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   Undertoad  Monday Nov 18 02:39 PM

11/18/2002: Army patrol in Afghanistan



This is from last Friday's MSNBC Pic of the Week. An Afghan man and his son watch as soldiers from the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division prepare to inspect their home Nov. 7 in southeastern Afghanistan. Soldiers discovered over a dozen mines and grenades, 14 rocket-propelled grenades and plastic explosives as they searched several compounds.

I thought it was interesting because you see the guy's place, and it contrasts with the soldiers. The guy and his kid are calmer than I would be if faced with three accomplished killers in full gear. I also thought it was interesting because you see what regular army gear is in Afghanistan. These guys have very serious fanny packs and how much video do those headsets capture?

Notice, too, how their fingers are all carefully off-trigger.

And notice the kid's sweater. Stylin'. Hey, is that an Afghan?

And isn't the guy on the left Ryan Stiles of "Who's Line" and "Drew Carey" fame?



Tobiasly  Monday Nov 18 02:47 PM

Those aren't video headsets; they're mounting brackets for night-vision goggles.



Tobiasly  Monday Nov 18 03:03 PM

This picture is kinda interesting to me.. being in the National Guard, I'm used to getting second-rate equipment, or getting new equipment several years after the active duty Army.

But here's the 82nd Airborne, one of the big-shot regular infantry units, and they don't even have matching equipment. Their vests and web gear are woodland camouflage, while their uniforms and helmets are desert pattern. Well, most of their helmet anyway -- the chinstrap doesn't match either!



helen  Monday Nov 18 03:34 PM

How much does the gear weigh ? It looks cumbersome.



BruteForce  Monday Nov 18 04:03 PM

It's not as bad as you think. Probably 15-20lbs with full canteens. Movement was never a problem for me unless we had to carry our pro mask (gas mask). That's a bulky sob.



Tobiasly  Monday Nov 18 07:13 PM

The worst part is if when you're wearing night vision for an extended period of time. They don't feel that heavy, but the weight of the helmet plus those goggles really gets to ya if you're walking 20 miles.

Everything else is pretty well designed to not be too much of a burden, if you tweak it right. You can carry 60 lbs. on your back for a helluva lot farther than you probably think you could, if the weight is dispersed right.



jtm  Monday Nov 18 08:16 PM

knee pads

What's with the knee protection? Seems a lot of the special forces guys also wear them. Do they dive to the ground and crawl along there that often?



Beletseri  Monday Nov 18 08:24 PM

elbow pads too, maybe they skate board.



dave  Monday Nov 18 09:11 PM

Tommy Franks' Pro Skateboarder 4 - October 28, only on Xbox.



Tobiasly  Monday Nov 18 10:18 PM

They're supposedly for low-crawling over a long distance. Man, that fucks up yer knees and elbows like nobody's business. Trouble is, those pads don't work because unless you have 'em on tight enough to cut off your circulation, they just slide down and are generally annoying.

Having a pad on one knee is handy for when you need to kneel for a sec or two to read a map or whatnot, but other than that, they're worthless.



Bitman  Monday Nov 18 10:47 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by Undertoad
And isn't the guy on the left Ryan Stiles of "Who's Line" and "Drew Carey" fame?
No, that's Richard Moll. Wait, no it isn't.


Griff  Tuesday Nov 19 08:02 AM

What's the story on the back pack the soldier on the right is wearing? It looks like a Camelbak, like cyclists use for hydration. I can't imagine they'd be a good idea in combat since they're so good at growing fungus.



Mav  Tuesday Nov 19 11:09 AM

Not to straight out say its 'fake' but with what people are saying, doesn't it kinda look like a movie still or maybe production picture of some kind? I wouldn't have stopped to think about it till someone pointed out some obvious things, fingers not on triggers, calm expressions, non matching fatigues etc



Tobiasly  Tuesday Nov 19 12:03 PM

Yes, they're Camelbacks, yes they're good at growing fungus, but yes the Army is really big on equipment maintenance, so it's not a big deal. Believe me, having to fumble with your stupid canteen -- getting it out of the pouch, undoing the tether you attach to keep from losing it, unscewing it, taking a drink, then getting it back in that awkward pouch is a huge pain in the arse. Keeping a Camelback clean is definitely less work.

Soldiers are explicitly trained to keep their fingers exactly as you see 'em in the picture. Less chance of an "accidental discharge" (yes, that's what they call it!) if things get tense, plus it's just as obvious to the civvies that you aren't about to shoot them. If it were a movie still, the fingers would be <I>in</I> the trigger well, where they don't belong.

That guy in the middle sure looks like he's pointing his rifle at the little kid, which is a big no-no. He was probably in the middle of turning around and the picture snapped at just the right time.

And again, if it were a movie still, you can be sure their uniforms <I>would</I> match. The fact that they don't probably has more to do with the haste with which they were brought to the country. I was just surprised that the 82nd Airborne wouldn't have all that stuff ready, just in case. Or maybe they're just short on funds like everyone else!



Undertoad  Tuesday Nov 19 01:05 PM

As opposed to that famous Elian Gonzales picture, where IIRC the guy didn't have his finger in the right position, and where he did have the barrel up around the kid's face.

The US Military has better training than the INS! Well they better.



blowmeetheclown  Tuesday Nov 19 01:11 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by Tobiasly
That guy in the middle sure looks like he's pointing his rifle at the little kid, which is a big no-no. He was probably in the middle of turning around and the picture snapped at just the right time.
Actually, it looks like the kid's packin heat. I think he's about to pull his gat outta his gansta flops and bust a cap, yo! GI Joe has the right idea about puttin the middle-man trace on tha periph. Knowwhatimean, G?


ndetroit  Tuesday Nov 19 02:26 PM

Aye, I was wondering about the 2nd soldier, and the fact that it looks like he's pointing his gun at the kid...

Does the army have some sort of "release process" for these photographs that make it through the various press outlets? IE: Wouldn't someone in charge screen this out, (as it looks like the soldier might have been in the process of turning around, and the photographer just happened to take the pic at that moment), to get rid of shots that accidently make the army look bad?

.. Or is this photographer just some reporter that just happened to be along for the ride, or in afghanistan, on assignment, and happened to see some soldiers? (IE: they aren't allowed to nicely ask him to please don't give that photo out?)



And  Tuesday Nov 19 03:49 PM

The pic is only 2-D. While you can get some idea of depth and angle off the gun's position, but you can't really be all that sure he's pointing directly at the kid or if his gun is really angled more out into the street...



jaguar  Tuesday Nov 19 04:42 PM

He's looking directly at the kid, i'm pretty sure he's pointing it at him. Doesn't look too set up, the guy on the left doesn't look too happy about the kodak moment.

I thought the M4s they were using had forward handles standard?



Tobiasly  Tuesday Nov 19 05:46 PM

I bet this wasn't an official Army photo ndetroit. They can't stop reporters from snapping photos.

I don't know about M4's, jaguar. Like I said, NG is a few years behind active duty; we still use M16A2's. I think we're supposed to get M4's in the next month or two though.



jaguar  Tuesday Nov 19 06:15 PM

Anyone knwo waht the thing under the barrel is? I'm pretty sure the one above is just a laser sight but the one below has me stumped. IR lamp or something?



Tobiasly  Tuesday Nov 19 09:34 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by jaguar
Anyone knwo waht the thing under the barrel is? I'm pretty sure the one above is just a laser sight but the one below has me stumped. IR lamp or something?
Not a lamp, but an IR targeting light. Like the red dots you see in movies before someone gets capped, but you can only see it through night vision goggles.


Angelus  Wednesday Nov 20 12:23 AM

One of the things that really strikes me about this shot is the height difference among the men. It almost looks like a photoshop job.



juju  Wednesday Nov 20 12:57 AM

High difference? What on earth do you mean?



wolf  Wednesday Nov 20 01:02 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by juju
High difference? What on earth do you mean?
Just going out on a limb, i think he means that either the one guy is exceptionally tall, or the two guys in front of him are exceptionally short. It is interesting, in terms of photgraphic composition, but I think that detail, in accordance with military tradition (and reasonably good tactical practice) arranged themselves alphabetically by height.


blowmeetheclown  Wednesday Nov 20 09:46 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by wolf
alphabetically by height.
Is that where four comes between five and six? You do work for NASA?


CharlieG  Friday Nov 22 08:53 AM

Re: knee pads

Quote:
Originally posted by jtm
What's with the knee protection? Seems a lot of the special forces guys also wear them. Do they dive to the ground and crawl along there that often?
Yep - Look at anyone doing CQB (Close Quaters battle) - you'll see elbow/knee pads, usually gloves and goggles

Common trick on BDU pants - the knees are double fabric - slice the stitching, and put 3/8" or so of foam rubber between the layers and restitch! Not great "On base", but in the field


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