Aaahhhh … another AUSA is upon us. Are you excited!? Can you feel the energy!!?? Me neither, but Military.com reporters will be there in-force.
In all seriousness, AUSA is a big deal. The annual, three-day event Oct. 22-24 is always a mecca for all things Army.
Yes, there will be plenty of speeches, panel discussions, pomp-and-circumstance and Doughboy humor. But AUSA is also one of the few occasions that so many senior leaders and program heads are in one place and available to answer questions about real issues that affect soldiers.
I hope to get some face time with Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno, Sgt. Major of the Army Raymond Chandler and anybody else I can pin down. What do you want to know?
I’m going to ask about camouflage and small arms programs, but are there any other topics you guys want me to ask about? Think on it and let me know.
Also, I am going to try to spend as much time on the show floor as possible between all the speaking events. I will be looking for new gear and product upgrades, but is there anything in particular that you guys want me to focus on?
I can’t promise everything, but I’ll try to get the answers you want.
Well it’s not a feature film, but it’s nice to see a little love going to the grunts. It took six years, but the National Infantry Foundation finally sealed the deal for the creation of a silver dollar for the infantry.
“The Mint produces only two such commemorative coins each year, so we had to wait our turn; 2012 is our year,” said retired Col. Greg Camp, the National Infantry Foundation’s vice president and chief development officer.
The man behind the Mad Duo has launched a pretty awesome blog that caters to the LE world called Bolo Report. Call it a Kit Up! for Johnny Law and in the latest dispatch, Bolo highlights an innovative device that should be part of any military armory.
The so-called BlankSafe adapter is a spacer and follower that can be inserted into any standard M4/M16 magazine that prevents live rounds from being inserted into the mag during blank fire training.
A weapon that is configured for blank-fire is still capable of firing live ammunition. Thus, during training operations, there is a real chance that live ammunition will be introduced, resulting in the death or injury of a friendly operator. This scenario can occur when rounds of live ammunition are inadvertently mixed in with blanks or when a magazine has not been fully downloaded after a live shoot, leaving live ammunition at the bottom. These mistakes are difficult to catch, especially at night and in situations of duress and fatigue, the very situations in which military forces train.
The military has made an effort to prevent these mistakes through increased inspections, by keeping live and blank ammunition separated and by requiring that all live rounds be turned in after every live- fire event. Yet despite these precautions, serious incidents still occur every year.
So true. I remember covering a story back on 2002 where some Marine FAST guys were wounded during training because a live round was loaded amongst the blanks. That was a while ago, but it’s still a risk and the BlankSafe device could mean the difference between one stray round and a safe training environment.
BlakSafe also offers a simple inspection device than can be used to make sure there are no live rounds loaded into a magazine that’s not equipped with the full on adapter.
Be sure to bookmark the Bolo Report for more LE-related gear news.
Here’s another in the “news you can use” category from master trainer and firearms expert Larry Vickers on the Army’s misplaced belief that cleanliness is next to godliness when it comes to the Beretta M9.
The two most important aspects of shooting from the helicopter are standardized communications between the aircrew/sniper and a good stable shooting platform. Standardized comms between flight crews have been the norm for years and any good helo sniper training program will ensure that snipers learn these standard DoD communications procedures. This ensures smooth communication when the sniper takes control of the scene, provides airborne support or needs to maneuver the helicopter into position quickly. A stable shooting platform is achieved by using a specialized sling system that can be quickly rigged up by the sniper and attached to hard points on the helo itself. Using this system, I’ve personally taken live shots up to 300 yards with 1 Minute of Angle (MOA) accuracy.
Before taking over the SEAL Sniper training program as Course Manager I taught advanced helicopter sniper operations at the Naval Special Warfare TRADET Sniper Cell. While I will not go into exact training techniques, I can tell you that we had an excellent helo sniper training program (my good friend Eric Davis and I re-wrote it). We put our guys into live helo’s with live fire, moving targets and complex scenarios to include vehicle interdiction and ship take-downs.
Tactical Hog Control, started in 2009 by Texas ranchers Clark Osborne and Mr. Dreher, is among a handful of next-generation outfitters across the South offering a new style of hog hunting designed to appeal to hunters’ inner commando. Each client on a nocturnal hunt with the two men suits up with roughly $40,000 of military-grade gear, including semiautomatic rifles like the DPMS AR-10. The men prowl bumpy pastures and farmland in off-road vehicles bristling with gun racks and infrared headlights.
The equipment, combined with many states’ loose restrictions on hunting feral hogs, allows hunters to shoot a number of pigs in one outing.
“I believe every man in the U.S. has a tactical gene,” said Rod Pinkston, an Army veteran and former Olympic sharp-shooting coach whose Jager Pro guide service conducts high-tech hog hunts in western Georgia. “They’ve always wanted to be a soldier, a SWAT team member. We’re the closest thing to combat that these guys are ever going to experience.”
So true. And though the story doesn’t touch on hog hunting from a helo, it’s interesting to re-introduce the discussion over the applicability of this kind of hunting with real-world training. And it sure looks like a hell of a lot of fun, though as a hunter myself, I’m not a huge fan of just leaving meat for the coyotes…
As a professional shooter it is important never to overestimate your skills and even more unforgivable to misrepresent your skill level to commanding officers who will probably take those perceptions into account during mission planning. This is especially true of snipers preparing to conduct specialized tasks like providing target interdiction from a helicopter based platform.
While I once had a SOTIC graduate tell me that Aerial Platform shooting is completely useless, I think it is a valid technique, but one that needs to be balanced with a solid dose of reality. Shooting from a moving, vibrating platform such as a helicopter is exceedingly difficult. While I don’t have any statistical evidence to offer, there is some readily available anecdotal evidence.
A while back The Military Channel did a special on the International Sniper Competition at Ft. Benning, Georgia which brought together some of the world’s most highly skilled long distance marksmen. One event in the competition was an Aerial Platform shoot from a Black Hawk helicopter. Some of these snipers could make legitimate claims to being the best shooters in the world, they have the awards and combat background to prove it, and yet, the performance during this event was abysmal to say the least.