5th Special Forces Group Changes Unit Flash

On 23 March 2016, 5th Special Forces Group brought back a piece of history by switching back to their original crest worn during the Vietnam Era.  The Group’s Commander, Col. Leahy, noted that they change was designed to honor the 786 Special Forces soldiers killed during Vietnam.

2016 also marks the 55th anniversary of 5th Special Forces Group.  In 1961 the group wore a solid black flash but in 1964 they added the yellow and red stripes to symbolize 1st and 7th Special Forces Group as well as the unit’s service in Vietnam.  In 1984 the flash was reverted back to the original solid black flash.

Old Flash

 

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New Flash

5th-Special-Forces-Group-Flash

Military Readiness In The Age of Terrorism

“We must depend in every time of national peril, in the future as in the past, not upon a standing army, nor yet upon a reserve army, but upon a citizenry trained and accustomed to arms. We should encourage such training and make it a means of discipline, which our young men will learn to value.”

-President Woodrow Wilson

cmtc1Military readiness in the age of terrorism is a hotly debated topic.  Concerns of force reductions, budget cuts, and the lack of suitable military recruits confront military and political leadership every day.  From the tone of the debate, it would almost seem that these difficulties are being experienced for the first time.  However, a review of history would show that America was having remarkably similar debates almost one hundred years ago prior to America’s entrance into World War I, and then again in the lull between the Great War and World War II.

The Preparedness Movement was a group of Americans, led by former President Theodore Roosevelt and General Leonard Wood, that advocated for a build-up of American forces during the beginning of World War I.  The movement didn’t necessarily advocate for the build-up as a prelude to war, instead they advocated from a purely defensive position, arguing that the German army and navy were far superior to America’s.  One of the key positions of the movement was universal military training, including mandatory military service for all males.  The original Preparedness Movement failed in many of its goals, as the military budget did not increase for several years, and universal service (not the same as the draft) was never implemented.

Once Again, France Finds Itself The Victim of Terrorism

An offshoot of the Preparedness Movement was the Plattsburgh camps, which were voluntary military training for military aged males.  Volunteers that attended were trained in military skills, but had to pay their own way and incurred no mandatory service time.  By 1916, graduates of the camps (which started as two camps but now numbered as many as twelve) had organized under the banner of the Military Training Camps Association, and managed to get funding inserted into the National Defense Act authorizing government funding for the camps.

During World War I, the camps were used as officers training camps for the active Army, but in the post-war era, the camps returned to their original purpose, training civilian males.  In 1920, the War Department formally budgeted and organized the training camps, with plans to train 11,000 men – applications were more than quadruple the open slots.  By 1924, as many as 86,000 men had completed one of these camps, now called Citizens’ Military Training Camps (CMTC).  The camps were targeted at males aged 17-24, and were conducted over the course of four years – one month each year.  Called Basic, Red, White, and Blue, the camps were completely paid for by the government, including all transportation, uniforms, and supplies.  The Basic course taught essential military discipline, and graduates could progress through the other courses, increasing their specialty knowledge in military branch skills such as artillery and infantry.  Graduates who completed all four courses could earn a commission as a second lieutenant, however, records for the time are incomplete and do not contain a complete listing of the number of attendees, graduates, and commissions from the camps.  It is estimated that over 400,000 men received training during the life of the CMTC, including Ronald Reagan, Chuck Yeager, and “Wild Bill” Guarnere.

Terrorism Strikes Bangladesh

With the entry of the United States into World War II, the CMTC program ended, and the restructuring of the military in the early stages of the Cold War ended any further efforts at universal military training.

Photo credit Arkansas National Guard Museum
Photo credit Arkansas National Guard Museum

Further reading:

http://1-22infantry.org/history/cmtcpartone.htm

http://www.indianamilitary.org/FtHarrison/CMTC/CMTC.htm

http://www.dix.army.mil/history/history.html

http://dmna.ny.gov/forts/fortsM_P/plattsburghBarracks.htm

http://www.worldwar1.com/tgws/rel011.htm

About the author

Joel is an 11 year veteran of the US Coast Guard, where he has served at various units including the International Training Division and Maritime Security Response Team. He has held qualifications including Deployable Team Leader/Instructor, Direct Action Section Team Leader, and Precision Marksman – Observer. He has deployed/instructed on five continents and served in quick reaction force roles for multiple National Special Security Events in the US. He is the owner of Hybrid Defensive Strategies, LLC in Chesapeake, VA, and can be contacted on Facebook and Instagram. Any opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the US Coast Guard or the US Government.

How To Choose And Mount A Rifle Sling

IMG_8770 (2)A sling is to a rifle what a holster is to a pistol, and more. It allows the user to stow the weapon out of the way when they need their hands for other pursuits while keeping it handy, and can also assist in bracing the rifle for more accurate shots when precision is in high demand. In the world of slings, there are no shortage of individual brands and models, but there are really only three overall types of slings: single point, two point, and three point. To decide which one is best for you, you need to understand the primary advantages and disadvantages of each:

Single point slings – these attach to a rifle at (wait for it…) a single point, typically at the back of the lower receiver through a specialized receiver end plate. Of all the sling types, the single point allows the greatest maneuverability to the user, especially in tight quarter scenarios such as CQB or vehicles. However, this maneuverability comes at a cost, in that single point slings are notoriously hard to secure.

Because of its attachment method, the rifle on a single point is basically a pendulum with a bullet in it unless in the shooter’s hands or in a retention device. This is especially important if your job requires lots of hands-free tasks like handling prisoners or carrying equipment or injured members. For example, if you are a police officer, it can make your life more complicated from a paperwork standpoint if you bend over to handcuff a suspect and your pendulum plants its front sight into the suspect’s forehead. The single point sling’s design also tends to cause the rifle to center itself during weapons transitions or movement, which can interfere with transitions, or just generally cause discomfort as it bounces about merrily while you move and smacks you in your most sensitive point repeatedly.

Photo Mar 21, 16 57 13Two point slings – yeah, they attach at two points. More importantly, they attach at two points of your choosing, meaning that they provide more security than a single point, but you can also change up your mounting points to find the balance of stability and maneuverability that works for you. These are not the old WWII era two point slings, so remove that image from your mind, although they do still allow many of the traditional stabilizing methods for precision shooting. Now, you will give up some maneuverability, especially if you run your sling over/under a shoulder, but if you plan on having to use your hands frequently, the security provided by slinging your rifle and tightening it down cannot be matched by a single point on its best day. I tend to run my attachment points on the buttstock and just behind my VFG, which pulls the rifle tight to me when slung, but doesn’t interfere with my grips or the rifle’s controls.

How The US Army Manual On Rifle and Carbine Was Developed According To The Guy Who Wrote It

Three point slings – a three point sling is really nothing more than a two point with an extra strip of webbing that runs alongside the rifle and connects the two attachment points. For security, there is none better. For everything else, you really gain nothing from a three point that you can’t get from a two point with significantly less hassle. So, if you want to be really, really secure, and aren’t all that worried about maneuverability or the fact that you have a random strip of webbing laying across your bolt catch, feel free to use a three point. Sarcasm aside, are there legitimate uses for a three point? Probably, but they are specialty applications that aren’t going to be of use to your average shooter.

Now, while I said at the beginning that there are only three major types of slings, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the convertible slings available on the market that allow you to convert your two point sling into single point configuration as needed. Several major manufacturers make them now, so if you work in an environment that may drive the need for both single and two point slings, and don’t feel like purchasing, keeping up with, and switching out two separate slings, convertible slings may be for you. You may lose some flexibility in mounting positions, and most are not designed to be converted from one to the other under stress, but they are a legitimate option.

How To Set Up Your Rifle Lights

As with any gear, let mission drive your choice, and practice with it until you can use it efficiently.  Don’t let hype drive your choice, and be realistic about the fact that like a holster, you may end up buying several slings before you find the one that works best for you.

About the author

Joel is an 11 year veteran of the US Coast Guard, where he has served at various units including the International Training Division and Maritime Security Response Team. He has held qualifications including Deployable Team Leader/Instructor, Direct Action Section Team Leader, and Precision Marksman – Observer. He has deployed/instructed on five continents and served in quick reaction force roles for multiple National Special Security Events in the US. He is the owner of Hybrid Defensive Strategies, LLC in Chesapeake, VA, and can be contacted on Facebook and Instagram. Any opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the US Coast Guard or the US Government.

Here’s Why You Should Wear Ranger Panties

Back in the day, the predecessor to the Ranger Panties, Silkies, whatever you want to call them, was arguably UDT shorts. Everyone had some short shorts back then because they weren’t offended by knee caps and thighs like we are now.  Back then men showed off those lightly bronzed hams and fought off women with a stick (By stick, we mean their junk.)

But Frogmen proudly rocked UDT shorts, and no one said a thing because they were out slaying bodies and single-handedly impregnating any female that got within a 10-foot radius of them.  They were men, they wore short shorts and did it in style.

 

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Nonetheless, these short shorts were a sense of pride for these pipe hitters, and they wore them with honor.  As the years progressed FRG (family readiness group, mainly the annoying wives club of the military that causes more issues than chlamydia) grew stronger,  high ranking officer’s wives who saw men running through their neighborhoods, one-eyed snakes bouncing about, began to complain.  The shorts were soon perceived as offensive, and the men were required to wear longer shorts that left them feeling like more of a eunuch than a hog hanging, gun-toting, freedom dispensing warrior.  As the years progressed only the beloved Marine Corps held onto the time honor tradition of displaying that blue veined custard shooter when conducting physical fitness, but alas, they too caved into the unjust societal norms.

marines_run

While the mainstream military slowly phased out Ranger Panties, one small group of men held on to those great satin dick sheets and these were the men of Special Operations.  As wearing silkies became a trade, Rangers, Green Berets, MARSOC, and Navy SEALs saw it as a badge of honor and began to wear the shorts as a sign of rebellion.  Like teenagers acting out against their parents, SOF Operators fought the oppressive leadership and demanded their right to wear garments that make them feel like men.  They soon pushed the bounds, wearing silkies not only during PT but also out in public and even in combat.

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Today we carry on this time-honored tradition of wearing ranger panties, and we continually push the bounds while strutting our stuff, regardless of body size, shape, and figure.  While our girlfriends and or wives act disgusted at our choice of attire, they are attempting to suppress their mounting desire that floods their body in an overbearing fashion, leaving them unable to control themselves and their sexual lust.

6 Stocking Stuffers Perfect For The Tactical Man

You may be asking yourself  “Should I have a pair of ranger panties?” Well,, that depends on:…

Do you want to have a cloud wrapped around your waist?

Do you want to have people slow clap for you when you enter a public place?

Do you want to get more ass than a toilet seat?

Do you ever want to be referred to as a sexual tyrannosaurus?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then yes, you should absolutely have a pair of ranger panties.

Besides, why should our society somehow think to believe it is acceptable for some fat chick, whose turd cutter looks like two pigs fighting over a tootsie roll, to wear a pair of disgustingly tight yoga pants that seem to be hanging on for dear life?

And why is it not ok for us men to wear a pair of shorts that make most married women question their marital fidelity.

Molecule-Ranger-Panties

Want a pair of your own Ranger Panties?  We guarantee an increase in right swipes on Tinder by 150%. You can thank us later. 

Why The Military Is Out Of Shape And It’s Our Leader’s Fault

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Our military is fat, out of shape and our leaders seem to think it’s ok.  This trend is following society’s trend with almost 1 in 3 adults being too fat to serve.  As our ranks gain weight, their physical fitness standards are beginning to lower.  Recently the US Navy changed the overweight limit for sailors after almost 1/3 of all Navy personnel couldn’t maintain the regulations.  While this may help retain personnel, it is setting a precedent that it’s ok to be overweight.

While it’s easy to blame the service members themselves for being overweight the responsibility ultimately falls on the leadership.  The issues begin with physical fitness and the food being served to service members.  In many military dining facilities (DFACs) the food is deep-fried, carbohydrate-heavy and generally unhealthy to help keep down overall food costs.  In the end, feeding a military is expensive and even more so when you stray away from filling, cheap foods such as spaghetti, bread, and rice. However, the military ultimately pays a higher price with medical bills and VA claims derived from soldiers being obese or unhealthy due to a poor diet.  If the military wants to fix the obesity problem it should begin in the dining facilities.  If the only options available to the soldiers are poor tasting healthy food or semi-delicious unhealthy food, the soldiers will go for the latter.

The military also needs to look at how they label foods.  In the current DFACs, food is labeled as high performance, medium performance, and low performance.  The military suggests eating high/medium performance foods often and little performance foods only occasionally.  The issue here is things like spaghetti, rice, bread, and carbohydrate-rich foods are listed as high performance while protein-rich foods such as steak are listed as low performance.  This causes soldiers to think that eating foods that are high in carbohydrates on a regular basis will allow them to maintain a healthy diet.  In addition, the PX/BX offers ample amounts of sugary energy drinks, chips, and candy with a small selection of healthy snacks.  This is even more prevalent when on deployment.  AFN airs commercials about health issues associated with energy drinks and then the PX offers a whole wall of them with no healthy alternatives.

What’s the Deal With the Combat Fitness Deck?

While foods are a large contributor to the overall weight issue, physical fitness also lacks.  In theory, if anyone were to workout daily, as is required in the military, then they should at least maintain a decent body fat ratio and physical fitness standard.  However, our military is entering an era where we don’t want to make our service members work hard in fear of being cruel or unfair.  Physical fitness sessions now stray from the past where soldiers were thrashed on a daily basis and ate strict diets designed to maintain weight loss.  Instead, physical fitness often consists of team sports, walking or other low-intensity workouts that can’t compensate for the poor diets consumed.   If you want to lose weight and be in shape, workout hard…  It’s literally that easy.

Again, the blame here falls on the leaders.  Yes, you, fat NCO/officer reading this blog, you are the one to blame.  If you are fat then you don’t have any leg to stand on when your subordinates become out of shape as well.  The reality is being fit breeds excellence, it breeds pride and it produces warriors.  As much as I hate the Crossfit cult it does prove that fitness breeds a certain mentality.  Very seldom do people look at the hardcore Crossfit athletes and comment on how big of pussies they are.  Even among the compression socks, annoying discussions of WODs and constant FB posts about their PRs they still have self-pride and the physical capabilities that should be required for military service.   If this physical fitness standard were to permeate through the military we might be able to regain some self-worth and begin to breed warriors again.

Top apps for operational fitness

So what can we do to fix this issue?

Well, for one the US military needs to change the food available to military personnel drastically.  There is no reason any service member should return from a deployment fat and out of shape.  This is the perfect place to start since the military can control the diet of troops and there is typically more than enough time for daily PT.   Even CONUS DFACs should change the food provided to the service members to help encourage healthy eating.  Also, more education should be given to the troops regarding PT, diet and how to maintain a healthy physical fitness level.

Next, the military needs to change the physical fitness standards and stick to them.  Let’s face it, pushups, sit-ups and a short run are not an accurate measure of physical fitness, especially when it comes to combat.  Service members need to be tested on and held to a standard on combat related exercises such as sprinting, rucking, pull-ups (necessary for urban movement), leg and back strength (used to carry wounded) and other movements that include a soldier’s kit.  If a service member is unable to pass the standards they should be given time to correct their issues and then let go if they fail to meet the norm.

Test Your Fitness with This Special Forces PT Test

Finally, leaders need to stop being lazy when it comes to PT.  Nothing is more demoralizing than seeing your new PL or NCOIC show up and be out of shape, fat and frumpy.  In reality, leaders should be held to the standard even more strictly than the lower enlisted since they are the ones who are supposed to lead by example.  In the end, many of the physical fitness standards remain because fat officers and NCOs wouldn’t be able to stay in the military if they changed.

How To Set Up Your Rifle Lights

A pistol light pulling double duty as a 9 o'clock mounted rifle light. With this rail and barrel combo, expect shadows at the 3 o'clock.
A pistol light pulling double duty as a 9 o’clock mounted rifle light. With this rail and barrel combo, expect shadows at the 3 o’clock.

So when last we met, we discussed setting up optics and iron sights on your rifle.  This week, let’s talk about lights.  I personally believe that lights are essential for any rifle used for self-defense or law enforcement.  While they can have drawbacks (improper use can alert your adversary to your location and movement), you need to be able to identify your target before you engage it, and you can’t identify it if you can’t see it.  There is any number of reputable light manufacturers in the United States today, so I won’t focus on recommending specific lights.  Instead, I’ll focus on the practical aspects of setting up your lights – considerations for picking a light and considerations for mounting a light.

A handheld 3-cell flashlight in a forward-set mount that helps minimize shadows. The controls are press for momentary, click for constant on.
A handheld 3-cell flashlight in a forward-set mount that helps minimize shadows. The controls are press for momentary, click for constant on.

As with anything, mission drives the gear.  For example, if you’re focusing on home defense and you most likely won’t be spending a lot of time having to carry your gun, you may opt for a larger, heavier flashlight with more lumens.  If you’re focusing on patrol, working a perimeter, or spending hours clearing rooms in a team, you may want to compromise on a light with fewer lumens, but less weight you have to lug around, such as a single CR123 light.  Rail real estate might also be a consideration.  A rifle with a carbine length gas system and fixed front sight base only has about 7 inches of real estate per rail, and when you look at the gear that may need to be mounted – such as a sling swivel, possibly a laser aiming device, flashlight, maybe a tape switch, foregrip – that seven inches can get filled up really quickly, so a smaller light not only shaves weight but real estate demands.  If you have a rail system that runs almost to the muzzle, however, you have all the space in the world for accessories and size may not be such a concern (don’t get carried away – just because you have space doesn’t mean it has to be filled).  How do you want to control the light?  Some weapons lights are available with tape switches, some have only push buttons/levers.  Some (most) have momentary and constant on modes, but how do you activate those two functions – twist, push tape?

Pistol light in the 12 o'clock position.
Pistol light in the 12 o’clock position.

The considerations for choosing a light also play into the mounting of the light.  A longer barrel with a short rail can lead to shadows opposite the light’s mounting position – a light mounted on the left side of the gun can cast a shadow on objects on the right side (three o’clock) and vice versa.  A longer rail can help with this issue, allowing the light to be mounted much farther forward (shorter barrels work too, but they’re not always an option).  Mounting the light higher, close to the twelve o’clock position can help by pushing the shadow down toward the five to seven o’clock area depending on mounting side.  While you will still have a shadow, the light will be available in the upper and side portions of your viewing area, allowing you to see hands, weapons, facial features, identification, etc.  Some shooters like to mount the light on the top rail at the twelve o’clock position, but this can be detrimental or impossible depending on your front sight base, rails, and optic setup (a lower mounted optic’s field of view would be partially obscured by a twelve o’clock mount).

Three different light positions, from L to R: 9 o'clock mount, 12 o'clock mount, mounted at muzzle.
Three different light positions, from L to R: 9 o’clock mount, 12 o’clock mount, mounted at muzzle.
The 12 o'clock mount as viewed through a lower 1/3 cowitness. If the optic were mounted lower, the light would impinge on field of vision.
The 12 o’clock mount as viewed through a lower 1/3 cowitness. If the optic were mounted lower, the light would impinge on field of vision.

If longer rails, shorter barrels, or twelve o’clock mounting are all out of the question, the use of a mount that sets the light forward at the one or eleven o’clock positions are an option.  If you choose to run a tape switch, where will you mount the switch?  You could mount it on a vertical foregrip (VFG), or you could mount it on a rail.  Mounting it on the foregrip means you’ll need a solid grip there to activate it, whereas mounting on a rail means you could use the C-grip (not the crazy, over-the-top-locked-out one) and still activate your light easily.  Mounting on the top rail would also allow you to activate the light with either hand if you need to switch shoulders.  If you decide to run a push-button light, can you activate it with either hand?

Dedicated rifle light mounted at the 11 'clock, just behind the muzzle. Pressure pad control is mounted at 12 o'clock.
Dedicated rifle light mounted at the 11 ‘clock, just behind the muzzle. Pressure pad control is mounted at 12 o’clock.

My personal setup is a single CR123 light mounted at the eleven o’clock, almost even with the muzzle device.  This eliminates almost all shadow from the barrel/muzzle device.  It has a tape switch momentary activation, which I have mounted at the twelve o’clock.  It also has the capability of a twist constant on if the pressure pad fails.  I use a modified C-grip, with my last three fingers of my hand on the VFG, my index under the rail, and my thumb on top of the rail.  The twelve o’clock allows me to activate the light with my thumb no matter which hand is on the VFG.

As always, I hope this has been useful to you.  There are a lot of variables when choosing a weapon light, and lights aren’t cheap.  Think carefully about your requirements, try out your buddy’s lights if you can, and make an informed purchase, then get out there and practice your manipulation!

About the author

Joel is an 11 year veteran of the US Coast Guard, where he has served at various units including the International Training Division and Maritime Security Response Team. He has held qualifications including Deployable Team Leader/Instructor, Direct Action Section Team Leader, and Precision Marksman – Observer. He has deployed/instructed on five continents and served in quick reaction force roles for multiple National Special Security Events in the US. He is the owner of Hybrid Defensive Strategies, LLC in Chesapeake, VA, and can be contacted on Facebook and Instagram. Any opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the US Coast Guard or the US Government.

This Is The Best Customer Email We Have Ever Received

Every year we receive thousands of customer emails, some encouraging, some from upset customers and some are from some fairly interesting individuals.  We wanted to share a few of our all time favorites.   We have left out the customer’s email and name for their own privacy.

This email was in response to our GFY Patch (shown below).

GFYBK_1

from: XXXXX  XXXXXX <XXXXX@hotmail.com>
to: info@refactortactical.com
date: Sun, Mar 4, 2012 at 9:38 PM
subject: Want Some Help?

 

Hey Crew,

 

My name is XXXXXX and I know something about Arabic and SOF (Google me and you’ll find out all you need to know), I am an ex-secret squirrel-type (I am NOT a SEAL). I lecture at the international spy museum in Washington DC so that’s all you should need to know.

 

  1. What my bio doesn’t say is that I was  the main original source for the SOC to supply them with both pre-and post 9/11 tactical Arabic prisoner handling language materials, particularly developed for Naval Special Warfare.  I created for both the NSWC and SOF Language Office the prisoner handling cards used by almost all the Tier one and NSW units after 9/11.  I made them in 9 languages including Arabic, Pashto and Dari … so that’s me. See some attached samples of POW cards in phonetics and Arabic script.  If you were SOF you most likely saw these years before the pointee-talkee cards arrived.
  1. Unfortunately, your shirts do not say “Go fuck Yourself” in any language … Go Fuck Yourself in Arabic is actually said “Fuck Your Mother’s Pussy.”  Literally Go Fuck Yourself is “Neek Nefsik”  I am sure every 98G (military Arabic linguist) in the world is writing to tell you that right now.
  1. The reason I am telling you all of this is I can not only unscrew your Arabic but can give you the correct offensive sayings as well as the shirts we made up in the first and subsequent Gulf wars.

For example: in 1991 I handled Iraqi prisoners captured by the SEALs.  Our Intelligence team made T-Shirts that said “If you can read this then you are a Prisoner of War… Welcome Aboard!”.

The prisoners loved them and actually cooperated better. We also had a very, very, very offensive “Prisoner Use of Obscenity” card with all of the naughty Arabic saying prisoners would use or vice versa … ONLY T-1 operators received this card in the GWOT – our cards made the first Jump into Afghanistan with the Rangers and OGAs.

So I am going to make you an offer.  Lets put an end to T-Shirts that just make Arabs laugh at our ignorance … I can help you make some real ones that actually say something like “You Push Sand With Your Chest” (Libyan dialect for being Gay … well you get it).   I have reams of materials in numerous languages from Farsi to Pashto to Somali.

I operate out of the UAE and moving between Iraq and Libya so getting you the absolutely correct Arabic is easy and you can crank out some even more stupendous t-shirts.

Let me know what you think.