Sunday, November 18, 2007

Shots, High Tech Gear and other fun

OK, I only had two shots, a PPD test and a flu mist up the nose. But I did get three duffel bags full of incredible equipment. When I enlisted in 1985, I was issued Viet Nam era leftovers (steel pot helmet, an AR-15/M-16 with a very low serial number - heh). The past two days, I have received things that would have seemingly come from a Robert Heinlein novel. The equipment and clothing is lighter, modular, and higher quality - the first aid kit was a revelation (we even got the new clotting agent bandages).

All told, I feel much better equipped than last time I deployed.

I will be back on a four day pass for Thanksgiving, so my mood is better than last time too. Heh.


Blogger Inner Prop said...

Did they give you the stuff to regenerate limbs. They're working on that, they are really.

See if you can snag an extra FAK for me, nudge nudge.

6:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This year of training we are going through including our 2 three week AT periods and two visits to theater ect. is a bit overwhelming but welcomed. People are beginning to realize that we are actually going. I have met my counterpart who is there now, his replacement and also my replacement following me. Not like last time when we just got on the plane and went.
TF Phoenix IV 33rdIBCT

11:28 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Major John, I have a question that ties into my job. My employer, a top 10 international bank is considering buying Afghani's at the branch level much like one would exchange Euro's or Yen . Can anyone provide me some guidance or direction to where I can learn of the official view or learn of any restrictions on the Afghani?
Thank you!
My e-mail is

10:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In 1980 we bought our own Aimpoint sights, synthetic lightweight sleeping bags, hiking boots, camp stoves, even tents, all out of our own pockets off base. It took the Army for the Aimpoints, almost 20 years. ( I was in 7th Group )

The IED vehicles are 40 year old technology.

Paul from Florida


7:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Major John,
I first enlisted in 1976. We got C-rats that were issued in Vietnam. We had steel pots, "web gear", M16 A1s, and the M60 tank was just on its way out. I just retired last year, and the changes I saw in my 30+ years of service were astounding.


7:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always thought it was interesting that the M-16s we had for training in the Air Force in 1975 were such low serial numbers. Low, as in the low 100's. Probably made in the first week or two of production. We didn't fire those, only used to train on tear down.

8:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what's new. Vietnam era vets went to Nam with Korean War rats, M 14's, and have you ever tried to use those metal splints? I will admit that by the end of second tour I was carrying air splints, better sealing bandages, M-16 and eating LRRPs.

9:13 AM  
Blogger LTC John said...


What is new is that I have the latest and greatest, now. The lag in time between development and fielding seems to have been reduced significantly...

10:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What I remember from my time (85-88) was that most of us carried more personal gear into the field than stuff we'd been issued.

We always blamed Gramm-Rudman.

11:04 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Even ROTC units are getting better equipment. In 1997 they were handing out the Vietnam stuff there (not bad, when you think about it, since we were college kids.) Every time I see them out and about on Thursdays it's obvious they've reduced the equipment lag time by at least a decade.

11:16 AM  
Blogger Inner Prop said...

Not only fast from development to fielding, but fast from Regular Army to Reservists.

Since the National Guard and Reserves are deploying they don't have to wait for the RC to wear out the old stuff before they get new stuff.

That has happened before (I think some of the first F16s went to Air National Guard units etc.) but I think in the past it was a publicity thing.

Now it is a neccesity and a welcome one.

2:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I arrived in the UK in 1985 the AF issued me a plastic canteen with a cotton web cover/holder as a part of my MOPP gear. On the cotton webbing was stamped the date of manufacture -- 1945. I even took a picture of it because I didn't think people would believe me.

3:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We still use some equipment and gear made during WWII - artillery shell casings, fer example. They made enough of those to supply 3 more WWII's and they don't wear out in storage. Pour a new batch of propellant in them, slap a WH on top and they're good to go.

As for some of the personal gear left over from previous wars; again, things like bayonets and plastic canteens don't usually wear out. Tents, tarps, ammo cans, etc. - it's all standard issue and reissue until somebody either loses it or shoots it full of holes.

I hope they're not still distributing the left over K-rations, though... >:)

4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Major John,

Good the hear about the new gear. Your 1985 era description brought back memories of my four years, 83-87 in Alaska as an 11B with 172d and 6ID. In OSUT several trainiees were issued M-16's with no forward assists! Jammed every time. Fortunately, these were taken away quickly. In Alaska, we started with steel pots, and c rations (which took several heat teabs to thaw out enough to eat in winter) and gradually were issued MREs and kevlar helmets which were more comfortable but you could not cook in them! After I left, they finally got SAWs. We used to look at Army Times each month to see what cool stuff the 82d and 101st had that we did not.Good to see you are getting the latest and greatest. God speed and good luck out there!


7:05 PM  
Blogger LTC John said...


THank God, the k-rats are long gone!

Opinionator - I hear ya - I used to look in "Soldiers" magazine in the late 1980s, and wonder, "will I ever see an M-1 Abrams in the Guard before I retire...?"


I have a pack I might have to "lose" for you - I'll get the replacement cost when I demob...

10:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was in the Army from 85-88 and during Basic I had BDUs and a Steel Pot. In the 3rd AD we had Kevlar and by late 87, the M16A2, and had just begun to see the Humvees by 1988. (I drove a Gama Goat that was older than I was.) We bought some of our own gear, but were pretty well equipped.

During all this time, however, and probably even today, there was a piece of equipment in the Commo Shop - the RL-31 Wire Reeling equipment - that dated to 1941 and had a manual issued by the "War Department". Older than crap, solid metal, with probably 40 coats of paint on it, but it worked.

10:01 AM  

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