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Posts Tagged ‘Camo Wars’

Blast From The Past: Camo Rumors – Some Observations

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

I was doing some research the other day and ran across this article we had published in the summer of 2009. It was written before the adoption of OEF-P Camouflage Pattern, before Phase IV of theCamouflage Improvement Effort and before OCP.  Looking at it in hindsight is kind of fun as some things we had originally said turned out to be untrue. For example, at the time, there was license for the use of MultiCam, but it was paid by the yard.  It’s really still that way today, but it just wasn’t as visible at the time.

Ever since Congress told the Army that the Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP) used on the Army Combat Uniform (ACU) wasn’t cutting it in Afghanistan, rumors and just plain old bad info has been swirling about the internet, so I thought I’d share a few thoughts on the subject.

Urban Legend 1 – MultiCam Uber Alles. Despite internet hype and the military version of an urban legend, MultiCam is not replacing UCP in 2011 or 2012. As best I can tell, this rumor came about because the Future Force Warrior program was supposed to be fielded in, you guessed it, 2011. It so happens that all of the photos of guys suited up in the FFW garb were swathed in MultiCam goodness. For some odd reason, folks couldn’t divorce the concept of FFW from Multicam. Hence, the urban legend. Naturally, this new round of Congressionally driven controversy has only fanned the flames of this untruth. Think about it. The Army just spent a gazillion dollars changing everything to UCP. In fact, fielding isn’t even complete. So ask yourself this question. Why would the Army spend a “gazillion” dollars on a new camo pattern and turn right around a field a new one mid-stream? The answer? It wouldn’t. They want to buy FCS, not new uniforms.

Urban Legend 2 – UCP is going away completely. It isn’t. The Congressional “suggestion” is only for forces in Afghanistan, not the whole shebang.

Urban Legend 3 – The Marine Corps offered MARPAT to the Army and they turned it down. Total Fantasy. Here is a truth. These patterns are about branding. When you see MARPAT, you think “Marine”. When you see UCP you think “Soldier”. MARPAT was developed for the Marine Corps. General Jones, former Commandant of the Marine Corps wanted a uniform that would let his enemies know when Marines were in town. He got one.

desert brush variant 3

I feel for the Army. What a big poop sandwich. “Hey Army, UCP stinks, issue something else. But use the money we already gave you for OTHER stuff.” You can’t just change out uniforms. You have to replace all of the Soldier’s other kit as well, or the contrast will just highlight the guy. So the Army is going to have to compute this huge cost for one theater. That was the point of UCP in the first place. One camo…universal. No more issuing two different patterns to guys…economize.

I feel even worse for the poor action officer at PEO-Soldier who has to develop the decision brief on this one. For example:
COA 1 – Do nothing…Tell Congress “Nuts”, I mean after all, UCP does work in some parts of Afghanistan.
COA 2 – Do Nothing…Beg Congress for cash
COA 3 – Stall…conduct study (Attn PEO-Soldier, I am available for contract to conduct said study)
COA 4 – Issue Woodland or Three-Color Desert
COA 5 – Adopt all new pattern – See pic above

Option 5? That is the fantasy option. Or is it? There are select US forces rocking MultiCam all over the place. Oddly enough, so are Snipers. Aside from that, the Army spent a great deal of time and effort developing and testing several patterns any of which could be dusted off including the one in the photo.

However, I am voting for some combo of one or more of the first three with COA 4 as the ultimate outcome. There is already precedence with the Army’s G1 permitting USASOC forces to wear Woodland camo. Plus, there are stock of the older patterns that can be drawn from to get this thing rolling.

Do we love MultiCam at Soldier Systems Daily? You’re damned right we do. Will it be adopted for use in Afghanistan? Who knows at this point, but it sure will be interesting watching whatever ultimately happens.

US Army Issued Patent for Scorpion Camo; Admits Pattern Inferior to MultiCam

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

On 7 July, 2015 the US Patent and Trade Office issued Utility Patent 9,074,849, Entitled: “Camouflage for Garment Assembly” to the United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Army. It followed Utility Patent 9,062,938, Entitled: “Camouflage Patterns”, issued two weeks earlier on 23 June, 2015. Both cover Scorpion W20601, initially developed in 2010 by engineers at the Natick Soldier Systems Center and later, after further refinement, recently adopted as the Army’s new Operational Camouflage Pattern.

  

There are a few curious things about this patent. First off, it’s practically an opus at 59 pages, although admittedly, there are a lot of illustrations. Also, it was issued very quickly, and coincidentally, just in time for the beginning of the Army’s OCP transition. Next, it doesn’t feel like it was written by a patent attorney, but rather by an engineer who was sure to include a great deal of fascinating, although extraneous information on how the pattern was developed and tested. Oddly enough, the Army hasn’t said a peep about it, which is strange considering they continue to assert “appropriate rights to the pattern“. However, once you dig into the details of the patent, you may see why they’ve stayed mum. Finally, the type of data disclosed in the patent tells an interesting story. But before we get to that, let’s address the patent itself.

The Abstract

A garment assembly such as a uniform, a military uniform and a military combat uniform is presented. The garment assembly includes a helmet or head cover being cut from a fabric having a first camouflage pattern with a first set of intermixed colored blotches thereon. The colors of the first set of intermixed colored blotches being selected from a first group of colors including an Olive 527 color, a Dark Green 528 color, a Tan 525 color, a Brown 529 color, a Bark Brown 561 color and a Dark Cream 559 color. The uniform also includes a coat being configured to fit at least a portion of a human torso and a trouser configured to fit at least a portion of human legs, the coat and trouser each being cut from a fabric having a second camouflage pattern with a second set of intermixed colored blotches thereon, the colors of the second set of intermixed colored blotches being selected from a second group of colors comprising an Olive 527 color, a Dark Green 528 color, a Light Sage 560 color, a Tan 525 color, a Brown 529 color, a Bark Brown 561 color and a Dark Cream 559 color.

One could take this revelation at face value, concluding that “the Army did it, they beat Crye!” But not so fast. That Utility Patent might not be all it’s cracked up to be.

Types Of Patents
I’d like to point out that this is a Utility Patent which is very specific and the Army doesn’t seem to have done itself any favors in the specificity of its claims. For those unfamiliar, the claims of a patent are the points that are being protected and the patent itself is essentially a right to exclude, meaning the patent holder gets to decide who can use the intellectual property it protects.

Since it’s a patent, you’ll probably want to immediately put it on the same footing as Crye Precision’s existing MultiCam patent, thinking one cancels out the other.  Not so.  Lineweight LLC, which is the holding company for all of Crye Precision’s patents, holds a Design Patent for the MultiCam pattern (D592,861). But, a Design Patent is more broad in nature. Think of it as a picture rather than a description of specific elements of the picture.

A Patent’s A Patent, Right?
So what’s the difference between these two types of patents you might ask?

To get around a Utility Patent all you have to do is make changes to what you’ve got until you no longer violate the specific claims of the patent. The more specific the claims are, the easier this is to do.

On the other hand, to determine if someone has violated a Design Patent, they use the “ordinary observer” test. Essentially, if it looks like it infringes to the average person, it does.

W2 vs MC

At casual inspection, Scorpion W2 sure looks close to me. Just examine this photo. Which swatch of fabric is Scorpion and which is MultiCam?

What’s It All Mean?
While I’m sure Crye Precision is aware of this patent, it’s so new and so restrictive that I doubt they’ll do anything about it. There’s no reason to. Ultimately, the Scorpion patent doesn’t affect Crye’s existing MultiCam IP or any of its contractual agreements with printers. Despite the Army’s new Utility Patent, they will continue to pay a license fee to Crye through the printers in order to use the Scorpion pattern.

Update – Info Regarding Related Patent 9,062,938
The Army fasttracked not just one, but two patents; the “garment assembly” patent which is the main subject of this article, as well as another patent granted about two weeks earlier concerning just the pattern. Both are Utility Patents and contain much the same information regarding the percentages of color used to make up the Scorpion W2 camouflage pattern. While the “Camouflage Patterns” patent also contains all of the extensive information about the ACU and helmet cover substrate, it is just two pages shorter at 57, but does acknowledge up front that it is related to the “garment assembly” patent and incorprates the same data directly from the other patent.

Both patent also include this section:
  

This is the ‘Hail Mary’ play that the Army has included in the patents. Unfortunately for them, it won’t have the effect the Army has hoped for. They are showing these patents to printers and telling them that they no longer have to pay a royalty. All it seems to be accomplishing is causing further tension in the supply chain as the Army expects businesses to violate contractual obligations and then doesn’t understand why they can’t.

Crye Precision collects the licensing fees for MultiCam and Scorpion from printers through royalty agreements. The Army pays those fees as part of the per unit cost of each garment, just like they do for permethrin treatment. The printers entered into industry standard licensing agreements which were written to protect the MultiCam pattern. It’s business. These patents don’t nullify contracts between Crye Precision and the printers.  

It’s All About The Colors
Although the document does go into detail as to why other, prior art camouflage patterns don’t quite work, the actual claims in the Army’s patent revolve mainly around percentages of colors, even down to the tenth of a percentile. That’s right, the Army patented colors. I seem to recall a certain Colonel at PEO Soldier telling the media that Crye couldn’t extend Intellectual Property protection to the colors in the MultiCam pattern and yet, that’s exactly what the Army just did. Feel free to eat some crow on me, Bob.

This heavy reliance on colors to attain the patent is the pattern’s very weakness and may be why the Army hasn’t trumpeted the issue of this Utility Patent, because it literally invites counterfeiters. It is so specific, even the slightest change gets around the limited protection of this patent. In fact, because it contains so much information, the patent itself serves as a recipe on how to get around its very protection. This leaves the Army at the mercy of Crye Precision who has the more expansive Design Patent. It would be up to Crye to determine whether any newly minted Scorpion knockoffs violate the MultiCam patent and then police them.

What About The Bookends?
What does this mean for the so-called bookend patterns? The Army’s new Utility Patent obviously doesn’t protect any color variants due to its specificity, so they wouldn’t be protected by this patent.

And Now, The Rest Of The Story
There’s another, bigger story, lurking in the language of the patent. For over a year now, we’ve been awaiting details on the Army’s rather abbreviated testing used to select the Scorpion pattern. The Army was able to determine in a matter of weeks that Scorpion was the one for them when previous, Camouflage Improvement Effort Phase IV testing had taken well over a year to complete. For some odd reason, they included a great deal of extraneous testing information in the patent, perhaps in their haste to rush the patent through, for the official transition from UCP to OCP on 1 July, 2015.

The application was just submitted on 12 December, 2014. While unusual to be granted so quickly, as I understand it, this is perfectly legal. Although, the application was never published and there was no period for public comment regarding the patent prior to it being granted.

But back to testing. According to the patent, the Army conducted picture-in-picture testing of MultiCam, Scorpion, Digital Transitional Patterns 1 & 2, MARPAT Woodland & Desert and the incumbent Universal Camouflage Pattern across several simulated environments. These were Transitional (Arid, Dormant and Verdant) and Woodland (Dormant and Verdant). This chart (Table 4), embedded in the patent, shows how the patterns performed.

  

UCP Performs Horribly
Before we go any further, take a gander at UCP’s performance; just abysmal. It makes you wonder how long the Army has known about its performance and how long they ignored it. As it is, this set of testing was conducted in Spring 2014 and we know for sure UCP was also tested during Phase IV, back in 2012 but the Army won’t release those test results.

With Camouflage, Specialization Is A Blessing As Well As A Curse
This chart also validates something else we know to be true. Environmental specific patterns do very well in the environment they are tuned to, but work against the wearer in other environments. Just take a look at the performance of the two MARPAT variants across the environments to see how that works.

Scorpion Doesn’t Perform As Advertised in Arid Environments
The Army also makes an untrue claim in the patent application, declaring the Scorpion pattern, designated 100 in the patent, “significantly better” than all other candidate patterns in the Transitional Arid environment during picture-in-picture testing. As you can see from the patent’s chart, this simply isn’t true. In reality, it performed fifth out of seven patterns. Considering that America’s Army continues to be engaged with our enemies in Arid regions, this is ridiculous to purposefully adopt a pattern that performs worse than what they’ve already got. They made a similar claim regarding the Woodland Dormant environment but naturally, Scorpion was outperformed by the encironmentally specific MARPAT Woodland.

Turns Out, MultiCam Is Best
Despite explaining in the patent why MultiCam doesn’t work, testing demonstrated otherwise. What we learn, from the Army’s own published research, is that OCP aka Scorpion W2 doesn’t perform as well as OEFCP aka MultiCam, except in one environment, the Woodland Dormant environment (think fall and winter). Let me put it another way. According to Army testing, MultiCam outperforms Scorpion in four out of five critical operating environments. And yet, the Army adopted Scorpion anyway and is paying Crye Precision a royalty for this lesser performing pattern. Scorpion or MultiCam, Crye Precision receives a royalty. The Army spent time and taxpayer money to develop a pattern that performs less well than what they already had. In summation, the uniforms our Soldiers are getting now (OCP) don’t perform as well as the uniforms they were issued even a month ago (OEFCP).

Bottom Line
Based on the data presented in the patent, you can only come to one conclusion.  When you consider cost and performance, the Army should just drop the charade and fully adopt Crye’s MultiCam. Even better, the Army would gain access to Crye’s environmental specialty patterns which are already seeing limited operational use with certain customers.

A Note To Readers:
I’d like to wrap this up by pointing out that I am not a lawyer, but I did read the patent, and that for brevity, I’ve described some things, like types of patents, in rather generic terms. I’ll let the actual patent attorneys argue over the intricacies of Intellectual Property law but I’m sure there will be plenty of others who also want to chime in. All I ask is that you have an idea of what you are talking about and are prepared to explain the basis of any comments.

This article was updated on 16 July, 2015 to add imformation about patent 9,062,938 “Camouflage Patterns”, 23 June, 2015.

2015 NDAA Does Not Strike Requirement For Common DoD Camo

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

Despite deliberations throughout this year, the 2015 NDAA aka the Carl Levin and Howard P. “Buck” McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 does not repeal the provisions of last year’s Enyart Amendment requiring DoD to move toward common camouflage patterns and combat uniforms.

According to the Joint Explanatory Statement to Accompany 2015 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015:

Revised policy on ground combat and camouflage utility uniforms

The Senate committee-reported bill contained a provision (sec. 352) that would amend section 352 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 (P.L. 113-66) that established a policy that the Secretary of Defense shall eliminate the development and fielding of Armed Forces-specific combat and camouflage utility uniforms and families of uniforms for specific combat environments to be used by all members of the Armed Forces.

The House bill contained no similar provision.
The agreement does not include the Senate provision.
(Emphasis added)

We note that the guidance for the military services and combatant commands required by section 351 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 (P.L. 113-66) to implement this policy is late and has not yet been delivered. We also note that the implementation plan is also late and necessary to ensure proper implementation of the Department of Defense’s guidance to establish and publish joint combat uniform standards and performance criteria.

For more info on the 2014 NDAA provisions for camouflage read this: soldiersystems.net/2014/02/03/joint-service-camo-national-defense-authorization-act-fiscal-year-2014-repost

Updated – What I understand this language is doing is tapping DoD on the head to let them know that they aren’t following last year’s NDAA by providing information Congress asked for. It looks like Congress is still very keen on the subject and that they need to get their act together.

The Camo Wars Heat Up – Crye Precision Sues Duro Textiles For IP Infringement

Friday, November 14th, 2014

On 12 November 2014, Crye Precision filed suit in New York Southern District Court against Duro Textiles, LLC claiming IP infringement. While we have no further details, we can only wonder if this isn’t a step by Crye to protect their IP in the interest of their current licensees. And, we must wonder if this move isn’t somehow connected to the unresolved royalty situation with the US Army. Crye Precision has not responded to requests for comment, however considering this is an ongoing legal dispute we would be surprised to hear from them.

What Do You Do With Billions Of Dollars Worth of UCP TA-50? Why You Dye It, Of Course

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

When the Army began its quest to identify a new camouflage pattern several years ago it also realized that it was going to have to do something with the several Billion Dollars worth of Organizational Clothing and Individual Equipment in the Universal Camouflage Pattern, already in its inventory. By PM SPIE, COL Robert Mortlock’s own assertion, the Army plans on an eight year period to fully transition from the current patterns to the new one. That UCP gear is going to be with some units, particularly TDA-based, for years to come.

Last week, the Army issued a Sources Sought Notice to industry on behalf of Project Manager Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment (PM-SPIE), Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier seeking a Overdying Process for Fabrics and Other Items.

OVERDYE

This isn’t the first time we’ve written about this and it isn’t the first time PEO Soldier has looked into the solution. Just last Fall they issued a similar Sources Sought but cancelled it in late November. To me, what the reissue of this notice signals is that the Army is finally moving forward with a transition plan. Although, they are stumbling through a couple of issues right now that should have been anticipated before the leadership selected a course of action.

In particular, they are seeking:

Project (sic) Manager Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment (PM-SPIE), Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier, Fort Belvoir, VA 22060 is seeking information from potential industry partners who can provide a technology/process solution to modify the camouflage pattern utilized in the manufacture of current individual Soldier equipment. This development effort is aimed at over-dyeing fabric and/or end items comprised of nylon (500/1000 denier), cotton, FR rayon, and para-aramid of various fabric constructions. Specific items include but are not limited to Modular Lightweight Load carrying Equipment (MOLLE) and Improved Outer Tactical Vests (IOTV). Items requiring an over-dye process may have been treated with water repellants such as DWR, polyurethane, as well as flame resistant treatments, and may be comprised of fabrics of various fiber types and fabric constructions. The objective of this process is to over-dye the Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP) to create a darker color that more closely matches the shade/color of coyote brown. Of particular interest are portable technologies that can be utilized outside of the manufacturing environment.

I was told long ago that a solution had been identified, but it’s always good to see if industry has come up with anything new. Also, did you notice that they are interested in a solution that closely resembles Coyote Brown? The big challenge here is getting everything dyed to a common shade. With different wear and substrates, dying is as much art as science. As it is, getting the same production run or the same material, dyed to the same shade is a challenge because Cordura, webbing, NYCO, FR rayon, and para-aramid all absorb dyes differently and the concentration of dye is as much an issue as the wear to the fabric’s fibers. And that’s not to mention previous treatments which may also affect the absorption of dye. Consequently, the kit may end up looking like various shades of this:

20131124-231905.jpg

US Army Pits “Analog vs Digital” in Upcoming Camouflage Bookend Tests

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Nearly as soon as I had found out that the Army was planning to transition from the dreaded UCP camouflage to Scorpion, I found out about the upcoming “Book End” pattern tests scheduled for August – October of this year. When you see what they’ll be testing, you aren’t going to believe it.

US Army Camo Bookend Tests

Naturally, the baseline transitional pattern will be Scorpion (w2) and the Army will consider uniforms and limited OCIE items (such as helmet covers, etc) in MARPAT desert and woodland. ALso under consideration are the legacy 3-color Desert and Woodland (M81 to Camo collectors), both of which were previously displaced by the adoption of the Universal Camouflage Pattern beginning in 2004.

Initially, I didn’t get the pattern choices until someone put it into perspective for me. I kept saying to myself that someone in the Army sure wanted to adopt MARPAT but then I noticed that they aren’t looking at AOR 1&2. While AOR 1 and MARPAT desert are very similar patterns, AOR 2 was specifically tuned to use in jungle environments. The developers even turned the pattern 90 degrees to give it a more vertical orientation. MARPAT woodland on the other hand is a much more generic woodland pattern.

Since the woodland aspects of this testing are being driven by requirements out of the new Army Jungle School at Schoffield Barracks in Hawaii, jungle performance is going to have a lot of weight. With its more Green coloring, chances are very good that AOR 2 would outperform MARPAT woodland.

What I see going in here is something altogether different. After speaking with others, I see a test that pits “analog vs digital” and the Army is out to put us all out of “digital” misery.

If you look at MARPAT as the “digital” solution and 3-color and Woodland as the “analog” solution you can begin to see a method to the madness. Since Scorpion also looks analog in nature, adoption of the two other analog patterns creates a new “family of camouflage” that offers similar design elements if not outright geometry.

As I said before, a lot of credence is being placed on the needs of the Jungle School which has already scoured DLA stocks for the last of the woodland EHWBDUs in stock. They’ve been issuing them out to students for some time now and by all accounts are very happy with Woodland’s performance in jungle. As it should be, since Woodland is son of ERDL. It’s also important to note that Woodland isn’t completely dead. It’s still an issue pattern. There is an Army G1 message that still authorizes Woodland for jungle use due to UCP’s poor performance in that environment. Consequently, based on these two factors (creation of analog family and Jungle School use of Woodland), my money is on the “analog” solution.

My prediction? It’s back to the future with a Scorpion transitional pattern bookended by 3-color Desert and Woodland. Time will tell if I’m right. At any rate, I’m giddy (yes, I said “giddy”) that the Army is moving out swiftly to adopt more effective camouflage for their troops.

Blast From The Past – Camo Rumors From August 2009

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

I ran across this gem the other day while looking for scorpion photos on SSD. This story goes back to when this latest round of Camo Wars began in 2009. Look what the prevailing thought was. Turns out, the Afghanistan was much larger than this, throwing in several additional patterns, Here we are, almost five years on and it looks to have turned out to be a Scorpion variant of all things.

In light of an impending directive from Congress to the Army to get their camo house in order, rumors continue to circulate about an upcoming test involving four camo patterns with the Army’s current Universal Camouflage pattern serving as a control.

The four patterns are MARPAT-Woodland, MARPAT-Desert, Multicam, and Desert All Over Brush (seen below). Originally, we had heard that the fourth pattern would be the 3-color Desert pattern issued to all services prior to adoption of their new distinctive uniforms. However, based on some recent, unverified information we believe it is actually the Desert All Over Brush which interestingly gave a very good showing during the Army camo trials of 2003-2004. According to a Natick report, a modified variant of the Desert version All Over Bush pattern performed best in all environments. You can also access a briefing presented on the subject at the 2004 International Soldier Systems Conference here.

20140526-130735.jpg

Based on a series of evaluations documented in the report and briefing slides Natick developed the variant of All Over Brush pattern.

20140526-130755.jpg

Having said all of that, the info on that particular pattern is old news. At some point in the Spring of 2004, the Army took a serious sidestep from all of its research and adopted UCP. if the rumors are true, looking at what is on the table, neither Marine patterns would really be considered serious candidates due to a variety of morale, and as we have discussed before, branding issues. You think the black beret issue was rough, imagine the outcry from two services if the Army adopted a Marine camo pattern. Consequently, while effective, we don’t consider the MARPAT variants as serious contenders. This leaves, depending on who is telling the story, either 3-color Desert which is still used by some US Navy forces (and a few others) or the prototype Desert All Over brush pattern in addition to Crye’s Multicam. While there are limited stocks of 3-color equipment still in the system, virtually none of it is in the configuration currently used by US forces. If it were adopted, the US Soldier would literally take a five year step back in capability until production of current issue equipment could be accomplished. Additionally, there is a political dimension to such a move. UCP was sold as a superior pattern to both Woodland and 3-Color Desert. Someone would naturally ask the question of why the Army discarded a pattern in favor of something less effective.

20140526-130813.jpg

This leaves Desert All Over Brush and Multicam. Multicam has been used operationally by select US forces to great success and even more importantly, is currently supported by the US industrial base. A wide variety of Berry Compliant products (and raw materials) are available as COTS items. Additionally, industry already offers versions of current issue equipment in Multicam. Furthermore, there are numerous lightweight and multi-purpose Soldier Systems items designed specifically for environments like Afghanistan. Multicam is a mature, widely available, low hanging fruit. On the other hand, adoption of Desert All Over Brush would require long lead times as fabric mills first perfect and then produce sufficient quantities of materials. Only then could uniforms and equipment for our Soldiers begin to be procured.

We are waiting with bated breath to see if these rumors are true and what’s more, if they are, what will come of them. Naturally, Soldier Systems Daily will keep you updated.

And we’ve been keeping you updated ever since.

Hey Anthony – ETADIK

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

It’s Scorpion – go choke on a fat one.

20140526-133012.jpg

In the post where I suggested that readers go ask their CSM which Camo the Army had chosen, Anthony decided that I was an attention whore that was crying wolf. If you know Anthony give him a swift kick in his fourth point of contact for me.