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Old 10-23-2011, 10:48 AM
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RLTW RLTW is offline
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: San Diego
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Great Write up!
Originally Posted by brando View Post
It's funny, when I started out in the Army in 1988 we all had one rig - an LBE. Naturally, we all modified them as needed (when we could). I ran mine pretty high, sort of like a chest rig and replaced the buckles with 550 chord. Then a little later I was introduced to a few other rigs in SF, namely a modified version of the LBV that was starting to get issued Army-wide at the time, and mesh-based vest. Neither were particularly good though. Towards the end of '95 I was running a lightweight chest rig that layed over RBA, but still something really simple.

Flashforward to 2000, I return to the Army and things hadn't changed a whole lot. For the most part the LBE was gone, but the LBV was still fairly common along with the mesh vest. The big addition was attachment systems (PALS/MOLLE). And the SPEARS setup seemed pretty revolutionary. Modularity was catching on.

Now in barely five years, by 2005 things had changed significantly. On the SOF side we deployed with several different rigs. I had a stripped down plate carrier, a low profile IIIa vest, a full sized RAV carrier and a lightweight chest rig. All of which I used based on mission requirements. For example, going up and down mountains or doing a lot of foot work in a more permissible environment called for the lightweight chest rig over the IIIa vest or the plate carrier. The streets of Mosul called for the RAV and any time where extra mobility was preferred over protection, the plate carrier would come out again.

Most importantly, all of this stuff trickles down from the SOF community to the conventional Army. From TTPs to equipment. This was most evident to me when I came across a 2nd ID gunner running a para-SAW or seeing a 24th Stryker BDE guy with a 203 on his M4. Both of those used to be the domain of SF/Ranger Regt, but they trickled down out of the proving grounds to Army wide fielding.

So I guess there's nothing like a war to cause our gear to evolve rapidly.
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