What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan?
NOT A NEW PRODUCT THREAD! Just the facts here please! If you want to discuss the pros and cons of a specific figure over another, how your brand is better than another brand or how you found a picture on google which is definitive proof that Rangers wear slippers please take it to the new product threads and argue among the fanboys. Ground rule, be polite. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Opinions supported by facts have more weight than, ”Well, I “think” it should be this way because it’s cool.”
Been inundated with questions about what grunts are wearing in Afghanistan both here and on chat. Decided I would share for those interested in doing research. I make it a point not to comment in new product threads because of the negativity that often follows when I share what I've learned. So to avoid being banned or suspended for defending myself I’m starting this thread for guys to get and share info. If you want to stir the pot please take it to the new product threads. If you come here to start crap and drama it’s obvious to the mods who’s starting what.
Everyone is welcome to share so the community has a source of info for accuracy for those interested in that. Encourage you to include your sources if you can so the reader can weigh the credibility of the info you are sharing.
Now to answer the most common questions.
What are grunts wearing in Afghanistan? (Grunts typically applies to CONVENTIONAL Infantry though I personally expand it to include those troops that make their living outside the wire in direct support of Infabtry units like combat engineers, medics, dog handlers etc.)
Multicam in an ACU cut is what is issued along with a couple of combat shirts. The current issue is four uniforms and two shirts or at least it was according to SGM (Ret) House of the Army’s Rapid Fielding Initiative office as of Sep ’11. Soldiers augment issue with personally purchased gear. It’s few and far between where conventional troops will drop $300 on a crye battle uniform.
MC helmet cover (just like the UCP version but in MC).
Plate carrier vs. IOTV?
Combat troops (those that typically leave the wire) are issued both as of sep’11 discussion I had with PEO Soldier reps. The plate carrier is much more popular according to my clients. Not everyone is infantry though or for one reason or another (shortages, chain of command, vehicle vs. foot patrol) you'll see the IOTV in use on occasion. Often it will be stripped to essentials (no throat or collar pads) and maybe just the groin pad which is a PAIN if you have to climb.
ACU vs. MC kit in Afghanistan? When for what? Confusing!
YES! Starting around Aug ’10 the Army started issuing OCP (Army acronym for MC) to conventional troops deploying to Afghanistan. If you were already there you were likely not to get a set. Venivicivici shared he didn’t get or see MC in OEF until he was relieved by the 101st. I had deploying troops to include the 48th BDE (Ga Nat’l Guard) in my shop that had been issued MC in Aug’10. Why the partial issue/confusion? Many just don’t realize how big the Army is at times. The decision to issue MC isn’t made in a vacuum. Decisions hadn’t been made on pouches, vests, manufacturers etc. When decisions were made quantities didn’t exist and so units were prioritized, some given partial issues, some got nothing etc. Bureaucracy at its best but in defense you have to centralize decisions for organizations as big as the Army. Like we saw when the Army switched to coffee stain kit and later UCP. Looks like It wasn’t until mid ’11 that there were enough MC and late ’11 until troops got issued both plate carriers and IOTVs. Before then the issue of plate carriers was haphazard and included four different types of plate carriers.
Ammo pouch observation.
Seems to be about a 50/50 mix between two mag ammo pouches and shingle/racks. Soldiers are issued both now. They weren’t always so you see a mix. Advantage to shingles is it’s easier to get in/out of vehicles/aircraft in shingles. Less profile. It also helps getting into the narrower doorways of Afghanistan. On the downside they suck up a lot of space on your vest. It’s a personal preference thing. Recent vets might have some more insight. I was told that the Rangers prefer the shingles for the reasons I describe so the thinking is sound and the conventional guys often mimic or learn the same lessons that the operators do.
If this thread/post has been a help please say so. It’s not worth my typing this up if folks don’t care. It also demonstrates that there is an interest in this kind of info as folks participate in the hobby. I encourage any OSW member to PM me but if the mods allow this thread to exist separate from the new product threads this may be a way to share info without the drama of whose brand is better or” I just want to be different or cool” which is FINE. There’s no need to feel threatened if your search for “artistic expression” isn’t exactly the same as most ground truth.
Additional input about weapons, sights (vvv shared some good info in chat last night about sights) is welcome especially if it's bsed on experience or discussions with those that have done it.