Primary Arms

PEO Soldier Takes It Down Range

My first interaction with PEO Soldier BG Nichols was at a recent media roundtable. I can tell you that she knows her stuff and I get the feeling she is a hands on kind of a leader. These photos, taken during a recent visit to Afghanistan of her and CSM McPherson only solidify this position. They were on a fact finding trip, soliciting feedback from the field on how the equipment they provide to our Soldiers is holding up under some of the most rugged conditions on earth.

Photos: US Army

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11 Responses to “PEO Soldier Takes It Down Range”

  1. FormerSFMedic says:

    I suppose that’s a start. From what I’ve heard, the new commander has some ideas on how to make PEO Soldier better. I’m skeptical however.

    I’ve been very critical of PEO-S since its inception. It was supposed to equip soldiers with the very best kit in short amounts of time through aggressive RDAT&E. But here it is years later and the only thing that has happened is the “getting things done faster” part. Gear continues to be less than optimal and it seems they have nearly forgotten about the approved items list. Hopefully things change this time around, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  2. Jack says:

    Awesome how they (and their sizable entourage as well, I assume) are all decked out in Multicam as they tour around from FOB to FOB. I guess that’s because there’s plenty to go around, and no one who really needs that camo will go without. At all.

  3. Administrator says:

    Critical of PEO Soldier or not, the US Soldier is FAR better shape than he was even 5 years ago. I’m not saying they’re perfect, but they’ve done a lot.

    You always have to remember, the Army can only afford so much so they have to juggle capability with cost. They have to ask themselves what is must-have and what is nice-to-have? Ultimately, they shoot for best value. So far, they haven’t fielded anything that kills guys. To the contrary, the armor and FR systems they HAVE fielded have saved a lot of lives.

    As for the approved lists. That has just fallen apart. Units have purchased what they want, whether it’s on the list or not.

    Sometimes I am PEO Soldier’s biggest critic but ultimately, they are good for the Soldier and I’m glad we have them.

  4. Administrator says:

    As for readers who have mentioned not having OCP gear. Please contact us with details.

  5. Jack says:

    I don’t have any first hand information, just some anecdotal stuff here and there about onesies and twosies showing up in theater and not getting OCP because there isn’t enough to go around, yet every pouge who never leaves the wire seems to have it. I’m not in A’stan at the moment.

    Last place I recall reading about it was here:
    See his 22 Oct post.

  6. Administrator says:

    I read that the other day. It sounds like he was an individual augmentee and either fell through the cracks, which sucks but happens or more likely, hadn’t been issued his kit yet.

    I hope he has received his gear by now and I hope he writes about it rather than leaving the reader to believe he is still wearing UCP. Oddly enough, in the set of photos that these came from, there were Soldiers in UCP.

  7. Administrator says:

    I exchanged email with someone who was just downrange and he said that you can walk into the PEO Soldier RFI facilities in Bagram or Kandahar and get fielded OCP on the spot. No Soldiers were turned away. He also said the few Soldiers still wearing UCP simply didn’t want to draw OCP because they never left the FOB and were rotating home soon.

  8. FormerSFMedic says:

    I understand what you are saying 100%. I get upset sometimes at what PEO-S has done, but I also commend them for doing better than the previous system. It just seems like they have wasted money on bad designs or low quality products, because they’ve had to buy twice. Like I said, I don’t know how I feel. I just think they have a great opportunity to change the “game”, but they haven’t seized that opportunity. Now, with budget cuts and so much wasted money, I fear they can’t come back to take advantage of it.

    The reason I brought up the approved items list is because of some of my good friends stories from overseas. They have said that they bought “essential” items, only to be told they couldn’t use them because they weren’t on the list! Now, I know for a fact PEO-S has nearly abandoned that list, but either way, they need to do it right or not at all. Soldiers are still being judged by that damned list. At least in some places.

  9. straps says:

    “…yet every pouge who never leaves the wire seems to have it.”

    Sounds more like an in-country issue than a PEO-S issue. Behind every E-4 42A decked out in OCP is an AG Branch O-4 who is equipped at least as well.

    Far as the quality of the gear as measured by (1) the quality of the design and (2) the durabilty of the product, I imagine some of that goes back to the speed of fielding.

    I’d really like to see how much fabric, webbing and sewing, coupled with the SPEED of said sewing, coupled with the SKILL of said sewing, goes into the KDH Plate Carrier as compared to, say, the SKD PIG Plate Carrier. Multiplied over, say, 40,000 units you might be getting into some trouble (in time AND materials) in the flash to bang time when, after YEARS of feedback from the field substantiating the advanantages of Plate Carriers over Full Coverage armor (I first saw guys wearing PCs in the ‘stan in ’02), the decision comes from on high that PCs are GTG, and the Combatant Commanders (a cohort rarely known for their patience)on the ground are screaming for that gear. Like NOW.

    And yeah, that approved list. That list came about partly because PFC Snuffy was buying ChiCom airsoft kit from the kiosk down at the Main PX, and his leadership wasn’t persuading or directing him to leave it with the Rear D. Having that list (dusty as it is) beats the hell out of some pogue telling me that I can’t wear it if it didn’t come through CIF or S-4.

  10. Sgt K says:

    HA! CSM McPherson was my BN CSM in 05 north of Baghdad a little ways. Recognized him right away…blast from the past.

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