Official U.S. Army Natick Report on Field Equipment Lessons Learned in Afghanistan

Originally Posted: 07/21/2002, UPDATED May 10, 2006


Problems: ignored

1st Tactical Studies Group (Airborne) Director Mike Sparks writes:

The following is an unvarnished report from a Senior NCO who fought in Anaconda. I made some punctuation and spelling corrections. Clarifications in brackets [ ]. Following his AAR is links to see the "official" report visually as power point slides and below that, the written text. This report was later published in SOF magazine to better get the word out to the troops.

Rakkasan lessons learned

By a 187th Regiment 1st Sergeant

"I would like to pass on a few things learned during our recent deployment. It won't be in a specific order so bare with me.

I guess the biggest lesson I learned is nothing changes From how you train at jrtc. We all try to invent new dilemmas and ttp's because it's a real deployment but we end up out-smarting ourselves. Go with what you know, stick with how you train.

Some of the things in particular were Soldier's load, because you're in the mountains of Afghanistan you try to invent new packing lists, or new uniforms. Some units went in with gore-tex and polypro only, when the weather got bad they were the only ones to have cold weather injuries that needed to be evaced. We've all figured out how to stay warm during the winter so don't change your uniforms. It was never as cold as I've seen it here or Ft Bragg during the winter.

Because of the high altitude's and rough terrain we all should have been combat light.

That's the first thing you learn at jrtc [Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Polk, Louisiana], you can't fight with a ruck on your back.

We packed to stay warm at night. Which was a mistake; you take only enough to survive until the sun comes up.

We had extreme difficulty moving with all our weight. If our movement would have been to relieve a unit in contact or a time sensitive mission we would not have been able to move in a timely manner. It took us 8 hours to move 5 clicks. [Editor that's less than 1 mph]

With just the [Interceptor hard body armor] vest and [Enhanced Tactical Load Bearing Vest or the MOLLE vest] lbv we were easily carrying 80 lbs. Throw on the ruck and your sucking.

We out-smarted ourselves on how much water to carry. We took in over 12 quarts per man on our initial insertion, which greatly increased our weight. In the old days you did a three-day mission with 6 quarts of water, and that was on Ft Campbell in the summer. Granted we were all heat exhaustion [casualties] at the end but it's more than do-oable. I say go In with six quarts, if your re-supply is working than drink as much as possible keeping the six quarts in case re-supply gets weathered out. We also over tasked our helicopter support bringing in un-needed re-supply because we've lost a lot of our needed field craft.

We didn't even think to take iodine tablets [to purify water from melted snow etc.] until after we got on the ground.

If you're in a good fight your going to need all your birds for medevac and ammo re-supply.

Bottom line is we have to train at the right Soldiers load, relearn how to conserve water. [Editor: CARRY THE DAMN AMMO YOU WOULD IN COMBAT NOW IN PEACETIME!]

How many batteries does it take to sustain for three days etc.? Take what you need to survive through the night and then wear the same stuff again.

The next day, you can only wear so much snivel gear. It doesn't do any good to carry enough to have a different ward robe [set of BDUs] every day. Have the bn invest in gore-tex socks, and smart wool socks; our battalion directed for every one to wear gore-tex boots [Intermediate Cold Weather Boots] during the mission, you can imagine how painful that was. I gave up my boots to a new Soldier who didn't have any so I wore jungle boots, gore-tex socks and a pair of smart wool socks and mv feet never got wet or cold even in the snow.

You need two pairs [of boots] so you can dry them out every day.

All personnel involved hated the lbv its so constricting when you wear it with the vest, then when you put a ruck on it cuts off even more circulation.

I would also recommend wearing the body armor during all training, I doubt if we'll ever fight without it again.

It significantly affects everything that you do.

Equipment wise, our greatest shortcomings were optics and organic or direct support long-range weapons. After the initial fight all our targets were at a minimum of 1500m all the way out to as far as you could see. Our 60[mm] and 81[mm]'s accounted for most of the kills. Next was a Canadian Sniper team with a MacMillian .50 cal [sniper rifle]. They got kills all the way out to 2500m.

The problem with our [light] mortars was there as a 24 hour [Close Air Support] cas cap. And they wouldn't fly near us if we were firing indirect. Even though our max ordnant: [how high mortar rounds arc into the sky] was far beneath their patterns. Something for you and your alo [Air Liaison Officer] to work out. The other problem was the Air Force could never fly in small groups of Personnel, I watched and called corrections on numerous sorties and they could never hit the targets. My verdict is if you want it killed use your mortars. Pay close attention to ti-hz direction of attack your ALO is bringing in the CAS. Every time it was perpendicular to us we were hit with shrapnel. Not to mention the time they dropped a 2,000 lbs [bomb] in the middle of our company, it didn't go off by a sheer miracle I'm sure. [marine] Cobras and 2.75" [rockets] shot at us. Also, once again, they were shooting perpendicular to our trace. Aviation provided the most near misses of all the things we did.

I recommend all sl's [Squad Leaders] and ps's [Platoon Sergeants] carry binoculars with the mils reticle. Countless times tl's [Team Leaders] and sl's had the opportunity to call in mortars. More importantly is leaders knowing how to do it. Our bn has checked all the blocks as far as that goes. Guess what they still couldn't do it. Especially the ps's contrary to popular belief its not the pl [Platoon leader] who's going to call it in, its the Soldier in the position who will. If you don't have the binos guess what? You have to wait for somebody to run to the M240[B Medium Machine Gun] position to go get them. Also same goes with not knowing how to do It, you have to wait for the FO [artillery or mortar Forward Observer] to move to that position.

Plugger [AN/PSN-11 Global Positioning System] battle drill is the way to go, even with the civilian models [Signals are unscrambled now thanks to President Clinton]; the contour interval on the maps is outrageous so terrain association was difficult. Range Estimation was probably the most important or critical thing you do. If you close on your estimation you'll get the target. We all carried in 2 mortar rounds apiece and that was more than enough. We took mix of everything; the only thing we used was wp [White Phosphorous] and he [High Explosive]. All together we took in at least 120 rounds as a company air assault.

Its was always seats out due to the limited # of ac [aircraft] and the # of personnel we had to get in. That presents a few problems. Offloading a CH-47 on a hot lz [landing zone] packed to the gills is an extremely slow process (2-3 minutes). Landing was the most dangerous part. While we were there just because of the conditions and terrain, if you crash without seats and seatbelts your going to have a lot of broken bones. If possible maybe you could send in the first few lifts with seats in, that will get the helo off the lz much quicker then following ac seats out. Food for thought.

Just like in the Vietnam war, the pilots were courageous and will do all and even more of what you ask of them. However, re-supply was a big difficulty. Problem was they never put the right package at the right place and you know what that means, especially when its 120mm mortar rounds that fell into a deep ravine. Fix was put a lno [Liaison Officer] on the bird with grids frequencies's and call signs. Our S-4 had a group of supply sergeants that would accompany the re-supply's. Also as the S-3 push the birds down to the company freqs. That killed us the whole time. Bn would never push the birds down to us so they were always landing in the wrong place or dropping off resupply in the wrong place. Same with AH-64s [Apache Attack helicopter gunships] we always say give them to the user but we never do it. We always had to relay thru the S-3 to give corrections.

Flying was by far the most dangerous thing we did while we were there.

The environment was extremely harsh. The cold wasn't that bad, its the hard cold dry wind that will eat you up like you wouldn't believe. Chapstick, chapstick, chapstick, sun screen, sun screen, sun screen.

[4x2 All-Terrain Vehicles made by John Deere] Gators, didn't hold up to good, that place eats up tires like you wouldn't believe. [Editor: why we need TRACKED vehicles] They're a great thing to have when their running. Also there real easy getting them into to the fight, getting out is a different story, your always scrounging for ac when its time to go. So be prepared to leave a few Gators. [WTFO?]

We used the [Javelin missile Command Launch Unit infared thermal sights] clu's a lot, every night for that matter. Beautiful piece of equipment. They consume a lot of batteries and add a lot of weight. After it snowed, two in the company stopped working until they dried out a few days later. Other than that they held up real well.

Go in with a good or should I say great [battlesight] zero on all your weapon's. We never got a chance to re zero while we were there. Also zero all your spare weapons for replacements etc. On our last mission I hit a dud M203 [grenade] at 75m with one round from my M4 using my M68 [Close Combat Optic]. It held a zero great. A 1SG [1st Sergeant] doesn't normally abuse his weapon like a young Soldier does though. However, if they treat their weapons like tiller nintendos they should be alright.

Our bn bought the ammo bags for the M240[B Medium Machine Guns] from London Bridge, they worked great.

Knee pads are a must, needless to say not all personnel had some msr stoves are the shit, and they burn any kind of fuel. Quality sun glasses probably more important [as] would be safety or shooting glasses. Bolle goggles are the way to go if you can afford it.

We had one guy who was hypothermic one night, the medics and a wool blanket saved his ass. Green wool still can't be beat.

Fleece gloves are the best.

We also eventually (after we were done) received Barrett .50 cals [2+ km range] for our snipers. Their M24's [308 caliber, 7.62mm range only 1 km] never got used because of the extreme ranges. I think each company should have one. Or a sniper team or a M2 [Heavy Machine Gun] with crew.

Lots of thermite grenades and C-4, we used them a lot our engineers were great

Proficiency with the M203's [Grenade Launchers] right now there isn't a viable sight for the M-4 [5.56mm Carbine], so lots of practice with Kentucky windage. Lots of HE also mounting brackets for the [an/] peq-2 [Night laser aiming device] for the AT-4's [M136 84mm disposable rockets] the smaw-d [Disposable version of 83mm shoulder fired medium assault weapon rocket launcher] comes with one. Also the smaw-d is smaller, easier to carry and hits significantly harder. Won't collapse a cave but will definitely clear it.

Soldiers did great you can always depend on them. They are extremely brave and want to fight. Gotta do realistic training, they'll do it just like we teach them, they'll patch a bullet hole just like you taught them in EIB, but they won't take off the Soldier's vest to check for more bullet holes etc.

Because of the extreme ranges you need the 3x adapters for the [AN/PVS-7B Night Vision Goggles] nvg's

There's a lot more I could talk about but probably better left unsaid on e-mail. Hope this gives you some food for thought"

PROBLEMS FOREWARNED:

The 1st Tactical Studies Group (Airborne) since 1997 has online;

www.reocities.com/equipmentshop
www.combatreform.com/aesindex.htm

offered and detailed through U.S. Army official channels; commercial, off-the-shelf and equipment modification solutions to almost every problem listed (and then some like ahumm, SOLVING THE MOUNTAIN WARFARE CHALLENGE and the universal SOLDIER'S LOAD problems) in the appalling recent U.S. Army Natick Afghanistan Report (which is viewable here). As we also forewarned, the u.s. marine designed "MOLLE" gear has been a COMPLETE and utter failure in Afghanistan service--even for the short time marines made a token ground appearance and fled back to their ships as the U.S. Army dodges the RPGs, mortars and AKM rounds to hunt down and kill the enemy terrorists.

The bottom line is, closed-minded and small-minded people (we know all about them, don't we?) are running the Congressionally-mandated and funded Army's Soldier Enhancement Program (SEP) which could have PREVENTED this sad state of affairs by some low-cost purchases.

Want to make a suggestion to SEP?

SEP Home Page

Make a Soldier Equipment Improvement suggestion to SEP

How about posting a suggestion to someone that DOES CARE?

Got bad gear, Soldier? Nobody listening? Post your ideas at Brigade Quartermasters: they'll get good gear to the good guys (you)

www.actiongear.com/bbactiongear2/main.asp

Defense Week
August 12, 2002
Pg. 1

Afghanistan Exposed Flaws In Army Field Gear: Report

By Nathan Hodge

An internal Army survey has found a number of flaws in gear used by infantry Soldiers in Afghanistan during combat operations.

According to the document, U.S. Soldiers found much to praise about their gear. But they also singled out problems with vital pieces of equipment such as body armor and boots. In addition, they reported weapons that malfunctioned or were difficult to maintain, including the M4 Carbine, M9 Pistol and the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon.

The survey was conducted this spring, but its findings have not been publicized. It was provided to Defense Week by someone concerned about the quality of personnel gear. The document provides an inside look at shortfalls in equipment on which Soldiers' lives and missions often depend.

However, the Army office that is reviewing the report says the findings are nothing new and that the service is already in the process of fielding better gear.

In mid-March, U.S. Central Command asked the Natick Soldier Center, the Army's laboratory for developing and testing new Soldier equipment, to evaluate the performance of Soldiers' small arms and field gear. Army Lt. Col. Charlie Dean of Natick traveled to Afghanistan to interview soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division and the 10th Mountain Division who took part in Operation Anaconda, the last set-piece battle in Afghanistan; Natick also surveyed 10th Mountain Soldiers after they returned to Ft. Drum, N.Y.

The Army declined to make Dean available for an interview, saying he was going on temporary duty overseas.

Steve Pinter, deputy project manager for Soldier Systems at the Army's Program Executive Office-Soldier (PEO-Soldier) at Ft. Belvoir, Va., downplayed the findings, saying: "From the PEO's perspective, there was very little, if any, new information in the report." [Courtney Massengale]

PEO-Soldier manages the field gear in question. In an interview, Pinter said the Army is already readying better equipment. But the service just hasn't given it to Soldiers yet.

"It's a function of fielding it to the entire force in quantity," he said.

Ill-fitting armor

For instance, the report found the standard-issue ("ALICE") rucksack was a poor fit with the Army's new Interceptor Body Armor.

The 16.4-pound body armor consists of a Kevlar vest, detachable neck and groin guards and a pair of ceramic plates that slide into front and rear pockets. The vest alone can protect against shrapnel and 9mm pistol rounds. When inserted, the ceramic plates can halt 7.62mm rifle bullets-the same ammunition used in the Kalashnikov assault rifles favored by al Qaeda fighters.

During Operation Anaconda, Soldiers reportedly removed the back plate to increase their mobility, because the ALICE backpack was a poor fit. Pinter explained that the body armor is designed to complement a new and improved rucksack called the Load Carriage System, not the older ALICE pack.

"The direction from senior Army leadership was everyone going into theater would have the new body armor, for obvious reasons," he said. "So if you were in a unit that had the new body armor and the old rucksack, there were some compatibility issues when you wore the back plate of your body armor. ... When you put the new body armor with the new load carriage, they are compatible."

Undoubtedly, the new body armor saved many lives. According to after-action reports, almost all of the wounds suffered by Soldiers during Anaconda were in the extremities, suggesting that the helmet and body armor did a good job of protecting the head and vital organs. But at least one Soldier may have suffered a fatal wound because of a poor fit.

According to the report: "Proper sizing [for body armor] was an issue. One Soldier was killed when he was shot through the side and the bullet passed between the front and rear armor by the sizing straps."

No vest can offer complete protection from a high-powered rifle round. But if worn correctly, the body-armor system is supposed to reduce the chance of that happening.

"I am not familiar with that particular instance," said Pinter. "However, the body armor that we're talking about does not cover the entire body, for obvious reasons. The plates basically cover the chest area and the back area ... and there are areas that the Soldier's still vulnerable."

The body armor problem was one of several. Operation Anaconda was conducted at high altitudes, and Soldiers complained their desert boots were not suited to the task. [Editor they are HOT WEATHER not mountain boots!]

In addition, Soldiers paid for a lot of key items out of pocket, including flashlights, CamelBak hydration systems, weapons-cleaning kits, flexible gloves and miniature binoculars. Pinter pointed out that the Army is phasing in items like the CamelBak, but it will be "numerous years" before every Soldier can be issued one.

"Actually the Army is currently issuing CamelBak with the new Load Carriage System [backpack]," he said. "However, we are in the very early stages of fielding the new Load Carriage System, and so not every soldier has CamelBak." [Editor: "LCS" is a misleading term to cover up the fact that its the failed marine designed MOLLE system that's being fielded]

Into the circular file?

Pinter said PEO-Soldier's current product manager, Lt. Col. Dave Anderson, "is in receipt of the report. He and his team are taking a hard look at the issues that were brought up. I'd like to note, though, that some of these issues may be anecdotal." [Editor: more pooh, poohing]

Also, Pinter said it is impossible for the Army to tailor gear to everyone's satisfaction: "When you talk about the individual uniforms and clothing and equipment, everyone has their own taste. It's the responsibility of the leadership to field something that's credible and operationally suitable across the force. Generally speaking, if you have a hundred Soldiers, not all hundred Soldiers are going to like the way the equipment is worn and utilized." [Patronizing attitude displayed here]

That is the sort of view that infuriates Mike Sparks, a former active-duty infantry officer who runs a discussion group and web site (reocities.com/air_mech_strike) devoted to Army equipment. He called the report a "whitewash" and suggested it would be merely filed away.

"These people don't want to solve problems and face problems," he said.

Sparks advocates a more bottom-up approach to fielding better gear, with the Army more actively soliciting input from the Soldiers who wear the equipment.

"Why can't the Soldiers have a [part in the] decision-making process to decide what gear the Army pays for?" he asked.

Pinter said there are "several avenues" for taking troops' suggestions. The congressionally mandated Soldier Enhancement Program (SEP) provides annual funding to PEO-Soldier to take ideas from industry and from the field, he said.

Sparks was skeptical of that approach.

"This is why a lot of our gear sucks," he said. "Most colonels I've run into are concerned more with form than function and are not techno-tactically oriented and candid."

He suggested the Army tap the expertise of "gear gurus" in individual units, giving them the chance to train at Natick.

"These gear experts would go to Natick Labs and be school trained on the proper fit and wear of all Army equipment and have field living [survival skills] taught to them," he said. "They can advise commanders that a hot- weather desert boot is not a mountain boot and how to properly size Soldiers for body armor so a bullet doesn't sneak by and kill them."


GEAR PROBLEMS LOW-PRIORITY WHEN IT COMES TO MAINTAINING THE STATUS QUO

The Afghan power points below show a number of gear problems that many of us have solved and proposed solutions through SEP and Natick channels all for naught. The Brits have a plastic ammo box for their M240-type medium machine guns. We could have upgraded the Kevlar helmet with a better chinstrap and suspension, offered the Nomex flyer's glove with a little insulation and in a black color, ALICE rucksacks could have synthetic frames and quick-release buckles, issued a chest binocular/NVG pouch and provided a toothbrush/shaving razor cartridge attachment point on the end of the MRE spoon years ago. However, the decision makers generally don't act on Soldier inputs. The Afghan gear report is likely going to "whitewash" systemic failures so this is why we are calling on a Soldier board to be formed and given the money, authority and time to make Soldier gear decisions to prevent recurring failures like experienced in Afghanistan.

Whoever is ruining SEP should be replaced by someone who listens and ACTs on suggestions for improvement by Soldiers instead of pooh-poohing (ignoring) them with words like "dislikes" and "anecdotal". Tell the families of the dead Soldiers that their son's death was "anecdotal". If a piece of gear doesn't work, gets left behind or gets someone killed it isn't some trivial matter.

The enemy terrorists got away from our Anaconda cordon and search operation while we were bogged down with equipment, a lot of it bad, so this is not a small matter. Details:

www.reocities.com/equipmentshop/realmountaindivision.htm

Solution: Soldier TA-50 Board and Subject Matter Experts in every Army unit

OK.

I think you see we are furious, and rightfully so. Here is THE ultimate solution.

We've just learned that its a "Council of Colonels" that meets to decide gear for us grunts for the SEP program to "type classify" (tested to "perfection" to be declared Army kosher) when it should be the lower-ranking gear gurus who are actually humping (carrying) the machine guns, rockets and mortars from every Army command representing their specific climes/places/missons. This is why a lot of our gear sucks. Most Colonels we've run into are concerned more with form than function and are not technotactically oriented and candid. SGTs, LTs and CPTs should decide on our new gear.

The expertise of the natural "gear gurus" should be tapped and have them designated as a "Master TA-50 Specialist"---an additional skill identifier (ASI). These gear experts would go to Natick Labs and be school trained on the proper fit and wear of ALL Army equipment and have field living (survival skills) taught to them so they can advise Commanders that a hot weather desert boot is NOT a mountain boot and how to properly size Soldiers for body armor so a bullet doesn't sneak by and kill them. The Army's Master TA-50 Specialists would also train the Soldiers in their companies how to wear and maintain their TA-50 as well as be pro-active about getting better gear. The Army is strangely an organization that goes "camping" yet hasn't trained itself how to "camp" to survive from the effects of the earth much less the enemy. Lay on top the need for combat 4-7 mph mobility which requires smart loading and constantly improved equipment, its clear that a Soldier from every Company in the Army should go to "gear school" to become a Master TA-50 Expert. To fund this we should cancel the un-needed LAV-III/Stryker deathtrap armored car purchases and upgrade superior tracked M113A3 Gavins into "IAVs" for the IBCTs and ALL LIGHT INFANTRY UNITS; TRACKED vehicles that can contribute to the Afghan fight as the Northern Alliance now New Afghan Army uses. Call them tracked IBCTs or "Gavin Brigades" and "Engineer Cavalry Troops" in the light units if sappers are attached.

An Army bureaucrat informs us that Company Commanders can buy with unit funds whatever gear they need for their men from the GSA Catalog and CTA 5900 (not Army "type classified" but available for purchase: "good enough" using Army funds) but this is something that's not pro-actively done and known about. Have you ever heard about this? GSA catalog is on CDs Supply Sergeants have so it takes a bit of looking when it should be on the www for all Soldiers to see.

What we need is a Soldier's Board of lower ranking gear experts who will review new gear, get it on the GSA Catalog/CTA 5900 and then publish an annual focused list throughout the Army encouraging Commanders/units/individuals to buy these items. Apparently its ok for units to fund-raise to build up a unit fund or this purpose, too so not having the money is not an obstacle. This list of authorized field gear on GSA/CTA 5900 should be placed on the Army Knowledge Online (AKO) secure web site so any Soldier can see what the Soldier Board recommends they get ASAP.

Every year, every Major Army Division (Airborne, Air Assault, Light, Mechanized, Armored etc.) and separate unit (2nd ACR, 172nd Arctic Brigade, SF, Rangers) has ITS SOLDIERS select by vote a field gear representative who will travel to Fort Benning, Georgia to decide for the rest of the Army what off-the-shelf Soldier gear to buy and what gear to develop. Every unit has at least one "gear guru" right for this job; a pro-active Soldier who studied field gear and on his own tinkers and tests what works and does not. THE CHAIN OF COMMAND DOES NOT SELECT THE GEAR BOARD SOLDIERS. Some out-of-touch Army General does NOT select some political yes-man to be on the board to keep the troops ill-equiped and "in their place". Some DA civilian with a ponytail going through perpetual mid-life crisis does NOT decide what items are bought or developed, THE SOLDIERS DECIDE. No "Council of Colonels". Its the individual Soldier's lives that are at stake not some bureaucrat in a comfy office with one retirement already under his belt longing for the good 'ole days when the equipment they had sucked and everyone liked it. What the Soldier TA-50 Board decides AUTOMATICALLY become AUTHORIZED Soldier optional wear/use items without the current kill-joy, politically correct "uniform board" having one say in their decisions. They do a great job keeping everyone miserable and without esperit de corps during garrison hours; the field Soldier's attire should be guided by FUNCTION decided by the mud-Soldiers. Each year a list of acceptible alternatives will be decided on by the Board for Soldiers to buy/use on their own option. Each year the board will decide on commensurate with the SEP budget what items will be bought/issued to enhance Soldiers immediately. And each year the board will see what industry and Natick Labs have "cooking" and provide feedback.

Airborne!

The Staff
1st TSG (A)

WE TOLD THEM SO!

The British Royal marines in Afghanistan have 7.62mm ammo boxes so their M240B-type medium machine guns are ready-to-fire, why not the U.S. Army's?

1. 7.62mm ammo bag/box

www.reocities.com/equipmentshop/mmg.htm

www.reocities.com/equipmentshop/pab.htm

2. (Cargo) Rigger's belts

www.reocities.com/equipmentshop/rigger.htm

3. Covers for Sun, Wind, Dust Goggles, anti-fogging and optics camouflage

www.reocities.com/equipmentshop/camie.htm
www.reocities.com/equipmentshop/nofogofwar.htm

4. Nomex flyer's gloves beefed up to be more sturdy, enough to rappel/fast rope

www.reocities.com/equipmentshop/gloves.htm

5. Smaller binos with MILS reticle and NVG chest pouch

www.reocities.com/equipmentshop/nightvision.htm

www.reocities.com/equipmentshop/binos.htm

6. Better poncho liners/LWSB

www.reocities.com/equipmentshop/lwsb.htm

7. ALICE rucksack frame and snap fixes (use FASTEX)

www.reocities.com/equipmentshop/rucksack.htm

8. Use combat MAG-1 glasses instead of brown "birth control glasses"

www.reocities.com/equipmentshop/glasses.htm

9. Better Kevlar helmet chinstrap/suspension

www.reocities.com/equipmentshop/chinstrap.htm

10. Better boot designs

www.reocities.com/equipmentshop/boots.htm

11. Better body armor (gunshield)

www.reocities.com/equipmentshop/gunshield.htm

NEWS RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense

No. 415-02
(703)697-5131(media)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 12, 2002
(703)428-0711(public/industry)

SOLDIER DIES OF WOUNDS RECEIVED IN AFGHANISTAN

The Department of Defense announced today that Sgt. 1st Class Christopher James Speer, 28, of Albuquerque, N.M., died on Aug. 7 as the result of wounds received in action in Afghanistan on July 27.

Speer was one of five Soldiers wounded in the same incident and had been evacuated to Germany for medical care. The other four Soldiers' injuries were not life threatening and they were treated at Bagram.

Speer was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, N.C.

[Web version: www.defenselink.mil/news/Aug2002/b08122002_bt415-02.html]

12. Simpler, decluttered MREs

www.reocities.com/equipmentshop/declutter.htm
www.reocities.com/equipmentshop/spork.htm

13. Natick stove/heat tabs available

www.reocities.com/equipmentshop/hotdrinks.htm

14. All-Terrain Carts/Bikes to transport heavy loads:

ATBs

ATACSs

15. Stop the Sports, t-shirt, shorts and running shoes BS Army physical fitness test and replace with timed ruckmarch with full combat gear

Combat not sports APFT

NEW!

Bureaucracy makes excuse it doesn't have the "resources" to CYA but first issue of decent gear goes to 82nd Airborne Paratroopers fighting in Afghanistan combat!

It was never a question of "resources"--its always been a question of egotistical pecking order; the bureaucracy see the military as a big individual ego trip with SF troops somehow at the "top", which is irrelevent and absurd, either we damn well realize in war we need LOTS OF GOOD TROOPS to attain decisive maneuver and hold ground so "al quedas" and "bin ladens" do not escape---and start equipping them with our BEST GEAR or the survival of the U.S. will be at stake. Small numbers of egotists however great they think they are are not going to win wars over vast terrain and enemy masses alone--certainly if they are steering air strike firepower indiscriminately and alienating and angering the civilian populace to become anti-American terrorists. If you lack surgical firepower and ground holding maneuver than use U.S. ground troops with light tracked AFVs that can shrug off some enemy firepower to insure they do not fire blindly into intermingled civilians---who verify what they hit or not hit; if that busts your egotistical "pecking order" its too damn bad. The mission comes first.

ArmyTimes.com
November 13, 2002
Afghanistan-Bound Troops To Get New Gear

By Matthew Cox, Times staff writer

Army equipment officials are about to issue $11 million worth of new gear to Paratroopers headed for Afghanistan.

Beginning Nov. 15, the 82nd Airborne Division's next brigade in line for duty in Afghanistan - the 2nd and 3rd battalions of the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment along with the 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment - will be outfitted with a new generation of Kevlar helmets and light-weight long underwear normally issued to special operations units, among other items.

The move is part of a rapid-fielding concept the officials are developing as a result of lessons-learned studies conducted in Afghanistan in the spring and summer.

Soldiers from the XVIII Airborne Corps' three light divisions - 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and the 82nd - provided feedback for the studies that often criticized some current equipment items as ineffective in combat situations.

The equipment officials said the special issue of equipment is possible since most of the items are either in use by special operations units or have already been developed and are scheduled for future fielding for combat units.

Program Executive Office Soldier, a new office recently formed to oversee the development of equipment and weapon systems issued to Soldiers, will issue each Soldier items such as:

. The Advanced Combat Helmet - an improved version of the current helmet now in use by special operations Soldiers. The slightly smaller design prevents the helmet from interfering with the Interceptor body armor when Soldiers lie in the prone position.

. A pair of Air Force Flyer boots and a pair of marine corps desert boots. Both feature a more rugged sole than the current-issue desert boot. Soldiers serving in Afghanistan have experienced excessive wear problems with the current desert boot.

. Lightweight polyester long underwear designed to reduce heat stress while moving with heavy loads and to dry quickly during halts.

. Improved wind and dust goggles, also currently issued to special operations units.

Selected Soldiers will also receive the Integrated Laser, White Light Pointer - a device that combines infrared and visible aiming lasers, an infrared illuminator and a flashlight in one system. Designed to fit on the M-16A2 or M4 carbine, the system is scheduled to replace the current AN/PAQ4 aiming light.

In addition, units will receive M145 machinegun optics, which are currently issued only for the M240 machineguns, to be used on the M249 squad automatic weapon. The brigade also received nine [Barrett Model 82A1] XM107 .50 caliber sniper rifles in late October as part of the rapid fielding.

"What we hope to do if the Army leadership agrees," said Col. (P) Jamey Moran, who heads PEO Soldier, "is get $11 million to do each of the light brigades in the XVIII Airborne Corps. We would like to do all of the infantry. It's not a question of technology. We can deliver the technology. It's a question of resources."


Official U.S. Army Natick Afghanistan Equipment Report (visual)

Click here to start

Table of Contents

Lessons Learned in Afghanistan

Purpose of Travel

Preparation

Execution

Personal Purchases

The “Likes”

The “Dislikes”

PPT Slide

The “Dislikes”(continued)

The “Dislikes”(continued)

ICWB Lessons Learned

Underlayers Lessons Learned

ICWG Lessons Learned

Helmet Lessons Learned

Body Armor Lessons Learned

MRE Lessons Learned

M4 5.56mm Carbine Lessons Learned

M203 40mm Grenade Launcher Lessons Learned

M249 5.56mm LMG Lessons Learned

M240B 7.62mm Medium Machine Gun Lessons Learned

M9 9mm Pistol Lessons Learned

Final Report

Author: LTC Charlie Dean and SFC Sam Newland

Email: itsg@hotmail.com

Home Page: www.reocities.com/equipmentshop


Official U.S. Army Afghanistan Gear Report (Text)

O = Observation
D = Discussion
LL = Lesson learned (yeah, right)

10th Mountain Division Observations

1. O: Many Soldiers had problems due to altitude.

D: Soldiers deployed from about 6,000’ to 8500’ by CH-47. Eventually moved up to about 10,500’. Almost everyone had some problems with the altitude at first. Most felt better after a few days. “Bunch of guys” had Acute Mountain Sickness. No pre-treatment with Diamox because of the fear of side effects. Symptoms included shortness of breath, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, collapsing. Moved worst cases down for evacuation. Some were treated with O2, Diamox, and Dexamethazone.

LL: Rapid deployment of Soldiers to above 8,000’ will almost always produce altitude illness or decreased function ranging from minor inconvenience to litter cases. Refer to the CALL article “Altitude Made Easier?” If Soldiers were deployed higher than 8500’ more altitude-related casualties would have occurred.

2. O: Most Soldiers prefer the Camel Back for carrying water.

D: Most started with a 3 days supply of water. Water was from streams and treated with Iodine. Some Soldiers’ water froze in canteens around top and had ice chunks. Camel Back worked well as long as the tube didn’t freeze. The Hydra Storm was not favored by most because of the poor quality of the tube and bladder. Many also drank IV bags due to lack of water.

LL: Water is essential for Soldier performance. High altitude also contributes to dehydration. Emphasis put on not letting water freeze in Camel Back or in canteens. Gatorade or other flavoring good for hiding taste of water and getting cold water down. More heat tabs are needed to warm water. To keep loads low on extended operations, water re-supply is essential.

3. O: Most Soldiers were happy with the performance of their cold weather clothing.

D: The DCU or Gore-Tex with Poly-P was worn during the day. No one wore cotton t-shirts (cotton kills). The Interceptor Body Armor (IBA) was actually good at keeping body heat in. At night when the temperatures dropped, the Spear Suit black pile jacket was worn with Gore-Tex and poly-p. Only a few people had to be moved to sheltered areas and re-warmed due to cold temps.

LL: Soldiers from the 10th are used to operating in a cold wx environment. Proper training and experience with cold wx clothing and leadership emphasis showed with the 10th and was key to preventing cold weather injuries.

What type of footwear and socks were worn and how did they perform?

White wool socks were worn with the Rocky or Matterhorn boots. Some were sized too small due to the thicker sock, which caused a lack of circulation. Socks were dried by placing in sleeping bag at night or inside Gore-Tex jacket against the body. Issue cold wx boots at least one size larger than normal boot size at try on with the sock that will be worn. Shoe polish negates the effect of the breathable Gore-Tex and feet sweated which made feet cold at night. Commercial water-proof treatment worked well. Some had desert boots that fell apart in a week or two. The sides of the boots ripped out. The sole was too soft for the rocky terrain.

4. O: Many different types of gloves were worn.

D: The Desert Nomex glove/intermediate flyers glove worked well in daytime when it was warmer. When it was colder at night, most needed a warmer glove and put on the Gore-Tex/leather glove. Most did not like this glove due to the lack of dexterity/poor quality. Black leather gloves with no liner provide little warmth. Some wore civilian gloves over issue gloves. No cases of frostbite or other cold wx injuries. Soldiers liked the air activated chemical hand warmers. They had to be taken out of gloves periodically to reheat. About 50% didn’t work when opened. The hand warmers were a local purchase and highly recommended.

LL: A glove layering system is needed to rapidly add or take off glove layers depending on the amount of dexterity or warmth needed. With heavy gloves, a thin liner can be worn underneath and a slit cut in the trigger finger for more dexterity. Chemical hand warmers were recommended.

5. O: Many different sleeping systems used.

D: Some had black (heavier) sleeping bags and liked them despite the bulk. Others had poncho liner/bivy sack/space blanket combination to save weight and reduce bulk. The latter froze and could not sleep and would now recommend the patrol bag (green sleeping bag). Those who used the green patrol bag liked it a lot. However, the poncho liner/bivy sack/space blanket was more than adequate to survive and complete the mission.

LL: For short (1-3 day) missions with lows only in the 20’s, Soldiers can get by wearing all their clothing and using the combination bivy sack/poncho liner/space blanket. For sustained operations in these temps (lows in 20’s) the green patrol bag is recommended.

6. O: Some weapon systems were effected by the terrain or altitude.

D: All re-zeroed in Uzbekistan and some noticed a difference (shot high with the original sea-level zero due to altitude). Some used graphite lube instead of CLP to prevent sluggish action or malfunctions, but those who used CLP and LSA had no problems. CLP can be used down to about 0 to 10F. Many did not like the M68 optics. Red dot covers far away targets/needs reticle. In sunny/light conditions you lose the red dot. Can’t make windage and elevation adjustments for long range targets. Too fragile.

LL: Re-zero weapons when deployed to altitude/cold wx environments. In extremely cold temps, graphite or LAW should replace CLP to prevent sluggish action or malfunctions. Replace M68.

7. O: Enemy tactics effected ability to engage target.

D: Enemy during day stayed far out of small arms range. Mortars got lots of kills. Some felt long range shooting skills lacking.

LL: Need at least one heavy (.50 cal) sniper rifle per sniper platoon. (Canadians hit targets out to 1800m with Mcmillian sniper system.) Can 1-2 Soldiers per squad be given extra long range marksmanship training to engage long distance targets instead of having to use M240?

8. O: Many Soldiers used their own Magellans instead of Pluggers.

D: Maps were out of date Soviet maps that were in places inaccurate and hard to read. A GPS was one of the primary means of navigating. The Plugger was considered inadequate due to its weight, bulk, and use of many heavy batteries. Civilian Magellans were preferred. Most Soldiers don’t use all the functions on the Plugger.

LL: Develop a stripped down version on the Plugger that can be used by Soldiers just for navigating, etc. Still need Plugger for fills, etc. Getting accurate large-scale maps to the ground units is essential.

9. O: Mortars played a key role in many situations.

D: Mortars were responsible for many kills. The enemy kept its distance during the day and took cover in advance of air support. The mortar computer (M23 mortar ballistic computer) couldn’t get set low below 400m? M8 base plate (60mm) latch breaks on hard ground. M9 base plate recommended. Replace M115 boresight with M45. With mortars, first round hits on high elevation targets was difficult (took 5-6 rounds). Each man carried 2 mortar rounds each with mortar plt carrying 5 each.

LL: Mortars are essential in mountainous terrain because of the distance and terrain. It worked well that when halted the mortar rounds weren’t all dropped off at the guns but only brought in to replace those fired. That way when they went to move again they didn’t have to re-distribute the rounds.

O: Combat LifeSavers (CLS) saved lives.

D: Soldiers were trained on CLS tasks once a year and prior to mission in Uzbekistan. They were essential when there were more casualties than medics. Every man had an IV bag initially and on later missions it was cut back to E-4 and above. IV bags were kept on body and didn’t freeze. There were 1-2 CLS per squad. One squad had 3 EMT trained Soldiers.

LL: The CLS training has proven its worth especially when smaller decentralized units are operating with Medevac a long time out. In cold weather, IV fluids are useless unless they can be warmed to body temperature. There is no well-known technique to do this and it needs to be addressed.

O: Most felt they went in too heavy.

D: Soldier load was from 75-110 lbs. Many felt they had too much weight to move efficiently in that terrain at that altitude. Rifleman carried between 10-14 30 round mags plus 2 mortar rounds. Saw gunners carried around 1600 rounds and M240 gunners around 1200. Three days of rations and water were packed along with the assortment of cold wx gear, batteries, etc.
LL: Many felt they could have gone in lighter as long as they go in for 24-72 hours and have sling loads pre-rigged and ready for re-supply. A cold wx contingency load could also be pre-rigged if needed to lighten the initial load.

O: Different techniques needed to bring supplies/ammo forward.

D: Because of the already heavy loads they carried, other methods were tried to bring supplies forward. The rough terrain made this more difficult. Some units tried pulling mortars, rounds, ammo and .50 cal in Skedco litter (one skedco per squad). Soldiers were shifted in and out to help carry the loads. The heavy loads and rough terrain made this impractical. Can use the skedco for short movement or for cache of equipment to leave back and bring forward later. Some recommended an ahkio because of its better tracking on side slopes and easier maneuvering. Some units tried using duffel bags to move supplies and ammo forward and this worked well for some. Gator was outstanding but underpowered and had some flat tires.

LL: Experiment ahead of time to see what works best for the given loads and terrain. Skedco works well for short distances on smooth ground and snow covered slopes. Ahkios can be used especially on uneven ground and snow slopes. Moving forward, dropping rucks and moving back to pick up duffel bags of ammo also worked in some situations.

O: The terrain and altitude make combat in mountains extremely physically demanding.

D: Units need to get away from the normal PT routines before deploying to the mountains. Pushups, sit-ups and 5-mile runs will not prepare Soldiers. They need to have the ability to spend time in the mountains to physically adapt to the terrain and altitude. Soldiers were not used to steeper slopes and wasted time and energy.

LL: Emphasis on ruck marches (6-8 mile) with heavy loads. Cardiovascular training, strength and mountain walking techniques need to be stressed. Subject Matter Experts (SME’s) need to give blocks of instruction on even the basics of mountain walking techniques.

27 AUG 02

1/87 NOTES

  1. GOT ON THE HELOS AT BAGRAM AT ABOUT 6000'. STEPPED OFF HELOS AT ABOUT 8500' (ANACONDA) WENT UP TO ABOUT 10500-11000.
  2. TEMPS ABOUT 40-50 F DAY AND 20'S AT NIGHT (SOME THOUGHT -20F)
  3. CLEAR/WINDY/SUNNY CONDITIONS (NEED LOTS SUN-SCREEN/CHAPSTICK)
  4. ICE FORMED ON THE TOP OF SOME CANTEENS. MANY HAD CAMEL BACKS. LIKED THE CAMEL BACK BLADDER SYSTEM (HATED HYDRA STORM DUE TO FALLING APART) BUT LIKED HYDRA STORM PACK
  5. WORE DCU WITH POLY-P DURING DAY AND GORE-TEX AND POLY-P/PILE/FIELD JACKET LINER AT NIGHT
  6. SLING LOADS NEED TO BE PREPPED IN REAR AND READY TO SEND FORWARD
  7. A COLD WX CONTINGIENCY LOAD (CLOTHING, BAGS, FOOD) NEEDS TO BE PREPPED AND READY IN THE REAR
  8. DIGGING IN FOR MORTAR ATTACKS WAS DIFFICULT-NEVER LEAVE HOME WITHOUT AN E-TOOL
  9. LIKED FLYERS GLOVE
  10. DESERT NOMEX GLOVE?
  11. IBA (INTERCEPTOR BODY ARMOR) GOOD AT KEEPING IN HEAT
  12. LIKED SPEAR SUIT COMPONENTS (ALL HAD DIFFERENT COMPONENTS)
  13. LIKED DISPOSABLE HAND WARMERS-TAKE OUT OF GLOVE AND RE-SHAKE. ABOUT 50% DIDN'T WORK
  14. CARRIED ABOUT 10 MAGS EACH (CARRIED IN RUCK OR IN CARGO POCKET)
  15. 4 DAYS FOR FIRST RESUPPLY
  16. 2,000 ROUNDS FOR M240 GUNNER
  17. THE ENEMY KEPT ITS DISTANCE DURING THE DAY. HARD TO REACH OUT AND TOUCH. SEVERAL RECOMMENDED AT LEAST ONE HEAVY SNIPER RIFLE PER SNIPER PLATOON (CANADIANS HAD KILLS OUT 1800M)
  18. M68 SUCKED. THE RED DOT DISAPEARS IN BRIGHT SUN AND COVERS TARGETS. HARD TO ENGAGE PAST 350 M
  19. EVERYONE HAD PVS-14'S-SEVERAL HAD BROKEN MOUNTS
  20. USED GAPHITE FOR LUBE-NO PROBLEMS
  21. M23 MORTAR BALLISTIC COMPUTER NOT ABLE TO HIT LOW TARGETS-400M INCREMENTS MAKES IT DIFFICULT
  22. TRIED DRAGGING MORTAR ROUNDS, .50 CAL, AMMO IN SKED LITTER. VERY HARD AND STOPPED AFTER ABOUT 400M. OVERLOADED AND VERY ROUGH TERRAIN.
  23. M-GATOR NEEDS MORE POWER BUT OUTSTANDING. HAD SEVERAL FLATS
  24. LATCH PIN ON M-8 BASE PLATE ON 60MM MORTAR BREAKS EASILY ON HARD GROUND. USE SANDBAGS.
  25. MOST HAS MATTERHORN/ROCKIES.
  26. SOME HAD COLD WEATHER BOOTS FITTED TOO SMALL TO ACCOUNNT FOR WHITE COLD WX WOOL SOCK
  27. FEET WOULD SWEAT A LOT DURING THE DAY, WHICH WOULD CAUSE THEM TO BE VERY COLD AT NIGHT. THE BOOT POLISH NEGATED THE GORE-TEX. USE THE DANNER TREATMENT
  28. WERE TOLD TO CLEAR CAVES BUT HAD NO TRAINING ON IT
  29. REACT TO CONTACT DRILLS VERY IMPORTANT. AT ONE TIME CAME UNDER HEAVY MORTAR AND MG FIRE AT SAME TIME WITHIN 200M
  30. STARTED WITH 3 DAYS WATER AND RATIONS (MISSION LASTED 10-12 DAYS)
  31. 1 SKEDCO PER SQUAD. KEPT ROTATING PEOPLE OUT. WENT ABOUT 400M WITH 5000 LB LOAD
  32. WOULD RECOMMEND USING SKED FOR VERY SHORT MOVEMENTS OR TO CACHE AMMO TO BE BROUGHT FORWARD LATER
  33. WENT IN TOO HEAVY (90-110 LBS). WOULD RECOMMEND GOING IN WITH 24-72 HRS SUSTAINMENT AND MAKING SURE TO GET RESUPPLY
  34. GOT 3-4 INCHES SNOW FALL ONCE. PEOPLE LEFT STUFF OUT AND GOT WET/FROZEN
  35. GOT TO JUST ABOUT SNOW LEVEL
  36. USED C-4 AND A FEW HEAT TABS (COULD HAVE USED MORE) TO HEAT WATER
  37. PACKED FOR 3-4 DAYS SUPPLY OF BATTERIES, RATIONS & WATER. ENDED UP EATING ABOUT ONE MRE/DAY. SOME SAID THEY STARVED. ONE FIRE TEAM SPLIT ONE MRE/DAY
  38. "A BUNCH" GOT AMS. HEARD ONE OUT OF NINE MAY HAVE HAD AMS. NO DIAMOX PRETREATMENT OR STAGING. CO AFRAID OF SIDE EFFECTS OF DIAMOX. THOUGHT THE HEAVY LOADS WOULD SLOW THEM DOWN ENOUGH TO HELP?
  39. WATER PLENTIFUL SOMETIMES FROM STREAMS (NOT COUNTED ON AHEAD OF TIME). USED IODINE TABS
  40. ONE TEAM OR SQUAD WOULD USE THE TERRAIN TO BOUND UP TO COVER OTHER SQUAD OR TEAMS
  41. RE-ZEROED IN UZBEK. MOST NOTICED A DIFFERENCE (SHOT HIGH AT ALTITUDE) MOST IN 4-31 SAID NO DIFFERENCE BUT FORGOT TO ASK IF SHOT AT 25M OR LONGER
  42. SYMPTOMS OF "A BUNCH" OF GUYS INCLUDED SHORTNESS OF BREATH, VOMITING, HEADACHES/DIZZINESS, COLLAPSING
  43. THERE WERE 2 MEDEVAC AMS CASES?
  44. EVERYONE NEEDS AN ASSAULT PACK TO HAVE WITH THEM. ESSENTIALS LIKE GLOVES, SNIVEL GEAR, A LITTLE FOOD, ETC. RUCKS WERE DROPPED AND HAD TO BE BROUGHT FORWARD LATER
  45. ONE PERSON (IN OUR GROUP AT LEAST) HAD A WHISPERLIGHT STOVE FUELED WITH DIESEL FUEL. LIKED IT BUT MORE STUFF TO CARRY
  46. SOME HAD THE BLACK SLEEPING BAG THAT THEY LIKED BUT HEAVY. SOME HAD THE GREEN PATROL BAG. SOME HAD A BIVY SACK/PONCHO LINER/SPACE BLANKET. THE LATTER FROZE BUT SURVIVED. SEVERAL SAID THEY COULD NOT SLEEP AT NIGHT AND COULD SLEEP ONLY DURING THE DAY
  47. BLACK HAWKS FLEW "EMPTY" AT HIGH ALTITUDES. USED FOR MEDEVAC. CH-47'S FOR MOST EVERTHING
  48. CLS A MAJOR PLUS (TRAINED IN UZBEK AND USUALLY 1/YEAR)
  49. 1-2 CLS PER SQUAD (1 SQUAD HAD 3 EMTS)
  50. GATORADE WOULD HAVE BEEN HELPFUL
  51. STRESS PT IN PREDEPLOYMENT
  52. 6-8 MILE RUCK MARCHES PER WEEK WOULD HAVE BEEN A GOOD PREP
  53. STRESS CARDIO FITNESS AND ENDURANCE
  54. JAVELIN USELESS. CARRYING CASE SUCKS. (CONFIRMED BY THE ASSIST PROJECT MANAGER) NOT USED. HEAVY. SIGHT TRACKER GOOD FOR OBSERVATION. ONLY NEEDS 1 DEG. F TEMP DIFFERENCE FROM SURROUNDING AREA TO ENGAGE. FIRE AND FORGET. WEIGHTS APPROX 40 LBS (?) WITH SIGHT
  55. STRESS M203 TRAINING AND M240 TRAINING. EVERYONE NEEDS TO KNOW HOW TO ENGAGE WITH M240. SOME BROUGHT TRIPODS AND SOME DIDN'T
  56. TARGETS WERE HIT AT 9-11000 '
  57. NO PROBS AT ALL WITH COMMS
  58. HATED LBV (TOO HOT)
  59. USED ALICE
  60. SOME DRANK IV’s

28 AUG02

4/31 NOTES

  1. ONE HOUR FLIGHT IN ON CH-47
  2. 10 DAYS TOTAL UP TO 10,500' ELEVATION
  3. 1K TOOK OVER 2 HRS
  4. MOVED APPROX. 6 K FIRST DAY
  5. MAPS WERE SOVIET AND HAD ALL DIFFERENT GRIDS. SOME STOLE BETTER MAPS FROM REAR UNITS. MAPS WERE BLOWN UP AND GRID LINES ADDED.
  6. SAW GUNNERS CARRIED APPROX. 1600 ROUNDS
  7. RIFLEMAN CARRIED 9-14 MAGS OF 30 ROUNDS
  8. M240 GUNNERS CARRIED 1200 ROUNDS
  9. MORTAR PLATOON MEMBERS CARRIED 5 MORTAR ROUNDS EACH
  10. EVERYONE ELSE CARRIED 2 MORTAR ROUNDS
  11. 125 MORTAR ROUNDS FOR THE COMPANY
  12. SOME EOD PERSONNEL ATTACHED FOR CAVES
  13. SOMETIMES MORTARS NEEDED SAND BAGS FOR SUPPORT-USED (RECOMMENDED M-9 BASE PLATE)
  14. PROBLEM WITH HELOS NOT FAR FORWARD ENOUGH-1 HR FLIGHT IN
  15. 2 TIMES PER DAY SCHEDULED MEDEVAC
  16. SUPER COBRAS WERE GREAT (APACHES WERE GROUNDED OR COULDN'T FLY (HOVER)
  17. 2 ETAC'S PER CO. (1 WAS RTO) WORKED GREAT BUT IF THEY WENT DOWN NO ONE ELSE KNEW HOW TO CONTACT CAS
  18. A GERMAN SOLDIER WAS SEVERLY INJURED IN A FALL (?) AND FOR OVER 8 HOURS COULD NOT BE EVACUATED DUE TO TERRAIN/ALTITUDE
  19. 2 NORWEGIANS HAD TO BE EVACUATED AT 12,000' DUE TO ALTITUDE SICKNESS
  20. REPLACE M115 BORESIGHT WITH M45 ON MORTARS
  21. CLOSEST KILLS 2200M W/MORTARS
  22. M68 SIGHT ON M-4 SUCKS
  23. AT LEAST ONE PERSON PER SQUAD NEEDS SOME LONG DISTANCE MARKSMANSHIP TRAINING.
  24. ON M240 A RAIL SYSTEM THAT IS COMPATIBLE WITH PQ2 AND MGO IS NEEDED
  25. MOST ALL HAD ROCKY BOOTS, POLY-P AND GORE-TEX
  26. MOST ALL LIKED THE BLACK FLEECE OF THE SPEAR SUIT
  27. MOST ALL LIKED THE NECK GATOR/BLACK WATCH CAP/FIELD JACKET LINER
  28. MOST ALL LIKED THE NOMEX AVIATOR GLOVE
  29. THE INTERMEDIATE COLD WX GORE-TEX GLOVE SUCKED
  30. THE PLUGGER SUCKED (HEAVY,BULKY, USED TOO MANY HEAVY BATTERIES) MANY USED CIVILIAN MAGELLANS
  31. NEED "SURE FIRE" LIGHTS FOR M-4 IN CAVES
  32. LIKED HEAT TABS/HAND WARMERS
  33. SOME ALSO TRIED SKED FOR HAULING GEAR. ONE PERSON WITH LOTS OF WINTER/MOUNTAINEERING EXPERIENCE (MANY TIMES AT NWTC AND STATIONED IN ALASKA) THOUGHT THE AHKIO WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER BECAUSE OF RIGIDITY AND TRACKING.
  34. SAID PERSON ALSO THOUGHT AN SME ON MOUNTAINEERING WOULD HAVE BEEN HELPFUL. MANY HAD PROBLEMS JUST WALKING.
  35. MANY OTHER SQUAD MISSIONS INCLUDING 1 HR HELO TO FARP. MAPS ALL MESSED UP (WHERE FARP PLOTTED WAS SIDE OF STEEP MOUNTAIN) HAD ONE SQUAD WITH 2 M240MG'S. NO COMMS WITH BIRDS. SECURED FARP 24 HRS. TOLD IF BIRDS FIRE UP JUMP ON.
  36. MANY WOULD RECOMMEND PT TO INCLUDE HUMPING HEAVY LOADS IN RUCK IN MOUNTAINS IN ADDITION TO VARIOUS STRENGHT TRAINING
  37. UNITS NEED TO DEPLOY WITH ENOUGH TRAINING AMMO
  38. TEMPERATURES DROPPED QUICKLY AT NIGHT WHEN SUN WENT DOWN OR IN SHADOWS.
  39. USED DUFFLE BAGS WITH LOADED 30 ROUND MAGS TO RESUPPLY
  40. NO FSPLT PREPING SLING LOADS TO PUSH FORWARD
  41. NO FSB IN AFGANISTAN-COMPANY ONLY?
  42. CENTCOM HAND PICKED CERTAIN COMPANIES AND PLATOONS-VERY PIECEMEAL AND HARD TO PLAN
  43. INTEL WAS HORRIBLE, ESPECIALLY OPERATION GINGER-ENCOUNTERED HEAVY WEAPONS AND POSITIONS AND TRENCHES. NO SATELLITE PHOTOS AT ALL. AN SF TEAM WAS IN THE SAME AREA AND NO INTEL WAS GIVEN TO 10TH
  44. EVERY MAN HAD PVS-14'S
  45. NEED TO HAVE AID BAG SOP'S. EACH MEDIC HAD SOMETHING DIFFERENT AND IN A DIFFERENT SPOT IN AID BAG.

FEEDBACK!

itsg@hotmail.com

An infantry and EOD LTC writes in:

"Very interesting.

I can recall you and I talking about some of these issues over the last three years. The decision makers always conduct surveys and receive feedback from our Soldiers, then return to their lab and convince each other that our Soldiers aren't as smart as they are.

Soldiers then receive what the Lab thinks they need.

I will talk with you later."

XXX XXXXXXXX

A glove designer writes:

"Thanks so much for the report on the problems with the gloves.

This helps confirm my motivation for making glove products for the military. The solutions are not that difficult, it just takes initiative and desire to improve the product.

Please send me your contact information so that I may keep you informed of my products. (PS. I'll need to add a hook strap to the Flyer's glove.)

Thanks,"

XXXXXXXXXXXX

A retired Vietnam combat F-4 Phantom fighter-bomber pilot writes:

"Great info - now, we hope someone pays attention. FWIW I had a college student who was also in Wyoming Guard Special Forces. He'd be gone now and then testing cold weather gear. He said all the new stuff is okay but wool is still best. I can second that bcause I used a heavy (double thickness) wool sweatshirt for semi-cold water diving down in Florida in winter (not cold enough for a wet suit but still too cold for bare skin). The wool, even when wet, kept me warm enough to grab for lobsters."

Our reply: we still use wool as an insulating layer over synthetics which if wet are dubious as warmth trappers.....

A Vietnam ground combat vet writes:

"Thanks, much. I'll read this and any other candid field reports by Soldiers of any rank with great interest."

A retired Colonel writes about the un-named 1SG's AAR:

"No, Shinseki loved 1SG XXXX XXXXX's AAR and sent it out to all his four star commanders to take up the info and do something positive about it. All of this is a good thing and 1SG XXXXXXXX is a reporting hero for sending all this information to an old buddy of his at Benning, who started it through the Internet and the rest is history. Great work!"


Private Murphy's View

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