Archive for June, 2019

In Memorial William Larson

Sunday, June 30th, 2019

This morning we received some bad news. William Larson aka Iraqgunz from passed away.

I did not know him well, but had several interactions with him over the years. He was very well known in the industry and very well respected due to his knowledge and demeanor.

Here are some words about him from one of his close friends.

William Larson of Semper Paratus Arms passed away on Saturday, 29-June-2019.

“A Veteran of the US Army and US Coast Guard with 10 years of service to our Great Nation, Will had deployed to Iraq in 2005 in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. He served as an Armorer and Instructor for the Department of Defense and well known private military companies. He also worked at highly respected companies such as BCM and SIONICS Weapon Systems.

Will is best known for his Armorer’s Courses that he taught across the United States. These courses were universally praised for the breadth and depth of knowledge that he shared.

Will’s no-nonsense demeanor, frankness and humor didn’t take long to endear him to people that may have known him by reputation. To those that know him and those that only knew him through the internet forums, his passing is both shocking and devastating. Our hearts are broken.

Will had touched countless lives, many of whom he barely knew, that was Will. He helped both individuals and companies and never asked for anything in return. Many companies owe their existence and success to Will and his wisdom and knowledge has benefited many individuals that are completely unaware that the gear they use and trust have Will’s fingerprints on it.

His contribution to the industry is immeasurable and he is impossible to replace. His passing is a great loss to his family and to those that know and love him in the industry.

As a community, let’s come together and do something for a man that’s done so much for us. The immediate goal is to address the hospital bills and other arrangements for his family.

We appreciate your thoughts and prayers and Thank You for contributing to the Memorial Fund.”

He left behind a wife and children. They will need some help. If you want to contribute to the fund, visit The William Larson Memorial Fund on gofundme.

The Special Forces Operator – A History Lesson

Sunday, June 30th, 2019

Written by the US Army Special Operations Command Historian, this is a very interesting piece of Army Special Forces history which is sure to ruffle some feathers. I was certainly surprised by it, having always understood use of the moniker “Operator” began in the late 70s as a legal definition.


In the last fifteen to twenty years, the practice of calling a Special Forces (SF) soldier an ‘operator’ has caused considerable rancor within Army special mission units (SMU), the original of which adopted that appellation in the late 1970s. Today, all U.S. military service special operations forces and their higher headquarters apply that moniker to their sea, land, and air warfighters. Even staff personnel adopt that term for themselves. In the warfighter units this distinction clearly delineates and separates staff and support personnel from those assessed to undergo a mentally and physically tough selection course. Those that successfully achieve the rigorous standards must satisfy a leaders’ board to qualify for advanced training that could lead to operational assignments. In some SMUs psychological, physical, and mental assessments and re-evaluations are constant, hence the phrase, ‘Selection is an ongoing process.’ Regardless of the rigor applied by Special Operations Forces (SOF) elements, feelings of rancor in the ‘ranks’ of Army SOF towards the popular use of ‘operator’ are unwarranted.

Retired MAJ Albert Valentine ‘Jake’ Clement, Official Military Personnel Record (OMPR), National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, MO.

SF did not misappropriate the appellation. Unbeknownst to most members of the ARSOF community, that moniker was adopted by Special Forces in the mid to late 1950s. SF-qualified officers and enlisted soldiers voluntarily subscribed to the provisions of the ‘Code of the Special Forces Operator’ and pledged themselves to its tenets by witnessed signature.

This document, signed by SF-qualified Infantry Captain (CPT) Albert V. ‘Jake’ Clement, an FA Team Leader [an Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA) today] in 1st Company, 77th Special Forces Group (SFG), and witnessed by John J. Hanretty on 2 April 1959, substantiates original ownership. According to Provision 10 of the SF Operator Code, the signed certificate was to be filed in one’s Official Military Personnel Records (OMPR). The original was found in the OMPR of retired Major (MAJ) ‘Jake’ Clement, second-in-command of the 10th SFG Congo Rescue Mission in 1960.

Cross-referencing sources is a standard practice of the USASOC History Office. It is critical to verify information in interviews, memoirs, and secondary source works. Primary documentation provides official, factual information to reinforce statements and/or disprove claims. Credibility is key to USASOC historical publications ‘standing the test of time.’ And, sometimes official records have surprises like the Special Forces Operator Code. It reinforced ‘silent professionalism.’ This document ought to stir memories of early SF veterans and reduce the angst among serving ‘special operators.’

by Charles H. Briscoe, PhD // [email protected]
First published in Veritas, Vol. 14, No. 1, 2018

SCUBAPRO Sunday – Diver Propulsion Vehicles

Sunday, June 30th, 2019

In the early 1770s, a Connecticut inventor David Bushnell started designing what would be the first submersible. It was a small egg-shaped and less than eight feet tall. Her hull was constructed from two oak shells held together by steel bands and waterproof with a thick layer of tar. It had ventilation tubes, a compass, and a device for determining depth. Attached to the exterior was a primitive bomb. The pilot entered the vessel through a hatch at the top. There were a couple of small glass windows that provided very light and visibility. It was operated by a hand crank that propelled it and a tiller that steered it. The operator also controlled the hand pump that regulated the ballast that submerged and surfaced the craft. Once submerged and the ventilation tubes were closed, there was about 30 minutes worth. It was called “Turtle” because of the two “shells” put together to make it.  


In the spring of 1776, about a year into the Revolutionary War, Bushnell wrote to General George Washington asking if the Turtle could be used in defense of New York City’s harbor. Washington accepted the offer. Around midnight on 6 September, the Turtle, piloted by Army sergeant Ezra Lee. That’s right, the first submarine action by the U.S. was the Army. 

It took Lee two hours to get to his target; a British ship named the HMS Eagle. Once he positioned himself beneath the vessel, he was supposed to drill into her hull using a bit attached to Turtle’s top hatch. Once the hole was deep enough, he would anchor his explosive device to the ship’s hull. He had about 30 minutes to get away from the Eagle before the charge would detonate. That was the plan, but Lee’s bit got stuck in a metal part of the hull. On his second attempt, the Turtle bobbed to the surface and was spotted. As he headed for shore, Lee released his “torpedo,” which exploded harmlessly in the middle of the East River. Again, he was Army.  

Although the Turtle was not technically a DPV, it was the U.S. first attempt at underwater warfare. The Human torpedoes or manned torpedoes are a type of diver propulsion vehicle used as secret naval weapons in World War II. The name was commonly used to refer to the weapons that Italy, and later Britain, deployed in the Mediterranean and used to attack ships. The first human torpedo was the Italian Maiale (“Pig”). In operation, it was carried by another vessel (usually a submarine) and launched near the target. It was electrically propelled, with two crewmen. With rebreathes and riding astride. They steered the torpedo at slow speed to the target. At the target, they would use a detachable warhead like a limpet mine and then rode the torpedo away. The idea was successfully applied by the Italian navy early in World War II and then copied by the British. They discovered how effective this weapon could be after three Italian units successfully penetrated the harbor of Alexandria and damaged the two British battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Valiant, and a tanker. The official Italian name for their craft was Slow-running torpedo, but the Italian operators nicknamed it the “Pig” because they were difficult to steer. The British versions were named “chariots.”


They were used thru out WW2, After the war, the technology started to get better, and they were used thru out the cold war to put people onto beaches and other fun stuff like that. There are many types of DPVs out there, and I think it is better for me to post a link to a site that talks about them.

There are also some other ones out there. Make sure you get proper training before trying them.

Jetboots Diver Propulsion System, (JDPS) is a unique hands-free diver propulsion system designed specifically for the military and commercial diver. JDPS uses brushless motors and lithium-ion batteries to achieve incredible propulsion at a meager total system weight, which enables previously impossible mission profiles. Jet boots were first used to help with hooking and climbing of GOPLAT and in currents. Now they are used more for getting from point A to B.



The most significant benefit of using a diver propulsion vehicle is you can go faster, cover more distance, and increase your bottom time. Since you won’t be kicking as much as you typically would be, you can stay down longer. They also help get divers into a place where because of the current you would not be able to get into. If you judge the tides wrong and trying to swim age against it, it can be impossible.  


There are DPVs powerful enough to pull multiple divers at ones. The Suex is one of the best DPV’s out right now. I have seen it pull five fully loaded combat divers. Suex makes different models that can be used by themselves or linked together to work in pairs. The Suex represent the cutting-edge technology of underwater mobility. Performance, reliability, maneuverability, are the cornerstones that make Suex one of the leaders in the underwater scooter market. Diving a Suex is an incredible experience, ensures both high level of maneuverability in overhead environments and comfort during extensive cruising.  

A lot of divers are being required to wear helmets when they are diving a DPV type devise.  SCUBAPRO makes a helmet mask system call the Odin straps. It gives you the ability to attach any SCUBAPRO masks that has quick clips directly to an Ops Core ARC Rail. They can be quickly donned and doffed. They can also be changed backed to the full mask strap. Divers should get additional training on how to pilot an underwater scooter before using them. While diving, an underwater scooter should only be used for horizontal movement. Ascend and descend using your fins. DPVs have come a long way and they are still moving forward faster and faster, in the water and in technology.

Snow Peak USA, Inc

Sunday, June 30th, 2019

As many of you know, outdoor brand Snow Peak is a Japanese company. However, it officially becomes a legal U.S entity as of July 1, 2019 under the name “Snow Peak USA Inc”.

You Never Know Where They’ll Show Up

Sunday, June 30th, 2019

Grzegorz sends greetings from the Czech Republic.

All Americans Conduct Jump Testing Of CSASS

Saturday, June 29th, 2019

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — Operational testing of the Army’s newest precision rifle, the Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System (CSASS) began recently, marking one of the final hurdles this system will face prior to fielding.

Snipers assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division recently participated in airborne infiltration test trials of what could potentially be the Army’s newest sniper system.

“The compact nature of the CSASS is appealing to airborne forces and particularly Snipers who are typically armed with long barreled precision rifles,” said Sgt. 1st Class Ross Martin, a Test NCO with the U.S. Army Operational Test Command’s Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate (ABNSOTD).

“Current sniper systems are equipped with 20-inch barrels, sound suppression systems and full length stocks that provide accuracy and a stable firing platform required of any precision rifle,” said David Parris, a CSASS New Equipment Training (NET) trainer from the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command’s Soldier Weapons Support.

Being a product of battlefield evolution, the CSASS is more geared toward operations in urban environments and operating in and around armored vehicles where traditional length sniper systems can be cumbersome.

“The CSASS will feature a reduction in overall length (with the suppression system attached) and an adjustable stock that provides maneuverability and promotes a stable firing position,” said Victor Yarosh of Project Manager Soldier Weapons.

This will provide airborne snipers a more compact load during airborne infiltration operations and provide a precision rifle platform more conducive to their combat environment without reducing their lethality.

Spec. Nicholas Farmer of Orlando, Florida, a Sniper in C Troop, 1st Battalion, 73rd Cavalry Regiment immediately identified the attributes of a more compact precision rifle.

“The CSASS is much shorter and lighter than our current system which will make long dismounted movements and reaction to contact more efficient,” he said.

Spc. William Holland from Sylacauga, Alabama, a sniper with 2nd Battalion 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment echoed his fellow snipers assessment as, “lightweight and compact makes for a more manageable load during post drop operations.”

Prior to testing, Snipers participated in a NET which included familiarization with the system, maintenance, target engagement and zeroing procedures.

The critical task in testing any small arms platform intended for use by airborne forces is ensuring zero retention of the primary optic subsequent to airborne insertion. This is a critical gauge of the paratrooper’s lethality during airfield seizure and other follow on operations.

“This process establishes a baseline for site reticle locations prior to and post airborne insertion,” said Lacretia Cook, an instrumentation technician with the ABNSOTD.

“Testers can monitor any ‘shift’ in the weapons sight reticle.”

To evaluate this performance measure of the CSASS, the ABNSOTD test team employed the organization’s mobile weapons boresight collimator to ensure the snipers’ “pre-mission” zero was not degraded by shock associated with parachute infiltration.

Once this data was collected, snipers conducted a known distance live fire exercise to gauge lethality subsequent to static line and military free fall operations.

For Sgt. Christopher Landrum of Delano, California, the target audience of trained snipers was perfect.

“It’s vital that operational troops are the ones testing the system as they are best suited to recognize system requirements and mission capabilities,” he explained.

Sgt. 1st Class Darin Pott, a senior sniper with the 1st Battalion, 73rd Armored Regiment said he would also like to see Soldiers added to the process earlier.

“The Army should involve the sniper community at the earliest possible milestone of development,” he said.

“Operational Testing is about Soldiers. It is about making sure that the systems developed are effective in a Soldier’s hands and suitable for the environments in which Soldiers train and fight,” said Col. Brad Mock, Director of ABNSOTD.

“OTC is the U.S. Army’s only independent operational test organization,” said Lt. Col. David Dykema, deputy of ABNSOTD’s Test Division.

“We test Army, Joint, and Multi-service airborne and airdrop related warfighting systems in realistic operational environments, using Soldiers to determine whether the systems are effective, suitable, and survivable.

“Any time Soldiers and their leaders get involved in operational testing,” he added, “they have the opportunity to use, work with, and offer up their own suggestions on pieces of equipment that can impact development of systems that future Soldiers will use in combat.”

Story by Mike Shelton, Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate, U.S. Army Operational Test Command Public Affairs

Photos by Mr. Chris OLeary, Videographer, Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate, U.S. Army Operational Test Command Public Affairs

Flying Cross Helped US Army Roll Out New Uniforms for D-Day 75 Celebrations

Saturday, June 29th, 2019

Military uniforms have gone through many changes during the 224 year history of the US Army. Revolutionary War uniforms for example were very fancy and colorful by today’s standards, but by the time of the Civil War in the 1860’s uniforms had become more utilitarian. And by the Spanish-American War it was noted that Teddy Roosevelt’s “Rough Riders” looked more like cowboys than soldiers.

By the beginning of the 20th Century duller natural tones had become the new standard for uniforms and when the US Army entered WWI, it was in uniforms in a brownish-green color called “Olive Drab”.

Hollywood stars Jimmy Stewart and Clark Gable wearing two versions of the 1940-Pattern Officers Service Uniform while serving as Captains in the Army Air Force during WWII.  (Source: US Army, Public Domain)

By WWII, the US Army service uniform featured the subdued colors of Olive Green and Taupe. Nonetheless, the 1940-Pattern Officers’ Service Uniform possessed an easy-going elegance. It evoked the refined shooting jackets and safari suits frequently seen in Hollywood movies, and was also frequently seen being worn by movie star soldiers like James Stewart and Clark Gable. This uniform also acquired the famous “Pinks-and-Greens” nickname due to the contrasting hues of the jacket and trousers.

One of the original Tuskegee Airmen, Colonel Lloyd McKeethen pictured in his WWII “Pinks-and-Greens” uniform. (Source:

By the end of the 1940’s however the wartime uniform had lost a great deal of its prestige, so a new look was introduced in 1954 with the “Class A”, or Dress Green Uniform. The Dress Green Uniform soldiered on through the Cold War, the Gulf Wars, and into the Global War on Terror.

Finally in 2008, the Class A Dress Greens Uniform was replaced by the blue Army Service Uniform (ASU). The ASU has however been very unpopular and it will be replaced by the new Army Service Green Uniform (AGSU) starting next year. The AGSU closely follows the style of the 1940-pattern Officers Dress Uniform – the famous WWII “Pinks-and-Greens”.

Fechheimer Brothers Company catalog from November 1941 showing fabric options and prices for private-purchase M1940-Pattern Officers’ Service Uniforms.

Flying Cross®, based in Cincinnati, Ohio was one of the original producers of the “Pinks and Greens”, and has been a leading manufacturer of uniforms for US military and law enforcement personnel for the past 175 years. Based on this long history of expertise, the Army approached the company in the spring of 2017 and has been working closely with Flying Cross ever since to roll-out the AGSU on time.

Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, Gen. Mark A. Milley in Sainte Mere Eglise, France June 6, 2019. (U.S. Navy photos by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Michael McNabb)

AGSUs are now being issued to a cross-section of Army personnel for wear-testing and user feedback. Earlier this month, Flying Cross also delivered 500 sets of the AGSU for Officers and NCOs participating in the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

Maj. Gen. Brian Winski, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Carentan, France June 5, 2019. (US Army photos by Sgt. Steven Lopez, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade)

The Army Green Service Uniform capitalizes on the current retro style trend, includes a touch of old school Hollywood glamor, has a distinctly “American” look, and strongly connects the next generation of Soldiers with the heritage of the Greatest Generation of Soldiers.

For further information about Flying Cross and the Army Green Service Uniform, please visit and follow Flying Cross on Instagram and Facebook.

Special Operations Wounded Warriors South Florida Dinner and Auction

Saturday, June 29th, 2019

A couple of times each year, Special Operations Wounded Warriors, a 501(c)(3) Charity, holds fundraisers.

SOWW was formed in August of 2012 for the distinct purpose of providing outdoor experiences and focused therapeutic retreats to a select group of both active duty and veteran U.S. Military Special Operations Forces

Their next event is the evening of August 23, at the Boca Raton Resort and Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort in Boca Raton, Florida.

The speaker is Mark “Oz” Geist, a member of the Annex Security Team that fought the Battle of Benghazi, Libya, from September 11 to September 12, 2012. This battle was documented in the book and film “13 Hours.”

If you’re interested, here is a link to the invitation on Facebook.