Former Marine John McCann shows Dirt Time students different ways of signaling for rescue during a 2011 session.
With the sun as light source, a mirror can be used to signal by variations in the orientation of the mirror. The signal can be used over long distances, possibly up to 38 miles or more on a clear day. This technique was used by Native American tribes and numerous militaries to transmit information between distant outposts.
McCann is the owner of Survival Resources in Hyde Park, New York. There, he teaches survival courses to adventurers of all ages.
Raised in upstate New York, John spent his youth camping, fishing, hunting with his father. At the time, there was no Cub Scout troop in the area, so John’s mother decided to start and become a leader of one in Duchess County. Later, his father was able to become a Scoutmaster because he had been an Eagle Scout as a youth. This love of scouting and the outdoors led John’s father to spend many family summer vacations camping in the Adirondacks and Catskills. This exposure to the outdoors is where John continuously polished and honed his woods skills.
The Vietnam War was in full swing and rather than wait for his draft number to come up and end up in the Army, John enlisted in the Marines.
Once in the Marines, John did very little to hide the fact he was disenfranchised with the type of Marine being turned out by the Corps (It was a bad time for the military). Eventually, John’s CO had had enough and told John, “If you don’t like what you see, why don’t you become a drill instructor and teach them your way.” John did just that!
After the Marines, John went on to college where he eventually earned a degree in Criminal Justice. While in school, John started a private investigation business—later it went on to become the biggest and most successful PI service in the area.