Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Taking a Walk with Alice on the Appalachia Trail

October 10, 2017

There it is – looming in your mind like a challenge that has to be answered.  the IMG_0945Appalachia Trail (AT) is a trails 2,190 (sort of) miles through 14 states from Georgia to Maine. Oh and if you forgot to calculate the impact to your body: 464,500 feet is the approximate gain and loss in trail elevation. Cant be that bad right? Hard core airborne, air assault, scout platoon leader, combat tour experienced soldier right? Well maybe – but I choose instead to go walking with ALICE which I have had an intimate relationship since 1988 across long distances, long plane rides, long tank rides throughout Korea, from Germany to Bosnia and throughout Central America.  ALICE and I rode together in Iraq and I carried her sister MOLLE in Afghanistan.  However, I was about to find out that she might not be the best partner to walk with on the AT.

IMG_0949Weighing in at 8 pounds, the Army standard since the Vietnam War, the ALICE Large Combat Field Pack was designed to handle large and heavy loads of ammunition and water from 50  to 70 lbs maximizing “personal comfort and mobility.”  It is designed for soldiers to carry fighting or existence loads and equipment needed for various field conditions. Compared to modern lightweight day packs at about 2 pounds or less (no frame of course) ALICE is a charmer for sure and unique choice on the trail as I found out!

The AT unlike the Pacific Crest Trail is unique in terms of the amount of loose rock and nearly vertical climbs and then steep descents. Walking on rock as opposed to sand, light gravel or pine needles is a completely different terrain.  The other planning item of note is your expectations?  Are you a day hiker, weekend or a thru hiker.  Doesn’t really matter because you don’t need the ability toIMG_0955 really pack for an “outback” experience which the 2,800 cube inches storage ALICE gives you.  If you are moving towards an objective with 3 days supplies and the expectation of a firefight then yes ALICE is your girl. However, while some particular stretches of the AT might be remote outback hiking, most of the trail (at least the beginning states) are usually pretty close to some road or town along the way were you can get off the trail, catch a ride and find someplace to recover.

Now this isn’t to say that you cant get badly hurt on the AT and you should be prepared, but I ‘ think entrenching tools, hatchets, full steel propane canisters, pots and pans or extra clothing are not required.  On the AT lighter is better – oh and a good map reconnaissance to ensure you know your daily hike lengths, where the shelters and a where to locate water.

So will I continue to bring ALICE along for my section hike on my next leg?  For me yes because I am comfortable with the frame and strap set up – however, I will calculate the trail length and details. My next section will focus on Blood Mountain adjacent to Slaughter Creek/AT/Jarrard Gap. From the http://www.georgiatrails.com/gt/at_woody_gap_to_neels_gap website, I found a reference to when the Cherokee Indians first began to migrate to Georgia a battle took place here, hence the name Slaughter Gap. Other geographical names (Blood and Slaughter Mountain) in the area were related to this battle. “A 1951 archaeological expedition found evidence of both Creek and Cherokee Indians in the gap, however, they could not determine the extent of the conflict or even estimate a date.”

The next section hike is planned as Woody gap over Blood Mountain to Neels gap as a distance of 10.6 miles but with an elevation gain of 1,400 feet.  This section hike reaches the Blood Mountain summit climbing 1400 feet elevation to 4459 feet, the Blood Mountain is the Appalachian Trail’s highest-elevation ascent in Georgia. Good time ahead especially during the late fall time period! Don’t forget to bring coffee!

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Overcoming Barriers: What I Learned in the Army

August 21, 2017

Barriers – we all face them. As a manager and everyday person we all face challenges in getting what we need or want to get accomplished.  Whether you call them hidden doorbarriers, obstacles, obstructions, hurdles, a stumbling block, being  blocked, impeded, hindered, or just simply facing a response of “NO!”  Something as simple as providing direction to a co-worker such as “make an appointment with  such and such person” results in many cases a first response back “I couldn’t reach them.”  And then the matter is returned to you the manager.  To me it really doesn’t matter if this is the initial response or one of a dozen different excuses (which may be true) as to why we couldn’t make the appointment or get the task accomplished.

This discussion here is to share a training method called the “chair” I created while as the Battalion Logistics Office (S4) in Germany and working with more junior personnel. In this role I was constantly asked to take on and solve other peoples problem because I was the “leader.”  Well being the leader doesn’t mean you solve all the problems, just the ones that seems to be more difficult (even then a group approach usually works better).

social-mediaSo here is how it works. A chair is usually available in most situations to use as a training aide. Lets say you assign a task for a co-worker to get in touch with a certain person to either provide needed information or to gain needed information. Your co-worker assigned the task goes out and then comes back to update you that “no,” in fact they did not get in touch with said person. So now the discussion begins – “why didn’t you get in touch with said person?” Possible responses although not limited to include:

  • Person was not in the office
  • person did not answer the phone
  • Person was in the office but didn’t want to talk to me
  • Person didn’t return my email, tweet, snapchat, instagram, facebook message.
  • I couldn’t find their office
  • They moved their office
  • Their office was closed

Well, you get the picture – there are a thousand and one excuses – I mean reasons why the task or any task was not accomplished. Its usually at this point the co-worked comes back to report and pass the task back to the leader for resolution.  Oh not so fast!

Here is the beauty of this simple technique.  Begin by asking the follow on questions telephoneto the excuse (insert excuse here) they lead with.  For instance, “person was not in.”  Question; “did you seek to speak with some one else, did you ask when the primary person would return, did you leave a message that you need to see them and would return at a specific time, did you get their cell phone number, did you ask where they were at this time?” These questions will normally result in your co-worker going back out to seek the resolution to these  questions.

NoUTurnNext – when you coworker come back again and indicates they still could not complete the task , you again ask why (in no case do not  as the leader accept responsibility to “just do it myself”).  This time the responses to failure might be something about the office or the phone or no-one there.  So this time you ask about who was in the office, you ask about email, you ask about telephone contact, you ask about alternative points of contact. Here is where the chair comes in.

wall ladderAs you are discussing the task reference a chair.  In this case explain that overcoming barriers is a lot like getting past a chair. The chair is the barrier to getting to your task completed.  In discussing the challenge your co-worker usually approaches the task straight ahead. I usually then ask if following their initial repulse, did they try another approach? In this case I ask if the co-worker tried to go to the left of the chair; if not then I suggest that they first try another path. If this path is not viable then I recommend trying to go around to the alternative side.  If in this case the co-worker is not successful, they should then try to go under the proverbial chair or in this case to go over the chair. 

chair 3 The bottom line is that until the co-worker has tried to go to the left, to the right, over the top and under the obstacle, then I ask the co-worker to not come back to me and tell me they cannot accomplish the task.  This is their task to accomplish not mine, when they have exhausted all alternatives, then come back and lets talk about it.  Normally, by this point the co-worker has figured out a way to accomplish the task themselves. In the future the co-worker will have more confidence to solve problems instead of coming back to the leader after their first rejection. 

 

 

 

INVISTA CORDURA® Fabrics for Defense IDEX 2017

February 9, 2017

From Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India, INVISTA CORDURA® Fabric known as a leading fabric brand for militaries across the globe will show latest fabrics for military gear and apparel at IDEX 2017. IDEX is the international defense exhibition and conference for unmanned systems and technologies and takes place February 19 to 23, 2017, within the Abu Dhabi national exhibition center, in UAE.idex-2017

New hardwearing and versatile soldier systems fabric technologies will be displayed at the CORDURA® Fabric  booth in Hall 7, booth A02 and include:

  •  Fabrics featuring the new patent-pending CORDURA® Fabric qualifying INVISTA T420HT fiber
  • Solution Dyed Nylon (SDN) technologies with built-in NIR/SWIR reflectance capabilities
  • FR (flame retardant)-coated CORDURA® Fabric polyamides for protective vests
  • lightweight comfort CORDURA® Fabric Nyco Tactical uniform fabric

11-ocp-photo-courtesy-of-cordura-brand

First in a suite of many product improvements for 2017 and targeting next generation durable uniform fabrics, the new T420HT is a state-of-the-art, patent-pending high tenacity staple fibre. For the complete details please see http://www.technicaltextile.net/news/cordura-to-show-fabrics-for-defence-at-idex-2017-expo-204001.html

From the CORDURA® Fabric website at http://www.cordura.com the company for nearly 50 years, been driving military textile innovation with performance solutions featured in both fabrics and webbings used extensively in combat gear, such as CORDURA® Fabric SDN yarn technology. These solutions are suitable for use in load carriage equipment, boots, body armor covers, knee/elbow pads, and other similar tactical gear.  http://www.cordura.com/en/press-releases/news_cordura_announces_durable_fiber_breakthrough.html

Future Soldier Technology Conference

January 22, 2017
cotton-polymer-yarn-detail-v2

From polymer to finished product

repost from SMi announcing that BlackBox Biometrics, Invista textiles (Cordura brand fabrics), Revision Military, Marom-Dolphin, Sea Systems Engineering, Ultra Electronics and Harris Corporation are key soonsors.

March attendees can expect and interactive format where “No Attendees only participants”. Unlike other events, Future Soldier Technology is marketed around a combination of panel discussions and focused discussion groups, which are run by two chairmen – experts in soldier Technology.

As the only conference in Europe solely dedicated to enhancing soldier modernisation programmes this year, the conference will explore the greatest challenges and next generation solutions that are enabling infantry to conduct operations in today’s and tomorrow’s battlefields.

Key topics include: lightening the load and analysis of space for components, power and energy, body armour and night vision, communications and common integrated architecture.

Expert speakers for 2017 include senior representatives from: British Army, Infantry Trials and Development Unit, United States Marine Corps, US Army Northern Warfare Training Center, Canadian Forces, UK MoD, PEO Soldier, DSTL, United States Marine Corps, Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency, T N O Human Factors Research Institute, Thales, Rheinmetall Electronics and many more.

There will also be two post-conference workshops on: ‘How to Do Business with the British Army for Soldier Modernisation’ and ‘Black Swans and Soldier Programme Management: A Look inside the US Army Technology and Equipment Acquisitions from Capability Setting To Procurement’.

For those interested in attending Future Soldier Technology 2017, register online by 31st January to receive a £100 discount.

Future Soldier Technology 2017, 13th and 14th March 2017, London, United Kingdom

INVISTA CORDURA® Fabric Participates in Military Conferences 2017

January 9, 2017

idex-2017ABU DHABI — IDEX Conference 2017, part of the International Defense Exhibition & Conference (IDEX 2017) and Naval Defense Exhibition (NAVDEX 2017), draws participation of leading security and defense decision makers as well as military program managers from across the world.

Themed Disrupting Innovation in Defense and Security , the conference will be held ahead of IDEX and NAVDEX 2017 at the headquarters of the National Archives in Abu Dhabi on Feb. 18.  The http://saudigazette.com.sa/ reports that this conference will include three keynote sessions:

  1. Disruptive Emerging Technology and Innovation: A New Military Paradigm,
  2. The Next Big Leap in Cyber Defense,
  3. Defense and Security Control/Mitigate Multiple Disruptions.

Register ahead to participate in the conference sessions under the following link: https://secure10.eventadv.com/IDEX/registration/ConferenceReg.aspx?eventid=22fiber-to-yarn-to-fabric-and-product

Bates’ Recondo Boot – engineered to beat the Jungle’s first contact

October 6, 2015

Repost of the recent blog on http://www.cordura.com/en/tactical-products/Bates_Recondo_Boot_FP.htmlBates Jungle Boot

Built to engage and defeat the Jungle’s first ground contact, Bates Footwear engineered the Recondo Boot with the “nastiness” of the Jungle in mind. Teaming highly durable and quick drying 500D CORDURA® nylon fabric construction with a Vibram® lug sole that is built to maneuver and rival the snags, tears, slips and stabs the jungle throws at you.

jungle floor

The Recondo Boot overcomes the tropical environment at the ground level with fast drying materials an engineered Vibram® multilayer sole, and webbing collar so it’s all about durability, secure footing and fast dry time. The Bates Recondo Boot is available now in olive Mojave, olive Mojave Multicam® and Multicam® Black. Defeat the jungle’s environment with your first foot on the ground by lacing up a pair of Bates’ Recondo Boots.

Shop online at: http://www.batesfootwear.com/US/en/recondo-boot/20152M.html?ref=boots&dwvar_20152M_color=E01497#q=boots&start=1