AFIMSC Prioritizes Diversity, Inclusion for EOD Physical Fitness Test

January 23rd, 2022


The Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center is leading the postpartum health guidance revisions for the upcoming explosive ordnance disposal Airmen-specific physical fitness test policy.

“We’re taking into account the mother’s needs while still keeping to the higher standard for the career field’s physical demands,” said Master Sgt. John Johnson, AFIMSC’s Installation Support EOD Program resource analyst. “We went right to the source and invited six EOD mother-Airmen to participate in a postpartum working group to develop courses of action and recommendations.”

Johnson and his team were given the charge to write the guidance for the career field’s operationally relevant Tier 2 PFT, which unlike the Tier 1 test is more physically demanding and independent of age and gender.

“This test will be more difficult than the standard Air Force test, so we wanted to make sure the policy gives our EOD mother-Airmen the correct amount of time to heal after giving birth,” Johnson said. “We don’t want them to rush back in and get hurt. We’re looking at the longevity of their careers and we’re here to see what we can do to help.”

Women’s health professionals were also present at the working group.

“Women make up 20% of the Air Force, so it’s important to ensure that we have policies in place that support them in their careers, as well as support them in their abilities to plan their families,” said Lt. Col. Larissa Weir, chief women’s health consultant to the Air Force Surgeon General. “Postpartum care for all women in general is evolving. We used to think the postpartum period was the first six weeks after the baby was born and then you go see the doctor to get the blessing that you were good to go. That’s not the case. For the first 12 months, there are continuous changes: hormonal, physiologic, and anatomic, … so postpartum care needs to be more comprehensive.

“Women in EOD have a special mission and more stringent requirements, so in order for the career field to be mission ready, we need to have these discussions and ensure our policies also evolve and are inclusive,” Weir said.

There are currently 37 women in the approximately 1,200 active EOD career field.

“We’re an even smaller group of mothers in EOD, so it’s easy to forget about us,” said Master Sgt. Andrea Rasmussen, EOD equipment section chief, 96th Civil Engineer Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. “I am six months postpartum myself and it’s been a challenge. I have medical issues pertaining to my postpartum and have even gone to the emergency room a few times. All this while trying to take care of myself, take care of my home, take care of my daughter, take care of my work and prepare for a physical fitness test.

“I want to remain fully qualified and continue to be an asset to my team,” Rasmussen said, “so I’m glad we’re here being heard and coming up with courses of action now as this new Tier-2 policy is being written.”

Members of the working group also decided to continue to collaborate and develop additional tools and guidance for postpartum EOD Airmen.

“This meeting made me and my male counterparts in attendance realize how little we know about postpartum care in the EOD community,” Johnson said. “Outside of the policy, one of our go-do’s will be to put together a postpartum playbook and share it on our EOD SharePoint site. It’ll be a compilation of all the information the medical professionals shared with us today and other highlights in our discussion.”

The next steps for Johnson and his team will be to write the courses of action decided by the group, which include a proposed extension to the current Tier 1 postpartum delay, and add recommendations for related care. The draft of the Tier 2 test policy will then be sent to Headquarters Air Force for approval.

“I’m glad we have leadership who is willing to listen and willing to address issues that they may not be familiar with,” Rasmussen said. “That kind of support is paramount for not only women experiencing postpartum but women in general across the Air and Space Forces.”

By Malcolm McClendon, Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center Public Affairs

“QUICKDRAW” Baofeng UV-5R Holster

January 22nd, 2022

The “QUICKDRAW” Baofeng UV-5R Kydex holster is made by Guerilla Tactical for Mojave Repeater.

They’re available right now in a limited quantity in five colors:

• MultiCam
• MultiCam Arid
• Flat Dark Earth
• Ranger Green
• M81 Woodland

Additionally you can select from two mounting options: MOLLE LOK or TEK LOK

This holster will accommodate PTT or other connections to the mic/speaker input.

Zeroing: Basic Truths

January 22nd, 2022


Zeroing your weapon simply calibrates your sight so that the bullet flight intersects with your line of sight at a specific distance. Zeroing has nothing to do with “Train as you fight.” Zeroing is just a Pre-Combat Check; it’s maintenance…”PMCS,” if you will. Just the same as a wheel alignment is to your tactical vehicle.

“Zeroing is not a training exercise, nor is it a combat skills event. Zeroing is a maintenance procedure that is accomplished to place the weapon in operation, based on the Soldier’s skill, capabilities, tactical scenario, aiming device, and ammunition.”

[Ref: TC 3-22.9, Appendix E Introduction]


You have a 300m zero, conducted at 25m. In order for the bullet to strike where the Soldier is aiming at 300m, the bullet will cross the Soldier’s line of sight twice: once at 30m and again at 300m. The Army does not have 30m live fire shooting ranges, but it does have 25m ranges. So, what’s the work around? At 25m, the bullet is still below the line of sight (LOS), so we adjust the bullet’s point of impact (POI) to strike 1.5 MOA below the point of aim (POA). This is called a “ballistic offset.”

The same concept applies to Marines. The Marine Corps does not have a 36 yard zero. The Marines have a 300 yard zero, with a “Pre-Zero” conducted at 36 yards.


Either the sight is matched to the bullet trajectory, or it isn’t. The person pulling the trigger can’t magically alter the exterior ballistics of the bullet. We demonstrate this reality at our Trainer courses by having cadre use someone else’s rifle with a known good zero to consistently engage targets at 300m.

[Ref: “Effects of Sight Type, Zero Methodology, and Target Distance on Shooting Performance Measures While Controlling for Ammunition Velocity and Individual Experience,” para 9(3), US Army Research Lab report ARL-TR-8594, Dec 2018.]


TC 3-20.40 removes combat gear as a condition for zeroing, recognizing that what the Soldier wears has nothing to do with the flight of the bullet, and may interfere with a solid, comfortable and unhindered shooting position needed to calibrate the weapon sight.

[Ref TC 3-20.40, Table E-14 “Conditions” vs Table E-48 “Conditions”]

“A common misconception is that wearing combat gear will cause the zero to change. Adding combat gear to the Soldier’s body does not cause the sights or the reticle to move. The straight line between the center of the rear sight aperture and the tip of the front sight post either intersects with the trajectory at the desired point, or it does not. Soldiers should be aware of their own performance, to include a tendency to pull their shots in a certain direction, across various positions, and with or without combat gear. A shift in point of impact in one shooting position may not correspond to a shift in the point of impact from a different shooting position.” [Ref: TC 3-22.9, para E-14 Note.]


“Removing and reinstalling the CCO or RCO will not lose the sight zero. Soldiers must record the sight serial number and the rail slot it was mounted in to retain the zero, however.” [Ref: TC3-22.9, para 3-26.].

We demonstrate this capability at our Unit Marksmanship Trainer Courses by swapping CCOs and RCOs multiple times onto an M4A1 and consistently engage 300m targets.

ETA: Luke Wright makes a great point in his comment to this post. When given the opportunity, always reconfirm your zero after reinstalling your sights. Rails/mounts may become out of spec over time and adherence to sight mounting procedures becomes critical. Depending on the precision required for distances and sizes of target engagements, the “acceptable” return-to-zero capability becomes a little squishy.

When zeroing, the following progression takes place, with a caveat*.


Sight windage and elevation knobs are centered within their ranges of adjustment in order to offer a reasonable chance of hitting the A8 25m zero target.

According to the M4A1 military specification (MIL-C-71186), mechanical zeroing will only get rounds somewhere in a 22”x16” box around your 100y aiming point. At 25m, that’s a 6”x4” impact zone. This clearly isn’t a valid zero, BUT it will get the Soldier on the A8 25m zero target.


Sight windage and elevation setting that accounts for the bullet’s trajectory at 10m that approximates a 300m zero to offer a better chance of hitting near the point of aim on 25m A8 zero target.

Laser bore-lighting is not an effective zero. For the CCO, a 10m bore-light only gives the Soldier about a 50% probability of hit at 200m. For night aiming lasers, a bore-lighting only gives the Soldier a 50% probability of hit at 150m. This, too, is clearly not a valid zero, BUT it will get a Soldier on the A8 25m zero target:

“The purpose of the bore-light is to get ‘bullets on paper’ during live-fire zeroing. Bore-lighting is not the same as zeroing the weapon.”

[Data and quote from “Training Lessons Learned on Sights and Devices in the Land Warrior Weapon Subsystem,” Army Research Institute, November 1999]


Unless a weapon was re-barreled or a new weapon sight was issued, the mechanical zero and laser bore-lighting should be bypassed. There’s no reason why the weapon sight setting would have changed since the last time it was zeroed at true distance during your last range event.

Since neither a mechanical zero nor a laser bore-lighting accurately applies a weapon zero, conducting those steps again will simply undo the previously validated weapon zero.

“25M ZERO”

First, you do not have a 25m zero. You have a 300m zero. In fact, the Army does not conduct a “25m Group & Zero Event.” The Army conducts “Table 4 – Basic.” “Zeroing” at 25m is applying a windage and elevation sight setting that approximates the trajectory of a 300m zero to maximize the chances of hitting the point of aim on a 300m target. Sometimes called a “near-o,” since it’s not truly a zeroed weapon, just “nearly,” and the Army uses a 25m range to get close to the first crossing (the “near” side) of the bullet with the shooter’s line of sight.

Soldiers must not rely on a 25m “zero.” Small errors at 25m create big errors at 300m. For example, a ½” sight error at 25m will cause approx. 6” error at 300m, which is more than halfway to missing your target (the E-type silhouette width is 19.5”).


Small inaccurate sight settings that go unnoticed at 25m are fully expressed at farther distances. Confirmation of zero at 300m will expose those inaccurate sight settings and allow the shooter to obtain a proper and true zero.

While a 25m range is utilized to apply sight settings for a 300m zero, weapon sights are still not considered zeroed. Confirmation at true distance must take place.

Confirmation can be accomplished in any of the following ways, arranged in order of preference from most- to least-preferred.

Location of Misses and Hits (LOMAH) has acoustic sensors and digital plots of exact bullet impacts, giving Soldiers precise feedback to apply a true zero. It’s fast and it’s easy. Unfortunately, the Army doesn’t equip every firing lane or range with LOMAH. Not yet, anyway.

Known Distance (KD) range, with “spotters” inserted into each bullet hole on the paper target so Soldiers can adjust their sights to hit exactly where they’re aiming. Most Army training installation don’t have a KD range, though, so this isn’t a universal option. When available, though, this is preferred over the next option.

Automated Range Facility (ARF)/Modified Range Facility (MRF) with targets set to “hit-bob” mode react when a bullet strikes anywhere on the 300m E-type silhouette (19.5” x 40”). This method DOES NOT allow the shooter to apply a precise sight setting since no precise feedback is given. A strike anywhere on the target will register as a hit. Did you hit the target in the shoulder? Maybe the hip? Nobody knows. This does satisfy the Army requirement to confirm a true distance zero, however.

Bottom line: mechanical zeroing and laser bore-lighting help to get rounds on paper at 25m, which helps to get rounds reasonably well on target at 300m, which finally allows the shooter to get a true zero.

This is the first of a series of posts about the zeroing process. A recent post revealed a surprising amount of misinformation and mythology about zeroing in the Army, so we’re tackling the issue block by block. We’ll break down concepts and application for the entire process in future posts.

By SSG Ian Tashima, CAARNG Asst State Marksmanship Coordinator

More Photos of the USAF Maintainer Duty Uniform

January 22nd, 2022

Here’s an update from our story on the MDU from Christmas time. Nothing has changed, just some additional photos. For those who don’t bother to click the link to the original story, that’s Sage Green, the same color as the CWU-27/P Flight Suit worn by aircrew.

SHOT Show – OG Helmet Bag from OTTE Gear

January 22nd, 2022

Designed to keep your Helmet, Headset, NVG and accessories located in a user-friendly, protected bag with a Low Viz footprint, the OG Helmet Bag is made from 500D Cordura with a VS17 Orange padded interior and a removable padded NODs pouch.

SHOT Show 22 – Hazard 4 Mandogator

January 21st, 2022

Inspired by a favored Mandalorian warrior, the Mandogator from Hazard 4 is a knee high gaiter made from the same Softshell fabric as their Poncho Villa.

The PALS webbing was integrated for use by ATV riders for handy access.

This is a prototype and they’ve removed the snap at the front. In fact, all of the metal has been removed from the design. Both the adjustable front clip and bottom strap are replaceable.

SHOT Show 22 – Vertx x Kyle Lamb Cubes

January 21st, 2022

I caught up with Retired Sergeant Major Kyle Lamb in the Vertx booth and he told me how happy he is to be working with Vertx on a new line of signature products starting with the Cubes which is a family of packing cubes.

Great for storage, overlanding or just travel in general these can be stacked, and smaller Cubes can be locked in place on the larger ones via their interlocking tab system to be used as a base.

SHOT Show 22 – Bushido Tactical

January 21st, 2022

Bushido Tactical offers a line of breaching tools and carrying solutions. Look for a breakdown of the whole line on SSD over the coming months.