Massif Rocks!

Ops-Core RAC Headset Now Available For Direct Order

December 6th, 2016

I know a lot of you have been asking for it, and now Gentex has added the RAC Communications Headset to the Ops-Core website for direct order. They are in stock and ready to ship. In fact, during a recent visit to their factory in Manchester, New Hampshire, I watched them assembling the RACs in anticipation of this move.

RAC consists of outer earcups, wireless earbuds and a boom microphone. It is a delicate balance between protecting and enabling hearing. From the beginning, Ops-Core wanted to offer an internal earbud, which greatly increases hearing protection. For example, with just the earcups, RAC offers 20db protection. By adding the NFMI earbuds, that protection is increased to 32 db. Adding RAC’s wireless earbuds isn’t analogous to adding foamies, which would block the Situational Awareness advantage. Additionally, wired inserts aren’t the answer because wires get in the way of pro masks, balaclavas, etc. Some systems use one form of RF signal or another but, that raises security issues due to encryption.

Instead, Ops-Core decided to use a magnetic system. It’s battery free and wireless. The audio signal stimulates a coil which becomes the transmit antenna. Because it uses a magnetic field to work, you must keep the coil contained in the earcup close to the earbuds. For instance, you can open the earcup slightly to vent, but you can’t move it to the rear in the storage position because the earbud won’t receive the signal.

The RAC features an interesting 3D hearing, Situational Awareness capability, made possible by the integration of what is essentially an artificial ear, combined with electronics. The intake for ambient noise is at an angle, like your ear, rather than flat across the front like on other systems. Inside the intake, the SA microphone is located at the top to avoid the effects of wind, and to help water drain down, after immersion.

Additionally, the external boom microphone is immersible and noise canceling. To swap sides for the boom microphone, you remove the plug and swap it. Although the earbuds are wireless, the earcuos are commected via a cable which is attached to the helmet via Velcro. Various cables are available for connection to comms systems.

Compatible with the Ops-Core FAST and Sentry Helmet Systems, RAC is designed to attach directly to the ARC Rail. RAC mounts to the lower, angled section of the ARC rail. This keeps it out of the way, leaving room for other accessories on the upper section of the rail.

The earcups are mounted on a gimbel to fit a wide variety of ear and head shapes, but one of the most unique features is that RAC has a built-in storage ability. The earcups rotate back to the rear of the helmet when not in use, creating a very low profile. In fact, the earcups aren’t visible from front view when stowed.

RAC is offered in Urban Tan, Foliage Green and Black. However, RAC accpets dipped patterns very well. Additionally, RAC can be purchased with the NFMI earplug capability or without. RACs purchased without the NFMI system are not upgradeable.

www.ops-core.com/rac-headset

58th Rescue Squadron Resiliency Weekend

December 6th, 2016

I was fortunate enough to be invited to a Resiliency Training offsite with the 58th Rescue Squadron, stationed at Nellis AFB, Nevada. Led by Lt Col Stephen C, the 58th is made up of Combat Rescue Officers, Pararescuemen (PJs), SERE Specialists and support personnel from 14 different careerfields.

Squadron members and their families made the short trip from Las Vegas, to nearby Saint George, Utah, to learn about how to better deal with the stresses of combat operations, and military life in general. Pioneered by USSOCOM, resiliency training is officially known as Preservation of Force and Family. More recently, Air Combat Command, as the responsible USAF command for the Guardian Angel Weapon System, instituted a similar program for their Battlefield Airmen. Last weekend’s event is a result of this initiative.

In addition to advances in nutrition and physical training, one of the goals of the program is to provide training to recognize stress and reduce the stigma of getting help for mental issues. Stress inoculation is key in training, but preparation and awareness of what one should expect, are also crucial. Those last bits were the focus of the weekend’s agenda.

As families accompanied them, the location was a perfect way for everyone to get away from Las Vegas for a few days. Saint George offers some great opportunities for outdoor recreation and bonding. The Squadron’s various elements also had ample time to accomplish mid and long-term goals, including planning on how to make them a reality.

The first day, Operational Psychologist Maj Richard S, 432nd Wing Operational Psychologist discussed adjusting to life after deployment and how to turn the switch off from operational life when you get back home. The next day, Lt Col Richard B is the lead SERE Psychologist at Fairchild. Having served in AFSOC at Cannon AFB, NM, Lt Col B concentrated on warrior mindset.

That evening, the 58th Rescue Squadron Booster Club presented a banquet for the unit and its families. While the active duty members were TDY, the families’ meals were made possible thanks to the sponsorship of Air Rescue Concepts and Soldier Systems Daily.

The next morning, Steve Tarani presented an interactive seminar for the Squadron members and their spouses. The topic was perfect for the weekend’s focus; Resiliency training, mental toughness and preparedness.


He has been teaching for over 30 years, concentrating on protection, of people, assets and facilities. These days he usually concentrates on train-the-trainer but he also offers seminars like this to improve the safety and security for high risk audiences.

Steve is a very engaging speaker. The talk was excellent and applicable, to the military participants just as much as their families. Mindset, awareness and threat mitigation were key points of his talk. Steve tied recent real world events into the training, including last week’s vehicle and knife attack in Ohio. The talk was especially important for family members, who often find themselves alone while their spouse is deployed because Steve discussed situational awareness and how to become a hard target.

After a team lunch, Maj John T gave an engaging talk about Fatigue Management and Performance. Rather than putting all of us to sleep after lunch, he offered fatigue countermeasures and the important of understanding circadian rhythms and adjunct medications. I also now understand the difference between snuggling and cuddling. Last but not least, Lt Col Stefanie S wrapped up the day with a discussion on the importance of nutrition for Special Operations Forces.

Patrick Van Horn author of ‘Left of Bang’ wrapped up the presentations on Sunday afternoon. Patrick is the author of, “Left of Bang: How the Marine Corps’ Combat Hunter Program Can Save Your Life” and the CEO of The CP Journal, a behavioral analysis training company.  His presentation centered around Combat Profiling, which is a method of proactively identifying threats based on normal behavior and other cues from one’s surroundings.  Patrick explained how the foundation of combat profiling is that there are universal similarities in humans, despite cultural differences. The idea is to take a proactive approach to combat profiling by establishing baselines, identifying anomalies from that baseline and then acting on them.

All of the presentations were excellent and discussions with the members of the Guardian Angel community indicated they agreed.

The good news in all of this is that the military has become much better at recognizing and treating physical, emotional and mental stressors. Programs like this help to inoculate military personnel and their families toward these conditions, in order to help mitigate their effects. What is most important, is that personnel understand that these organizations continue to invest in their well being. Their units are there to help, and the stigma of seeking assistance is no longer there. The goal is to keep these warriors in the fight.

I want to thank the Airmen of the 58th Rescue Squadron for their hospitality. It was a joy to catch up with old friends, make new ones, and speak with Airmen and their families.

Jim Hodge, You Card, You

December 6th, 2016

TacJobs  – Remington Regional Sales Rep – Defense

December 5th, 2016

This is a fulltime position with Remington Defense in Huntsville, Alabama.

Overview:

This person assists the Director, Defense in handling Remington Defense product development, marketing, sales, promotion, forecasting, and competitive analysis. It is also this person’s responsibility to contact, call on, demo products at and support domestic and international customers/end-users. Attendance, set up and assistance at national/International trade shows and events are also part of this job. All of this is accomplished by traveling as needed and within a designated budget.

Responsibilities:

-Promote the sales of all Remington products, determining the best solution/product to meet the customer’s need.
-Initiate and manage all sales within/for assigned region or customers.
-Determine customer needs or gaps within the marketplace for development of both new products and modifications to existing Remington offerings for maximum profitability and sustainability.
-Build and maintain competitive analysis and sales pipeline for assigned region or customers.
-Obtains product market share by working with Business Development to determine product sales strategies.
-Provides information for management by preparing short-term and long-term product sales forecasts and special reports and analyses.
-Responsive to customer questions and requests regarding company product offerings.
-Act as a process guide to help Remington navigate domestic and international procurement channels.
-Develop appropriate customer contacts, both at the operator and the procurement chain levels, and build good-working relationships with in-country agents.
-Monitor customer orders through the production and delivery process.
-Conduct live fire firearms and ammunition demonstrations, product seminars and training, including but not limited to, product use and employment, product maintenance and care, and target engagements.
-Knowledgeable in safe gun and ammunition handling and instruction skills using a variety of teaching aids to include computer/multimedia hardware and software.
-Attend, set up or manage regional and national trade shows as assigned by the Director, Defense
-Travel, as directed, in a safe, productive, and cost-effective manner.
-Maintain flexibility to respond to any and all assignments called for by the Division Director or the SVP of Firearms.

Qualifications:

-To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily.
-The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required.
-Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
-Bachelor’s degree (B. A.) from four-year college or university
Or, two to four years related experience and/or training
Or, equivalent combination of education and experience.

Language Skills
-Ability to read, analyze, and interpret general business periodicals, professional journals, technical procedures, or governmental regulations.
-Ability to write reports, business correspondence, and procedure manuals.
-Ability to effectively present information and respond to questions from groups of managers, clients, customers, and the general public.

Mathematical Skills
-Ability to calculate figures and amounts such as discounts, interest, commissions, proportions, percentages, area, circumference, and volume.
-Ability to apply concepts of basic algebra and geometry.

Reasoning Ability
-Ability to solve practical problems and deal with a variety of concrete variables in situations where only limited standardization exists.
-Ability to interpret a variety of instructions furnished in written, oral, diagram, or schedule form.

Computer Skills
-Knowledgeable in MS Office (Word, Excel and Power Point)

Other Skills and Abilities
-Must be a competent public speaker.

Other Qualifications
-Substantial military experience at NCO level or higher.
-Must have a high level of technical military competence, credibility and personal integrity.
-Helpful if the person has had some exposure to law enforcement, be it on the job training, desired LE employment or family history.
-Essential that the person be familiar with gun / ammunition handling in general and preferred that they be experienced in one or more specialty areas of handguns, rifle or shotguns.
-This person has to be capable to travel away from home no less than 100 nights a year and possible as many as 160.
-No criminal record.
-Cannot be addicted to drugs or alcohol.

Physical Demands

-The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.
-Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
-While performing the duties of this Job, the employee is regularly required to talk or hear.
-The employee is frequently required to use hands to finger, handle, or feel; reach with hands and arms and stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl.
-The employee is occasionally required to stand; walk and sit.
-The employee must regularly lift and /or move up to 100 pounds.
-Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception and ability to adjust focus.
-Live fire demos.
-Moving and setting up show displays.
-On your feet all day at shows, demos and training events.
-Sitting for long periods of time in airplanes or cars.
-Participating in training exercises with customers to demonstrate products.
-Provide visual and vocal presentations in front of both small and large audiences.

Work Environment
-The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job.
-Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
-While performing the duties of this Job, the employee is regularly exposed to wet and/or humid conditions; moving mechanical parts; fumes or airborne particles; toxic or caustic chemicals; outside weather conditions; explosives and vibration.
-The employee is frequently exposed to extreme heat.
-The employee is occasionally exposed to high, precarious places and extreme cold.
-The noise level in the work environment is usually very loud.
-Lead exposure due to ammunition detonation.
-Working on ranges where lead levels are beyond normal exposure.
-Working around and firing firearms of all sizes where loud gunfire noise is always a potential.

Certificates, Licenses, Registrations
-For former military, must have certified honorable discharge.

You may apply through here.

ADS Inc Presents – Kopis Mobile On Military Apps

December 5th, 2016

In preparing for a recent blog post entitled, “Assessing the Need for Operational Apps in the Warfighter Community” ADS spoke with local defense technology company Kopis Mobile to discuss both commercially available mobile apps as well as custom military themed apps. Designed to save time and increase productivity, a quality app is also intuitive and easy-to-use.

Kopis Mobile not only specializes in designing and manufacturing custom apps, but they also offer app-enabled equipment, often integrating existing commercial technologies. Their success is based in their keen understanding of military requirements, from a programmatic as well as end-user standpoint, combined with the agility only a small, focused business, can offer. I’ve known the guys from Kopis going back over a dozen years, to my time at SOCPAC and later, after retirement with Blackwater and Mav6. They’ve introduced some very cool capabilities.

Read the whole thing at adsinc.com/operational-apps amd learn what apps can do for your mission.

For The Ladies – Velocity Systems Introduces Women’s BOSS Rugby

December 5th, 2016

Velocity Systems’ BOSS Rugby has been super popular, both as Range attire as well as a uniform item. They’ve just released a Women’s version of this shirt.

The Velocity Systems Women’s BOSS Rugby is lightweight and can be utilized as a hot weather range shirt, or a moisture managing base layer under armor. The rugby style collar keeps a weapon sling off the base of neck. The active cut is athletic and mobile; the material is comfortable and quick to dry. The two envelope pockets on the sleeve accept hook backed patches. 83% Nylon 17% Spandex. All materials and workmanship are 100% made in the USA. The new Women’s BOSS Rugby comes in Black, Ranger Green and Wolf Grey in sizes, S through XL.

Available now at www.velsyst.com.

Kinetic Development Group Announces New Modular Optics Mount

December 5th, 2016

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The new KDG Modular Optic Mount is based off the proven Sidelok family of quick detach optic mounts, and features the same user-friendly, toolless design. KDG set out to design a Sidelok mount for all common, tube-style optics that will offer more user-configurable options than what is currently available from competing QD mounts. The Modular Optic Mount currently comes in three configurations, with ring sizes for 1”, 30mm and 34mm tubes.

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The lightweight aluminum mount uses KDG’s Sidelok (pat. pending) cam lock system to attach to all picatinny rails instantly. With zero tools needed to attach the mount, the user simply rocks their optic onto the chosen mounting space, and down onto the rail. Once pressed down, the Modular Optic Mount self-locks, and the optic can be zeroed in the usual fashion. Removal is equally fast, and can be accomplished with one hand even while wearing gloves. The front located release button has a smaller, recessed secondary lock, which must be deliberately pressed in and to the rear to facilitate removal. The Sidelok system makes it virtually impossible to accidentally engage the release, and its cam lock system ensures a secure grasp on various sized (and some out of spec) picatinny rails. This equates to a fast, easy means of removing and attaching optics while retaining an absolute return to zero. 

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The mount is offered with a user removable cantilever bar, in which the rings securely mount. This bar runs parallel to the weapon’s bore, and is ideal for all semi and fully automatic carbines, rifles and DM style firearms. KDG plans to release a separate 20 MOA bar in the future, for those that might require the added elevation for particular optic or application. 

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The matched front and rear rings are CNC machined, and wire EDM cut to be as precisely concentric as possible. The upper and lower ring remain matched for the duration of its production, and feature witness marks for assembly in the form of recessed dots. This allows the user to match the proper ring to its base, and ensure the mount is as truly aligned as possible. The rings themselves can be adjusted forward or back to the user’s preference, to avoid interference with large front objective bells, turret adjustment knobs, and rear magnification adjustment collars. The rings themselves bolt into a track system to facilitate this adjustment. The same track system allows the user to purchase and install separate rings in the future, should they decide to change to an optic with a larger or smaller diameter tube. This feature will save the shooter or organization money, as the majority of cost is in the base of the unit. 

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The Modular Optic Mount is now available to order on Kinetic Development Group’s website, and from authorized dealers. The 1”, 30mm, and 34mm mounts come with all hardware and instructions needed for immediate assembly, and will fit nearly all popular magnified optics currently on the market. With an MSRP of $224.99, the Modular Optic Mount just might be the last mount you ever need to buy. For more information, please check out kineticdg.com.

The Baldwin Articles – Cargo Pockets

December 5th, 2016

There is one functional element that is found on the field uniform of practically all the militaries in the world today. It is some version of the simple but effective thigh mounted cargo pocket. Surprisingly, the genesis of that now ubiquitous feature dates only back to WWII. And it is very much an American innovation. Most militaries, including the US Armed Forces saw no need for anything other than small patch pockets on field uniforms prior to 1940. And most of those were located on issued jackets or shirts and not trousers. If you have a set of Dress Blues or Greens in your closet you can see what most truly old school combat uniforms looked like. But with global war imminent in the late 1930s new and previously untried clothing ideas found some traction and urgency.

During WWII the US Army fielded three types of field trousers each with different cargo pockets. The first and most widely issued was the Herringbone Twill (HBT) uniform (not shown). The HBT trousers had a relatively small unpleated pocket mounted high on the thigh that was secured by one button and a flap. This is the trouser worn by the Ranger characters in Saving Private Ryan (also seen in The Dirty Dozen and more recently The Great Raid). This uniform remained in service until the late 1950s generally only for summer wear. The second type of field trousers saw much more limited use. Those are the Trousers, Mountain, which were issued only to the 10th Mountain Division and the First Special Service Force (FSSF). These pants had a good sized cargo pocket with flap and two buttons for closure. Side note: even though they were also parachute qualified the plank holders of the FSSF preferred the mountain trousers to those developed exclusively for paratroopers.

But it was the development and eventual combat employment of mission specific paratrooper uniforms that rightly validated the utility of cargo pockets. By necessity the Army Airborne Command was a hotbed of invention. The leadership quickly recognized the critical need for a paratrooper to carry considerably more gear on his person than the typical soldier. Early on they produced two limited issue experimental uniforms that never saw combat: the paratrooper coveralls and the M1941 uniform. The coveralls had fair sized thigh pockets with a metal zipper across the top and no flap. The M1941 uniform had single snap closed pockets that were deemed too small but was hurriedly reengineered and fielded as the iconic M1942 Parachutist Uniform.

But by the time the American Airborne had a couple of combat jumps worth of experience it was obvious that the cotton twill of the M1942 uniform – especially the pockets – needed to be reinforced. To be fair, the troopers routinely overloaded the pockets with hard edged objects that would wear holes in almost any clothing material available at the time. Fortunately the Airborne units had a secret weapon not available to “leg” outfits. That is the Parachute Rigger. The Rigger was not only charged with packing parachutes but also with repairing them. So all were trained to use industrial grade sewing machines and had a steady supply of web material and high strength thread. Riggers were the first custom gear industry. They produced countless enlarged ammo pouches, specialized rigs for engineers and medics and anything else needed by Airborne units that was not in the normal Army supply channels.

So when time and mission permitted paratroopers turned in their uniforms to have canvas or cotton webbing reinforcements applied by the Riggers. This included leg ties, rectangular canvas patches for the elbows and knees (see photo) and webbing around all of the pockets. The leg ties were needed to stabilize and cinch the load to the troopers’ thighs during and after a drop. By the Normandy Invasion jump most of the troopers in the 82nd and 101st were wearing uniforms with these improvements. Again as widely seen on the Airborne characters of Saving Private Ryan and the first couple of episodes of Band of Brothers. I mention the movies in part because I don’t have a M1942 uniform to display. What I do have at the top of the visual aid is a set of “Rigger Pockets” that are of the same dimensions – and nearly identical design. With the aforementioned canvas leg ties and knee patches. These are well made replicas that come from a place called WWII Impressions that caters to Reenactors.


1st Row: Replica K Rations, Canvas Rigger Pockets (back and Front), M1945 and M1950 Suspenders. 2nd Row: M1965 Field Trousers (OD and Woodland). 3rd Row: OG 107 Jungle Fatigues, ERDL Green Dominant, ERDL Brown Dominant. 4th Row: BDU Woodland, DCU 6-Color, DCU 3-Color. 5th Row: ACU UCP, ACU OCP.

The M1942 uniform really was the archetype from which all subsequent US Military cargo pockets evolved. When then Captain Yarborough designed the parachutist uniform he sized each pocket based on purpose. The thigh cargo pockets specifically were intended to hold 3 K-Ration meal components (see photo). The pockets for every paratrooper were the same size to hold the same load. Not sized to look esthetically pleasing on the individual as is common today. During the upgrades mentioned above, two other design shortcomings were deemed less critical and were not immediately addressed. The pocket had bellows along all three sides. This provided for maximum usable volume. But also allowed the pockets to bulge out significantly and become a snagging hazard especially in wooded terrain. The pocket also had an “inverted box (2 sided) pleat” in the center to allow expansion (yes, I looked it up). Inverted simply means that the fold that forms the pleat is on the inside of the pocket rather than the outside (see photo). That pleat also tended to get easily caught by underbrush. But it was still the best uniform with the best pockets available into the late summer of 44.

Stateside, the Army had already been working on a replacement common combat uniform for the entire force. Experimentation was conducted on the proposed M1943 uniform beginning in 42. Early combat lessons learned by Airborne units were incorporated into the test up front. For the Trouser component six different cargo pocket configurations were tested. On some of the test pants there was actually a different pocket on either side of the sample. However, when the official type classified “M1943 Uniform” was fielded it had no cargo pockets. There were a couple of reasons for this. One, the Armor community and Air Corps did not want cargo pockets. They saw them as nothing more than an annoyance in a tank or plane. There was also some institutional resistance to cargo pockets because they made soldiers look “sloppy and unprofessional”. And, after all, the Great War had been won without cargo pockets. But I think the final decision came down to nothing more than simplifying the design so that the trousers could be easier to produce in mass quantities rapidly.

However, the Airborne still wanted cargo pockets. So even before the M1943 uniform was shipped into the European Theater the Riggers were hard at work fabricating those Rigger Pockets. Using the M1942 pockets as the best available template. They chose canvas because it was the toughest fabric they had on hand. Then as the M1943 trousers arrived the Riggers sewed those pockets to the pants just in time for Operation Market Garden and all subsequent jumps. On the plus side, the unmodified M1943 Jacket, Field was well received by the paratroopers. The new ensemble was made of sturdy cotton sateen and was more durable than the M1942. It is important to note that the M1943 Uniform was envisioned to be a 3-season temperate zone uniform. It was supposed to supplant all the specialized uniforms including HBTs. But soldiers quickly found that while the M1943 was a great improvement it was simply too hot for summer wear even in Central Europe. So by default the HBT uniform soldiered on despite the Army’s original intentions.

Rigger Pockets themselves actually have a much longer history too. Post WWII the Army continued to issue the slick M1943 trousers. But Airborne units still wanted pockets. So it became something of a rite of passage for graduates of Jump School to receive a set of canvas Rigger Pockets and leg ties. Which the cherry jumper would then have sewn on at a local tailor shop. When the Rangers and the 187th RCT made the two large scale combat jumps in Korea almost all were wearing M1943 uniforms with canvas Rigger Pockets. The M1951 Uniform was eventually fielded with built in cargo pockets but did not get to Korea in any quantity till after 53 and the Armistice. But even after the M1951 uniform was available the Rigger Pockets remained the mark of a seasoned paratrooper and continued to be worn in the back woods of places like Fort Bragg and Germany. In one book I have there are a couple of pictures of an ODA doing mountaineering training in 1961. And it appears the older NCOs still have them on their trousers.

But as already mentioned some changes were definitely warranted in the cargo pocket design despite the mystique and longevity of the originals. So when the Army developed the M1951 Uniform they created an improved version that utilized the now familiar tri-panel “knife (1 sided) pleat” configuration. Additionally the leading and bottom seams were sewn down. The new pocket therefore only expanded in the rear. Both revisions served to greatly reduce snagging issues. Moreover, the bottom front corner of the flap was bartacked down for the same reason. This now classic design, with some occasional minor tweaks, remains the standard even today some 65 years later.

I don’t have any M1951 trousers anymore but I do have three of the follow on M1965 Field Trousers* on display. The only real difference between the 51s and 65s is in the buttons. The 51s had flat plastic buttons and the 65s have the oval plastic buttons we are still using today. The 51s also had buttons on the outside of the waist so that they would be reverse compatible with the M1945 Suspenders (see photo). I have also laid out the long serving M1950 Suspenders that many of you will recognize. The M1950s are apparently still in the system and being produced today in foliage green. Paratroopers learned in WWII that if you put heavy things in your cargo pockets suspenders were practically mandatory.

I was issued M1951s and those very M1945 suspenders in Germany in 1975. In those days you used serviceable gear until you literally wore it out. I put an asterisk next to “Field Trousers” above because there is one difference between the two OD examples I have. The earlier manufactured one is labeled “Trousers, Field”. The one produced later is labeled “Trousers, Cold Weather” as is the woodland set. As I recall we almost always just called them “field pants”. Like their predecessors, the M1951 and M1965 cargo pockets have the very useful leg tie downs hidden inside. I still remember enlightening soldiers and even NCOs in the early 80s who didn’t know the ties were there or didn’t understand what they were for. I used my tie downs just about every time I wore field pants. They definitely help keep the pocket’s contents from bouncing around.

The OG107 Jungle Fatigues and the first set of ERDLs are cut in the same pattern. They have the tri-panel knife pleat but a slightly larger flap that is obviously reminiscent of the Rigger Pocket or M1942 flap. Both of these uniforms were extremely functional and popular and have been discussed many times here on SSD. The last generation ERDLs (late 70s/early 80s) had a very different pocket arrangement. The jacket pockets were square and level rather than rounded and canted. And all had the inverted box pleat including, inexplicably, the thigh cargo pocket. I was issued this pair in 83 at Fort Bragg. On my first field problem the pleat caught on brush and was ripped. When I got back to garrison I had the pleat sewn shut. Problem solved. I can only assume that somebody had not bothered to capture why that feature had been abandoned in the first place and recycled it out of ignorance. Uniforms in this straight pocket configuration were also produced and issued in OG107 Jungles and in experimental 6-Color Desert.

The early BDUs circa 1982-83 had a myriad of problems. They had a goofy big collar, turned blue after one or two washings and shrank like crazy. But there was nothing wrong with the cargo pockets. The Army wisely reverted back to the knife pleats and a relatively narrow flap with a two button closure. Another side note. Some of you may remember that the original BDUs in NYCO Twill were intended as an all-purpose 3-season temperate zone uniform. Sound familiar? They were too hot and soon “Light Weight” Ripstop BDUs were produced to fix that problem. OG107 Jungle Fatigues were also authorized Army wide as an interim fix until the lighter uniforms could be fielded. Many soldiers, unaware of the history, often erroneously refer to the heavier originals as “winter weight” BDUs. As far as I know, USGI Desert Storm era 6-Color DCUs were only issued in Twill and later 3-Color DCUs only in Ripstop.

Today the USMC MARPAT uniforms and the Air Force ABU still use the same well refined and combat tested BDU pocket design described above. But the Army decided it needed to make some changes when it fielded the ACU in 2005. They kept the tri-panel pocket body. But they traded buttons for Velcro and shock cord. I’m not anti-Velcro. I believe in some applications it is a suitable closure device. Chest pockets under body armor for instance. But it is the wrong option for cargo pockets for a number of reasons which have been discussed here many times. The flap was also canted and was no longer bartacked down. These changes were all intended to make it easier to access the pocket when seated. Maybe so. I just personally don’t recall that accessing the older cargo pockets was a problem prior to 2005.

In any case, the Army has transitioned back to a button closure on the last generation of UCP ACUs and the newer Multicam and OCP ACUs. But for some reason someone decided that there was a need for a third “expansion” button. If that works for you then by all means drive on. But after some unscientific experimentation here on the homestead, I saw no use for it and removed the superfluous third button. When I was wearing the UCP ACUs in the 2005-07 timeframe I also had the bottom front corner of the flaps bartacked down. I experienced no adverse issues with pocket access. And I felt more secure in that the flap could no longer come completely undone and dump the contents (say in a vehicle roll over).

There are a number of newer and IMHO tactically questionable cargo pockets designs out there today. The Navy just adopted the NWU Type III that according to pictures I’ve seen has cargo pockets segmented by two inverted box pleats. I’m sure that will work fine aboard ship. But this style will never travel well through a jungle. Other popular commercial examples have internal elastic to accommodate rifle magazines. I can tell you that unless there is some provision to cinch that pocket to the thigh (or you like wearing really tight pants) those loaded magazines will beat your leg to death when you run. And one last thing. The flap on the OCP ACUs is noticeably larger than previous cargo pocket flaps. I thought of early BDU/DCU Elvis Collars when I saw it. It just seems bigger than reasonably necessary for the task. For those wearing them in the field today I would be curious to hear if the pocket flap is the snag monster I suspect it can be. TLB

LTC Terry Baldwin, US Army (RET) served on active duty from 1975-2011 in various Infantry and Special Forces assignments.

Next: Load Carriage – The Road to ALICE