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INFANTRY: The Growth of Mail Order Equipment
StrategyPage.com ^ | August 2, 2004

Posted on 08/02/2004 3:57:17 PM PDT by Cannoneer No. 4

With the growth of professional infantry over the last three decades, there has been, not unexpectedly, a growth in companies that supply equipment for the troops. That is, gear that is demonstrably superior to what the troops were being issued by the government. This is not an entirely new phenomenon. American professional soldiers had long purchased superior gear from commercial firms. But after World War II, with a large peace time army and marine corps, better pay for the career soldiers, and a growing industry supplying new products for hunters, campers and police, it was only natural that many of the mail order catalogs for these firms should show up in the mailboxes of infantry NCOs and officers.

When the army became all-volunteer in the early 1970s, the new recruits, over the next decade, began to assume the same professional attitudes as the career NCOs and officers that led them. It became common for the troops to buy the same commercial gear (better sleeping bags, rifle cleaning gear, cold weather gear, Etc.) as the career NCOs had long done. But the commercial companies began producing more and more stuff that was suitable for professional infantrymen. Part of this was due to the growing popularity of paramilitary SWAT teams in police departments. But part of it had to do with the growth of paint ball combat as a sport. There was also an explosive growth in camping and hiking, as well as continued popularity of hunting. All these leisure time activities required equipment that was also useful for infantry. The commercial firms noted this, and began designing and manufacturing gear especially for the military market. Some foreign firms got into the act. Companies in Israel and South Africa produced superior military gear, and sold it to an international market.

A lot of the equipment troops were willing to buy with their own money was pretty mundane. Load bearing equipment (for carrying extra ammo, grenades, flashlights and whatnot) was popular, as were better backpacks, underwear and socks. Better boots were also popular. The army and marine unit commanders did not go along with all this “non-standard” stuff, and having their favorite gear “banned” was another of those uncertainties an infantryman had to worry about when he got a new commanding officer. The army organizations that designed and authorized the “official” gear also noted the competition, and the reaction of the troops. Eventually, the military bureaucrats decided to, for the most part, cooperate with the commercial firms rather than constantly be at war with the troops they were supposed to be serving. One reason for the change in attitude was the arrival of the Internet in the mid 1990s. This began putting all the troops in constant touch with each other, and forming a block of public opinion that bureaucrats did not want to tangle with.

As a result of all this, combat troops today have better gear than ever before. But it’s no accident, and a lot of people unwittingly played a part in making it happen.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Government
KEYWORDS: equipment; gear
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PEO Soldier Product Fact Sheets

Blackhawk

Diamondback Tactical

Georgia-Outfitters.com

Drop Zone Tactical

Lightfighter Tactical

Tactical Gear Command

US Cavalry

Ranger Joe's

Brigade Quartermasters

Shomer-Tec

1 posted on 08/02/2004 3:57:18 PM PDT by Cannoneer No. 4
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To: Cannoneer No. 4
The best gear out there, Eagle Industries: http://www.eagleindustries.com/

Without them, there would be no Blackhawk since Blackhawk copies all their designs from Eagle.

2 posted on 08/02/2004 4:06:30 PM PDT by killjoy (Democracy spawns bad taste)
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To: American in Israel; American Soldier; armymarinemom; cavtrooper21; centurion316; colorado tanker; ..

ping


3 posted on 08/02/2004 4:08:25 PM PDT by Cannoneer No. 4 (I've lost turret power; I have my nods and my .50. Hooah. I will stay until relieved. White 2 out.)
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To: Cannoneer No. 4

Reference bump


4 posted on 08/02/2004 4:11:02 PM PDT by spodefly (This post meets the minimum daily requirements for cynicism and irony.)
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To: Cannoneer No. 4

I want one of those and one of those and.......


5 posted on 08/02/2004 4:14:48 PM PDT by Cold Heart
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To: Cannoneer No. 4

I want one of those and one of those and.......


6 posted on 08/02/2004 4:15:19 PM PDT by Cold Heart
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To: Cannoneer No. 4

The Kerry campaign seems to be attempting to use this as evidence Bush is shortchanging the military, which is nonsense of course;

It has been going on long before this administration, and the primary cause is the convoluted, complex, and impossibly long military procurement cycle, which really has been a problem for the entire history of this country.


7 posted on 08/02/2004 4:17:40 PM PDT by Strategerist
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To: Cannoneer No. 4
The army and marine unit commanders did not go along with all this “non-standard” stuff, and having their favorite gear “banned” was another of those uncertainties an infantryman had to worry about when he got a new commanding officer.

God I used to hate that....

8 posted on 08/02/2004 4:20:47 PM PDT by Cogadh na Sith (I shook my inner child until its eyes bled...)
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To: Cannoneer No. 4

Hadf a link to CamelBack's own site, but I seem to have lost it somewhere.


9 posted on 08/02/2004 4:26:10 PM PDT by Darksheare (<=== Has been thrown into a grain sack and hauled away by Amazons. All posts are now by an imposter.)
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To: Cannoneer No. 4

I remember taking just about the entire issue of TA-50 and throwing it in a wall locker to be used only at inspections. Most of the equipment I actually took to the field was privately purchased.


10 posted on 08/02/2004 4:27:38 PM PDT by Poodlebrain
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To: Cannoneer No. 4

I remember asking for Kool-Aid.


11 posted on 08/02/2004 4:30:11 PM PDT by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink.)
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To: Cannoneer No. 4

ping


12 posted on 08/02/2004 4:33:25 PM PDT by arly
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To: chookter

I hated the helmet liner, cold weather, and wore a gray knit cap under my steel pot instead. What a ration of **** I got for wearing that cap. Wore it all winter, though. Just another nail in the coffin of my military career.

13 posted on 08/02/2004 4:37:00 PM PDT by Cannoneer No. 4 (I've lost turret power; I have my nods and my .50. Hooah. I will stay until relieved. White 2 out.)
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To: R. Scott

And I wanted Vermouth and those little onions for a decent Gibson....


14 posted on 08/02/2004 4:40:33 PM PDT by sailor4321
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To: sailor4321

I never could develop a taste for martinis.
I did like Nuc Mam, Ba Me Ba, Suntory …


15 posted on 08/02/2004 4:43:25 PM PDT by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink.)
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To: Poodlebrain
What gear did you take?

Just about all my privately owned stuff was cold weather gear to wear under issue stuff.

16 posted on 08/02/2004 4:43:30 PM PDT by Cannoneer No. 4 (I've lost turret power; I have my nods and my .50. Hooah. I will stay until relieved. White 2 out.)
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To: Cannoneer No. 4

btt


17 posted on 08/02/2004 4:46:09 PM PDT by tracer
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To: R. Scott
And I felt my RVN experience wouldn't be complete unless I could sip a martini while ranging in the artillery for the evening ...

This is five-aplha. (sip) Give me one round on AP Five. (Sip). Thank you. We'll call if we need more... (sip)

18 posted on 08/02/2004 4:48:56 PM PDT by sailor4321
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To: R. Scott

Nuc Mam? You are one sick puppy!


19 posted on 08/02/2004 4:53:58 PM PDT by Wu
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To: Cannoneer No. 4

They still use that BS thing!!


20 posted on 08/02/2004 4:58:04 PM PDT by Darksheare (<=== Has been thrown into a grain sack and hauled away by Amazons. All posts are now by an imposter.)
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To: Cannoneer No. 4

Yeah, they made a killin' off of me for 25 years, especially the first 10. Had to buy my own jungle fatigues and patrol cap for the Ranger Course in 75. Thank God for Ranger Joe's.


21 posted on 08/02/2004 4:59:56 PM PDT by TADSLOS (Right Wing Infidel since 1954)
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To: TADSLOS

Just what are you allowed to have from private suppliers?

It seems mostly "keep warm under the uniform" stuff.


22 posted on 08/02/2004 5:05:12 PM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE!)
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To: TADSLOS

IIRC, Ranger Joe's wasn't much years ago, and most Rangers got a lot of stuff at an outdoors store next to the Service Merchandise across Macon Road from Columbus Square Mall. Can't remember the name of that store.


23 posted on 08/02/2004 5:06:39 PM PDT by Cannoneer No. 4 (I've lost turret power; I have my nods and my .50. Hooah. I will stay until relieved. White 2 out.)
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To: Darksheare

Before the BDU's came out, that POS was the only authorized fatigue uniform headgear in Korea from October to April. You had to fold it up to look like a half fast state troopers hat and pin your rank on the front. Looked dumb. A lot of people bought BDU's who weren't yet required to have them just to get out of wearing that stupid hat.


24 posted on 08/02/2004 5:12:16 PM PDT by Cannoneer No. 4 (I've lost turret power; I have my nods and my .50. Hooah. I will stay until relieved. White 2 out.)
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To: Cannoneer No. 4

They still use that thing as a helmet liner.
My artillery unit had them and insisted we use them.
*ptui!*
We used what we could to avoid that thing like the plague.


25 posted on 08/02/2004 5:17:21 PM PDT by Darksheare (<=== Has been thrown into a grain sack and hauled away by Amazons. All posts are now by an imposter.)
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To: Darksheare

26 posted on 08/02/2004 5:19:35 PM PDT by Cannoneer No. 4 (I've lost turret power; I have my nods and my .50. Hooah. I will stay until relieved. White 2 out.)
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To: Cannoneer No. 4

That thing has some horrific memories associated with it.
It was designed to button to teh M65 field jacket's top front button, but we were never allowed to do that.
No matter how cold it got.
Oh, and our ECWS was 'restricted' to 'certain weather' conditions..


27 posted on 08/02/2004 5:24:27 PM PDT by Darksheare (<=== Has been thrown into a grain sack and hauled away by Amazons. All posts are now by an imposter.)
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To: Cannoneer No. 4

Yeah, I know which one you're referring to. Can't remeber the name either. I used to live in a subdivision just off Macon Road. Country's Barbeque is nearby- Tuesday night all you can eat barbeque chicken. I was a regular. I went there last summer after my son graduated from Airborne School. The place hasn't changed much.


28 posted on 08/02/2004 5:28:49 PM PDT by TADSLOS (Right Wing Infidel since 1954)
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To: TADSLOS

remeber=remember


29 posted on 08/02/2004 5:29:33 PM PDT by TADSLOS (Right Wing Infidel since 1954)
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To: TADSLOS

I was in Country's about 18 months ago. A real blast from the past. Doesn't seem to have changed a bit since 1981.


30 posted on 08/02/2004 5:32:50 PM PDT by Cannoneer No. 4 (I've lost turret power; I have my nods and my .50. Hooah. I will stay until relieved. White 2 out.)
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To: Darksheare; TADSLOS; Everybody
What item of non-issue gear got you in the most trouble?

My Bn Cdr thought my fishnet long johns were obscene.

31 posted on 08/02/2004 5:36:12 PM PDT by Cannoneer No. 4 (I've lost turret power; I have my nods and my .50. Hooah. I will stay until relieved. White 2 out.)
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To: Cannoneer No. 4

LOL!
Sometimes it seemed the hierarchy was merely being sadistic.


32 posted on 08/02/2004 5:40:42 PM PDT by Darksheare (<=== Has been thrown into a grain sack and hauled away by Amazons. All posts are now by an imposter.)
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To: longtermmemmory
Just what are you allowed to have from private suppliers?

Depends on what line of work you're in and who you work for, but yeah, most of it falls in the accessory category. The Army was flat on its a$$ in 75. They just didn't have the money (or the equipment- our M16 handguards were wired together with baling wire to keep them from falling apart) to issue us OD jungles and boots for a course that pretty much required them. The old cotton two piece (and later, permanent press)fatigue was a lousy field uniform. I shelled out most of my pocket money to get what I needed in downtown Columbus at Ranger Joe's. I think I still had $1.50 in my pocket after cab fare when I reported into 3rd Rgr Co (not that it mattered at that point).

Sua Sponte

33 posted on 08/02/2004 5:41:09 PM PDT by TADSLOS (Right Wing Infidel since 1954)
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To: Cannoneer No. 4

LOL! Back before Goretex and polypro, I used to stay warm and (relatively)dry with my legs covered in vaseline and a pair of nylons under my jungles while walking patrol with students in the swamps of the Yellow River. I was a hellavu lot more comfortable than they were.


34 posted on 08/02/2004 5:45:38 PM PDT by TADSLOS (Right Wing Infidel since 1954)
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To: R. Scott

I never could develop a taste for martinis.
I did like Nuc Mam, Ba Me Ba, Suntory …

What! No Silver Fox or Berkleys?

"Sir, it is the sad duty of this lab to inform you
your horse has bad kidneys.

Suntory, put away a lot of that.
Still use Nuc today. Hard to find the "Good" stuff.


35 posted on 08/02/2004 5:48:23 PM PDT by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: killjoy

Not to mention that all of Blackhawk's SWAT and soldier gear is made by virtual slave labor in communist China.


36 posted on 08/02/2004 5:52:57 PM PDT by Travis McGee (----- www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com -----)
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To: TADSLOS
I wore panty hose under wash and wear fatigue pants one time. Worked just fine and kept me warm, but I felt like a cross dresser and was afraid somebody would find out so I never did it again. Not much privacy on a tank, and the latrine was behind a tree. I wasn't very in touch with my feminine side back then.

Never tried the vaseline, not in that application anyway.

37 posted on 08/02/2004 6:03:28 PM PDT by Cannoneer No. 4 (I've lost turret power; I have my nods and my .50. Hooah. I will stay until relieved. White 2 out.)
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To: Cannoneer No. 4

I've ordered outdoor stuff from some of these companies. Besides what I ordered, it got me mail offers for all sorts of stuff worthy of a member of a death squad in a Latin American banana republic. Like a book dealing with how to dispose of dead bodies, for example. Or plans for making my own home workshop full auto submachine gun complete with silencer. If Total Information Awareness ever gets off the ground, I'll probably be getting a midnight knock on the door, and all because I wanted some mosquito netting.


38 posted on 08/02/2004 6:11:40 PM PDT by John Jorsett
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To: John Jorsett
I never did order anything out of the Loompanics catalog. Paladin Press seemed less over the top
39 posted on 08/02/2004 6:18:23 PM PDT by Cannoneer No. 4 (I've lost turret power; I have my nods and my .50. Hooah. I will stay until relieved. White 2 out.)
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To: Cannoneer No. 4

Thanks for the supplier list.


40 posted on 08/02/2004 6:24:15 PM PDT by Professional Engineer (Platoon leader, TreadHead aerial demonstration team. Ever do an Immelman in a tank?)
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To: longtermmemmory
What the Troops Are Buying With Their Own Money [or, what to send a combat soldier you know]
41 posted on 08/02/2004 6:26:40 PM PDT by Cannoneer No. 4 (I've lost turret power; I have my nods and my .50. Hooah. I will stay until relieved. White 2 out.)
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To: R. Scott
I did like Nuc Mam, Ba Me Ba, Suntory

How about Singha? That was my favorite. When I drank that out in the boonies, I knew I wasn't going to get Bangkok Belly.

42 posted on 08/02/2004 6:29:04 PM PDT by JoeFromSidney (My book is out. Read excerpts at http://www.thejusticecooperative.com)
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To: Cannoneer No. 4

Not made by the lowest bidder Bump


43 posted on 08/02/2004 6:31:58 PM PDT by SAMWolf (Never pet a burning dog. LTC (Tennessee National Guard))
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To: Cannoneer No. 4

Looks like my Christmas and birthday shopping list.


44 posted on 08/02/2004 6:35:37 PM PDT by armymarinemom (Ultimate Flip Flop->I support the Troops but not their mission)
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To: Poodlebrain
Most of the equipment I actually took to the field was privately purchased.

Same here. Being in a SP artillery battery, we didn't have to walk, and had plenty of vehicles for "stuff". The first things that went into my wall locker were the GI sleeping bag and that awful air mattress. And the shelter half stuff. Living in the back of a M577 was like having a luxury RV.

I still cherish my Eddie Bauer (back when it was a real outdoors store) ultralight down bag, and Thermarest self-inflating foam pad. A good night's sleep was a high priority for me. That damn GI air mattress let me down every time (pun intended), while the Thermarest deployed in about 10 seconds, rather than 10 minutes of huffing and puffing.

45 posted on 08/02/2004 6:36:36 PM PDT by 300winmag (FR's Hobbit Hole supports America's troops)
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To: Poodlebrain

We called our private purchase gear our "Field Kit"... Looked like hell, but worked great.
Then there was the pretty stuff. Made the Battalion Cmdr's eyes shine with pride during a walk through.
Best looking window dressing you ever saw, unless you were in front of a Victoria's Secret store.
He never asked about the still full duffle bag on top of the wall-locker.


46 posted on 08/02/2004 6:41:30 PM PDT by cavtrooper21 (CQB is a very polite way of describing a gunfight at knife-fighting range.......)
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To: cavtrooper21
Here's you a mail order catalog to peruse.
47 posted on 08/02/2004 7:03:04 PM PDT by Cannoneer No. 4 (I've lost turret power; I have my nods and my .50. Hooah. I will stay until relieved. White 2 out.)
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To: Cannoneer No. 4
I enlisted in 1964 and went to basic in 65. Much of the issue stuff was pretty pathetic. The greatest trial was the damned baseball cap. Close second was that stupid Ridgeway cap with its inane metal spring to hold it up. Load bearing equipment was lame and the uniforms were uncomfortable and very "peacetime army".

I am glad the army is wising up.

48 posted on 08/02/2004 7:07:13 PM PDT by Redleg Duke (Stir the pot...don't let anything settle to the bottom where the lawyers can feed off of it!)
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To: Cannoneer No. 4

....I'll take one of those, and one of those.
....does the model come with that outfit?????



Shame on you. (just a little)
:^)


49 posted on 08/02/2004 7:20:14 PM PDT by cavtrooper21 (CQB is a very polite way of describing a gunfight at knife-fighting range.......)
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To: Cannoneer No. 4
How about the big brouhaha over the Brit "woolly-pully"? The USMC officers in my FAOBC class had them issued but there was hell to pay if you were Army and wore it under your fatigues.

Brilliant, as the Guiness brothers say....

50 posted on 08/02/2004 7:32:20 PM PDT by T-Bird45
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