May 31, 2011

Photo of the Month May 2011

Hellenic Army Artillery SP M109A1B ready to fire 155mm rounds.

KRISS Vector Submachine Gun

KRISS has introduced a semi-auto carbine version of the submachine gun, but with a 16-inch barrel, that is legal for most civilians to own. The KRISS CRB carbine is intended as a general-purpose sporting/range gun, taking advantage of the inherent accuracy and hitting power of the venerable .45 ACP cartridge. It accepts the same Glock 21 magazines as the submachine gun, and KRISS also manufactures an extension, the MagEx, which converts a standard 13-round Glock 21 magazine into a 30-round magazine. In this video, John Higgs walks through the various features of this innovative carbine. Look for the full feature story in the September 2011 issue of Tactical Weapons magazine On Sale 7/12/11. Video by Dan Henderson.

Mystery event revealed at IMCOM Best Warrior Competition

The final mystery event, the Combat Pistol Qualification Course, of the Best Warrior Competition was conducted May 26 at Camp Bullis, Texas.

Sgt. Jeremy Brake, Daegu, Korea, scored the highest among the noncommissioned officers with a score of 28. Spc. Katelyn Parente, Fort Riley, Kansas, scored the highest among the specialist and below Soldiers with a score of 24.
They all did pretty well today considering more than half of the competitors have never fired a 9 mm before, said Camp Casey, Korea, Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Wayne LaClair.
“We gave them a little class and put them on the line,” said LaClair. “Then we went through five tables for a total of 40 rounds fired.”
The Soldiers in the competition were not aware what the final event of the competition would include. The purpose of the mystery event is to keep Soldiers focusing only on the specified tasks, said LaClair.

“They don’t know what we will throw at them,” said LaClair. “It makes them train on more things to make them better Soldiers, which makes them better at their jobs.”
“I had no idea what to expect coming in to this event,” said Brake. “We don’t get a lot of opportunity to shoot 9 mm (pistols) … I just listened to the instructions, took my time and concentrated.”
Parente said she suspected some kind of shooting event such as a stress fire. She added that the 9 mm pistol is her primary weapon as a military police officer.
“I just focused on practicing my fundamentals: keeping a steady grip, watching where I was aiming … and reloading quickly,” said Parente.

The Best Warrior Competition is a five-day event where Soldiers from installations around the world gather to compete for the Soldier of the Year and Noncommissioned Officer of the Year titles for IMCOM. The competition included a road march, physical fitness test, essay, exam, weapons qualification, warrior task testing, combatives tournament, day and night urban orienteering, reflexive fire and the final mystery event, the Combat Pistol Qualification Course.
The winners, Sgt. Jeremy Brake of U.S. Army Garrison Daegu, Korea, and Spc. Jonathan Melendez of USAG Schinnen, Netherlands, will represent IMCOM against 22 of the Army’s top NCOs and Soldiers from 12 commands at the Army Best Warrior competition in October. 

May 30, 2011

Army receives first THAAD missiles

ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- Lockheed Martin delivered the first two Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Missiles to the U.S. Army, capping off years of planning and development.

The two missiles arrived at Anniston Defense Munitions Center May 16 and were quickly taken to the ammunition bunker that will be their home until the need arises to ship them to the warfighter.
The THAAD missile is a U.S. Army missile system designed to intercept and destroy short, medium and intermediate ballistic missiles. The THAAD missile uses kinetic energy to destroy its target, meaning it does not carry a warhead like traditional missiles, but makes a direct hit and destroys the enemy missile.
ADMC will be responsible for maintaining, shipping and escorting the missiles to their destination.

This has required extensive training and preparation by the employees of ADMC to ensure mission success.
Representatives from various DOD agencies, such as the Missile Defense Agency and Army Aviation and Missile Command, who had a part in the planning, testing and production of the THAAD missile, were on-hand to witness this historic moment.
“Our new mission to receive, store and ship THAADs is a great example of how the team here at ADMC can work with our customers to provide outstanding and unique munitions services to ensure ADMC remains a valuable asset to the warfighter,” said ADMC Commander Lt. Col. Randall DeLong. 

May 28, 2011

CBIR Troy BattleMag

The CBIR™ Battlemag™ is currently offered in a 30 round 5.56mm/.223 version. They are available in black, flat dark earth, OD green, and coyote tan. Every magazine includes a flush and shock absorbing bottom floor plate. Battlemags™ work flawlessly with all M4, M16, AR15, HK416®, and FN SCAR® rifles and carbines. With patent pending features such as proprietary engineered resin, reinforced feed lips, anti-tilt follower, and an aggressive fish scale gripping pattern, these magazines will undoubtedly become the choice of the most discriminating shooters.

The MSRP is $15 for a single magazine or $42 for a pack of three.

May 19, 2011

Mepro M21 Reflex Sight

The M21 reflex sight, manufactured by Meprolight and brought to the US market by The Mako Group, is uniquely suited for a law enforcement role. The M21 sight, the standard issue combat sight for the Israeli Defense Forces, is a self-illuminated reflex sight powered by tritium and a fiber optic collector system. Previously available in the US with an effective bullseye-style reticle, the M21 features batteryless operation free of any electronics or power switches.
The Mepro M21, solves the logistical problems of keeping officers supplied with fresh batteries. The reticle is always on and ready for use, and adjusts automatically to ambient light conditions. The unlike other sights, the M21 has no delicate moving parts or circuitry inside the site, so it can withstand heavy abuse, moisture, and humidity. Zero adjustments take place between the sight and its rugged quick-release base. The M21 can be removed and reinstalled and will keep its zero. The user can always pick up his weapon with absolute confidence that his optic will be ready, operational, and zeroed.
The standard reticle option for the US market has been the bullseye reticle, designed to speed aiming in close-quarters, while providing precision for longer ranges. The Mako Group has now introduced the Triangle reticle, Open X reticle, and both 4.3 MOA and 5.5 MOA Dot reticles in the United States.

“The non-electronic Mepro M21 sight with bullseye reticle has proven immensely popular with law enforcement agencies who need a rugged sight that can withstand rough rides and extreme temperatures in the trunk of a patrol car, and is always ready for instant use without worry about dead or leaking batteries,” Addy Sandler, CEO of The Mako Group explained. “Now these agencies have the option of choosing the precise triangle and dot reticles to fit any intended use.”
Meprolight is one of the four world leaders in the manufacture of combat reflex sights, and the first to manufacture a 30mm reflex sight designed specifically for shooting with both eyes open for CQB use, before anyone used the term “CQB.” Meprolight builds advanced reflex optics, grenade launcher optical sights, and uncooled thermal sniper scopes for the Israeli Defense Forces and other militaries worldwide.

For more information about the Mepro M21 Self-Powered Reflex Sight and the new reticle options, visit or email

May 16, 2011

2 captains take Sapper competition at Leonard Wood

Photo Credit: Melissa Buckley. Spc. Jason Geiser and Spc. Scott Compton maneuver a dummy through an obstacle course during the casualty and evacuation event on the first day of the 2011 Best Sapper Competition at Fort Leonard, Mo.
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (Army News Service, May 11, 2011) -- The Best Sapper Competition is 56 hours of grueling physical and mental tests designed to harvest the best Sappers the U.S. military has to offer.

This year's competition finished April 9, 2011, at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., and resulted in two Soldiers named 2011 Best Sapper.
Competition winners Capt. John Chambers, with the Engineer Captains Career Course, and Capt. Joe Riley, commander of Company B, 554th Engineer Battalion, have been working on projects together since they were students at West Point.
"He is a good friend of mine and a great partner," Chambers said.
A Sapper is "considered an elite combat engineer" in the Army, and may perform any of a variety of combat engineering duties such as bridge-building, laying or clearing minefields, demolitions, field defenses as well as building, road and airfield construction and repair. A modern Sapper's tasks involve facilitating movement and logistics of allied forces and impeding that of enemies.
Riley had no doubts Chambers was the right choice as his teammate for the Best Sapper competition.

"He has such a great base knowledge of all this stuff. Anything I didn't know he did. Out of the two of us, I think John was the stronger one. He technically and tactically knew all of his stuff really well," Riley said.
In all, 37 teams showed up to compete. The competition kicked off with a non-standard physical training test, including a 3-mile buddy-run complete with individual body armor and small arms protective insert plates.
Then the teams mounted a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter for a helocast and frigid 54-degree swim.
"Jumping out of the helicopter was awesome, but I wasn't looking forward to the swimming," Riley said.

After the helocast, the teams trudged to seven challenges called the Round Robin, which were scattered across Fort Leonard Wood.
"The ruck march on Thursday between the events was the hardest for me because I was wearing a 75-pound ruck, trying to get up hills to the next site, and we were being timed -- it was killer," Riley said, "I couldn't wait for that day to be over with. The distances just kept seeming to grow, and the tents just seemed to get farther and farther away."
The first evening of competition also included a six-hour land navigation challenge, which kept the teams awake late into the night.
On the second day of competition, only the top 20 teams partook in the "Sapper Stakes," which was a series of eight new challenges.
"By the time we got to Sapper Stakes, the remaining 20 teams were the most proficient," said Sgt. 1st Class Steven Laire, sapper leader course and senior training management noncommissioned officer. "The last two days will not only show the most qualified Sappers, but the ones who are still staying mentally competent at the same time they are not letting their physical torture beat them down."

That evening, competitors were again kept from the comfort of their beds as they had four-hours to complete a standard Sapper march.
Just ten teams started the final day of competition with rain and an "x-mile run" -- the actual mileage is kept secret from the competitors. The run includes 10 stations of physically demanding tasks.
During the Best Sapper competition, the winning team pushed through with only about three hours of sleep.
"We just got 20-minute naps here and there," Chambers said.
The last couple of hours were the worst for Chambers.
"The hardest event for me was the x-mile run, because we had already gone so many miles at that point. Having it at the end, with no sleep, was not fun," Chamber said.
Chambers said they remained consistent during the competition, but he was still stunned to hear their names called as the winning team.
"We had a good feeling that we had done well, but the team from Fort Bragg had dominated us in all of the physical events, and we knew they were pretty tough competitors," Chambers said. "We were surprised."

1st Lt. Jonathan Kralick and 1st Lt. Tyler Knox, Company A, 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C., took second place.
Third place went to the Artic Warriors from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Capt. Douglas Droesch, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division and Staff Sgt. Jacob Matson, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 425th 3rd Brigade, Special Troops Battalion.
The winning team said they were sore from competition, but Laire said the competition is designed to be tough.
"We are looking for not only the Soldier who is the strongest and most physically fit but the Soldier that has a good balance of physical fitness combined with the knowledge of the skills that it takes to be a Sapper in today's Army," Laire said.

Not just for Special Forces anymore

Photo credit Sgt. Belynda Faulkner
Soldiers from the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team with the Oklahoma National Guard prepare to enter a house during a counterinsurgency mission. The 45th IBCT has been training at Camp Shelby, Miss., since late March for their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.
CAMP SHELBY, Miss., May 11, 2011 -- From the Vietnam era until about 10 years ago, counterinsurgency missions were conducted by units specializing in gathering intelligence, analyzing data, and reacting to the information at a moment's notice. The current battle in Afghanistan demands that counterinsurgency or COIN training is understood by every warfighter.

In a recent interview with Defense News, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates noted the importance of counterinsurgency training.
"Units and individuals, both military and civilian preparing to serve in Afghanistan, must understand COIN; and routinely assess the effectiveness of these standards in actual operational conditions," he said.
COIN training begins prior to mobilization and continues throughout the mobilization process. Counterinsurgency training for the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Oklahoma National Guard, was conducted by the 2-305th Field Artillery Battalion, 158th Infantry Brigade at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center in April.

The Soldiers of the 2-305th FA BN created a counterinsurgency situational training exercise, which covered base security, COIN operations, biometrics, and key leader engagements. They are taught to gather information, analyze intelligence, and use devices to positively identify the local population.
1st Lt. Preston Settle, 2-305th FA BN, A Battery, officer-in-charge, explained, "A Soldier must understand how to collect information from an area in order to shape what actions they take on the battlefield. This is the COIN mindset."
Soldiers learn to collect information in various ways, including engagements with village elders or government officials, or just talking with locals. After the information is gathered and analyzed, a commander can make sound decisions about the actions his unit will take.
Building a relationship with the local population helps the unit eliminating the enemy's hold in that area.

The COIN Situational Training Exercise, or STX, training at Camp Shelby begins with classroom instruction and practical exercises on biometrics, counterinsurgency fundamentals, entry control point and command post operations. Soldiers also practice partnering with host national forces and key leader engagements to gather information.
After the unit completes the first phase of the training, they receive an order to occupy an area and conduct counterinsurgency operations. During this phase of training, the unit must run their own command post and their entry control points, conduct patrols, and set meetings with locals in a nearby village.
Soldiers use these encounters with the locals to gather information about the location of a high-value in their area of responsibility. If the unit successfully analyzes the intelligence they gathered, the operation will end with the apprehension of a member of the Taliban.

First Army Division East units designed the COIN STX at Camp Shelby to be as realistic as possible. The mock villages have been designed after villages in Afghanistan. They are filled with cultural role players and individuals who speak Dari and Pashto.
At meetings with village leaders, Soldiers must use interpreters to communicate, and they are offered traditional Afghan chai tea and flatbread. During these engagements it is imperative that Soldiers understand Afghan customs and courtesies so they do not offend a potential ally.
Spc. Nicholas Barrick, a medic assigned to 45th IBCT's 180th Cavalry Regiment, thought the COIN training was realistic and relevant not only to the mission but to his individual job skills as well.
"It all went crazy. The [entry control point] blew up and there were incoming rounds," said Barrick. "People were running everywhere and shouting for a medic. It was realistic. Even though there were no real casualties, I still had to use my training as a medic."

Counterinsurgency training is an essential building block of missions military members face overseas. It is imperative that they develop the skills necessary to gather and analyze intelligence, then make proper informed decisions on how to proceed with their mission.
Using first-hand experiences from deployments, members of the 2-305th FA BN have developed a training model that is realistic and relevant to what servicemembers will face during a deployment.
The 177th Armored Brigade trains, coaches and mentors Soldiers, Airmen and Sailors in support of our nation's overseas contingency operations. The majority of the work at the 177th is with mobilized Army Reserve component forces, although they also train active forces.
The brigade is stationed at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center at Camp Shelby, Miss., which is the largest and most active mobilization training center in the U.S. Army.

May 13, 2011

Surefire MR07 Adapter Mount

The MR07 attaches to any standard rail-less 1911-type pistol with GI-type trigger guard, providing the rail necessary to mount the SureFire X Series WeaponLights. With the MR07 attached, the X Series WeaponLights can be easily slid off your pistol, carried separately, and slid on again when needed. The MR07 also allows mounting SureFire P107, P117C, P117D, W117C, and W117D WeaponLights.

The MR07 fits snugly and securely to the pistol. This lightweight, low-profile mount is slim enough to allow the pistol plus mount to fit softened GI-type holsters. May not fit custom-molded holsters. Made from very high strength 7000 series aluminum; many competition mounts are made from 6000 series, which has about half the strength. Attaches via modified slide stop and pin assembly machined from pre-hardened chrome-molybdenum steel. Pin fit is match-grade. Trigger guard locking wedge is energy absorbent polyurethane, avoiding metal-to-metal contact, and can be tightened with a cartridge rim - no hex wrench necessary. A spacer shim is provided to accommodate manufacturing variations in the trigger guard thickness (e.g. the Colt Gold Cup). Features an anti-chafing pad to prevent scoring of the dust cover. 

  • Secure semi-permanent mount
  • Slim design allows holstering pistol-plus-mount in many softer holsters
  • Anti-chafing pad prevents dust cover damage
  • Construction: Ultra high-strength 7000-series aluminum

May 11, 2011

'Green bullet' as effective as M855 round -- consistently

Photo Credit: C. Todd Lopez. Jim Newill explains the effectiveness of the Army's 5.56mm M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round fired from an M4 Carbine against a 3/8 inch mild steel plate, and compares its performance against that of a 7.62mm M80 round fired from an M14, during a test fire event at Aberdeen Proving Ground, May 4, 2011.  The M80 round, unlike the M855A1 round, was unable to penetrate the plate at 300 meters.
ABERDEEN, Md. (Army News Service, May 6, 2011) -- Since June, the Army has fielded about 30 million of its new 5.56mm M855A1 "Enhanced Performance Rounds" in Afghanistan.

The cartridge, sometimes called the "green bullet" because it has an environmentally-friendly copper core instead of the traditional lead, has been getting mostly good reviews in the 11 months since it first deployed to Operation Enduring Freedom.
"The vast majority of everything we've got back from the field is positive," said Lt. Col. Jeffrey K. Woods, product manager, small caliber ammunition, during a "media day" at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.
During the day-long event, reporters learned the benefits of the new cartridge, witnessed a demonstration of the round, compared to the round it is designed to replace, and had the opportunity to fire the round from both an M16 and M4 rifle.
Perhaps the biggest plus of the M855A1 "enhanced performance round" is the consistency it brings to the fight -- more so than the 5.56mm M855 round it is designed to replace.
Woods and other officials were reticent to talk specifically about the effects of the new bullet, or any bullet, on a "soft target" -- a euphemism for enemy personnel. But what they made clear was the M855A1 is at least equal to the M855 on a soft target -- but that it did damage with more consistency.

The M855 is a good round, Woods said, but it is "yaw dependant." Like all bullets, it wobbles when it travels along its trajectory. Its effectiveness depends on its yaw angle when it hits a target. Not so with the M855A1. The new Enhanced Performance Round, or EPR, is not yaw-dependant -- it delivers the same effectiveness in a soft target no matter its yaw angle.
"On M855's best day, with that great performance that you will see, you're going to see that type of performance out of the EPR -- but you will see it every time," Woods said.
The EPR cartridge is the same length as the M855 that it's designed to replace, though the bullet it contains is about 1/8 of an inch longer. The weight and shape of the EPR is also the same as the M855, so it fits anything an M855 fits -- including the M16 and the M4 it was designed for.
The bullet itself has been redesigned completely. It features a larger steel "penetrator" on its tip, that is both sharper than what is on the M855 and is also exposed. Both bullets feature a copper jacket, but the EPR's jacket is "reverse drawn" -- part of its manufacturing. Perhaps the most notable feature of the EPR is that its bullet features a copper core, verses the M855's lead core.

There's also a new propellant in the EPR, designed to enhance its performance in the M4 Carbine rifle -- what most Soldiers are carrying today in Afghanistan.
The M4 has a shorter barrel than the M16 rifle, and barrel length is directly related to a bullet's velocity.
"The M855 leaving an M16 had a higher muzzle velocity than when it left the M4," Woods said. "Because the M16 is the longer barrel, you get the full burn of the powder, pushing a bullet to its maximum velocity before it left the barrel."
On an M4, however, the M855 bullet might leave the barrel before its powder is completely burned -- that means the bullet isn't getting the full benefit of all the powder contained in its shell and an increased muzzle flash.
"A longer-burning propellant is still burning when the round is leaving the barrel and you are going to get a brighter flash, which is obviously not good for Soldiers," Woods said.

Both of those issues have been addressed with the M855A1.
The SMP-842 propellant in the EPR burns quicker, ensuring less muzzle flash in the M4, and also meaning improved muzzle velocity.
The performance of the EPR against soft targets is the same as that of the M855 -- but it is more consistent. The new round is also "superior to 7.62mm M80 against soft targets," Woods said. But at the same time the new "green round" is more Earth-friendly than both the M855 and the M80 -- it is also more effective than either of them against hard targets.
A test fire an Aberdeen Proving Ground range pitted the M855A1 round against the M855 and the M80 in multiple weapons -- the two 5.56mm rounds were fired in both the M4 and the M16, and the 7.62 M80 round was fired in an M14 Enhanced Battle Rifle. All three rounds are use today.
In all test firings against a sheet of 3/8-inch mild steel plate at 300 meters, the M855A1 came out on top.

Test center video also showed the EPR to be equally superior against concrete masonry units -- similar to cinder block. The M855A1 was able to penetrate such a block up to about 75 meters with the M16, and up to about 50 meters with the M4. The M855 was unable to penetrate the blocks at those ranges.
Wood said Soldiers have been told to turn in M855 cartridges and switch now to EPR. In February, he said, was the first time there's been more expenditure in theater with the EPR than with the M855.
The round is effective, Woods said, and testing at Aberdeen has shown that to be true -- against realistic testing targets. But the round can't be effective against enemy combatants unless Soldiers use it in their weapons -- and they need to trust that it works before they will want to use it.

Staff Sgt. Jason Hopkins, of the Maneuvers Center of Excellence, Fort Benning, Ga., has served four years in Afghanistan and two years in Iraq. He's seen combat, and confirms that while there he's used his weapon against "soft targets." He was one of the Soldiers at Aberdeen who test fired the new round -- and says he's convinced.
"We were a little skeptical -- like any change in the military, a little skeptical," Hopkins said of the EPR. "But coming up here and shooting it and seeing the performance of it -- I'm sold on it. The trajectory and the ballistics are just as good as the M855 and the penetration is far superior to the M855."
"It looks like just a more consistent round," he continued. "With the M855 you may not always get the same thing -- but everything we've seen with this EPR has been dead consistent every time."
As far as the new round's accuracy, Hopkins said, "It's on par if not better."
Woods said testing shows the EPR does produce a tighter shot group -- by about 2 inches at 600 meters.

As far as "stopping power" of the new round, Hopkins clarified what that term means to him -- and confirmed his faith that the round would do its job when he might be required to use it.
"Stopping power is incapacitation of a target so he cannot engage me or continue his mission," Hopkins said. "I haven't used the EPR in that situation yet, but I've used the M855. It's been effective. It's an effective round. But I truly believe the M855A1 will be more consistent."
Pvt. 1st Class Scott Lafferty, 1st Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, has served once in Iraq. He was also a tester at Aberdeen. When he talks to other Soldiers about the effectiveness of the round, he said he's going to tell them what he learned during his test experience.
"I'm going to tell them how we've shot both different kinds of rounds and how the M855A1 is superior and they can test for themselves and find out," Lafferty said. He said that a weapon's effectiveness is largely dependent on a Soldier's training, but added, "I am confident the bullet will do what I've seen here today, and yesterday."

Army producing enhanced Stryker with double-V hull.

Photo Credit: Army file photo. A Stryker vehicle crew belonging to the 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, fires a TOW missile during the brigade's rotation through the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La.
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, May 9, 2011) -- By this summer, Soldiers in Afghanistan will be riding in new Stryker armored combat vehicles that have an improved hull design to protect them from improvised explosive devices and roadside mines.

In the coming weeks, Soldiers in Afghanistan will begin to see 150 new Strykers with a double-V hull, or DVH, design that deflects blasts away from the vehicle and the Soldiers inside. The Stryker DVH, with enhanced armor, wider tires and blast-attenuating seats, went from conception to production in less than one year.
The double-V hull design on the new Styker is a proven technology similar to that found on mine-resistant, ambush-protected, or MRAP, vehicles currently being used in Afghanistan.
"The rapid turnaround of the DVH is responsiveness at its best," Col. Robert Schumitz, Stryker Brigade Combat Team Project Management Office, project manager, said. "Soldier survivability is the Army's number-one priority. Once we determined that the DVH effort was an achievable and acceptable risk, we swiftly engaged in executing the robust program."

Engineers at General Dynamics Land Systems conceived of the double-V-hull design and tested it at Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz., Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., and the Army's National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif.
"We wanted to take advantage of the V shape and get the center of the vehicle farther away from the ground to aid survivability," said Mike Cannon, senior vice president of General Dynamics Land Systems.
Vehicles went through live-fire, developmental and operational testing that concentrated on force protection, safety, performance, reliability and durability.
There are 140 Stryker DVH's already in the Army supply chain, and plans are to field a total of 450 vehicles.
"The Stryker program has been continually responsive to evolutionary threats," Schumitz said. "The Stryker DVH is a robust program that has enjoyed the Army's full support to increase Soldier survivability in Operation Enduring Freedom." 

May 9, 2011

Warrior Adventure Quest program provides adrenaline rush

Photo Credit: Andrea Sutherland, Fort Carson. Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, climb the challenge course at Fort Carson, Colo. Soldiers also climbed a rock wall and swung on the course bungee line.
FORT CARSON, Colo., May 5, 2011 -- After his first and second deployments, 1st Lt. Jon Morgan, 64th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, was left to transition to the home front by himself.

That unit, at another duty station, didn't provide the level of reintegration services that he experienced at Fort Carson, he said.
Like many Soldiers and service-members, Morgan said he struggled adapting to the slower pace home life offered.
"One minute you're on a plane, the next you're off and with your family," he said. "A lot of us were sitting around figuring out if we were all going through the same thing."

Morgan discovered solace in fly fishing, traveling the rivers around New York and Tennessee.
Many service-members, however, found different ways to chase the "adrenaline rush" of combat.
"In 2005 there was a recognition that there were an alarming number of accidents that were killing Soldiers," said John O'Sullivan, program manager for Army-wide outdoor recreation and Warrior Adventure Quest. "We realized Soldiers were looking for the high adrenaline they had in combat."
There was a challenge put out to all the armed forces and recreation professionals to help alleviate the problem. We said, 'If they want adrenaline, let's give it to them.'"

O'Sullivan partnered with Morale Welfare and Recreation in 2007 to create the Warrior Adventure Quest program, which introduces redeployed Soldiers to high-adrenaline activities like whitewater rafting, paintball and challenge and high ropes courses.
In April, O'Sullivan traveled to Fort Carson to help facilitate Warrior Adventure Quest activities with Soldiers from 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.
Col. Jim Rainey, commander of 3rd BCT, said he had his Soldiers participate in the Warrior Adventure Quest program as part of their reintegration strategy.
"When combined with the other elements of our two-week intensive, comprehensive Soldier fitness based program, (Warrior Adventure Quest is) a powerful way to get Soldiers involved and interacting with one another," Rainey said. "It's important for our Soldiers to have healthy outlets. (Warrior Adventure Quest) exposes our young men and women to activities they may not have otherwise experienced, and demonstrates healthy and positive ways to get an adrenaline rush."
"This is getting all of us together to have fun," said Morgan, who recently returned from his third deployment and participated in a Warrior Adventure Quest paintball session. "It allows us to see where our strengths and weaknesses are."
Soldiers from 3rd BCT also climbed rock walls, skied and zip lined.

"I love to party," said Sgt. Robert Smith, 3rd Battalion, 29th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd BCT, 4th Inf. Div., who zip lined at an April 28 Warrior Adventure Quest event. "Zip lining, it's something different than what I usually do. There are a lot of things you can do to get yourself out of the barracks."
O'Sullivan said the goal of Warrior Adventure Quest was not just to give Soldiers an adrenaline rush.
"In order to take part in any high-adrenaline activity, it requires thinking," O'Sullivan said. "These activities force them to think, and we hope that carries over into other areas of life."
Since 2009, Warrior Adventure Quest coordinators have measured the success of the program with pre- and post-action surveys that measured Soldiers' attitudes toward the Army and Morale Welfare and Recreation.
"It is working," said O'Sullivan, adding that more than 60,000 Soldiers have participated in the program since 2007.
"This is absolutely beneficial from a behavioral health standpoint," said Carl Smith, branch chief of the combat and operational stress control branch in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at the Army Medical Department at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

Smith joined O'Sullivan to observe the Warrior Adventure Quest activities at Fort Carson.
"After deployments, Soldiers have what the experts call a 'new normal,'" he said. "Needs drive behavior. If you have a need for more adrenaline, you better find ways to fulfill that need rather than going down to the local pub and getting into bar fights."
Despite the accolades from mental health professionals, O'Sullivan said many higher-ups in the military do not see adrenaline activities as beneficial for troops.
"We do have commanders who don't buy into it and their Soldiers suffer," O'Sullivan said. "We've asked ourselves, 'Are we just feeding the beast or are we addressing the problem?'"
O'Sullivan said the important difference between Warrior Adventure Quest activities and adventure sports is the discussion that takes place afterward.

"None of this works unless you talk about it," he said. "By creating a discussion and talking about it, you start processing it. A lot of problems these guys have (result in Soldiers) shutting down. We're hoping these (activities) help break down communication barriers."
Troops from 3rd BCT said the activities are helping their transition.
"This builds teamwork," said 1st Sgt. Edgar McGaughey, Company E, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd BCT, 4th Inf. Div. "We're trying to make sure that we're adapting to civilian life after deployment. This lets us bond in a more relaxed setting."
O'Sullivan said he hopes the program will continue to grow and more commanders will request the program for their Soldiers. O'Sullivan also hopes Warrior Adventure Quest activities will become part of the Army's pre-deployment training.
"We're not here for ourselves," he said. "This is all about the Soldier."

May 5, 2011

ATC experiment looks at how clay performs in body armor testing

Photo credit Air Force Master Sgt. Demetrius Lester
A critical mission for the Aberdeen Test Center is the testing of body armor such as that worn by U.S. Army Spc. Aaron Franklin in this photo. ATC designed a unique experiment to characterize a special clay used to determine the back-face deformation that occurs when a bullet strikes such protective equipment during testing.
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - To support the Army Product Manager, Soldier Protective Equipment, the Army Developmental Test Command's Aberdeen Test Center recently conducted an experiment to characterize the clay backing material used for testing body armor.

The Army rigorously tests both hard armor plates and soft armor vests and their components, as well as helmets. It conducts this testing to verify the adequacy of a system's design and conducts further testing to ensure that the quality of the system is maintained during production.
One of the ways to characterize how these systems perform is to determine to what extent an armor system will deform itself in response to an impact from a projectile while preventing the projectile from completely penetrating the system. The crater or indentation formed by the armor giving into the backing material is called "back-face deformation." Roma Plastilina No. 1 clay is the backing material used to characterize how much of this deformation takes place.
Even if a bullet doesn't completely penetrate body armor, it can cause enough back-face deformation, or BFD, to result in catastrophic injury, so the clay that helps testers determine how much of this deformation takes place is critically important to the test process.

For test purposes the clay is built into boxes that are 24 inches by 24 inches by 5.5 inches, and these clay boxes must pass a calibration test to be declared ready for testing. The drop calibration test, or "drop test," is the standard way the Army validates the consistency of the clay blocks.
The drop test involves dropping a 2.2-pound weight that is 1.75 inches in diameter from a height of 6.5 feet. The clay blocks are considered to have passed this test if three drop indentations into the clay measure between 22 and 28 millimeters.
According to a report on the experiment released by ATC, the first objective was to "characterize the relationship between drop depth and radial distance from the center of the clay box." The second objective of ATC's experiment was to "characterize how that relationship may change as the clay box ages," and the third objective was to "characterize how those relationships may be affected by the position of the clay box in the temperature conditioning oven."
To do this effectively and ensure drop uniformity, ATC developed a template specifying 11 drop locations at varying radial distances from the center of the box. Testers selected three pairs of boxes from ATC's inventory, each pair representing a separate "age" based on when the boxes had been packed.

They used a six-position temperature-condition oven between experiments. Two dedicated crews conducted the testing, each working 12-hour shifts so the test could run 24 hours a day from March 8-14, 2010.
Between experiments, ATC personnel conditioned the clay boxes in a 105-degree-Fahrenheit oven for six hours. They opened the doors just once an hour to remove a box for the experiment and to return the box they had just used for that purpose. They conducted the 11 drops at a controlled rate of one minute between drops.
When they had finished conducting all of the drop tests, they measured the indentations in each box with a digital caliper and recorded the results. They then repaired the clay boxes by filling the indentations with clay and after an hour returned them to the oven.
ATC personnel conducted 22 replications of the drop test per box, so that each of the 11 positions marked out with the template on each box could experience each drop order twice in each box. The order of drop locations on the boxes was random for each drop replication. The boxes were rotated through each of the six oven positions at least three times. In all, ATC made a total of 1,452 individual drops, based on 22 replications of the 11 drops on each of the six clay boxes.

To examine the results of the experiment, ATC used a statistical method called analysis of variance. In layman's terms, this is an analysis of the outcomes of an experiment where the contribution of each source of variation under study is compared to the total variation to assess which factors, if any, are contributing at a rate greater than one would expect by chance alone; that is, if any factors are having a significant effect on the experimental outcomes.
The results of the study revealed the following: The most significant factors affecting the depth of indentations were the differences between one clay box and another based on box serial number rather than age, the location on the clay box where the weight was dropped, and the interaction between individual clay box by serial number and drop location, respectively. By contrast, oven position had no practical effect on the results at any drop location. And because the date the boxes of clay were packed showed no correlation with test results, it was learned that a better definition of clay age is needed.
ATC's analysis of the experiment further revealed that four of the six clay boxes showed no correlation between the drop depth and its radial distance while two showed a "moderate negative linear correlation," meaning there was some evidence that a relationship exists between the two variables and the shape of that relationship is described by a line. A negative linear relationship means that as one variable increases, the other decreases. In this case, as radial distance increased away from the center of the box, the drop depths for those two clay boxes tended to decrease in depth.
A most interesting finding was that the depth of indentation at the center of all the blocks remained consistently near 25 millimeters, despite the mixed results when dropping the weight at other locations.
Additionally, while there seemed to be a "marked difference" in the drop-test results between new and used boxes at the beginning of the experiment, by its conclusion all boxes experienced similar variation of results, independent of box age. That is, as more drops were performed, the clay became softer, judging from indentation depth, and testers observed less variation.
ATC's Barbara Gillich, who helped design and analyze the experiment, said it was a very worthwhile project.
The experiment was seen as an "excellent" effort between ATC and the Product Manager, Soldier Protective Equipment, designed to increase the knowledge of Roma Plastilina No. 1 clay for the entire body armor community. Although ATC was able to answer the three specific objectives of this experiment, quite a bit of work remains to be done on the subject of clay and its use in body armor testing.

May 3, 2011

Troy 2011 catalogue

The Troy Industries 2011 catalog

3m/Peltor ComTac IV released.


3M introduces the innovative Peltor COMTAC IV Hybrid Headset for today's modern war fighter. The 4th generation headset continues the legacy and tradition of trusted hearing protector headsets from 3M Peltor. The hybrid approach incorporates in-ear hearing protection for hot weather environments while retaining the advantages of the traditional architecture of legacy COMTAC headsets. 

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