An ex-soldier tests operational units in a filmed version of a military manhunt
If YOU thought you were great at cops and robbers when you were young, this will make you think again. An extreme version of hide-and-go-seek, Discovery Channel’s, Manhunt sees former Navy SEAL Joel Lambert being filmed while trying to escape some of the most elite tracking team units in treacherous terrain. Armed with his intuition and training, Lambert tells us more about dodging thermal imaging, sniffer dogs and SWAT teams.
Real v Reel
With a former army Special Forces guy making the programme, it wasn’t a Hollywood TV show. It was somebody who really knew how to put together a show based on tracking, escape and evasion. We just took the camera guys and shoved them into a real military operation, a real police operation, all mission profile. The camera guys are trying to keep up with it, and it’s so real and raw because of that.
Your experience on the show
I’m going against actual countries’ military, de-tracking, specials ops units and even national police. I pierce their security, send them a signal, and the hunt is on. Then on it is survival, evasion and lots of anti-tracking as well as counter-tracking — like setting booby traps. And they use all their assets – helicopters, thermal imaging, security cameras, dog tracking teams and SWAT teams to hunt me.
This was a very risky show to film and it was also very risky for the units that were participating, because a lot of them were suspicious that this TV show was going to come in and make them look bad. They’re going to have their hero come in and make their unit look bad. That wasn’t the case. I get caught. I get caught as much as I get away because I’m going against operational units that are actually fighting wars, training and guarding boarders.
The toughest challenge
The harsh weather conditions – we had a class-two typhoon while I was there – and then the jungle. I don’t like the jungle. I’m not a jungle guy, and the jungle there was very, very, very thick. So that really affected my game plan. But besides those two things, the heat and the humidity, the skills of the Philippine Scout Rangers who are fantastic soldiers, made it hard!
In any survival situation or any situation, the most important thing is that you have to stay calm. As soon as you panic and as soon as the fear sets in, you lose any chance of rational thought and making good decisions. You also have to use common sense. You have to think through things and make a plan and stick with that plan because as you get emotional and as you get challenged and as things get difficult you’ll tend to make decisions based on emotion rather than your rational thoughts.
Every night at 10 pm on Discovery Channel.
— Aakanksha Devi