VIETNAM. 1968-1969. Members of a rifle platoon ready themselves in the field.
Charlie Haughey was drafted into the US Army in 1967, and served a tour of duty in Vietnam with the 25th Infantry Division 2nd Battalion 12th Infantry, as a rifleman. While serving as a point-man for a rifle company, Charlie was commissioned to be the new battalion photographer, and ended up shooting nearly 2,000 poignant photos over the course of 13 months while he served with his rifle company.
Hey all. As a lot of you know, I`ve been having trouble with trespassers around the property lately, mostly down in the swamp at the bottom of the hill. This has led to some very interesting discourse about what to do about these security breaches, and a great many jokes between friends, but doesn`t quite help my situation. Without going into too much detail as this is a post detailing the gear systems I press into service, I`ll jump right into it.
The first two pics serve a dual-purpose, both to act as a sort of Grey man in the case I should have to ditch my gear and go social, I won`t be picked out immediately as some kind of combat-maniac. The basics are a solid, neutal-tone T shirt under a black North Face paired with dark jeans and basic boots. I usually will add my ever-present ballcap unless weather gets cold enough to force me to don a black knit cap. The daypack is a Pelican of Seattle, and contains the basics to last until resupply, such as: a change of clothes, food, hygiene gear and some other light things like paracord, multiple sizes of zip ties, ranger bands and a few other universally-useful tools. The pack load stays generally consistent through all my kits, and I opted to use it over the ratty old ALICE it replaced because as a Grey man principle, a civilian pack would not only attract less attention, but also be more comfortable, which it is. In my pockets I carry a Benchmade HK assisted open folder (My EDC knife), the other side carries a Zippo lighter (exact model varies depending upon my mood), a Gerber Air Ranger folder for delicate cutting tasks, and the smaller pocket inside the right (with the Benchmade) carries a surplus AK-74 cleaning kit. In the chest pocket of my jacket I carry a QuickClot Combat gauze when not carrying a complete Blowout kit and TQ.
Third pic shows the Springtime setup, which also functions nicely for morning/evening summer duty. The kit itself is generally the same, although I have obviously instead opted for a Propper Multicam ACU cut jacket, and the angle at which the photo was taken gives a good look at my backup knife: A CRKT STIFF K.I.S.S. by Ed Halligan. When I first acquired this knife I was a bit leery of its sheath, but it has since earned my confidence. I opt to carry it upside down by most standards, which allows for a faster, easier draw with my weak (Left) hand. My reasoning for this is that the Romanian Type II AKM bayonet which most often rides along is carried on my right hip, and should I be forced to use it as a weapon and not a tool it would be the knife I would automatically draw. The CRKT is present in case my right arm is injured or otherwise incapacitated. The viewer can also clearly see the Glock M78 I carry on the pack itself. I`m very pleased with this knife, and it comes along mostly for duty as a camp tool. It could be pressed into action as a combat tool alongside the AK bayonet but frankly I have greater faith in the bayonet as a weapon over the M78.
Fourth pic is my Winter loadout, which sees the cargo pants replaced with M81 Woodland BDUs, the Propper/Northface replaced with a French military FELIN F2 smock, and the ball cap replaced with a camouflage toque and black knit cap. I also wear a black or olive scarf to hold in heat, and often a plain grey hoodie underneath the smock. This setup also allows me to operate in wet weather when the Northface is not available for whatever reason (such as it possibly being loaned to a friend whom also is on patrol). The CCE camouflage matches nicely with the M81, though not perfectly. As can be seen in the background it still blends nicely so long as the basic principles of camouflage are applied. My gloves can also be seen in this image, which shows that I can expect it to be either colder than normal, or that I could expect to be shooting for an extended period and don`t wish my fingers burnt.
Last pic is of the Summer Midday setup. The Belleville boots have been replaced with civilian hiking shoes for superior breathabilty and lessened fatigue after prolonged wear. The coat in general is abandoned here and replaced with a British surplus UBACS in the MTP pattern. The Ball cap makes a return (the cap itself is a 5.11 tactical, and is teflon coated.) It`s a good choice for wet weather but it has a nasty habit of trapping any moisture inside and soaking the head anyways, and it doesn`t breathe well in summer. I most often replace it with a civilian promotional cap from FN of Herstal. This is obviously an old picture, as I am not wearing the bayonet, have not learned to steady my hand with the sling, and am still using the ALICE pack.
This is by no means a totally comprehensive list, as any of these can be mixed-and-matched to suit the needs of the day or pressed into service elsewhere, such as opting to wear a hoodie underneath the Multicam coat, or using the Northface as a Wet-Weather choice over the FELIN. There is other gear not bearing mentioning as well, such as sunglasses, other long arms, other footwear and cameras.
“I think I underestimate the power of atomic warheads. It would be awful in a large city centre, crowds of panicked people rush around you, seeing a mother clutch a baby in her arms, hearing a rifle shoot in the distance, a man leaning against a wall, with a bottle of liquor in his hand, given up. In a home with an open door, an extemely eerie test tone plays as the leader says their final words to their doomed nation. You see a figure leap off the top of a large building. Then, silence. The entire city halts as everyone stares at a small flash of light. Many clutch their eyes and scream. For a second, everything around you bursts into silent flames as if it were touched by the hand of a demon. All of a sudden, your entire world explodes and is turned into nothing as atomic fire swallows you and a hundred thousand people. Every building, hundreds of years of ingenuity and creativity, are immediately vaporized. Every artist’s painting, every child’s scrapbook, every baby boomer’s mixtape, every effort of all these people are immediately for naught. Millions of collective consciousnesses are lost, every scrap of your past, present and future existence completely obliterated, eternally buried in the depths of human hostility and error.”