TYR Tactical

Archive for the ‘Guest Post’ Category

ArmyCon: Where Virtual and Reality Meet

Monday, October 7th, 2019

FORT KNOX, Ky. — The U.S. Army is aiming to connect the gaming world to the military characters and equipment featured in many of today’s most popular games during the first-ever ArmyCon at the Army Ten-Miler Expo Park and D.C. Armory in Washington, D.C., Oct. 11-12.

ArmyCon will showcase high tech, warfighting capabilities with interactive displays and demonstrations. Individuals can test their skills as virtual warriors in the Mobile Gaming Semi-Trailer and then meet the real-life Soldiers face-to-face, equipped with all the associated gear and weaponry, in one action-packed area.

Spectators can test out robots, climb inside helicopters, and challenge their hacking skills. They can even get a close-up look at two new pieces of Army tech — the Enhanced Night Vision Goggle — Binocular and the Black Hornet Nano Unmanned Aerial System.

The ENVG-B’s are the Army’s most advanced night vision goggle, providing close combat forces with the capability to observe and maneuver weather conditions during limited visibility and enabling Soldiers to shoot around corners. The Black Hornet is a tiny drone that offers intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support.

“There are so many young people who don’t know what high-tech jobs the Army can offer or what Army life is like,” said Maj. Gen. Frank Muth, U.S. Army Recruiting commanding general. “ArmyCon is a prime opportunity for us to start the conversation about the professional jobs our Soldiers do.”

ArmyCon will feature the two new outreach teams created this year — the Army eSports Team and the Warrior Fitness Team. The esports team will host a “Twitch” gaming tournament inside of the U.S. Army Mobile Gaming Semi-Trailer, which features scorpion chairs and a variety of gaming platforms.

In addition to the new equipment and the gaming trailer, attendees will have a variety of Army assets to experience up-close and personal, including:

-Electric motorcycle
-Talon EOD robot
-Percussion explosive neutralization system
-Portable X-ray
-EOD blast suit
-Cyber Protection Team (demo cyber effects, display geo tagging effects with social media)

Along with the equipment, attendees can meet Olympians from the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, the Golden Knights Army Parachute Team, Rangers, Special Forces Soldiers, and more.

By USAREC Public Affairs

Night Driving With The Boyz…

Monday, October 7th, 2019

This photo was taken by Army Photojournalist, SGT Henry Villarama and posted to his Instagram account.

I took this photo last night while photographing our brigade’s new Army Ground Mobility Vehicles.

I took this photo around 2230. There wasn’t much illumination from the moon and there wasn’t much I could grab from the sky.

I was having zero luck capturing the GMV moving in the night. After a few runs with these guys driving past me at 40mph, I decided to paint the vehicle with the lights from my headlamp.

White light was lame and everyone has seen red light photos. I decided to use the blue. I think it works just fine.

Here are the settings I used to take this photo:

Nikon D500 | 13mm | 7 seconds | f/5 | ISO 4000

My name is Henry Villarama. I’m an American paratrooper, photographer and student of leadership. I am proud to visually articulate the work of our Paratroopers and Soldiers to the world every day. It’s an honor to serve and I greatly appreciate the unique opportunity I have to tell our Army’s story through photography.

Follow SGT Villarama on Instagram instagram.com/villarama_photo

300 BLK Ammo Management Tip

Sunday, October 6th, 2019

John Hollister of SIG offered this tip to keep your 300 BLK ammo straight while at the range.

I get a fair amount of questions about ammunition management with 300 Blackout. One of the beauties of Blackout is the ability to use either Supersonic or Subsonic ammunition interchangeably. But how do you keep them straight?

I use two different looking and feeling magazines. I used to use both Aluminum and Polymer or 30s and 20s to segregate ammo types. Since Surefeed Magazines came out with the dimpled E2 magazines, I have gone to Supers in the E2 magazines and Subs in standard “GI” magazines, in this case a Brownells magazine. Both have Magpul followers and floor plates. You can see and feel the difference day or night. Shown is SIG 120gr SBR Supersonic all Copper and Discreet Ballistics 188gr Subsonic all Copper, both will fully expand in barrels down to a SIG Rattler length, 5.5” 1/5” twist. Another tip on magazines, when you clean you rifle, you should be completely cleaning your magazine.

Happy magazines make happy rifles.

SCUBAPRO Sunday – Starting an Outboard Motor

Sunday, October 6th, 2019

Move the shift lever to NEUTRAL.

You MUST supply water to the engine before attempting to start it. Use mouse ears or have the lower unit in the water. Engine damage can occur quickly. Watch for Engine Overheating or No water Flushing.

Be sure the engine is in the normal operating position.

Open the vent screw on the fuel tank cap.

• Turn it clockwise to close.

• Turn it Counterclockwise to open.

Make sure the fuel line arrow is pointing towards the engine.

Squeeze fuel primer bulb, the outlet ends up, until firm.

All Models

If equipped, attach the clip and lanyard assembly to the emergency stop switch / STOP button. Snap the lanyard to secure a place on your clothing or life vest

1. Emergency stop switch / STOP button Move the shift lever to NEUTRAL.


Start-up (Cold Engine)

Pull the choke knob fully out. Twist the throttle grip to START position.

Start-up (Warm Engine)

Align the arrow mark on the throttle grip with the START position. Do not use the choke.

1. Choke knob

2. Throttle grip

3. Start position

4. While seated, grasp the starter handle and pull slowly until the starter engages, then pull hard. Allow the starter cord to rewind slowly.

5. If your engine doesn’t start after three pull, push the choke knob in and repeat the starting procedure.

After Engine Starts

1. Gradually, push the choke in after the engine is warm.

2. Check the water pump indicator. A steady stream of water indicates that the water pump is working. If a steady stream of water from the water pump indicator is not visible, stop the engine.

3. Twist the throttle grip to IDLE position or slower. Move the shift lever to NEUTRAL.

Outboard Won’t Start

It doesn’t matter what brand of outboard you are us most of all starting problems are caused by the same group of things and don’t require a mechanic. At most you should only need a screwdriver and a roll of riggers tape. However, if you jumped this motor in or if you just did a lockout and brought it up from a sub. There might be other things that are wrong that you will need tools for. You should always have tools and some spare parts on the boat.

Start by noticing essential clues as to the cause:

• Sometimes the motor will sound like it’s not even really trying to start; other times it’ll sound like it’s almost starting.

• Is there an external tank connected by a fuel hose? If so, is the arrow on the line pointed the right way?

• Do you smell gas?

• Does it start okay, then die when you put it into gear?


Three (or four with an electric start) things to check when the motor doesn’t even sound like it wants to start, regardless of whether it has an internal or external tank:

Kill Switch. Make sure that the kill cord (aka “deadman”) is appropriately attached to the motor. Don’t just look at it — generally, if it’s even a tiny bit out of place, it will stop the engine — or prevent it from starting. Always try and have an extra on every boat. You never know when it might get lost.

Out of Gas? Check that there is gas in the tank.

Tank Switch. If your motor has both an in-motor gas tank and an external tank, there will be a switch to choose which tank the motor is using (it’s usually on the front of the motor). Make sure it is set to the correct one! It can easily get bumped to the wrong position when the motor is removed or when the motor is tilted up and down.


Two things to check when the motor sounds like it’s almost starting:

Choke? Try to start it both with and without using the choke, regardless of what the standard starting procedure is.

Throttle? Try varying the throttle position a little. Sometimes giving it a little more or less gas will help.


If your outboard has an external gas tank, there can be a number of problems between it and the motor. Do a quick visual inspection from the tank to the motor and then run your hand up the fuel hose. Many times, the problem will be very apparent when you do this.

Tank Vent Open? If you are using an external tank, make sure the vent on it is open. If it is not, air cannot flow into the tank to replace the volume of gas that is being used. Eventually, there will be a vacuum, and the motor won’t be able to suck gas from the tank. If the vent is open, but the tank looks “sucked in,” the vent may be clogged (infrequent, but it can happen). Try cracking the gas cap to let air into the tank — if this works, you can probably get to where you are going with the cap cracked (unless the seas are bad then you will have to watch out to make sure water does not get in the tank. If you have anything waterproof, you can put it over the tank make sure that it can still get air) Try cleaning the vent.

Fuel Line Connected or pinched the fuel line can come just slightly disconnected at either the tank or motor end. Don’t just look at it; remove the fuel line, reconnect it, and then tug gently to make sure it’s fully clipped on at both ends. If you put your fuel at the front of the boat to help even out the weight, then make sure no one is stepping on it or if it is pinched. You might have to Moe the fuel closer to the back. Check that the fuel line isn’t kinked or under something that could partially block the flow.

Squeeze Bulb. Squeeze the bulb in the fuel hose to get fuel up to the motor. Squeeze until the bulb is firm, don’t try to force it as you’ll end up flooding the motor.

If you have just replaced the fuel hose or bulb, double-check that the arrow on the bulb points from the tank to the motor (it has one-way valves in it). If you squeeze and the bulb stays “squeezed” or is slow to regain its shape, check that the tank vent is open; if it is, you probably have a blockage in the hose, or it is kinked.

If you squeeze the bulb and it never gets hard or takes more than 5 or 6 squeezes to get hard, there is likely a crack/cut/nick in the fuel hose between the tank and the bulb which is pulling in air.

If you squeeze the bulb and smell gas, you almost certainly have a cracked, cut or nicked fuel hose between the bulb and the motor, or the fuel line is not securely connected to the motor.

Cracked, Cut Fuel Hose OR Loose Connections. If the leak is on the pressure side (between the bulb and the motor), you’ll usually be able to see where the fuel is leaking. If it’s before the bulb, you simply have to look and feel to find the imperfection. Also, note that it may be a hose clamp that has come loose, or it’s possible for the squeeze bulb to have a crack in it (sunlight rally is the enemy to anything rubber).

If it’s a loose connection and you have a screwdriver, you can tighten it. If it’s a crack or nick, a few wraps of tape will often hold the hose together enough to get back to the big boat.

Blocked Fuel Hose.

Pump the squeeze bulb a few times and see if there is good fuel flow with each squeeze.

If it seems like there is a blockage, the long-term solution is to replace the hose. As a get-home measure, keep your speed low (so as to need less fuel) and keep pumping the bulb to help force fuel through the blockage. This will work for a brief stint, but once the delamination starts, it quickly gets worse. Replace the hose ASAP!


Flooded refers to flooding the motor with fuel, not having dropped it in the water.

If you try starting the motor and smell gas, the motor is likely flooded (yes, as noted above, the gas smell can come from a cracked fuel line, but that is not as likely). Do NOT use the squeeze bulb – it will just flood the motor!

You have two choices for a fix:

• Wait about 10 minutes and try starting again.

• Do not use the choke, open the throttle all the way, and try starting again — it will usually take at least 2 to 3 pulls. If it doesn’t start with a half dozen pulls, wait 10 minutes and try again.

Sometimes, after flooding, it will start and then die. If that happens, mainly if it was a cold start, you can now start it using your typical “cold start” procedure with choking it, etc.


Starting then dying when you put the motor in gear is the classic symptom of having something caught around the propeller — usually, a line or something, if you are off the coast of California, then there is a good chance its kelp. Also, if you have the prop-protectors on then tend to get foaled a lot easier. Leave the motor off and tilt it up to check, remove the kill switch then remove whatever you find. After you are done put the kill switch back on.


If the motor won’t start, walk-thru your steps, is the kill switch in? Does it have fuel? Is it getting fuel? Is it getting air? Walk your way from the gas to the motor. Systematically think about what the problem is most likely to be and check those items first. Lastly, remember if you have jumped the motor in, then there are a lot more things to look for then what I have just talked about. I will save that for another Sunday.


Free Tool Boxes For Veterans

Sunday, October 6th, 2019

We’ve got a lot of veterans in my family. Not only is my father a veteran, but he’s also a retired Air Force maintenance guy. He recently ran across an announcement for “free tool boxes for veterans” and suggested that I share it with my readership. I thought it was a good idea, so here it is?:

REAch program has shipped more than 8,000 toolboxes to Veterans

In 1994, U.S. Army Air Corps WWII Veteran and former POW Clarence Robert “Bud” Shepherd opened a small warehouse in Burlington, North Carolina, to assist 501 (c) (3) non-profit organizations, like schools, churches and daycares.

Shepherd refocused his attention on Post-9/11 combat wounded Veterans in 2012 by creating the Veteran Toolbox Program. He provided them with free toolboxes to assist with their transition into civilian life. Although Post-9/11 Purple Heart Veterans are priority for the program, all Veterans can apply.

“I always wanted to do something for Veterans, and I came up with the toolbox program,” said Shepherd. “We talked to some tool companies, and they were interested in getting involved. We talked to Stanley and Black and Decker about what we wanted to do and they came back with one word – absolutely! APEX tools, Wooster paint brushes, and Johnson & Johnson are also great supporters.”

The REAch Veteran Toolbox Program has shipped more than 8,000 toolboxes to Veterans, which contains about $600 worth of tools.

“This is the most satisfying thing I’ve ever done in my lifetime,” said the 94-year-old.

Shepherd works six days a week, gets up at 5 a.m., and leaves work at 6 p.m. most days. But he’s no stranger to hard work.

He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1943, when he was 18 years old. He served in the 8th Air Force in England as a tail-gunner on a B-17. Enemy forces shot down his plane six months before the end of WWII. Shepherd was captured and sent to a prisoner of war camp near Berth, Germany.

“Once we got settled down, things went along fairly smooth because there was 9,000 of us, all Air Force people,” Shepherd recalled. “About 7,500 Americans and a few Brits. We were liberated by the Russians and I made my way back home.”

“We hear from a lot of these guys and their families,” Shepherd said. “Last week we got an e-mail saying ‘You saved my husband’s life. He hasn’t been out of the house in three months but ever since he got his toolbox he’s been out in the garage or the backyard working on something.’”

REAch operates in Graham, North Carolina, but ships the toolboxes across the country.

“I go to the VA hospital in Durham, North Carolina, for yearly physicals, but my health is excellent,” he said. “These people down there that I deal with at the VA hospital, they are just good people… In my lifetime, I’ve been blessed, and I enjoy every minute of it.

Learn more about the Veteran Toolbox Program at: reainc.org

This article was written by Tim Hudak and published via blogs.va.gov.

Author Tim Hudak joined the VA in December 2013 and is on the Veterans Experience Office team. Tim, a Chicago-land native enlisted in the Marine Corps straight out of high school. As an intelligence analyst he deployed to Al Anbar province, Iraq with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 363 in 2006 and 2008. After the Marine Corps, Tim used the GI Bill to earn a degree in Intelligence Studies from Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa., and co-founded the university’s first student Veteran organization. Tim is active in many Veteran organizations.

Homebrew Blood Diamond Carbine by Frank Woods

Sunday, October 6th, 2019

I’ve been wanting to do a Blood Diamond CAR-15/XM177/GAU-5/whatever you’d call it for a long time now, and with Brownells, Inc. putting a bunch of parts I needed for it within reach via their Retro line, I was finally able to get to it.

There are some obvious inconsistencies between mine and the movie version (pics included for comparison,) primarily the light (I had extra M600Us laying around and didn’t feel like paying extra money for the lesser Surefire 660 light,) and the Teal Blue Bravo PDQ ambi bolt catch/release (because it’s 2019 and none of my USGI forged lowers don’t have one, for sake of consistency.)

I used Fulton Armory receivers since they make the A2 upper receiver with M4 feed ramps, and went with one of their lowers to have a matched set. Barrel is a Brownell’s Retro Series 10.3″ 1/7 twist, and the stock and A1 grip come from the Retro line also. I had the faux moderator laying in the parts bin for YEARS waiting for the other parts to come along, well before the Brownell’s Retro line existed.

Aimpoint is a PRO 2MOA that didn’t have a rifle to sit on, but since it looks externally the same as the OG Aimpoint CompM2, fuck it, why not. It sits on an ARMS #2 carry handle rail mount, in an Aimpoint SRW-L mount I procured with help from a friend.

I did my due diligence trying to replicate the patterning of the rattle can colors as they appeared on the movie gun itself, the side we could see anyway. Colors used were Aervoe Olive Drab, Field Drab, and a little bit of Marine Corps Green, and the Dark Brown was either Krylon or Rust-Oleum, I don’t remember which. I misted it with some ODG & MCG once the overall painting was finished. Since I couldn’t find OD Green camo form wrap in stock anywhere I went with olive drab USGI style duct tape to secure the light’s ST-07 switch to the rifle.

The Surefire M14 style light mount clamp had to be shaved down on the grinder wheel a bit to fit it through the slot in the FSB, and I didn’t need the M10 ring to secure the light since the integrated 1913 mount on the Scout body clamped onto the light mount’s rail perfectly.

Magazine is an old ass pre-ban USGI mag that has this cool patina to it. I went with a Magpul MS1 sling because the tension adjustment is second nature to me being that I’ve standardized on this sling otherwise. I *tried* to make it work with an R4 sling but unless I ONLY had the sling around my neck it just fuckin sucked because of the way the fabric would dig into my shoulder when the sling twisted.

I guess I can call this one the “Danny Archer.” Yah yah ?

Fine-tuning the Corps’ Amphibious Combat Vehicle in Preparation for IOT&E

Friday, October 4th, 2019


Three thousand miles away from the epicenter of Marine Corps Amphibious Combat Vehicle acquisition, a cadre of Marines, civilians and contractors are hard at work completing a logistics demonstration effort on the vehicle.

The logistics demonstration effort—or Log Demo—is one of the last steps the Advanced Amphibious Assault program office at Program Executive Officer Land Systems needs to execute before training Marines in the Operating Forces to use and maintain the vehicle during IOT&E, the integrated operational test and evaluation activities scheduled for next year.

“Log Demo’s main purpose is to verify the validity and accuracy of the ACV’s technical manuals,” said Tommy “TJ” Pittman, Log Demo’s technical manager lead for PM AAA. “We want to make sure that the Marine can do the job, given the technical manual, training and tools [provided to them].”

For the logistics demonstration team, this means individually reviewing and performing nearly 1,500 work package procedures in the Interactive Electronic Technical Manual designed for Marines in charge of vehicle maintenance.

The demo also involves reviewing 125 work packages—spanning over 2,000 pages—in the Electronic Technical Manual designed for Marine ACV operators. The Common Remotely Operated Weapons System—or CROWS—on the ACV also has its own technical manual that the team must verify.

“This is less about our ability to perform the task or our skills as a mechanic, and more about whether the IETM can direct us to do the task properly” said Staff Sgt. Justin Hanush, lead ACV maintenance instructor for Advanced Amphibious Assault program office’s new equipment training team at PEO LS. “We’re painstakingly going through the IETM word-for-word, letter-by-letter, illustrations, everything—to make sure we can do the task as the IETM is written.”

A next-generation technical manual for a next-generation vehicle

The IETM is especially noteworthy because, for the Marine Corps, it’s the first of its kind for ground vehicles.

“I’ve personally worked for 15 years on getting the Marine Corps an interactive electronic tech manual that can be updated within moments,” said Pittman.

As a former Assault Amphibious Vehicle operator, the 24-year Marine Corps veteran has extensive experience operating and maintaining vehicles in the amphibious assault community. Pittman worked with Army Aviation and Missile Command to integrate the ACV’s IETM onto their software system and servers.

The interactive aspect of the technical manual streamlines the diagnostic and troubleshooting process Marines use when performing maintenance on a vehicle. By collaborating with the Army on a virtual manual, the Marine Corps can also reduce the amount of time needed to make updates to the IETM.

In the past, it could take up to a year for the technical manual for the ACV’s predecessor, the Assault Amphibious Vehicle, to be updated, said Hanush. With the introduction of the new IETM software, updates to the technical manual are implemented overnight.

On the ACV operator side, the team is ensuring their technical manual is clearly written so Marines can properly operate the vehicle and provide first-level maintenance on the vehicle if needed, said Sgt. Jarrod Warren, lead ACV operator instructor for the NETT.

“It’s important that the outcomes we reach when going through the ETM are the same outcomes stated in the book,” said Warren. “It’s also important to make sure we can maintain the vehicle at our level and, if not, we know when to bring it up to the maintenance side.”

The importance of meticulously reviewing the technical manuals to ensure the validity and accuracy of the document is not lost on Hanush, who noted, “I could have grandchildren someday who join the Marine Corps, and they could be working off the manual that I’m helping to write.”

Technical manual writing aside, Hanush is appreciative of the dedication of his fellow Marines during Log Demo, saying, “I couldn’t ask for a better group of ACV mechanics. They’re knocking it out of the park.”

One team, one fight, under one roof

Unlike other logistic demonstrations undertaken by the Corps, which typically take place at a contractor’s facility, this one takes place at the Marine Corps’ Amphibious Vehicle Test Branch at Camp Pendleton, California.

The three-month logistics demonstration took more than a year-and-a-half to plan, said Pittman. He said a unique aspect of Log Demo was that the program office, rather than the contractor, planned and created the logistics demonstration plan.

Equally critical to the success of the Log Demo effort are PM AAA’s industry partners, whose participation spans multiple states and continents, and whose roles vary from field service representatives to technical illustrators.

“We have about 65 individuals on the ground here, between the Marines, civilians, BAE, and one foreign representative from Iveco, which is the subcontractor to BAE on the vehicle,” said Pittman. “We have the right people—the writers, the illustrators, the engineers, the Marines, the data collectors, the safety people and the —in one location, which makes communication between the groups so much easier.”

Moving forward to IOT&E

Currently, the Marines on the NETT are the Corps’ uniformed subject matter experts on the ACV. Following Log Demo, Hanush, Warren and the rest of the NETT will use the verified training manuals as their guide to train and prepare Marines for IOT&E.

IOT&E is the program office’s final evaluation of the ACV before fielding the vehicle. During IOT&E, executed by Marine Corps Operational Test and Evaluation Activity, the NETT will take a step back from operating and maintaining the vehicle and instead enable Marines to put the vehicle through its paces.

“IOT&E is sort of like a dress rehearsal for the system,” said Maj. Scott Jennings, a project officer at MCOTEA who will be involved with IOT&E of the ACV. “Marines will operate the vehicle in realistic environments and go on realistic missions so that we can evaluate the operational suitability and effectiveness of the system and see if it does what we want it to do in the way we want to do it.”

Until then, PM AAA’s focus is to ensure the ACV is ready for use. The modernized vehicle brings the Corps’ amphibious assault capabilities back to the forefront and will assist Marines in reestablishing themselves as a naval expeditionary force-in-readiness prepared to operate inside actively contested maritime spaces in support of fleet operations.

“I believe wholeheartedly in the mission these [Marines] do out there because I’ve been there,” said Pittman, who has dedicated over 48 years of his life to the assault amphibious community as an active duty Marine and a civilian. “I believe that we need to give them the best assets that we can possibly put in their hands, to not only save their lives, but to also protect our freedom.”

By Ashley Calingo, PEO Land Systems Public Affairs | Marine Corps Systems Command

FirstSpear Friday Focus – New Head Wear

Friday, October 4th, 2019

New FirstSpear hats are available in the FS web store Including flex fit styles and adjustable snap backs. In-stock and now shipping.