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Archive for the ‘Guest Post’ Category

Brigantes Presents – ECW/Winter Warfare Series – Shelter

Wednesday, November 25th, 2020

In this series, Brigantes brings you key products that offer the complete solution when working in the colder parts of the world. This week it is Hilleberg Keron 4GT Tactical.

When working in Arctic environments shelter, in what is the only environment where sitting still for a short period of time can lead to serious injury or even death, is absolutely critical. The Keron 4GT tactical provides the perfect solution to this problem.  

The construction of the Keron 4GT, like other Hilleberg tents, has the ability to leave the inner connected to the outer this makes it much quicker to erect and drop. Internally it is set out to allow for four adults to sleep alongside each other as well as small features such as well position mesh pockets and a drying line enable a better living and working environment.

The large “porch area” (or vestibule) makes administration at the end of day and cooking within a tented environment, much easier. Provided that there is snow it also gives the user the ability to dig a cold trench, increasing the usable space, as well as increasing the warmth within the tent. The tactical version of the tent uses a light blocking fabric in order to maintain good light discipline and reduce signature whilst operating in a tactical environment. This also includes using black guy lines and with all reflective elements removed it is the best solution for this most challenging of environments.

The Hilleberg Keron 4GT is used extensively by Artic and Antactric explorers and has now been used by UK and the Scandinavian nations in the far north for several years now as their go to tactical tent.

For a more in depth look at essential for ECW and Winter warfare deployment visit our YouTube channel www.Youtube.com subscribe to get updates of new product reviews and technical discussions.

For the full specs visit our website brigantes.com

Or contact us:

UK – [email protected]

Global – [email protected]

First Basic Training Class Graduates Wearing Army Green Service Uniform

Wednesday, November 25th, 2020

FORT SILL, Okla. — The first class of basic combat trainees to graduate wearing the new Army Green Service Uniform (AGSU) showed off their threads Nov. 16, during a ceremony at Fort Sill.

Almost 200 Soldiers from A Battery, 1st Battalion, 79th Field Artillery completed their 10-week basic combat training. The 434th Field Artillery command team and many of the drill sergeants also wore the AGSU.

Guest speaker Lt. Col. Jason Carter, Fires Center and Fort Sill Commanding General’s Planning Group director, highlighted the historical significance of the uniform.

“The Army’s greatest generation wore the iconic greens uniform when America was in the throes of World War II. Men like (generals of the Army Dwight) Eisenhower, (Omar) Bradley, and (George) Marshall wore it,” Carter said. “Now you, as our next great generation, are among one of the first in our United States Army to wear one of the most admired and recognizable uniforms in our history as it is being reinstituted to honor our heritage.

“While the Army Green Service Uniform invokes a feeling of nostalgia, it’s what’s under the uniform that counts,” Carter said. “The heart, the character, the grit, and the resolve of the American Soldier.”

Drill Sergeant (Staff Sgt.) Hayon Ju, A/1-79th FA, said the uniform links the greatest generation to millennials. She said she loved the practicality of the new dress uniforms.

“They’re a lot easier for females to set up our ribbons and badges,” Ju said. “We just go off our pocket flaps.”

Senior Drill Sergeant (Sgt. 1st Class) Antrell Bender, A/1-79th FA, said the trainees received the AGSU Oct. 14. They learned about the historical significance of the uniform. And, last week they were shown how to properly wear the uniform with adornments.

“On Saturday morning (Nov. 14), a final inspection was given to identify any deficiencies,” Bender said.

He noted that since it was the trainees’ first dress uniform they don’t have anything to compare it to, but for him, it’s the third dress uniform he has worn in his career.

“I’ve been in since we had the green dress uniform, then we switched over to the ASUs (Army Service Uniform),” Bender said.

Graduate Pvt. Rebeca Beaird, age 19, from Houston, recalled what she and some of her fellow trainees thought when they were first issued their AGSUs.

“A lot of us were thinking: Oh, Captain America, Like yea! We get to be there,” said Beaird, who will go on for further training at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, to become a behavioral health technician.

She said the AGSU is about building on the women’s legacy in the Army.

“Soldiers who wear this uniform are going to be honored to wear them,” she said. “Veterans who wore them will be happy to see us bring it back.”

Graduate Pfc. Tyree Smith, 20, of Indianapolis, said he was honored to be in the first class to graduate with the AGSUs. He said the uniform makes him feel like a man, ready to achieve.

Smith moves on to training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

Col. Daniel Blackmon, 434th FA Brigade commander, said the AGSU is special for him because his father and grandfather served in the Army and wore similar uniforms.

He said he’s heard a lot of positive comments when wearing his AGSU. “One, the history, and two, just the way it looks.”

By Jeff Crawley, Fort Sill Tribune

Next-Generation Headset Preps Soldiers for Future Battlefield

Tuesday, November 24th, 2020

FORT PICKETT, Va. – The third Capability Set of the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) was tested at Fort Pickett by 82nd Airborne Soldiers and 25th Marines during October 2020.

The project uses Soldier Centered Design (SCD) to evaluate the IVAS military fighting goggle through operational evaluations. Soldier involvement and engagement at every stage of prototype development has allowed the fast-paced rapid prototype effort to ensure that the final product will positively increase the situational awareness, lethality, mobility, and performance of the close combat force.

“When I look through the IVAS I see how we’re going to fight on the battlefield of the future,” said Staff Sgt. Kester, Weapons Squad Leader.

The Army is developing IVAS as a single platform that allows the Warfighter to Fight, Rehearse, and Train. It integrates next generation 24/7 situational awareness tools and high-resolution simulations to deliver a single platform that improves Soldier sensing, decision making, target acquisition, and target engagement. The visibility that it gives to higher command and control is unparalleled.

“With IVAS you now have the ability to paint a picture for higher ups, almost instantaneously,” said Sgt. Black, Combat Medic. “So now you have a Colonel who’s watching the battlefield like never before. That’s phenomenal, and that has the potential to increase our lethality in a way that we’ve never seen.”

IVAS also provides increased situational awareness for the leadership on the ground.

“In the field, a big part of my job is command and control,” said 1st Lt. Christopher, Platoon Leader. “I am basically moving my squads like pieces on a chessboard and maneuvering them into position and making sure that they’re in the right place at the right time. For me not only can I see where they are with IVAS, but I can actually go into the system and put a point here and say ‘Hey, you all need to go here’ or ‘Hey there are enemies over here watch out!’ I can also send messages non-verbally, so it is very, very critical for me for the command and control aspect.”

The first IVAS militarized form factor prototype was put through tactical exercise lanes, advance marksmanship, land navigation and squad reconnaissance, movement to contact with hasty attack, and enter and clear a trench to validate the military utility that the technology brings to the squad both day and night. The Soldiers and Marines spent a week learning the new equipment before using it in the various operational tests.

“It was extremely easy to pick up,” said Christopher. “It’s very simple in its controls, the menus and such are very easy to navigate, and they’re categorized in a way that if I want to do this function, easy over there, bring up the map, one button press away.”

Christopher also noted that the Microsoft data collectors had been receptive to their feedback and had already made progress and developments on the input given throughout the touchpoint event. Cpl. Sweckard, Team Leader, 25th Marines also expressed similar sentiments.

“Anytime we conduct any type of training with the IVAS, we immediately make contact with the [data collectors] from Microsoft and provide them with feedback, things that we’ve identified that could be an issue, things that we liked, and how we fixed the issue if we were faced with one,” he said. “That way they can put together the common things that are happening with the device and identify a resolution.”

Because of the similarities in operational responsibilities and as members of the collective close combat force, Marines were present to test the current IVAS capability set specifically during live fire execution.

“What it does for us mainly is combines a lot of things that we currently utilize, such as global positioning devices, or GPS’s, communication devices, as well as land navigation tools and mission planning tools,” said Sweckard. “Those are things that are commonly individual technologies that are now combined into this one system of IVAS.”

The project was initiated in response to an erosion in close combat capability relative to pacing threats identified in the 2018 National Defense Strategy. These capabilities will provide the increased lethality, mobility, and situational awareness necessary to achieve overmatch against our current and future adversaries in any domain.

“I think if it’s in the right hands it can be an effective tool, like an aid bag. An aid bag without a medic is nothing, but an infantry guy with IVAS is something much more,” said Black.

Though the Army is specifically developing this high priority modernization effort, the Marine Corps may also leverage the technology for their close combat operations.

“It will definitely be a force multiplier on the battlefield,” said Sweckard. “As a team leader I have three Marines that are under my charge and my basic mission is to employ those Marines in combat, make those three Marines look like 30. If I can do that, that’s going to make the Marine Corps more lethal. With the IVAS I can better achieve that mission, without a doubt.”

The integrated system is expected to be fielded to Soldiers next year.

“When Lieutenant Colonel Winn told us we want to field it next year I thought that was crazy. Then I looked and thought through it and I could see it, I can see the possibilities,” said Kester. “Some of my combat experiences made me pause for thought to look at it like Russia and China, they’ve been pushing technology like this for the last decade. And what have we been doing? Not that.”

Kester added that though he did not know about IVAS before coming to the third Soldier Touchpoint, as soon as he did, he was onboard with Team IVAS.

“I would say the only thing that’s going to hurt this program is people not being imaginative enough or trying to push the limits of what they think is possible, or what Soldiers want. I am really excited to see where this will go,” said Kester.

Marne Central Issue Facility Modernizes with Online Appointments, Less Equipment Turn-ins

Monday, November 23rd, 2020

For many Soldiers, the thought of visiting their local Central Issue Facility invokes certain feelings: anxiety and frustration to name a couple. This might change soon for the Soldiers of Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield as the CIF experience is transforming to make the process easier for the warfighter.

Transitioning to appointments

Transitioning to a modern storefront program, Soldiers are now able to schedule appointments online for their CIF turn-in and exchanges.

“After a few weeks of testing the system with the Marne Reception Center, the appointment system is now live. It lets Soldiers coordinate directly with the local CIF for times that work for them, and then the facility will get a daily report of how many Soldiers are coming in,” said Lt. Col. Chad Moniz, the battalion commander of the 406th Army Field Support Battalion-Stewart who is responsible for the Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield CIF.

“The system will enable a better experience for the Soldier, while maintaining a forecastable schedule for the CIF staff who still need to be ready to respond to real-world surge requirements,” he said.

“We still have the ability with the appointment system to keep Soldiers informed,” Moniz continued. “If we were planning to support a real-world deployment surge, massive plate exchange or inventories, we can change it in the system so those times will show as unavailable in live time. This will reduce lines or Soldiers having to find out in person.”

Appointments will be made in 15-minute increments. The AFSBn team recommends Soldiers arrive 10 minutes early to allow for accountability. The system is set up to accommodate eight people every 15 minutes.

For now, the new program has focused times targeting different needs. Soldiers from the Marne Reception Center will be accommodated daily until 10:00 a.m. From 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., CIF has open appointments for any service. From 2:30 -3:30 p.m., the CIF will continue to have walk-in open time to enable Soldiers that do not have appointments or who may not have access to common access card-enabled computers to make the appointments. Appointments can be made up to two weeks prior to the requested date.

Moniz explained that the appointment program will send Soldiers an email once the appointment is booked. It will also notify the CIF of what services Soldiers are requesting, whether it is for exchanging equipment, receiving new issue, or turning in old equipment.

Overhauls to adjust to transformation

While the modernization will result in welcomed improvements, the transition caused some delays for CIF customers in August and September. Completing a 100% inventory of the multi-million-dollar property book between the two installations was required because of a key personnel change occurring at the same time as the modernization transition, which was further exacerbated by impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are a very customer focused organization, with the majority of our employees being retired military,” said Nia Landry, deputy commander of the 406th AFSBn. “They take great pride in providing services for the Soldiers, but we did run into somewhat of a perfect storm.”

Landry said that an accountable officer unexpectedly retired during the key implementation of several phases of the modernization process, forcing the CIF to conduct a 100% accountability inventory of both sites. This, combined with a large surge of Soldiers with PCS orders, caused backups in the system.

“It was not our intent in any way to inconvenience Soldiers and their families,” Landry said. “Moving forward, we have several things in place that will improve your experience at CIF, and we always welcome suggestions as we strive to get better.”

Throughout the inventories, the average throughput did not decrease. The facility on average services 100 Soldiers in the morning, and 100 in the afternoon. As a result of an uptick in approved PCS orders following a long pause with COVID-19, the Fort Stewart and HAAF facilities surged to support more than 300 customers a day.

While the inventory took place, CIF also reorganized the entire warehouse and corrected internal processing issues. The facility also divested a large amount of inventory by moving equipment down to the unit level.

“Just like a company [executive officer] might prepare for their commander’s inventory layout several months in advance, inventory prep and accountability takes time,” said Moniz.

“Now expand that to a property book going through reduction from $98 million on hand and getting it down to $72 million,” he said. “We also packed and readied for shipment another $30 million just at Fort Stewart. HAAF is expected to reduce from $14 to only $1.5 million.”

The two CIFs support missions for not only the 3rd Infantry Division, but also a Ranger battalion, and other unique tenant units across both installations. They will continue to reduce stock by another half over the next few months as they send items to locations as directed by disposition instructions.

“We were sacrificing the time now to better support Soldiers later by improving our processes,” said Kevin Lewis, the supply and services division chief for the CIF facilities.

He explained tenant units like those in Special Forces will eventually go to systems managed by their supply sergeants to do more direct ordering. This process will solve more problems at the unit level and save Soldiers a trip across the base while also reducing strain on CIF.

Soldiers can also expect to get more of their equipment issued by their own supply rooms as fewer items are kept on hand at CIF. The facility will still handle exchanges and turn-ins. However, if units are exchanging something that is not typically stocked in the facility, it will have to be ordered.

Planning for future CIF visits, PCS moves

As thousands of 3rd ID Soldiers redeploy from Europe and South Korea in 2021 along with traditional PCS moves, it’s important to relearn what most career Soldiers already know: always try to clear CIF first.

While the experiences this summer were unprecedented, it was a good reminder for Soldiers to leave extra time in their clearing process for CIF in case they are missing items or if their equipment needs further cleaning.

“The best way to be prepared for CIF is to check your online Organizational Clothing and Individual Equipment record,” Moniz said. This will tell you exactly which items you can carry with you, and which ones need to be turned in.”

“For Soldiers at Fort Stewart/ Hunter Army Airfield who are in a PCS status, from now on most will only turn-in their [Enhanced Small Arms Protective Inserts] plates,” he said. They can carry forward their OCIE gear with their household goods through the transportation personal property office.”

ESAPI plates are turned in to allow them to be scanned for any possible deficiencies and ensure they can protect their wearer.

Soldiers can find their individual clothing record at ism.army.mil/ism/SelfServiceServlet?nav.nav_id=ssMyClothing and should conduct a personal inventory prior to arriving at CIF to ensure they have everything they need.

While the appointment system is now open, clearing papers and orders are still required for service. To make an appointment, click on the link labeled “CIF appointment” in the bottom left corner of the individual’s OCIE clothing record.

By LTC Lindsey Elder

SCUBAPRO Sunday – Wetsuit Care

Sunday, November 22nd, 2020

Your wetsuit is an essential part of your dive gear, as it protects your body from heat loss, abrasions, and wildlife injuries on a dive. Without proper care, neoprene can be damaged easily when you’re not even diving. Although they are designed to last a long time, certain elements will destroy it, if you don’t take care of it. Here are a few things that will damage neoprene. This stuff will also damage your H-gear/ Armor carrier and other nylon equipment.


Sunlight is the worst thing for any nylon product. You never want to leave your wetsuit hanging in direct sunlight to dry. Neoprene takes a beating from UV radiation, and it will begin to break it down quickly. Paired with heat, it can break a new wetsuit down in a matter of months.


Even in the absence of sunlight, heat is not good for neoprene. Under no circumstances should you ever put neoprene in the dryer. Even leaving it in a hot car can begin the process of deterioration. The best way to dry your wetsuit (after a fresh water rinse, of course!) is to hang it in the open air, in the shade. So, try not to store your wetsuit in a Conex box.

Salt and Minerals

If you’ve been diving in the ocean, you’ll need to rinse your wetsuit immediately with fresh water so that the salt, minerals, and bacteria accumulated during the dive will not remain to crystallize and produce odors. Soaking it in a tub is the best way to do this. Do more than just rinse it with a hose and hang it up to dry. Even if you haven’t exposed your wetsuit to any of the other damaging elements in this post, a stinky, bacteria-laden wetsuit is just as ruined if you never rinse it. Occasional soakings with a product like Sink the Stink are a great way to refresh your wetsuit every few weeks or months, depending on how often you dive. 

Improper Storage

As well as suffering heat damage, leaving your wetsuit wadded up in your gear bag, trunk, or garage will cause rapid deterioration, as it compromises the structure of neoprene. Hanging your wetsuit on a proper wetsuit hanger is the ideal storage, but if you’re limited on space, you can store it folded in half in a dry container once it is fully dry.

If you rinse your wetsuit with fresh water after every use, it should stay clean in most cases. However, you sometimes might find that your wetsuit gets a little funky. If you pee in it, it will get funky. Make sure that you always use a cleaner that is designed for wetsuits. The wrong type of cleaning product on your wetsuit can be one of the worst things that damage neoprene. Some people say you have to get a new wetsuit every 3 to 5 years. The truth is it depends on how much you use it and how deep you go. Every time you dive deep it will compress the wetsuit and push some of the bubbles that are in the neoprene out. So there is no real time line on how long a suit will last.

27 SOCS Tests New Equipment, Supports Special Tactics Training

Saturday, November 21st, 2020


The 27th Special Operations Communications Squadron utilized new equipment to provide over 60 special tactics Airmen assigned to the 22nd Special Tactics Squadron, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, with network access to ensure that the teams could have full access to the necessary resources to ensure proper training while at Cannon.

The tactical local access network is a piece of mobile tactical equipment that provides the ability for more online services in an isolated area. It is utilized by pairing with a satellite dish network, which normally provides support for five to ten computers, and moves the workload off of the SDN to the TACLAN, which provides access for 75 computers.

“The TACLAN gives us the same capabilities as the base’s network system,” said Staff Sgt. Thomas Jara, 27 SOCS non-commissioned officer in charge of the TACLAN team. “Printers, shared drives, we can control everything the base would on the TACLAN. As of right now, Cannon is the only base in the Air Force Special Operations Command and United States Special Operations Command utilizing this model.”

This is the first time that the current TACLAN model has been mobilized to provide mission support. While the team was able to properly operate the system for the 22 STS’s training operations, the TACLAN team is currently planning to receive more training on how to better utilize the equipment.

“We are deployable with this capability, but I want to be better,” Jara said. “While we are able to fix any issues that arise while working the system, I want more people to learn the system so it becomes commonplace.”

While the team maintained the system so it was fully operational, Maj. Emily Short 27 SOCS commander, came by to receive a brief overview on what they were working on.

“The TACLAN team is phenomenal,” Short said. “This training gives them an opportunity to learn more, allow younger Airmen to grow alongside them, and this operation has given us the opportunity to link up with other organizations for cross-utilization which can only lead to further growth for our efforts.”

While the satellite currently used with the TACLAN system allows up to 75 users, the 27 SOCS has access to equipment that would allow over 300 users on the system.

“I think the system absolutely bolsters our capabilities,” Short said. “It helps our users, people like mission planners and members of the 22 STS during this training operation. Speeding up their network gives them better planning control and speeds up the planning process. It all leads to increased lethality in the end.”

By Senior Airman Vernon R. Walter III, 27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

FirstSpear Friday Focus – FSTV Launches X-RAY

Friday, November 20th, 2020

Episode 1 of X-RAY launches November 24, 2020. FirstSpearTV like you’ve never seen before. Bringing you relevant content, built for the X! Get a free look at fielded and emerging advanced equipment in use by the world’s leading Special Operations Forces.

Devoid of clutter and online chest-beating, this platform is solely for entertainment and appreciation of those who pursue excitement. Our “actors” have unique and diverse backgrounds in Special Operations, Law Enforcement, and Security.

FirstSpearTV is about shock, awe, and recognition of those who provide the freedom that the rest of us enjoy.

To watch previous episodes, visit www.youtube.com/user/FIRSTSPEAR1.

USAF Rated Preparatory Program Now Accepting Applications for FY21 Spring Class – Open to Enlisted

Thursday, November 19th, 2020


Active duty Department of the Air Force officers and enlisted Airmen and Space Professionals interested in becoming a rated officer have until Dec. 31, 2020 to apply for the Spring 2021 Rated Preparatory Program.

This will be the third year that the Air Force has partnered with the Civil Air Patrol for this training. The 2021 class will take place at the Denton Enterprise Airport in Denton, Texas.

“The Rated Preparatory Program provides Department of the Air Force officers and for the first time enlisted applicants, who are interested in cross-training to a rated career field the opportunity to gain and strengthen their basic aviation skills,” said Col. Scott Linck, Aircrew Task Force deputy director. “This program will allow them to enhance their knowledge through developmental modules and acquire valuable flight time in order to increase their competitiveness as candidates for future undergraduate flying training boards.”

Applicants selected for the RPP will first complete an online self-paced ground course followed by a one-week in-resident course to introduce them to aviation fundamentals. Program participants will garner approximately seven to nine flight hours, ground instruction and additional training time in a flight simulator.

Officers who complete the program are required to apply to the next available Undergraduate Flying Training selection board. Enlisted participants who complete the program are required to apply to at least one of three Air Force commissioning sources: U.S. Air Force Academy, Reserve Officer Training Corps or Officer Training School.

Airmen who can meet the requirements below are encouraged to apply:

1. Any active duty officer who meets UFT board requirements.

2. Any active duty enlisted Airman or Space Professional who meets UFT board requirements and qualifies for a commission through one of the three commissioning sources (Reference PSDM 20-96 for further information).

3. Be a U.S. Citizen.

4. Be of high moral character and personal qualifications (members currently having open law violations or criminal investigations, previously convicted by court-martial or having received an Article 15 are ineligible to apply).

5. Have the unit commander’s approval and endorsement.

6. Have a current passing Physical Fitness Test score.

7. Have a Pilot Candidate Selection Method score prior to the RPP class start date.

8. Have less than 5 hours of total civilian flight time (applicants with greater than 5 hours of civilian flight time may apply, but will only be considered on a space available basis).

9. Officers: Obtain a U.S. Air Force Initial Flying Class I, 1A, Ground Based Controller or III flight physical prior to entry into the RPP.

10. Enlisted: Obtain an FAA Class III physical prior to entry into the RPP (Reference PSDM 20-96; consult a local Aviation Medical Examiner).

11. Complete an on-line self-paced ground course that will be provided prior to the class start date.

12. Be prepared to retake the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test and Test of Basic Aviation Skills at the first available opportunity upon completion of RPP, preferably within two to four weeks.

“When comparing applicant scores pre- and post-RPP, results show, on average, a 20% improvement in student AFOQT scores and a 35-point increase in PCSM scores,” said Maj. Sean Stumpf, Aircrew Task Force talent management branch chief. “Approximately 90% of officers who went through the program in 2019 and applied for UFT were selected. We are hoping for the same results from the most recent class that went through the program this summer.”

Interested applicants can find additional information on how to apply through the MyPers website.