In that bag we drag: as with all aspects of defence equipment, the clothing, hand-held weapons, electronics, camouflage gear and protective systems have taken quantum leaps in terms of technological advancement within the past ten years. There has never been so many options for keeping the foot dry and an eye on the situation.

Author:Keggler, Johnny
Position:Complete Guide

Ranger Rick F. Tscherne, in his Ranger Digest IX, writes, >. With this phrase he was referring to the myriad tips, tricks and outdoor survival techniques he provides for the Special Operations team member who is searching for 'last resort' survival ideas. This little booklet is full of tried and trusted methods of how to, for example, create a solar water bottle still or make a field expedient compass from a piece of wire and a nail, of the many things to do with a used parachute and how to make a pair of snow shoes.

Ranger Rick's tips could be considered last resort survival techniques that most Special Operations personnel will never have to use, mainly because today's equipage cover all areas of soldier survival--but when all else fails one must return to the basics.

Therefore, a basic overview of a few equipment types available to the Special Operations teams is what follows.

And with the basics is a good place to begin--at the bottom. Keeping the foot warm, dry and comfortable is the foundation of these basics. Military footwear has evolved to where Gore-Tex (weatherproofing, warmth and breathability) and Vibram soles (offering stable footing on most terrains and chemical resistance) are standard on most selections.

Companies such as Matterhorn and even Bates manufacture specialised boots for jungle, mountain and desert environs, and many commercial shoemakers design and sell 'military grade' boots, but it is the specialised manufacturers, such as Poland's Kupczak, that offer specific boots for daily work and extreme conditions. This company's boots are sold to the Special Forces of certain countries, some troops in Kosovo and Polish Border Patrols.

Battery-powered socks and even heating inserts may well be available, but nothing replaces warm, sturdy, weatherproof footwear.

From Bottom to Top

Headgear for the black shirts is somewhat limited to patrol caps, boonie hats and helmets, but a few inches lower and one encroaches on possibly the most important area of the body that requires protection--the eyes.

Canada's Revision Military has published a document covering ocular injuries in the armed forces. The report notes that almost 67 per cent of those with eye injuries did not wear eye protection at the time of the injury, and that the injured lost an average of 5.9 work days at a mean cost of $ 6295. Also mentioned is that >. However, in Operation Desert Storm, ocular injury accounted for 13 per cent of total combat injuries.

On contract to the Canadian military for over C$ four million worth of eye protection, Revision offers its Sawfly solution, which is an impact-resistant shield that weighs 28.8 grams. The quick-change lenses are made of 'indestructible', optical-grade...

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