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Iowa National Guard Trains in Wyoming’s Higher Elevation

June 7th, 2023

CAMP GUERNSEY, Wyo. – Iowa National Guard infantry and aviation units traveled west by ground convoy and air to conduct annual training at the Camp Guernsey Joint Training Center in Wyoming at the end of May.

Wyoming’s elevation and expansive landscape offered a different training environment for the Midwest Soldiers.

“We’re spoiled in Iowa,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Ryan Hill, a training officer and UH-60 Black Hawk pilot with Company C, 2nd Battalion, 147th Assault Helicopter Battalion. The state sits about 1,100 feet above sea level. “We have power for days. Whereas [in Wyoming], you’re starting at about 5,000 feet, which is going to change aircraft performance. That’ll be good training for aircrew members when they go to high altitude.”

Several aircraft crew chiefs qualified on door gunnery skills, shooting an M240 machine gun out of the window of a Black Hawk as it flew over targets.

“My favorite part was definitely going up high and then seeing the tracers hit the little buildings and all the humvees,” said Spc. Julia Adkins, a Black Hawk mechanic with the 2-147th AHB. “It was a great experience because I’m brand new to flying.”

The 1st Battalion, 168th Infantry Regiment (“Lethal Battalion”), took advantage of the expansive weapon qualification ranges and rugged terrain to practice squad-level maneuvers. Soldiers spent several days in tents in the field.

“It’s just a massive training area,” said Capt. Jeremy White, executive officer with the 1-168th Infantry. “You can drive it for hours one side to the other. If you think you can put all your gear on and run around conducting operations like normal, you’re wrong. You can’t dodge higher elevation and this is a completely different terrain.”

White described it as collective training to test how well Soldiers move as a team toward objectives using communication and hand signals. Companies took turns rotating through physically taxing live-fire exercises, moving swiftly up and down steep slopes through tall grass and dodging environmental obstacles.

“We grow as a team as we’re out there,” said Spc. Valery Gonzalez, with the 1-168th Infantry. “We obviously have to trust each other so nobody gets hurt.”

In addition to completing unit-level tasks, the two infantry and aviation elements joined together to conduct realistic operational training. Ground force commanders with the 1-168th Infantry sent up orders to the 2-147th AHB, imitating what would happen if infantry Soldiers needed aircraft assistance in a real-world scenario – whether they needed people, supplies or equipment transported.

“One of the big takeaways for us is that we’re a customer-based service,” said Hill. “We have a lot of young aviators who have been focused on getting good at flying the aircraft. Now, they’re going to be able to execute planning processes, and they’ll have passengers that need things with real-life factors playing into it.”

The training is also valuable for Soldiers in the 1-168th Infantry. White said many Soldiers in the Iowa Guard train with real aircraft only a few times in their careers. The 2-147th AHB offered familiarization with aircraft safety procedures, air assault movements, supply drops and sling load operations.

The 1-168th Infantry trained on their new M3A1 Carl Gustaf Multi-roll, Anti-Armor, Anti-Personnel Weapons System (MAAWS). The recoilless rifle is capable of firing numerous types of rounds suited for targets that range from humvees to armored tanks. It can also illuminate the battlefield and provide smokescreens.

Staff Sgt. Chris Nieman, an infantryman assigned to Company A, said the weapon’s improved optics system eliminates much of the guesswork in aiming at targets.

“I really enjoy being in the field and training Soldiers,” said Nieman. “It’s loud, it blows up. Soldiers enjoy that. On a tactical level, it just increases our lethality. It’s a force multiplier on its own.”

Members of the 1-168th Infantry also broke in some new M110 A1 squad-designated marksman rifles with scopes, ambidextrous controls and suppressors. Even with all the new features, it wasn’t much heavier than the traditional M4 carbine rifle most Army Soldiers use.

“It’s a dream to shoot,” said Staff Sgt. Gabriel Morey, an infantryman with Company C. “I’ve seen nothing but smiles coming off of our range here at Camp Guernsey, so we have pretty positive rave reviews so far.”

By SSG Tawny Kruse, Joint Force Headquarters – Iowa National Guard

Tagua Gunleather’s Backdraft OT Built for Fast Drawing

June 6th, 2023

Miami, FL — The Backdraft OT from Tagua Gunleather offers incredibly fasting drawing in a high-quality holster that ensures safety.

The Backdraft OT features an open-top design that keeps the trigger guard covered for confidently carrying a range of compact single- and double-action revolvers. The ambidextrous holster is constructed of premium leather for comfort and reliable performance to last a lifetime.

Backed by the Tagua Gunleather warranty, the Backdraft OT is available in black or dark tan for $64.99.

To learn more about the Backdraft OT and browse the full Tagua Gunleather lineup, visit

OpEx 23 – mySmartFuelCell

June 6th, 2023

This is the methanol powered SFC JENNY 600S fuel cell. It is silent and does not emit a heat signature. This 600 Wh generator weighs 3.75 lbs and will charge batteries as well as communicate with them. Also offered in a 1200 Wh model.

OpEx 23 – Point6 Cold Weather Vapor Barrier Liner

June 6th, 2023

The Point6 vapor barrier liner has been under development for awhile but it’s now available and included in their 3-sock system.

Worn in extreme cold weather, the vapor barrier liner traps sweat so that it may not freeze into ice within clothing and footwear. The VBL features a fold-over toe box and ultrasonic welded seams.

The sock system includes a thin Merino liner sock and a heavier Merino outer sock which are worn with the VBL sandwiched in between.

Mission First Tactical Introduces New Black Leather Hybrid Holsters

June 6th, 2023

Horsham, PA – (June 5th, 2023) – Mission First Tactical (MFT) manufacturers of state-of-the-art, USA made rifle/carbine accessories and holsters, is proud to announce the new Black Leather Hybrid line of holsters including: Appendix Inside Waistband (AIWB), Inside Waistband (IWB) and Outside Waistband (OWB) holsters.  

The holster you choose to carry every day should be the best of both worlds; functional and comfortable. These Kydex®-style holsters are fused with genuine American full-grain leather and are the perfect everyday-carry holsters. With these Kydex®-style holsters you get the benefit of exact tolerances, secure retention and easy re-holstering with all of leather’s comfort, style and feel. With the Kydex®-style holster, there is no break-in time required as compared to other traditional leather holsters and you will benefit from a much longer service life. To see more about the Leather Hybrid holsters CLICK HERE.

These versatile AIWB, IWB, or OWB holsters are capable of use both in right and left-hand positioning, outside your waist band, inside your waistband or appendix carry. Each holster is made to precise tolerances and tailored for each model of handgun using the most advanced techniques and materials. Adjustable retention and the famous, audible “CLICK” makes each draw and re-holster smooth and secure. All models come standard with a 1.5” belt clip. Visit the Website!

Features Include:

Adjustable cant of 0-15 degrees

1.5” Belt clip

Ambidextrous hole patterns for right or left-handed carry

RMR Reflex sight compatible

Sight Track compatible with suppressor sights etc.

Molded, trimmed, assembled and buffed by hand

Comfortable for constant wear

Made in the USA at MFT facilities

We welcome dealers to join with MFT in representing their innovative products to the tactical and self-defense customers. MFT values these partnerships and relationships.

If you’re looking to add MFT’s industry-leading products to your sales portfolio, please visit [email protected] for information on how to become a dealer.

MFT’s point of purchase (POP) displays make it easy to add an assortment of their best sellers. They are easy to assemble and there is always free freight with a qualifying program. The unique and visually cool designs add to the look and feel of any shop. Their POP displays will tell the product’s story to increase sales.

Founded by experienced retailers, MFT knows how to create and deliver products your customers want. Superior packaging highlights the item and helps the customer understand what its use is and how it’s installed without the help of staff. Unlike most, MFT has the experience, understanding, and depth of product to provide combinations that maximize sales. Easy reordering, near-perfect fulfillment and customer service supports Dealers from start to finish. MFT adheres to a strict MAP policy which ensures healthy margins. All of MFT products are made in the USA and backed up with a Lifetime warranty. Sign up today!

To learn more about the Leather Hybrid Holsters and complete product offerings from Mission First Tactical, please visit:

UNITY Tactical Launches SUMMIT Three-Hole Shroud

June 6th, 2023

Unibody construction yields superior strength-to-weight ratio

BROUSSARD, LA. (June 6, 2023) – UNITY™ Tactical, a designer of components that integrate tactical systems and optimize the human factor, announced today the launch of SUMMIT™, a three-hole shroud for tactical helmets.

With an over-molded unibody construction, the SUMMIT™ shroud is durable in even the most austere environments, featuring a high-impact polymer shroud and a fixed over-molded stainless steel insert.

“NVG mounting solutions interface directly with the stainless steel insert, ensuring a solid lockup that resists wear over time. And there is zero movement with all three axes,” said Mike Roth, VP of business development for UNITY Tactical. “Its unibody construction makes it the lightest and strongest three-hole shroud solution available. Coupled with a lifetime warranty, it’s a smart investment you can rely on in the field.”

Yielding a more than 25% weight reduction from currently fielded NVG shrouds, the SUMMIT™ shroud provides a superior strength-to-weight ratio. It secures night vision electro-optics, lights, cameras and other accessories with a proven fit that is sturdy and reliable.

“We focus on designing components that integrate tactical systems, and a helmet is a platform on which the end user needs many different systems to run effectively together,” said Trent Zimmer, founder and president of UNITY Tactical. “We aimed to design a shroud that works seamlessly with NODs and other accessories, while also removing all the unnecessary weight. The SUMMIT shroud is a great addition to our suite of existing helmet accessory solutions.”

SUMMIT™ offers users a lifetime warranty and is available for retrofit of ArmorSource™, Avon Protection™ Ceradyne, Busch PROtective®, Galvion™, MTEK™, Ops-Core® and many other global helmet brands utilizing the standard three-hole pattern.

It is available in five FED-STD colors, including black, cam green, coyote brown, desert tan and foliage green. Custom colors available with a minimum order quantity. SUMMIT™ retails for $89 and is available for immediate delivery in individual or large quantities now through authorized UNITY dealers and on

D-Day…June 6th, 1944

June 6th, 2023

I cannot hear the date of June 6th without think of the invasion of Normandy by Allied Forces under the leadership of General Eisenhower.

Operation Overlord remains the largest amphibious operation in history, landing over 156,000 troops in the first day alone, ultimately accounting for 326,000 troops and 50,000 vehicles ashore during the operation.

Simultaneously, 18,000 paratroopers from the US, UK, and Poland made airborne insertions via parachute and glider into France.

Please join me in offering a moment of reflection for those brave men who stood against tyranny.

AFSOC Hosts Security Force Assistance Air Advisor Summit

June 6th, 2023


Hurlburt Field, Fla. –Key members from across the Security Force Assistance and Air Advisor enterprise gathered here for a summit, 23-25 May.

The purpose of the summit was to gather expertise to plan and propose a way forward for cross-functional, Air Force-wide Security Force Assistance capabilities that can support higher-level guidance and Combatant Commander objectives and campaign plans.

The conference kicked off with opening remarks from Maj. Gen. Albert G. Miller, Headquarters U.S. Air Force Director of Training and Readiness, and included Col. Jocelyn Schermerhorn, AFSOC Director of Operations, Dr. Sean McFate, a foreign policy expert with a focus on National Security Strategy, and Ms. Beth Grill, RAND Corporation national security policy analyst.

During her remarks, Schermerhorn emphasized the importance of foundationally getting the structure of Air Advisors across the formation right.

“The strategic environment we’re in today is much different than the place we’ve operated for the last 20 years,” said Schermerhorn. “We have an opportunity to make sure that we get this right as we develop a sustainable capability from the ground up. We’re looking to your expertise to ensure that we get there.”

The National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy details the need to develop diplomacy with our partners and allies – an area that SOF forces are uniquely suited to support.

“If we get this right, we’ll have a more deliberate, requirement-focused enterprise that spans across our formation with a significant return on investment,” said Schermerhorn.

Speakers, panelists, and audience members hailed from a variety of areas, such as International Affairs at Headquarters U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Army Security Force Assistance Command, Air Force Materiel Command, 621st Air Mobility Advisory Group, 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron, 435th Contingency Response Support Squadron, 36th Tactical Advisory Squadron, and several others.

The summit concluded with an out brief that detailed findings and made recommendations on a way forward for senior leaders to consider as they’re making decisions.

“Based on the work that I saw this week and the feedback we got from our senior leaders during our out brief – I’m confident that we were able to work together to propose a way forward that accomplishes the mission,” said Col Magill, Headquarters Air Force, Mobility Air Forces Division, air advising cross-functional manager. “Ultimately, we’re bringing back some great proposals that should integrate partners by design, enabling day-zero interoperability and combined effects.”

By Ciara Travis