In this video, Eric talks about the STS Universal Re-Focus Ring, and demos its features.
The Long Run
“A lot of people run a race to see who is fastest. I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into exhausting pace, and then at the end, punish himself even more.”
- Steve Prefontaine
Long is of course up to everyone’s interpretation, but for the most part here’s a good way to train for any running event longer than 800 m. I use this formula when I am preparing for ultramarathon of 50 miles, a unit’s PRT test of 1.5 or 3 miles, or a local 5K.
Some terms to familiarize yourself with;
Casual pace- typically two to three minutes per mile slower than your race pace. For example if the fastest mile you can run is a six minute mile your casual pace is around an eight minute 30 sec or nine minute per mile pace.
Race pace- just what it sounds like. As fast as your two little legs can pump for the distance that you going. That last part is important. My race pace for a 1 mile PRT is not the same for three-mile PRT.
Threshold pace- typically a pace that is one minute to two minutes per mile slower than your race pace.
Saturday and Sunday- this is perhaps one of the more important combo training days when running. For the ultra marathoners, this is the key to the kingdom. Saturday and Sunday are back-to-back long days. For the 5K and PRT people these are still back-to-back long days with less mileage. Ultra marathoners should be running for a minimum of two hours each day initially, toward a closer time to race date ultra marathoners should be running somewhere around four hours each day not to exceed 18 miles each day. I’ve never seen any benefit to doing a run longer than 18 miles when preparing for an ultra. The only exception is if you’ve never done an ultra before you need to get a 25 or 30 miler in four months or so before the race. For 5K and PRT folks, Saturdays and Sundays should be a minimum of a one hour run initially each day, and runs no longer than two hours each day not to exceed twice the race distance ( i’m putting this in here for some of the units and organizations to do a 10 mile time to run for their PRT. ) The pace for PRT and 5K folks is a casual pace. The pace for ultramarathon at the fastest is a casual pace, but realistically is somewhere around a 9:30 to 10:30 min pace.
Monday- off (remember that somewhere around 50% of all physical activities gains are from recovery. This is true for lifting weights, running, cycling, anything. This is difficult for runners to adhere to who are training especially after they begin to get runners high.)
Tues- 5K and PRT guys threshold pace for one hour. Ultra marathoners, casual pace for two hours.
Wed- 5K and PRT guys 1 mile repeat sprints at race pace. It will depend on how many of these you can do as to the total work out. For a 5K I will typically work up to doing four or five 1 mile repeats with the amount of rest in between the runs the time that I ran that 1 mile in. I have found way more success in PRT and 5K races using this formula for my “sprint” day as opposed to the typical 800 m, 400 m, 200 m, ethos of old. Ultra marathoners- two hour run at a casual pace preferably doing hill work if possible. I have never found hill work to be a necessary part of of an ultramarathon even when I ran ultra’s in the mountains like the iron Mountain 50. However, with that being said keep in mind that without hell work you will never keep up with the guys from out West.
Thu- 5K and PRT guys one hour casual pace then one hour at threshold pace. Depending on the distance you’re running, this could be 30 minutes and 30 minutes or 45 minutes and 45 minutes, etc. Ultra marathoners three hours at a casual pace.
Throughout the schedule ultramarathoner’s need to constantly be running with full kit (full water bottles, all gus, and salt tablets), and also experiment with wet socks, different carry methods, different clothing, body glide, sunglasses, hats, etc. Shoe choice can also be fine tuned during this. PRT and 5K guys should be occasionally training in a racing flat that they will run in on the day.
“Trainer of Feeders”
Kyle Defoor is one of the world’s most committed and passionate shooting instructors. Literally growing up with a gun in hand he took his talents into the military where he was combat decorated as a SEAL assaulter and sniper. Kyle helped to create and define modern training while along the way personally teaching thousands of military personal and civilians from around the globe. His shooting prowess led to appearances on multiple TV shows including Shooting Gallery, Tactical Arms, and Tactical Impact, and guest appearances on History Channel. Kyle’s outdoor athletic lifestyle includes shooting, ultra running, stand-up paddle surfing and climbing. He now serves as the brand ambassador for Mission Ready Equipment and runs his own company which offers tactical training, wilderness navigation, TV and film consulting, and motivational speaking.
Gunfighter Moment is a weekly feature brought to you by Alias Training & Security Services. Each week Alias brings us a different Trainer and in turn they offer some words of wisdom.
UVR Defense Tech, Ltd. has sold licenses to Essex Flameproofing, Ltd. (Euroflam) to apply UVR’s technologies – UVRC and nanoTarge – within the U.K. UVRC(patented) is a camouflage for the ultraviolet spectrum that may be applied to conventional camouflage without altering the visible and near-Infrared properties of the fabric. nanoTarge (patent pending) both strengthens and protects technical and ballistic fabrics, providing as much as a 2.5 fold increase in tear strength. See http://nanotarge.com for details.
“We are pleased to have Euroflam presenting our technology to the U.K..As government and military budgets tighten, Euroflam will be able to offer a low-cost method of strengthening, and providing longevity to, all their technical textiles. This is significant to all sectors. For example, a firefighter’s turnout gear is made of a heat-resistant fabric with a short lifespan due to ultraviolet degradation. With nanoTarge, Euroflam can increase the tear strength of the fabric, as well as prevent UV degradation, resulting in significant cost savings for financially-strapped municipalities” stated Reed F. Curry, President of UVR Defense Tech, Ltd.
Alan Eyers, the Operations Director of Essex Flameproofing Ltd. / Euroflam noted “We are very pleased to add the unique treatments, developed by UVR Defense Tech, Ltd., for the coating of Fabrics & Textiles used by the Military, Emergency Services, & Law Enforcement Agencies. These give added protection to a wide range of textiles, offering new permanent UV signature management solutions for uniforms, tenting, equipment covers, and also reduces the effect of degradation by direct Sunlight UV rays on these types of fabrics. The License Agreement affords us the ability to treat such textiles for UK base suppliers and manufacturers, as they sit very nicely alongside, and are compatible with, the other advanced Flame Retardant and Protective treatments we offer.”
BDS Tactical is having a sale on their Simple Double Hook Sling. Save 75% on the Simple Double Hook Sling, this weekend only.
BulletSafe is currently running an Indiegogo campaign for soft armor backpack inserts. Based on custom inserts made by BulletSafe president Tom Nardone for his children’s backpacks, these panels are constructed from the same material as the BulletSafe Bulletproof Vest, and offer NIJ level IIIA protection. The panel runs 10″ by 12″ in size, and can be utilized as additional protection in packs, bags, briefcases, and more.
AWS, Inc. has released their brand new US Flag Pocket Patch. The US Flag Pocket Patch is an extra large (3.125″ x 5.1″) forward facing IR reflective US flag patch with cloth face to match tactical uniforms and gear. The patch features a hidden rear pocket for storing money, survival items, paperwork, etc. Designed for use with plate carriers, body armor vests, equipment bags, and other larger items. ITAR restricted, Mil/LE only.
Available in MultiCam, Black, Coyote, Ranger Green, and ACU.
A lot of info has been swirling around the internet over the past week regarding the US Army’s unending quest to find a new camouflage pattern. As crazy as some of it might sound, none of it is exactly wrong. But nothing you’ve read so far tells the complete story. I’ve written at length about the history of the Army’s Camouflage Improvement Effort that began five years ago after members of Congress asked the Army about the combat effectiveness of the Universal Camouflage Pattern adopted in 2004. Here is a Reader’s Digest version of the chain of events. Initially, the Army adopted the commercial MultiCam Pattern from Crye Precision for use in Afghanistan in 2010. This led to the Phase IV effort that investigated around 20 commercial families of camouflage patterns with different colorways for Transitional, Woodland, Arid and an optional fourth version for use with Organizational Clothing and Individual Equipment. These candidates were investigated against a baseline consisting of legacy camouflage patterns such as Marine Patterns (MARPAT) and the Navy AOR patterns. After an initial picture-in-picture trial to cull the herd to the most promising options, four companies were awarded contracts to provide printed fabric for field trials; ADS inc with Guy Cramer, Brookwood, Crye Precision and Kryptek.
After several delays in announcing the results of this multi-year effort, the Army abruptly stopped talking about Phase IV and quietly began discussing expanding the use of OCP for the entire Army, even going so far as to change the military name from Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage Pattern to a more generic Operational Camouflage Pattern. However, negotiations with Crye Precision apparently didn’t work out as the Army had expected and their soft launch plan was put on hold.
I’ve blasted the Army in the past for not taking action regarding their quest for camouflage. Now, they’ve taken action. Unfortunately, it sounds like a broken record. There are reports that the Army will announce something in April but I believe if they even bother it will be an announcement of their new strategy that includes a new round of testing that begins next week. Results of this new testing won’t be available until the end of the fiscal year, if then.
PEO Soldier has been briefing the following Courses of Action:
1. Continue to negotiate with Crye Precision for a full license to use the MultiCam pattern as the Operational Camouflage Pattern. This license would also allow the Army to adapt MultiCam to create bookend patterns for Woodland and Arid environments. So far, this isn’t going well.
2. Adopt the Scorpion camouflage pattern along with bookend patterns for Woodland and Arid environments. Scorpion is a predecessor of MultiCam, developed for the Objective Force Warrior program. Occasionally, the Army’s Natick Labs, in charge of development of Soldier Systems gear, pulls Scorpion out and does some work on it. Although it differs slightly from MultiCam, over the years it has been tested against MultiCam and bookend variants have been developed. Considering Scorpion is even older than MultiCam, this would probably pass the NDAA sniff test as a legacy pattern.
3. Test and adopt a Digital Transitional Pattern with legacy bookend patterns from the MARPAT or AOR families. This is the one you’ve been hearing about in the news. Testing will be limited to NATO or picture-in-picture testing where Soldiers are shown a digital photo of a pattern inserted electronically into a photo of a natural environment and the Soldier is measured to see how long it takes to detect the pattern. Considering that all of the Phase IV finalists outperformed both AOR and MARPAT in picture-in-picture testing, it sounds like the Army is swinging for the fence of mediocrity. Additionally, the newly created DTP, whether created from Crye’s MultiCam or the Army’s Scorpion, will be a new pattern. According to federal law, all four services must adopt it for the Army to have its way.
2014 NDAA – The Elephant In The Room
Last year, Congress enacted a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act that was intended to streamline the development of all of these service specific patterns. Had the Army stuck with its original schedule, the NDAA wouldn’t have been an issue. But they didn’t. Now, they have to deal with the consequences of their inaction.
This is what the law says about new camouflage patterns.
(b) PROHIBITION.—Except as provided in subsection
(c), after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of a military department may not adopt any new camouflage pattern design or uniform fabric for any combat or camouflage utility uniform or family of uniforms for use by an Armed Force, unless—
(1) the new design or fabric is a combat or camouflage utility uniform or family of uniforms that will be adopted by all Armed Forces; (emphasis added)
Call me skeptical, but I’m not sure the Army is going to talk all of the services into adopting this new shake and bake pixelated transitional pattern (DTP). Otherwise, they violate the NDAA.
Echos of UCP?
“It’s déjà vu all over again”.
I can only think of the great Yogi Berra’s quote when I consider what the Army is up to. Just 10 years ago it adopted the so-called Universal Camouflage Pattern just as it had concluded an extensive camouflage study. Ignoring all of the work that had been done, UCP came seemingly out of nowhere, combining features from different patterns, it became more of a fashion decision than an operational one. Sound familiar? Now, right on the heels of the most extensive camouflage study in history, the Army throws out all of the data and creates its own pattern based on other patterns that performed well in testing.
This time it’s worse for two fundamental reason. First, they should know better as they were raked over the coals just last year over the adoption of UCP and the “$5 Billion SNAFU”. Seems like SNAFU was more appropriate than I had originally thought. Second, such an action by the Army has the effect of Big Government hurting a small business.
Sure, they’re testing it. But it’s the computer based, NATO testing, and not full field trials like Phase IV.
The Licensing Fee
The point of the US Army Camouflage Improvement Effort was to do exactly what the name of the project says. From the outset, PEO Soldier said that the Army would allow the science to guide the process. Somehow that notion went out the window sometime over the past two years and money has become the central issue.
According to Army sources, and printed by both Military.com and Army Times, Crye Precision is seeking $24.8 Million from the Army to license the MultiCam pattern. As I understand it, this is an incorrect number, but that doesn’t really matter. What matters is that the Army has the audacity to quibble over $24 Million. The amount of money spent by the Army on camouflage is staggering. What’s worse, all the while that they continue to tap dance, the Army continues to purchase clothing and equipment in both the UCP and OCP camouflage. Years ago, the Army admitted that UCP was ineffective yet they continue to spend money on it. Who wants to bet that they won’t spend in excess of $24 Million between now and September on UCP?
Considering the new round of testing is going to cost even more money after they just completed testing of commercial patterns that cost in excess of $20 Million, it’s now bordering on the criminal. One interesting point. When the Army talks about what a project like this costs they only consider travel and procurement costs. Since their employees are paid no matter what they do, they don’t include those wage costs in the total like a commercial company would. This means that they grossly under report costs.
The next thing you are going to hear from these guys is how they are trying to be good stewards of the tax payers money. They spent well in excess of $5 Billion on UCP (some estimate that across DoD, almost $10 Billion was spent on UCP since 2004). Since adopting OCP in 2010, DoD has spent well over $1 Billion on clothing and OCIE. Now, they are seriously considering adopting yet another pattern. I don’t see how the capital investment in an entirely new family of camouflage is working in my best interest as a tax payer or for that matter, in the Army’s, who has other modernization requirements. Government watch dogs are also going to start to add up all of the money the Army has spent and question why they didn’t just buy what their own testing has already shown to be effective. After all of the money the Army has spent, even $24.8 Million sounds like a bargain to me.
In the long run, it will be Big Army vs small business man. In the court of public opinion this won’t end well for the Army or for those decision makes pushing this within the Army.
From a fiscal standpoint, there is only one option. Adopt MultiCam as OCP as standard issue for the US Army.
Perception Is Reality
All along, I’ve maintained that camouflage is as much as function of branding as operational effectiveness. The British military recognized this when they contracted Crye Precision to create a variant of MulticCam called Multi Terrain Pattern as their national camouflage pattern. The Marine Corps knows this as well, creating MARPAT as a means to identify themselves and create esprit de corps. The Air Force created their digital tigerstripe pattern in 2006 after then CSAF, Gen John Jumper felt insulted after being called a Soldier while wearing woodland BDUs. Even the Army has acknowledged this with the adoption of UCP. The point was to offer a distinctive look for the Soldier. Consequently, the troops aren’t going to be exactly happy that they are getting a generic, watered down version of something they already know works. The Army is strapped for cash. This most likely means that the transition to a new camouflage identity for the Army will take some time. If a new pattern is adopted, we will see Soldiers outfitted in a combination of three different patterns for years to come. Not exactly sending a great message that they are a professional force. Nobody wants to see Soldiers wearing clashing camouflage. In not only looks bad, but operationally, testing has shown that it actually works to make the Soldier even more detectable. Way to tell Soldiers that you care.
US troops have been fighting in OCP/MultiCam for years. Give Soldiers what they know works.
The Forgotten Option
For some reason, the Army has abandoned the multi-year, Phase IV testing of the Camouflage Improvement Effort. All of the commercial candidate patterns out performed baseline (MARPAT and AOR). And as we understand it, the Crye Precision offering, while just barely, came out on top. If the Army would just award Phase IV, it could adopt the Crye Precision family of patterns and pay a measly $639,863.99 for the privilege. Is there a loophole in the NDAA? Maybe. It was used by the Army, although in a Test and Evaluation environment only, prior to adoption of the NDAA language as law.
Finish what you’ve started.
Get your act together Army. Stop wasting money. You already know what it is, so adopt a camouflage that works.
This Friday we are going to focus on FirstSpear’s products that relate to helmets.
FirstSpear offers three different helmet cover models; for the ops-Core family of FAST helmets, there are versions made from both softshell material and hybrid mesh/softshell material as well as a hybrid model for the MICH/ACH. All offer Velcro for ID patches and protect the helmet from bumps and enhance camouflage. Available in a variety of colors.
The FS Helmet Battery Pack serves dual duty as on-helmet battery storage as well as use as a counterweight. Made from softshell, it is Velcro backed in order to attach to a helmet cover. Offered in Black, Ranger Green,Coyote and MultiCam.
FirstSpear’s NVG Pocket is different because it carries your Binocular and Monocular NVGs with the mount attached. Plus, there’s room for batteries and other accessories. Available in Black, Ranger Green,Coyote and MultiCam with 6/9 or 6/12 attachment.
This pouch is designed for use as a stand alone case for your eye pro but can also be attached to MOLLE platforms. The insert is custom cut to hold your second set of lenses and can be customized by FirstSpear for other fragile items like medicine vials, syringes etc. Offered in Black, Coyote, Ranger Green and MultiCam with 6/9 and 6/12 attachments.
The Helmet Hut is one of my favorite FirstSpear products. Helmets, ear pro, NVGs and accessories are expensive and this padded case is a great way to store and transport them. It features a U-shaped 3/4 opening zipper so you can get at your kit as well as internal storage pockets. Available in Black, Coyote, Khaki, Ranger Green and MultiCam.