SSgt David Lyon, USMC, is just such a Tech, and the new individual EOD kit now offered by Force Multiplier USA is a direct result of his experience. It’s another excellent example of skilled end users leveraging some very hard lessons learned to develop something that successfully addresses specific needs in the field.
It is, in simplest terms, an idealized personal hook and line EOD kit. It was designed and built to replace the field expedient, frequently makeshift equipment guys are using now in the AOR (especially in the most rugged and austere location). Its first incarnations were actually put together and used in the field by SSgt Lyon and his partner, which helped the first ‘model’ evolve to where it is today.
The kit is comprised of a tool & line pouch that zippers open to access the implements needed to work on an IED. There are a wide variety of tools to one side of the pouch and a reeled line (which slides easily in and out on a rail) on the other. This line can be used with the personal grappling hook that accompanies the EOD kit (this is available in a separate MOLLE/PALs backed pouch) and used to drag for trip lines or in other exigencies (like when you’re working your way up to a possible IED or to use manually directly on the device). There a couple different options for weight of line available, including something heavy enough for vehicle pulls, and multiple carabiners so the tech can set them at different lengths. This allows them to rig line to multiple different devices separated by various distances and pull them all simultaneously, or allows more than one of the six points to be rigged if need be.
It’s certainly a better system than wrapping paracord around a kite reel or worse yet around your arm and having to awkwardly roll and unroll what you need.
Earliest versions of the kit had a rounded drop pouch and tool kit sewn in place, but the new one has been changed based on further EOD tech feedback and a request from ONR. It is now MOLLE/PALS backed, so it can be pulled out of the larger tool case if need be. This will allow the tech to mount both the tool kit panel and the grappling hook on his LBE or armor as he prefers and have ready access to whatever he needs without fumbling around inside (though the case was designed to open easily to gloved hands).
Force Multiplier USA now also has an adjustable grappling hook kit available, with a spreader tool that lets you switch out talons to fit the mission. (It will also hold tips that function like a carbiner if need be). It’s fully scalable and will take up to about 25,000 pounds of pressure. The pouch for the new grappling hook will open laterally, allowing you access to the modular attachments, and it too is MOLLE/PALS backed. Tools include a variable speed rope reel, grappling hook, needle nose vice grips, strap cutter/J-hook, non-biting medical forceps, large and small D-rings and subdued 9-ring among others.
Hopefully the Lion kit will make it to the AOR very quickly. In the meantime, watch for it in the next GI Joe movie, where one of the characters uses it on an IED.
Now if you’re wondering why they named the kit after SSgt Lyon, it’s not because he was integral to the design. It’s because he’s stayed in touch with them as it developed and worked hard to make sure it’s built properly and expedited to the field—despite the fact that David lost both of his legs to an IED during his last deployment. FMUSA and David himself take pains to make it clear they’re not trying to exploit his injury for sympathy or anything else. Nothing could be further from the truth, the kit stands on its own merits and had been rigorously tested in combat conditions. As for SSgt David Lyon, he remains motivated and constantly on the go, working with different foundations that help recovering injured military personnel. The guys at FMUSA refer to him as “one of the most inspirational guys” they know, who “hasn’t missed a beat since the accident.”
The Force Multiplier USA website isn’t up for public access yet, however you can contact Brian Miller at Brian(at)ForceMultiplierUSA.com or call him at
(323) 899-3016. He’s on Pacific time.
About the author: David Reeder is a 20 year veteran of law enforcement and an AF SNCO with with assignments in Training, S4, Mobility and Operations. He was an EST member, TL and CC and an instructor at the Bold Lighting Urban Warfare School. A former Evaluator/Controller for the National Homeland Security Training Center, for the last several years he’s taught Combat Tracking to all four branches of service and a number of LE agencies. (Try being the only AF instructor in a room of grunts and 8541s at Horno sometime.) During his LE career he’s worked patrol, training, drug task force, SWAT and PIO. He currently writes for Kit Up!, Under the Radar, Defense Tech and is a contributing editor to the BOLO Report.