Bear Grylls is known as an expert in survival. Did he get his skills in the military?
Bear Grylls has been in the military. From 1994–1997, Grylls served in the British Army reserves with the 21st SAS Regiment, as a trooper trained in unarmed combat, desert and winter warfare, survival, climbing, parachuting, and explosives. He retired from the SAS after a parachuting accident.
Read on to discover more details about the adventurous Bear Grylls, including his multiple near-death experiences.
The Early Years of Bear Grylls.
Edward Michael Grylls was born on June 7, 1974 in London, UK. He was given the nickname ‘Bear’ by his elder sister when he was a week old. His father was a Royal Marines Commando and politician, Mickey Grylls.
As a child, Bear enjoyed climbing and sailing with his father. The pair would climb the sea cliffs on the Isle of Wight and make boats. Bear has stated that his love of adventure came from his dad. He was also part of the Cub Scouts.
Bear went to the prestigious and private, Eton College, as a teenager and helped the school to develop their mountaineering and martial arts clubs.
By the time he was 18 years old, Bear was a confident climber, skydiver and had been awarded his Second Dan black belt in Shotokan Karate. At the time, he was one of the youngest people in the country to do so.
In 1994, Bear enlisted to the Special Air Service (SAS), as a UK Special Forces Reserve trooper. He served in the 21st regiment for three years. He was trained in combat survival, demolitions and close quarter fighting.
While serving in Africa, Bear had a terrible parachuting accident. His parachute failed to inflate. “I should have cut the main parachute and gone to the reserve but thought there was time to resolve the problem,” Bear recounted.
Bear landed on his rigid parachute pack, and fractured three vertebrae, but miraculously survived. Bear was crushed, though, when doctors told him he might never walk again.
In most cases, treatment involves surgeons fusing the broken vertebrae together, which reduces mobility.
“The doctor said I was a miracle man. I had come so close to severing my spinal cord. Because of my age and my fitness, they decided I could avoid surgery,” Bear told the Daily Mail.
After gruelling physical therapy in the UK, Bear managed to recover. “I had nightmares for months. Still, I was lucky to walk away without surgery—but ever since, I have suffered twinges and pains,” Bear revealed.
Against the advice of his doctors, Bear climbed the 22,000 feet Ama Dablam in Nepal, less than a year after the accident, although he did not rejoin the SAS.
Other Near-death Experiences
Cats are not the only creatures with more than one life, it seems, since Bear has had his fair share of near-death experiences.
In 1998, on Mt. Everest
On the last leg of the climb, Bear collapsed with severe dehydration and a blinding migraine. At this point, four other members of Bear’s team had already lost their lives, but Bear survived.
In 2003, crossing the North Atlantic Ocean in an inflatable boat
Bear and three others made a 3500 mile journey on a tiny inflatable boat. They encountered violent weather on the way, and the group nearly put out a distress call twice.
In 2009, in the Sumatra jungle
Bear was swimming in a river when he was caught into a rapid. His leg became stuck in the undergrowth, with Bear submerged. He held one hand above the water, which was spotted by a crew member, who then pulled him free.
In 2010, in Canada
While filming for his TV show Man Vs Wild, Bear was sliding down the face of a mountain when he stopped himself with an ice pick. The cameraman didn’t stop in time however and collided with Bear. The crew was convinced Bear’s skull would have been fractured, but he escaped with only a broken leg.
Watch some of Bear Grylls most “insane” moments below.