The daily porterage of the Marine veterinarian who became a FEMA administrator, Peter Gaynor



welcome to The things I wear a semi-regular Task & Purpose series that examines the daily transport of notable veterans. This episode introduces Peter Gaynor, a Navy veteran who served as administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and, briefly, Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security under President Donald Trump.

Below, Gaynor details his daily transportation along with some recommendations on what Americans should keep in their bug out bags.

Peter Gaynor as FEMA Administrator (FEMA)

Task and objective: What equipment have you relied on the most during your time in the U.S. military?

Peter Gaynor: I have been retired for a few years now, but the only piece of equipment I have worn throughout my 26 year career as a Navy enlisted infantryman and commissioned infantry officer was my Randall Made Knife Model 15 – Airman. I bought the knife in 1977 when I was a PFC machine gunner in the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. I think it cost me $ 75 – which was half a month’s salary!

As a growl, I think my other investment was in the boots. Before the switch to brown boots, I owned a pair of Danners Fort Lewis boots for the cold and a pair of Danner Acadias to wear in any season. Both were one of the biggest investments a growl could make at the time – they were the true “black Cadillacs”!

What is your daily transport like today? Do you wear a watch or sunglasses? What about your wallet, key ring, belt and shoes? Was any of these items chosen for a specific reason?

As a FEMA administrator, my daily transportation was quite light. Traveling in and out of Washington, DC federal buildings, the White House, and the Pentagon makes transporting anything out of the ordinary a problem – too many magnetometers and guys and girls from security carrying guns.

I’m generally averse to wearing a coat and tie, so when I can, I wear what we call FEMA Gear: a blue 5.11 short sleeve shirt with the FEMA logo and Kuhl cargo pants. I usually have on my Snake Eater Tactical Riggers belt, my CRKT KISS folding blade and my Danner Light II boots.

For a watch, I wear my Breitling Colt Skyracer. To keep my phones charged, I carry an Anker PowerCore portable charger in my backpack. Finally, I always have my Rustico Field notebook and my Schon Design Classic machined pen nearby.

Can you describe everything in your ideal bug out bag for an emergency? What should every American include in their bug out bag?

Every American should be prepared for disasters, big and small. Disasters range from a water leak that floods your home resulting in a hotel stay, to a forest fire that destroys your home or business. The best preparation resource is at At, you can find out how to make a plan and build a kit.

In our continued battle with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), we should all have additional items such as masks, soap, hand sanitizer, sanitizer wipes to sanitize surfaces. We all need to ask ourselves tough questions. Do you have access to cash if there is no electricity at ATMs or if vendors cannot process credit cards?

Finally, we all need a way to stay informed. Whether it’s your cell phone, TV, or AM / FM radio, they all need two things: power and a way to receive a signal. Do you have a way to charge your cell phone if you are without electricity? Are you able to receive a TV signal if your cable or Internet is cut? Do you have an AM / FM radio to receive a signal if you don’t have a portable radio or own a car?

I ask every American to do a simple act today to prepare yourself, your family, and your business. You can do this now by downloading the FEMA mobile app today.

Related: 9 Pieces of Gear Military Veterans Never Leave Home Without


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