Well the military has changed a bit since then but then again it hasn't.
I feel you on the GPS issues, I carry a Garmin Etrex and am familiar with degrees/mins/secs, MGRS, and other nav platforms. This is crucial for getting an extraction. For a long time I was looking at the SPOT locators and refrained because of the expense and the inability to track/hone. I have a personal EPIRB that I love, I don't carry it much but when I drive to Alaska I will keep it on me. Just like with the medical equipment you have to know what you have, its limitations and benefits. The SPOT is great for some things and awful for others, plus it is mad cash! I figure between my EPIRB and my iridium sat phone I have access to everything I need.