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Posted: 8/1/2009 4:48:45 AM EST
Army to Field Experimental Soldier Systems Equipment

Wearing their Rapid Equipping Force hat, The Army’s Asymmetric Warfare Group set about to assemble a package of Commercial Off the Shelf Soldier Systems equipment to conduct a demonstration with members of the 4th Infantry Division deploying to Afghanistan. The aim was to demonstrate that these alternative technologies will enhance the combat effectiveness of our troops fighting in the brutal terrain of Afghanistan.

Unfortunately, a long brewing battle between the Army’s Acquisition community and the REF seemed to come to a head two weeks ago when the office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology halted the shipment of the equipment package into theater and began to ask some very pointed questions about the capability of the armor package chosen. Long-term friction has come about as the REF continues to conduct rapid identification, assessment, and fielding of critical warfighting technologies while the traditional acquisition system takes a much more methodical approach and fielding of new systems requires longer lead times.

The system in question is the MBAV cutaway plate carrier produced by Eagle Industries used in conjunction with a hard plate only certified for use by USSOCOM. All of this is fully in the Army’s purview and unknown to most sitting on the sidelines of this issue, PEO-Soldier is in the midst of an evaluation of five cut away armor plate carriers. It is highly probable that the cutaway system chosen by AWG is also a candidate in this PEO-Soldier evaluation.

The situation seemed to take on a life of its own and after two weeks of consideration the Army has chosen to field the experimental package and it will be shipped for use by 480 Soldiers across two battalions of the deploying 4th ID. According to Army sources, short notice testing was completed to provide a safety release of the equipment. However, the new lightweight hard armor plates used by SOCOM will be replaced by the Army’s current issue plates.

Data collection will be accomplished by Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab.

REF Equipment List

Smartwool
Mens Sport NTS Crew T-Shirt
Mens Sport NTS Bottom
Mens Microweight NTS Crew Long Sleeved T-Shirt
Mens Microweight NTS Long Underwear Drawers
Mens Microweight NTS Tee
Mens Microweight Boxer
Socks PhD Outdoor Light Crew
Socks PhD Outdoor Medium Crew

Arc’teryx
Knee Caps (Green/Grey)

Merrell
Mens Chameleon EVO Mid Gore Tex
Womens Chameleon ARC Mid Gore Tex

Asolo
Mens Fugitive GTX
Womens Stynger GTX

Suunto
M-3 DL Handheld Compass
Wrist Watch GPS X10

Garmin
ETREX Vista HCX

Petzl
Headlamp TACTIKKA XP

Surefire
Weapon Light M600C (kit)

Magpul
Magazine (PMAG)

Aimpoint
Optic Micro T1 w/ Larue mount

Mountain Hardwear
Phantom 45 Sleeping bag

Nemo
GoGo Shelter, Olive Drab

Mystery Ranch
3 Day Assault Packs w/ Bolsters

Eagle
MBAV Plate carrier

London Bridge
Multi-purpose MOLLE Rhodesian Rig
Low Profile Chest Vest
Low Vis Utility Pouch
MOLLE Double 9mm Pouch w/ Kydex
Double MOLLE 40mm Pouch
MOLLE 4 Rd 40mm (3×3) Pouch
MOLLE Single Frag Grenade Pouch
Medium MOLLE Utility Pouch
Large MOLLE Utility Pouch
MOLLE MBITR Radio Pouch
MOLLE (100 Rd) SAW Pouch
M60 100 Rd Pouch w/ Removable Top
MOLLE Triple M4 Magazine Pouch
MOLLE Single 5.56 M4 (1×2) Mag Pouch
MOLLE 5.56 M4 Magazine Pouch
Dual 7.62 Mag Pouch
MOLLE Single 7.62 Magazine Pouch
MOLLE Hydration Pouch (100oz)
Large Fliers Kit Bag



"a patrol in the Pesh Valley in Afghanistan's Kunar Province July 24, 2009"
Link Posted: 8/1/2009 5:21:55 AM EST
Some of that gear would do our soldiers alit. The only sock I wear in winter are the smartwool ones.

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile
Link Posted: 8/1/2009 10:15:38 AM EST
ooooooo. smartwool. the guys in green are going to love that!
Link Posted: 8/1/2009 10:33:29 AM EST
More than likely PEO doesn't want to be "shown up" by people with a clue just buying stuff off the shelf that's way better than the crap they spend years sucking up money "developing".

It's not like they're buying a fighter aircraft that they have to support for 40 years afterwards, these are mostly consumable items.
Link Posted: 8/1/2009 11:39:01 AM EST
Originally Posted By Gamma762:
More than likely PEO doesn't want to be "shown up" by people with a clue just buying stuff off the shelf that's way better than the crap they spend years sucking up money "developing".

It's not like they're buying a fighter aircraft that they have to support for 40 years afterwards, these are mostly consumable items.


+1

I can see how PEO would be upset
Link Posted: 8/1/2009 2:45:49 PM EST
about god damn time the Army starts to see the light. Damn near anyone who has seen at least one deployment(minus this less lethal tour to the Sandbox right now) buys their own shit anyway. Only the nicky new kids or the "I'm only in the Army to sit on a FOB" people wear that issued crap. My 1SG always is bitching at me because of the color of some of my gear. Tan, OD, coyote, hell even a few multicam pouches in the mix. But the funny thing is; one Army regs have not caught up to the newest issued shit anyway and two our Battalion SOP says we can wear whatever color FBR we choose. Thank god for a BC and CSM that knew what the f$%& they were doing when the wrote that.

(FBR- Full Battle Rattle for any newbs out there.)

SSG Z
Link Posted: 8/1/2009 3:57:00 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/1/2009 3:58:25 PM EST by The_Floridian]
I wear SmartWool socks in the hottest locations, outside, while doing demolition here in south Florida.

They are great in hot weather as well as cool because of the wicking they do. I wear their shorter cycling socks for mt biking on 90+ degree days, too.

There are a lot of competitors, and I've tried a lot of 'em, but SmartWool are the best I've found under all conditions.
Link Posted: 8/1/2009 7:50:13 PM EST
Originally Posted By The_Floridian:
I wear SmartWool socks in the hottest locations, outside, while doing demolition here in south Florida.

They are great in hot weather as well as cool because of the wicking they do. I wear their shorter cycling socks for mt biking on 90+ degree days, too.

There are a lot of competitors, and I've tried a lot of 'em, but SmartWool are the best I've found under all conditions.


Not to hijack too much, but do you recall which ones you wear for work? I went to their website and there are more socks then days in which to wear them. I also work in the industry doing structural analysis, so lots of time spent on roofs, in attics, voids, and under crawl spaces in the heat.
Link Posted: 8/1/2009 10:43:08 PM EST
You're very off base on this assumption

Originally Posted By Gamma762:
More than likely PEO doesn't want to be "shown up" by people with a clue just buying stuff off the shelf that's way better than the crap they spend years sucking up money "developing".

It's not like they're buying a fighter aircraft that they have to support for 40 years afterwards, these are mostly consumable items.


PEO was established to generate and provide new equipment for Soldiers in the field and equip them rapidly. Its been doing that for as long as we've been in these latest wars. Before Soldiers (and a great majority of other service members) had to wait until a rather lengthy approval process was completed that allowed a rather slow introduction of new equipment. PEO-Soldier is specifically organized to rapidly provide COTS equipment that has been tested in the field and have an expedited approval process. What this does is alleviate the need for Soldiers to purchase their own gear prior to deploying and they do it well.

Before deploying I was issued an Interceptor Body Armor vest at Ft. Gordon. When I arrived at Ft. Benning for further processing, I was issued the new IOTV, which is the same (or similar) 5 plate, quick release system, being discussed in this post. Being here in Afghanistan where new arrivals come in daily I see hundreds of troops per week being issued new IOTVs with ESAPI plates, flame retardant ACUs, kneepads, infantryman kits (ammo pouches, chest rigs, modular to fit an individual's needs), hydration systems, and so forth. This has been going on since 2004 when Soldiers started coming back from Iraq discussing the need for better equipment that would stand the test of combat and time.

Everyone likes to think and accuse the military of being slow to adapt but unless you've taken part in these wars you haven't seen how quickly one of the nation's largest employers can actually change course and provide necessary tools.
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 8:16:41 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/2/2009 8:23:22 AM EST by The_Floridian]
Originally Posted By JohnnyEgo:
Originally Posted By The_Floridian:
I wear SmartWool socks in the hottest locations, outside, while doing demolition here in south Florida.

They are great in hot weather as well as cool because of the wicking they do. I wear their shorter cycling socks for mt biking on 90+ degree days, too.

There are a lot of competitors, and I've tried a lot of 'em, but SmartWool are the best I've found under all conditions.


Not to hijack too much, but do you recall which ones you wear for work? I went to their website and there are more socks then days in which to wear them. I also work in the industry doing structural analysis, so lots of time spent on roofs, in attics, voids, and under crawl spaces in the heat.


I buy them from the local 'Outdoor World / Bass Pro Shops' - tall enough for my workboots, the selection they seem to have there are center around 'Hiking' (maybe Trekking) - they have thin, medium and thick ones.

I have a few sets of Mediums, but to be honest I kinda believe I get more wear out of the thick ones (all my pairs and styles have given / are giving very respectable performances). Despite them being made of wool, they are not a traditional wool sock, thus even the thick ones do not adversely seem to add, or maintain, heat. And, buddy, do I ever work in the HEAT some days.

The other type I own, for cycling, I have to order from cycling catalogs.

I haven't worn cotton socks for about two decades. I wore a lot of ThorLo brand socks over the years, but they maintain moisture too much in them, and become soggy messes. SmartWool socks seem the best yet.

Here is the style I wear, but I don't see the listing on this one if it is the Medium or Heavy style: Smartwool at REI
(maybe the 'thick' style I have is the 'Expedition Trekking' style. The mediums I use have the lighter 'Smartwool' logo on them, while the heavier ones have the black 'Smartwool' logo - as do the EXP/TREK ones) Expedition / Trekking style at REI
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