MANHUNT: WITH JOEL LAMBERT is Discovery Channel’s heart-pounding new ‘Amazing Race’, one where a former Navy Seal (Joel Lambert) – in one grueling episode after another – tries to evade capture by some of the best tracking units in the world – that of course includes our very own Philippine Army Scout Rangers.
In each MANHUNT episode, Joel gets abandoned in an area (with about 48 hours to get to an exfiltration spot only he knows) with only his wits, a basic survival backpack, and his 10 years of Navy Seal escape and evasion training as his tools. The trackers can use any asset they deem needed – drones, tracking dogs, all-terrain motorcycles, helicopters, an overkill of armed men – just to find Joel and preserve their national pride.
And these elite members of the military and law enforcement include those from the South Korea National Police SWAT, Panama’s anti-drug trafficking unit Servicio Nacional de Fonteras, Poland’s border patrol (the Straz Graniczna), and more.
At the Discovery Channel MANHUNT press conference, attending media and members of the Philippine Army were treated to MANHUNT’s “Episode Six: Escape the Jungle”, where Joel was pitted against the honed jungle senses of the Philippine Army Scout Rangers. (By the way, nothing more technologically complicated above a radio and a carpenter’s tape measure were shown used by the Rangers while tracking Joel).
25 kilometers of thick jungle foliage, steep inclines, high humidity, extreme heat, physical exhaustion, leeches, dehydration, and a typhoon encumbered Joel’s path to escape – not to mention the level-headed, relentless, and effortlessly methodical Rangers (who practically live in the jungle) who spotted and avoided all of Joel’s booby traps, and who always managed to get back on Joel’s trail, despite Joel’s diversion of crossing through a populated area and the unexpected interference of nature herself: a typhoon.
“Your jungle sucks,” said a smiling Joel at the Q and A after the episode was shown. Naturally, the audience beamed with pride. By the end of the episode, our Rangers caught Joel crossing a stream. At gun point, he was physically restrained. (You can watch parts 1 and 2 of my entire video recording of the Q and A session, below.)
“Kala mo ha,” (“You thought you could get away”) one of the men in the audience seated behind me said, amidst a round of applause, both for Joel’s incredible efforts to mislead his pursuers to buy himself time, and for the physical exhaustion and discomfort he and his camera man endured.
According to press con host Rovilson Fernandez, in the entire Season One of Manhunt, the Philippine episode had the least number of tracking personnel deployed. Much respect for our Scout Rangers and their near-total analog (e.g., human senses-dependent, level-headed, coordinated) way of tracking their prey.
Episode 1: Pre-Show, “Before the Chase”
Episode 2: South Africa, “Safari Survival”
Episode 3: Poland, “Race to the Bridge”
Episode 4: Panama, “Swim to Survive”
Episode 5: Arizona, “Testing the Eagle”
Episode 6: Philippines, “Escape the Jungle”
Episode 7: South Korea, “Hiding in Plain Sight”
Sorry, Joel. You don’t mess with our Rangers on their own backyard, a terrain found uncooperative by people on the run. When you’re up against a tracking team attuned to the limits of the local terrain and the weather – and you’re not familiar with these limits – you could say you’re out of luck.
We highly advise that you watch the videos above, as they reveal the production pains of MANHUNT, the respect Joel earns from you (he’s forty years old cutting through foliage and climbing and jumping and swimming, as though he’s 27), as well as the challenges our Scout Rangers faced in hunting down a former member of one of the best military units in the world, the Navy SEALs.
- About Joel Lambert - CLICK TO VIEW
Joel Lambert served as a member of the Navy SEALS for 10 years. He was deployed on combat missions to locations including Afghanistan, the European theatre and Kosovo. Joel operated within SEAL Teams 2 & 4 for 8 years. During that time, he planned and participated in over 20 real-world combat missions; headed the mission critical ordnance department containing all weaponry and optics for 16 SEAL operators; trained SEAL operators and foreign special operations personnel from Singapore, Thailand, Greece, Egypt, Germany, Netherlands and Estonia.
Some of Joel’s qualifications include heavy weapons trained; stinger missile systems qualified; Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape trained; close quarters defense and battle; Dive Supervisor; Military Free-fall trained.
After his last tour in Afghanistan, Joel spent 2 years as a BUD/S instructor, the screening and selection program for the Navy SEALs. During his time as an instructor, Joel earned the designation “Master Training Specialist” in recognition of superior training and briefing skills and was consistently in the top 10% of instructor staff.
By the end of the Q and A, Joel indicated, at the prodding of one of the media representatives, that he could go for a round two against the Scout Rangers. Now that he knows what he knows, he could change his tactics, he said.
Above: Joel Lambert pose with members of the actual Scout Rangers team who successfully tracked him down.
I know for sure our Rangers won’t be backing down. Typhoon or no, our boys can rely on two of their key weapons – their level-headedness, and their tape measure.
Your move, Joel.
MANHUNT: WITH JOEL LAMBERT premiers on Monday, April 7, 8pm on Discovery.