Grunts

"U.S. Army Soldiers participate in close arm combatives during the Ranger Course on Ft. Benning, GA., April 20, 2015. Soldiers attend Ranger school to learn additional leadership and small unit technical and tactical skills in a physically and mentally demanding, combat stimulated environment. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Nikayla Shodeen/Released Pending Review)"

U.S. Army officials announced today that eight out of 16 female soldiers who started the first co-ed class of Ranger School have made it through the Ranger Assessment Phase, or RAP week.

Only 57 more days to go. Check out the Military.com story here.

Whether you like this effort or not, these females deserve a lot of credit for taking on this challenge. There are a whole lot of people out there who want to see them fail. They may not make it, but at least they have had the guts to try.

The Army released a video of the first week. Check out it.

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U.S. Army scientists are working with a new database of the human body to ensure uniforms and equipment fit female and male soldiers better.

The Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, or NSRDEC, completed the latest comprehensive anthropometric survey of soldiers, called ANSUR II, in 2012.

The ANSUR II 3-D Shape Database uses three-dimensional shapes and contour data to improve the fit of clothing and equipment for warfighters. It incorporates the latest Army anthropometric survey data and 3-D whole body scans, providing a searchable platform for the data and the 3-D shapes.

The previous survey was completed in 1988.

The 2012 survey set out to address changes in Army personnel body size and shape, and the resulting data showed that soldiers have increased in overall body girth since 1988. The new study also set out to document the sizing needs of the increasing number of women serving in the military.

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Surefire M300 Mini Scout Light’s are now available. The compact weapon light runs on a single 123A lithium battery and delivers 300 lumens for your carbine or rifle.

“Its LED-generated white light is focused by our patented TIR lens to create a high-intensity, far-reaching beam crafted for close- to mid-range engagements,” according to a recent press release. “The Mini Scout just might have the perfect balance of size and power for your long gun.”

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I covet Arc’teryx gear, but I wasn’t in love with the Atom LT Hoody the first time I wore it a few months ago.

It was a frigid December morning in Virginia. The high-30s thermometer reading felt below freezing in the 17 mph winds.

This might be a good time to admit that I hate being cold. I don’t mind winter as long as I have the right combination of snivel gear.

Anyway, I was not happy each time the biting wind gusts passed right through the new jacket’s thin, stretchy side panels. I quickly regretted choosing a polo shirt as a base layer.

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Rob Curtis, long-time senior photographer for Military Times, is now the new, Staff Features Editor for Recoil Magazine.

This is a pretty big win for Recoil, a tactical firearms mag launched in 2012. Rob has become one of the most knowledgeable small-arms and gear writers in the business.

I have known Rob for about 16 years. For 11 of those years, we worked together at Military Times. We had our first real-world assignment together in June 1999 when the U.S. Peace-Keeping Force went into Kosovo. Four years later, Rob and I found ourselves together again during the start of the ground invasion of Iraq in 2003. We swallowed the same dust in an all-day street battle, shadowing soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division in Karbala.

Since then, Rob and I have worked together, argued like brothers and competed against one another covering weapons and gear used by the U.S. Military. He has also been a mentor as I still struggle to learn photography.

Rob is a skilled photographer and videographer, but he has also branched out and developed as a writer. He was the driving force behind the creation of GearScout at Military Times several years ago. Some of the leadership was skeptical of the concept at the time, but Rob has built the site into a respected source of behind-the-scenes gouge on the military small-arms and gear industry.

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FORT BENNING, Ga. – It’s been about eight years since the U.S. Army first deployed its smart-soldier technology to war. Now soldiers are finally viewing this digital, situational-awareness gear as a trusted piece of soldier kit.

The Army’s Experimentation Force, made up of soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment here, recently tested the wearable, command and control gear known as Nett Warrior Future Initiative during the Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment.

The Nett Warrior system is a Samsung Galaxy Note II smartphone worn in a chest-mounted pouch and connected to networked radio such as a Harris Falcon III AN/PRC-152A wideband networking handheld radio or the older General Dyanamics AN/PRC-154A Rifleman Radio.

Without getting too far into the weeds, Nett Warrior Future Initiative is equipped with a special software package that helps the system handle multiple intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance sensor feeds such as video streams from unmanned aerial systems.

So a platoon leader can share these video streams from a company-level Raven UAS and a platoon-level InstantEye UAS with his squad leaders.

Spec. Erin Broihier, a radio operator with A Company, said he has been impressed by how much Nett warrior has improved over the past four AEWEs.

“Every time they have brought it back, it has gotten better and better and better,” he said.

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Beretta USA said the U.S. Army has rejected the gun-maker’s request that the service reconsider its M9A3 pistol as an alternative to the Modular Handgun System (MHS) program.

Beretta officials sent the Jan. 30 request in response to the Army’s formal rejection of the M9A3 Engineering Change Proposal to the current M9 contract.

“Needless to say, we are disappointed,” Gabriele de Plano, vice president of Beretta Defense Technologies (BDT) Marketing Operations, said in March 2 email.

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