David Kobler from "Doomsday Preppers" is one of the experts featured in the National Geographic Channel reality series. He advises people on how to systematically prepare to survive cataclysmic disasters, ranging from devastating hurricanes to more protracted crises, such as a massive electromagnetic attack that might wreak havoc upon our technological infrastructure, paralyze government and cause the collapse of order.

David Kobler, a U.S. Army veteran who experienced harrowing door-to-door urban combat in Iraq, is soft-spoken and tends toward the laconic. When he talks, his lingo is laced with military acronyms and references to grisly-sounding terms such as "kill zone."

Kobler is a transplanted upstate New Yorker, and lived in both a small town and in inner-city Buffalo. From the time he was young, his big passion was wilderness survival. "In high school, on Friday nights most people would go to the football games," he recalls. "I and a couple of buddies would go off to the mountains and spend the weekend doing primitive camping. We'd take hardly any supplies, maybe just a tent and a tarp or poncho. We wanted to learn to live off the land."

Kobler briefly studied criminal justice in college, before his love of practical hands-on work led him to take a job as a maintenance worker in a local school district. "I'm not an engineer, but I like building things," he explains. "I've done carpentry, built wooden structures." Then, in 2000, he decided to follow an old family tradition, and enlisted in the U.S. Army. "We have a long history of serving," he says. "My grandfather was at Pearl Harbor. I felt that same call, and decided to follow my dream."

Kobler rose to the rank of staff sergeant during his seven-year stint in the 101st Airborne Division, and in the spring of 2003, served in one of the units that spearheaded the invasion of Iraq. It was an experience that put his survivalist skills and ingenuity to good use. "We were out so far ahead that we didn't have a supply train keeping up with us," Kobler recalled. "We commandeered Iraqi vehicles to move us. We'd take flatbed semis and put our equipment on them." After racing through the desert, Kobler and his squad battled Iraqi forces and insurgents in cities such as Baghdad and Fallujah.

Those experiences not only honed Kobler's skills with weaponry and hand-to-hand fighting, but also gave him a sense of how quickly law and order might disintegrate in a catastrophe. "Criminals suddenly came out, to take advantage of the confusion," he recalls. "We also saw a lot of revenge killings, in which people capitalized on the situation to settle old grudges." In a worst-case scenario, he warns, a collapse of American society "would look like Iraq."

After an injury compelled Kobler to retire from the military, he ended up in South Carolina, where he met Scott Hunt and got the inspiration to apply his training to working with preppers.

American Blackout Trailer: Would You Survive If the Lights Went Out?


Where does he live? Find out here.

Hometown: New York
Current Residence: South Carolina

'Doomsday Preppers' Season 4 Goes Back to Basics — Premiering Thursday, July 24, the new season of the National Geographic Channel digs deep into the basics of prepping: forget expensive, elaborate bunkers and builds — this is just good ol' prepping. Read more...
'Doomsday Preppers' Season 3 Returns with MacGyver Mania — Premiering Tuesday, October 29, the new season of the NGC series is back with more tricked-out vehicles, fortresses and elaborate escape routes to survive the end of days. Read more...
Family Prepares to Survive Armageddon in 'Doomsday Castle' — Premiering Tuesday, August 13, the new National Geographic Channel reality spin-off series comes from the producers of "Doomsday Preppers." Read more...

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