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Afghanistan: Lessons Learned (merged)

daftandbarmy

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putz said:
Just got back from 1-08.  One of the best peices of kit that I got was the Camelbak Backpack.  Pick it up at the PX.  Once I had mine I never used the day bag again, the best part.....  With some playing around you can fit another 3 Liter bladder into it as well, that means 6 liters without having to play around with kit or re-fill bladders every 5 or so hours (thats of course when I was carrying the pack).  The big thing to learn is be it light infantry or mech, you'll be doing both, however, in some cases A LOT of light infantry patrolling and engagements (without LAV support).  Something that during workup training we did little of.

Good point about the mech vs. dismounted preparation during workup. Every good General likes to think they're either Rommel or Patton.

If you had to do it all over again, what would the 'ideal' blend of training look like?
 

putz

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daftandbarmy said:
Good point about the mech vs. dismounted preparation during workup. Every good General likes to think they're either Rommel or Patton.

If you had to do it all over again, what would the 'ideal' blend of training look like?
I would do some mechanized however, I would do the basics as well ( I know I know its the tired but true "Back to the Basics") cause something as simple as keeping proper spacing during a patrol can save lives ( I can think of one incident where my buddy said that proper spacing during a patrol saved his life when a comrade stepped on a APM).  Reaction to enemy ambush, and other various small things (not always relying on assests etc).  Don't get me wrong we were VERY WELL TRAINED and the training program works, and we did learn before we left,  it just needs some more tweaking.
 

Bruce Monkhouse

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I just wanted to bump this thread for those returning.
Bruce
 
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Garett said:
Is anyone having any luck using hearing protection in combat? I know a few guys with extensive hearing damage due to firing M72s and 84mms in combat. I've now extensively used the Surefire EP3s during live fire exercises but I've been told by those who know that its better to go without on ops. I'd think it would be better even if you lose a bit from wearing them, unless you're in certain positions in the formation. 

Although my situation over in Kandahar was different than the Inf/armoured/arty guys, I bought a pair of "Combat Arms Ear Plugs".  They worked great.... could hear normal noises around me (voices, vehicles, etc) however muffle/deaden gunfire, explosions.  I now use them for hunting an the noise of my rifle firing is minimal.  Although I cannot say for certain, they should fit under PRR.  See link for details.

http://www.safetyglassesusa.com/combatarms-earplugs.html

cheers FDL  :cdn:
 

darmil

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from darkness lite,  I had those overseas we got them free there was a huge bag of them.I never used them just put them in my pocket can't believe they are 15 bucks that's a rip off!!
 

Sethekis

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I'm just going into training soon and was just reading some stuff and stumbled upon this thread. BDS great info, really.. Always great to hear what's really going on over there.  This is making the wait 10x harder!!
Can't wait to be out there!

Keep on posting guys, this thread is great and very informative.
 
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Garett said:
Is anyone having any luck using hearing protection in combat? I know a few guys with extensive hearing damage due to firing M72s and 84mms in combat. I've now extensively used the Surefire EP3s during live fire exercises but I've been told by those who know that its better to go without on ops. I'd think it would be better even if you lose a bit from wearing them, unless you're in certain positions in the formation. 

The biggest issue with hearing protection, is when on the ground yes you have a PRR so in that ear protection is irrelevant.  As for the other ear unless you have those super expensive electronic sound dampeners its difficult to hear any situational orders that are not being transmitted over comms.  I didn't use any ear protection on 01-06 as a c9 gunner and yeah my hearing suffered a little but nothing serious.  My advice, try out some recommended protection and see if it works for you, if not roll the dice with hearing loss.  :salute:
 

RHFC_piper

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Charlie dont surf said:
The biggest issue with hearing protection, is when on the ground yes you have a PRR so in that ear protection is irrelevant.  As for the other ear unless you have those super expensive electronic sound dampeners its difficult to hear any situational orders that are not being transmitted over comms.  I didn't use any ear protection on 01-06 as a c9 gunner and yeah my hearing suffered a little but nothing serious.  My advice, try out some recommended protection and see if it works for you, if not roll the dice with hearing loss.  :salute:


I think it comes down to what works best for you.  I used hearing protection in battle on 3-06, but we didn't use PRRs (they didn't work)... I really only kept one ear plug in on the right side.  My logic was; if we got hit with anything that would be loud enough to deafen me, it would only be on my left side and I could take out my right ear plug and still hear orders...  It worked for the most part.  But, like I said, it really comes down to what works for you; if it's effective and comfortable and doesn't interfere with your job, I would suggest hearing protection.

The only time I really wore both ear plugs was on road moves in the back of the LAV.  I wore hearing protection, BEWs and a boxers mouth guard (when we traveled through IED/ambush ally)... the reason being; when we watched videos and got reports from IED attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan, one of the points that came back was; the troops who were otherwise relatively uninjured (or killed) in an IED blast, were either disoriented or knocked out by the concussion. Some of the minor injuries reported included blown eardrums, eye-fragment injuries and knocked-out teeth... As minor as loosing teeth may seem, it may be enough to send you home or render you combat ineffective for a while. 

Just my $.02
 
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RHFC_piper said:
I think it comes down to what works best for you.  I used hearing protection in battle on 3-06, but we didn't use PRRs (they didn't work)... I really only kept one ear plug in on the right side.  My logic was; if we got hit with anything that would be loud enough to deafen me, it would only be on my left side and I could take out my right ear plug and still hear orders...  It worked for the most part.  But, like I said, it really comes down to what works for you; if it's effective and comfortable and doesn't interfere with your job, I would suggest hearing protection.

The only time I really wore both ear plugs was on road moves in the back of the LAV.  I wore hearing protection, BEWs and a boxers mouth guard (when we traveled through IED/ambush ally)... the reason being; when we watched videos and got reports from IED attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan, one of the points that came back was; the troops who were otherwise relatively uninjured (or killed) in an IED blast, were either disoriented or knocked out by the concussion. Some of the minor injuries reported included blown eardrums, eye-fragment injuries and knocked-out teeth... As minor as loosing teeth may seem, it may be enough to send you home or render you combat ineffective for a while. 

Just my $.02

I tried to wear ear plugs they issued to us when i was employed as a turret gunner in a gun truck but after a while i just tossed them.  The mouth guard is a nice touch tho, smart idea.  :salute:
 

RHFC_piper

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Charlie dont surf said:
I tried to wear ear plugs they issued to us when i was employed as a turret gunner in a gun truck but after a while i just tossed them.  The mouth guard is a nice touch tho, smart idea.  :salute:

I can understand not wearing earplugs if you're in a position, in a vehicle, where you need to hear what's around you and orders (ie. turret, driver, cc, bird gunner, etc).. as well, you're usually wearing a head set anyway (for driver, gunner, cc), or just need to hear... But if you're just a dismount in the back of the LAV... It's not like you can have a decent conversation in the back of those things anyway.

As for the mouth guard; I wanted to come home with all my teeth, and not in a doggy bag.  ;)
 
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RHFC_piper said:
I can understand not wearing earplugs if you're in a position, in a vehicle, where you need to hear what's around you and orders (ie. turret, driver, cc, bird gunner, etc).. as well, you're usually wearing a head set anyway (for driver, gunner, cc), or just need to hear... But if you're just a dismount in the back of the LAV... It's not like you can have a decent conversation in the back of those things anyway.

As for the mouth guard; I wanted to come home with all my teeth, and not in a doggy bag.  ;)

no doubt  ;D
 

PhilB

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See, I guess I am somewhat different. We got issued the surefire earplugs on 1-08 and I LOVED them. I wouldnt wear one under my PRR, just on my right side. I wore it anytime we left the wire, whether mounted or dismounted. I found I had no issues hearing, and it really cut down load wpn signature. The only time that I found any issues was a couple times firing an M72 from inside a room (FUCKING LOUD!). I think it is all personal preference.
 

Bruce Monkhouse

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Charlie dont surf said:
  I didn't use any ear protection on 01-06 as a c9 gunner and yeah my hearing suffered a little but nothing serious.  :

Now I would never give advice on "things" over there, however, protecting your hearing is vital to any future endeavours you may have.

I'd really love to be able to engage in a conversation over background noise but.........

 

RHFC_piper

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Bruce Monkhouse said:
Now I would never give advice on "things" over there, however, protecting your hearing is vital to any future endeavours you may have.

I'd really love to be able to engage in a conversation over background noise but.........


I am inclined to agree with Bruce on this.  A lot of troops subscribe to the "suck it up and take it" mentality when it comes to PPE (BEWs, Ear pro, etc.) but you have to look at it like this; if you lose your hearing in battle, you're fairly useless to the section/platoon and you're going home.  If you lose your hearing down the road because of hearing injuries in Afghanistan, you will be useless to the CF and probably medically released.  It's not worth "tough it out" now if you're going to be hosed in the future... Would you really want to be release from the forces, a job you may potentially love, because of your hearing category... because you didn't wear hearing protection during operation, ex or ranges?

But, with that said; if you can't do your job effectively with it, then you have to choose mission over man (in operational theater).  If wearing ear protection means you wont hear the word of command, or anything else you should be listening for, and there's the potential that this may put the mission or the members of your section at risk, then you it really does come down to mission before man...  Otherwise, you're really just hurting yourself in the long run.

Either way, it's been said a million times before; personal preference.  But consider the long run.
 
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RHFC_piper said:
I am inclined to agree with Bruce on this.   A lot of troops subscribe to the "suck it up and take it" mentality when it comes to PPE (BEWs, Ear pro, etc.) but you have to look at it like this; if you lose your hearing in battle, you're fairly useless to the section/platoon and you're going home.  If you lose your hearing down the road because of hearing injuries in Afghanistan, you will be useless to the CF and probably medically released.  It's not worth "tough it out" now if you're going to be hosed in the future... Would you really want to be release from the forces, a job you may potentially love, because of your hearing category... because you didn't wear hearing protection during operation, ex or ranges?

But, with that said; if you can't do your job effectively with it, then you have to choose mission over man (in operational theater).  If wearing ear protection means you wont hear the word of command, or anything else you should be listening for, and there's the potential that this may put the mission or the members of your section at risk, then you it really does come down to mission before man...  Otherwise, you're really just hurting yourself in the long run.

Either way, it's been said a million times before; personal preference.  But consider the long run.

Agreed  :cdn:
 

geo

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In the end... it's your body and no amount of Pension compensation will give you back your hearing, eyesight OR teeth.....
Take care of yourself - cause there are no spare parts for your body / no exchanges / no refunds
 

RHFC_piper

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Bruce Monkhouse said:
Back on topic, folks.

I think this all still relates to the topic at hand...  In fact, I believe this train of thought is very important for troops about to deploy; take care of you body.

This should be a huge factor in deciding which kit you're going to employ.  The RSM of my Regiment (who is currently deployed) makes a very good point in regards to kit; You choose to be uncomfortable.  This could also be modified to; you choose to put yourself at risk of injury.  When selecting which kit you believe will best suit your task in theater, I believe it is essential to consider your personal safety... even if hearing seems minor.

As I've said before, the "suck it up" mentality can only go so far in operations.  PPE should be considered as essential to the soldiers individual mission as their weapon system... why? because PPE ensures that minor injuries do not prevent the individual soldier from fulfilling their task within the overall mission.  Failing to complete a mission because Pte. Bloggins can't see to shoot due to a bit of dust in the eye, or because Cpl. Junk can't hear the word of command due partial deafness from firing an M72 is definitely a good enough reason, in my book, to wear PPE.

Part of this logic is selecting the PPE which will protect you while allowing you to do your job.  We have no choice when it comes to Ballistic Armour (and after some research, ours isn't all that bad) or helmet, and some tours have been picky about BEWs, but no one has said much about hearing protection, as far as I know... Since it's optional, perhaps it's a good idea to try some different types out, during training, and see what works best for you... If you find hearing protection to be a hindrance, then, by all means, do what will best suit you in doing your job/task...  Just don't jeopardize the mission or your peers lives over something as minor as hearing protection.

Anyway... just a little rant... sorry.


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