Category Archives: ARMY TRAINING


Esli has a set or two. I used to have a couple. They’re popular with tankers, but only rarely have I seen mech infantry crews wearing them.

Armored vehicles are playgrounds for fire. The armor itself doesn’t burn, but just about everything else inside a track loves to burn. Fuel, ammo, furnishings, cables, rubber seals, grease, hydraulic fluid,  people….

And burns are one of the major causes of injuries and wounds for armored crewmen. And because armor vehicles are often quite messy to work on and around, the traditional uniform for tankers was a set of coveralls.  But cotton coveralls, especially with petroleum products smeared on them, gave little protection against fire.

And so, the Army, in its wisdom, developed the Combat Vehicle Crewman’s Uniform, or CVCU.

The basis of the design was the traditional CWU-27P flight suit. Like the flight suit, it is made of fire resistant Nomex fabric.  But there are quite a few differences.

First, it is substantially thicker than the thin flight suit. That helps minimized tearing.

Second, while a pilot might only wear his flight suit for a few hours, vehicle crews can expect to spend days wearing their suit. For that reason, there’s a flap at the seat of the CVCU to make defecating easier. Not dignified, by any stretch, but easier.

Third, armored vehicles don’t have ejection seats. If a wounded crewman has to be pulled from a vehicle, it’s quite difficult. To make it just a little easier, there’s a velcro flap across the back. Opening the flap reveals a nylon tape that forms a harness under the wearer’s shoulders. The tape makes lifting or dragging the wounded much easier.


In my day, the CVCU was issued in a olive drab color known as OG106.

Today it is issued in the very unattractive UCP pattern.

In addition to the coverall, the CVCU came with some accoutrements such as leather and Nomex gloves, a Nomex cold weather balaclava, and, in the past, a lightweight flexible body armor vest similar to what police wear.

Outside of actual live fire gunnery, CVCUs were unpopular with most of the mech infantry I knew. But personally, I loved them. As a crewmember, anytime we went to the field, I wore them.

You see, CVCU were organizational clothing, issued to the soldier when he was assigned to a crew, and turned back in when he was transferred to another post.

And since they were OCIE, if they were damaged or worn out, or otherwise unserviceable, they could be exchanged at no cost for a new set.

BDUs, on the other hand, had to be replaced at the expense of the soldier.

Now, why would I wear out a perfectly nice $60 set of BDUs in the field, when I could risk $0 by wearing the CVCU?

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You can’t beat the low altitude record, but you can tie it.

But it’s pretty unusual to survive a tie.



Quartermaster’s Travels

Since my day was a total crapfest, I’ll share frequent commenter Quartermaster’s travel adventures. Take it away, QM. –XBrad

Few of the denizens here know that I am a Professional Engineer (PE) and Professional Land Surveyor (PLS) employed by an Indian tribe. As a consequence, I am forced, by my duties, to travel. Last week (20th-26th) I was in the Anchorage, Alaska area for the National Tribal Transportation Conference.

My colleague, another PE, and I went up on the 20th because flights on Sunday were terrible, so we had Sunday to bum around and see a few things. We went to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, and took the Tunnel to Whittier (also a tunnel of the Alaska Railroad, with the area around the tracks paved), just we could say we did. Along the way we saw some of the glaciers, and got a pic of the snow blower that was used by the Alaska Railroad, part of which was an old troop car from WW2.

Outside of a few birds, the only wildlife we saw was at the conservation center, although we did see bear sign (partially eaten salmon) along one of the streams, and on the trail next to that stream. Now I like Yogi, but I have no desire to meet him up close and personal, so I judiciously retreated after going about 100 yards past the mostly eaten Salmon on the trail and hearing some crashing in the bush just across the stream. I was particularly disinclined since I was armed only with a Victornox Swiss Army Knife. I doubt Yogi would have been impressed.

The most excitement we had during the conference was at the Hotel. A quake, magnitude 6.2, the most powerful since the most powerful on record in ’64, shook the Anchorage Hilton. I had just finished a shower and was drying off when I felt the shaking on the 11th floor. And it did sway! It brought proceedings to an absolute stop on the 15th floor, and my colleague felt the initial vibration through the floor on the 1st floor about 30 seconds before the greater magnitude S-waves hit, which are what cause the swaying.

No serious damage, but I was inspired to look up at the ceiling and say “you stay up there” while waiting for the shaking to completely die down. I was also dry before the shaking stopped.

At the Wildlife Conservation Center we saw several species that are being raised for release later. They have about 150 head of Wood Bison and they intend to release them up around Fairbanks in ’15. They also have a good herd of Muskox, which were hunted out in Alaska, but are being re-established from a Greenland herd. They also had some Elk, which they plan to release in the next year as well.

They also had a few head of Caribou and Reindeer and two Grizzlies they obtained as cubs. Those were the only Grizzlies we encountered, and they were behind wire and didn’t seem too interested in us.

All told a good stay, but I despise Delta Airlines and the trip back was far worse than the trip up. One day I’d like to go up and take my bride* and really visit. We simply didn’t have time to take a Glacier trip out of Whittier, and certainly not a trip to Denali, alas. Just enough of a trip to whet the appetite and make me wish I could stay about 2 more weeks.

*She didn’t want me to add “of 40 years.”

Quartermaster Sends

Elk 3Moose 3Musk Ox 1Musk Ox 3Musk Ox SkullOwlBlower Fan with me for scaleBlower engine with kitchen car. Kitchen car used to be a troop car during WW2At least they're honestTurquoise Lake 2Turquoise Lake

Of course, you have to get the hat too.

The Hat



Goodness me…

I think I liked the news better when the power was out.

First Ebola in the US.

One huge, HUGE advantage here is that the hospitals here, even the very worst, are light years beyond the conditions in Africa. The statistical chances of containing an infection are much better. As to individual patient outcomes, the level of nursing care and palliative care is also much, much higher here. There’s a considerable school of thought that this will also greatly lower mortality rates.


The President, while visiting the CDC in Atlanta a while back to discuss Ebola, shared an elevator with an armed man, that the Secret Service didn’t know was armed, and who had a criminal record.

You know, if letting illegal aliens into the Army is such a good idea, maybe we should also assign them to the President’s security detail. It’s not like they could do much worse.



“Planned” Power Outage.

So, the housing development had a planned power outage today, from 9am to just now.

Only no one seems to have bothered to tell us they were planning it.






Phoning it in.

Just a quick test to check the WordPress application on my phone.