Last week, the Kit Up! team spent several days at a live fire training event with the Navy’s Detachment 1, Riverine Squadron 3 in Fort Knox, Ky. We’ll be spooling out a variety of content from that mini-embed over the next couple days, but I thought I’d lead off with one of the cleverest ideas I saw for dealing with the pesky weight of NODs.
As most of you have already seen, lots of special ops types wear battery packs attached to the back of their helmets for both continuous power and to assist in the “moment” created by binocular NODs. Well, the Riverines may sometimes be as high speed (try 40 knots) as their snake eater friends, but they don’t quite have the budget or acquisition advocacy for the battery packs.
So what they do is attach 4 or 5oz. duck hunting decoy weights to their helmets to counteract the natural forward tilt of the NVG on their noggin’s. The Riverines spray paint the flexible lead weights the same color as their helmets, attach hook and loop fastener to the helmet and the weights, and apply them as needed whether they’re on a day or night op (most just leave the weights on the helmet).
Some of the Sailors attach the weights in a horizontal line like the ones pictured above, while others sometimes attach them in two vertical rows of two on either side of a helmet bracket. One coxswain told me he used to have to prop his arm up on the edge of the cockpit to hold his NODs up during long missions until he MacGyvered the “duck weight” solution to his lid.