easy, what specific survival skills are you speaking of? As mentioned elsewhere, we all get overdoses of advanced first aid and Chemical, Biological, and Radiological reaction training. Do we get Primitive Firemaking 101? No, but then neither do the SEALs, Force Recon, or Delta. I'd bet everything I own that if dropped into the ocean 50 miles offshore, you'd tap out way before I would. This is frankly ridiculous. If we are still in the context of a stressful and life threatening circumstance, it's doubly so. I will frame it like this: I was not an officer, rather the naval equivalent of a Sargent. My "battle station" during General Quarters, was as a member of the bridge crew. Say that I am up there in a real shooting match with missiles and the whole nine yards. The Captain, and the Officer of the Watch are up there to. Say they get shredded by an attack. Hey, suddenly I am in charge as the next most senior person on the bridge until executive officer makes his way there—if he can. Am I going to sit there and mope because my brass wearing overlords were just greased? No. Am I going to get the Navy Cross for formulating and leading America's next great naval battle from my shattered bridge? No. Am I going to alter course and speed if necessary? Yes. Am I going to get my survivors on the comms and assess the larger damage to the ship? Yes. Am I going to attempt to locate the next most senior surviving line officer to take command? Yes. If you have anything at all going on upstairs the military will train you to remain calm under extreme pressure and to step in and take over the entire freaking command if necessary. I know this because the scenario above was war gamed to me totally by surprise by the squadron commander, who pointed at the Skipper and his senior LT and said "you've both been killed," turns to me and says "now what? Suddenly, I was temporarily in charge (for about half an hour) of a warship valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars. How many 20 year olds ever get to do that? This is a narrow view of things. Most veterans are not careerists. They've been on both sides of the line, writing a blank check with their lives while in the service, and making ends meet as civilians. I too saw my share of "lifers" who at best were marking time. Those are the folks who won't thrive anywhere, and if they make it that far, are "non-promoted" out at or around 20 years in. That was by no means the majority of the Navy in my experience. The people who took their jobs seriously were the greater majority by far, and took their training seriously, particularly when aboard ship, where there was no police, fire department or mechanics to call. Everyone who sought cross training in other shipboard systems and job classifications took that seriously as well. The military is like any other organized experience one encounters—what you get out of it is directly proportional to what you put into it.