Southern Air Transport was an airline based in Miami, Florida from 1947 to 1998. But it wasn’t an ordinary airline…
It was a front company for the CIA.
At one point, the airline was the largest business owned by the CIA, with assets of more than $50 million and over 8,000 employees worldwide.
The CIA used the airline to move people and cargo, including weapons for U.S. backed forces in foreign countries.
Eugene H. was a pilot of one of the CIA-operated planes.
On October 5th, 1986, a Southern Air Transport plane, loaded with weapons bound for Nicaragua was shot down. The only surviving person from the plane was Eugene.
The weapons were for the Contras and the various U.S.-backed rebel groups.
But Eugene was captured by Sandinista forces, who were leading the Nicaraguan resistance against the U.S.
After his capture, Eugene confessed that he was shipping weapons to the Contras in an operation run by the CIA
Here’s why that revelation was so important…
In 1984, Congress had passed laws forbidding the CIA from supporting the Contras.
Despite denials from U.S. leaders, Congress began investigating what became known as the Iran-Contra scandal.
The scandal involved secret sales of weapons to Iran in order to secure the release of U.S. hostages in the Middle East.
The proceeds from the sale of weapons went to fund the Contras fighting in Nicaragua.
Eugene was sentenced to 30 years in Nicaragua, but was pardoned after a few weeks.
The reality is the U.S. is very good at finding clever ways to move supplies in secrecy.
And secretly moving supplies when bugging out is vital.
So, because you and I likely won’t ever have our own airline to transport cargo for us, here’s what we need to do to our vehicles to help us move more gear.
Put simply, consider a good roof rack.
Why add a roof rack?
Roof racks are metal bars and racks that go on your vehicle’s roof.
The biggest advantage is obviously they increase your cargo capacity.
Also, roof racks can turn into a shelter when bugging out or camping. For example, there are roof rack tents that you can set up on top of your vehicle.
Depending on the specific rack, they can hold around 150 pounds.
This is a lot of weight that you can move, and creates more space in your vehicle. If you have a large family like me, this can be a big difference.
Another thing about a roof rack is that it can be a place to add extra lights.
Many aftermarket roof racks come with light bars already installed. If not, clamp-on lights are a way to provide lighting around your vehicle.
Drawbacks to roof racks when bugging out:
Many SUVs or outdoor-oriented vehicles come with factory roof rack rails. Even if your vehicle doesn’t have rails, there could still be mounting points on the roof.
So, depending on your vehicle you could be limited to whether or not you can have a roof rack.
Also, when you have a roof rack, wind is not your friend.
Wind pushes on the cargo in your roof rack opposite of the direction of travel and in some cases laterally.
Think passing a tractor-trailer on the highway and the wind that pushes your vehicle around.
To avoid this you want to keep the load on the roof low, with a good center of gravity.
Is a roof rack worth it?
First, you can install a roof rack on almost any car.
But that doesn’t mean you should.
If your vehicle isn’t meant for a roof rack I wouldn’t put one on.
And depending on your roof rack, you can add accessories that bolt to the framework on top of your vehicle.
This could be jerry can mounts, spare tire mounts, gun boxes, tool boxes, ladders, water carriers, and all kinds of things.
Roof racks can also serve as a place to keep recovery gear such as jacks, shovels, and traction boards.
So, if your car can accept a roof rack, it’s a great investment, and a great tool for carrying cargo, especially when bugging out.
Which roof rack is the best?
If you are considering a roof rack for your vehicle, you may wish to check out the Ironwalls Universal Roof Rack.
This is an aluminum rack with a 150LBS capacity. It’s compatible with most 4-door sedans, SUVs, and pickups.
Bottom line: having a bug-out vehicle is critical when disaster strikes.
And depending on your capacity requirements a roof rack can make a big difference.
If you have a large family, or plan to take a lot of gear, then a roof rack is a worthwhile addition.