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Williams5710
02-14-11, 11:27 AM
I'm a reservist, combat engineer, just wrapped up my second drill with my new unit. We have a deployment to Afghanistan coming up; it will be my first one. I know the time frame but nothing more specific than that.

My FTL has made me the our SAW gunner, I've got mixed feelings about that because it seems like every video I see of SAWs in combat shows them jamming. Mine was good on the range this past weekend until I literally no BS snapped the bolt in two. Lot of Marines scratching their heads on that one still.

I'm PT-ing pretty regularly. Started in running shoes, moved up to boots, after a few more boot runs I'll throw on my flak. Also doing a lot more core and lower body work outs than I used to. Any fun/effective/interesting PT ideas from Marines who have been there would be invaluable and most appreciated.

I have a gear list, took that Army one and modified it, my FTL seems to think it's pretty good, here it is 9015

I would like to hear anything from the Marines who have been there, Iraq or Afghanistan but AFG specific info is what I need the most. Anything you think a Marine looking at their first deployment might need to know is what I want, thanks Marines.

elliscraig12
02-14-11, 03:00 PM
Just asking but, hasn't anybody in your unit been there? Seems to me your Squad leader/Platoon Sgt. should know this stuff. Have you asked them?

heidnischer
02-14-11, 03:21 PM
yea man, I guess it really all depends where you go and what you do. I'm assuming Helmand province? I wouldn't be super worried about your SAW, if you have a good unit that replaces parts AND you make sure you keep that b**ch super clean, you shouldn't have too much of a problem. Just make absolutely fu**ing sure you listen to the unit you relive and take everything seriously. The unit that relieved us though our combat engineers where screwing around about having to take a mine sweeper on every patrol. They ended up getting a casualty from it in their first week. Can not stress it enough. That unit will know what's up

jp2usmc
02-14-11, 03:56 PM
+1 on keeping your SAW clean. That's about the best you can do.

As for PT in boots: I don't really know if that's helping much. You need to be able to run and you need your boots to be broken in and comfortable, but if you do too much training in boots before you go, you could develop shin splints before you get there. Those take 6-months or so to heal. Just a thought.

GunRun
02-15-11, 03:57 AM
Ok, so I was looking through that gear list, and it seems that maybe half of that junk is unnecessary.

Camelbak gloves? Mechanix are better and cheaper than camelbak, plus they won't get stiff and slowly crack like Blackhawk brand gloves. Maybe 2 or 3 pairs of these will do, since the issued FROG gloves are garbage.

TP will also be provided for you unless the Taliban is constantly ambushing and destroying that specific cargo. It won't be the cushiny (wat?) type, but it'll get the job done. baby wipes are a good idea, though. they can help with your hygiene when a shower is not available.

First aid stuff is kinda pointless since thats what corpmen are there for. For the most part they can help you with most, if not all, the medical gear you need...Except Morphine. God knows I tried.

Sunblock...It better be SPF 1000! I'm Brown, and I was suffering in Afghanistan. Shouldn't tell you what my Pale skin brothers went through.

The rest of the gear sounded reasonable.

Anyways, On to the advice, if you end up in Helmand:

The Main rule that I stress a lot on other sites to Pogs: Listen to the Grunts you are attached to! The way it worked when I was there, We {03s) would arrive, set up, and fly solo for a while, and then get attachments later. So, just listen.

Pay attention. Look around you if you do get the chance to leave the wire regularly. Any small change from day to day could be significant. Less children in the area? Normally friendly people suddenly dive for cover when you arrive somewhere? trouble. Especially true in Nawa District, were the people were always so friendly with us.

Dogs- watch your back when you encounter the bigger ones, you know, the ones about half the size of a grizzly. Most of the time, they won't attack and mainly want to protect their home, but never hesitate to shoot if Yogi there decides to charge at you.

Water- If you guys get a fridge where you go, one good idea is to take a couple of frozen water bottles, and stuffing them on your sides, between yourself and the cummerbund. on a very hot day, they can keep you very cool in my experience. If you don't have a fridge, and don't want to drink boiling water all the time, try the sock trick. Simply stuff some water bottles in a sock, and drench the sock with water, then you place the sock in a shady area where it can receive a nice breeze. As the water evaporates, it will cool the bottles, allowing you to have pleasantly cooler water.

POP POP! You hear that? Don't freeze up! Don't look around and figure out where it came from! Just drop on the ground and then figure it out. the less time you expose yourself, the less lead will pierce your body. Simple as that. Only saying because our engineers had a habit of doing that, even as rounds were impacting ever closer. Also don't freak out.

Post!-Maybe you know it as firewatch? Anyways, this is maybe where a lot of time will be spend. All post have Machineguns in them, so make sure you get with an 0331 (Machinegunner) and learn how to work those weapons. Learn what to do if anything goes wrong with the weapon...and don't puch your guns off post (true story)

Poop- Unless you have porta-****ters, expect to burn a lot since it will be your first pump. Actually not as gross as it sounds, and if burned right every day, can take less than an hour.

BOREDOM!!!- You will get bored. No doubt about it. You like PT? sure, that will help, but eventually, you want to do something else. What we did? Went out, got a 2 TB hard drive, and got any movies we could get our hands on. Get a somewhat decent laptop, and you are all set.


It's getting late for me right now...So I'll stop here. I'll maybe continue tomorrow.

Williams5710
02-15-11, 09:34 AM
@elliscraig- yes there is a platoon that just came back and they gave us a little class my first drill with them but I figure The more Marines brains I can pick the better.

elliscraig12
02-15-11, 10:26 AM
Can't go wrong with that Brother. Stay safe and I hope everyone makes it back. Semper Fi.

Williams5710
02-15-11, 06:06 PM
Thanks GunRun, jp2usmc, heidnischer, I'll copy and paste yall's posts to my notes

Williams5710
02-15-11, 06:14 PM
Another question, I wear danner hot weather (jungle) boots right now, what should I be looking to pick up before we go over? I was thinking about resoling my boots and buying a new pair of danner temperate (ICBs, whatever you call them). I looked a little into the Danners with the green rubber armored toes, not sure what theyre called exactly. Thoughts on boots? I really like Danners even though they're heavy, I run my CFT in them and have done a couple 10mi hikes in them so the weight doesn't bother me.

Zulu 36
02-15-11, 06:38 PM
Another question, I wear danner hot weather (jungle) boots right now, what should I be looking to pick up before we go over? I was thinking about resoling my boots and buying a new pair of danner temperate (ICBs, whatever you call them). I looked a little into the Danners with the green rubber armored toes, not sure what theyre called exactly. Thoughts on boots? I really like Danners even though they're heavy, I run my CFT in them and have done a couple 10mi hikes in them so the weight doesn't bother me.

Danners are a quality boot in my opinion. I've worn them since about 1982 both for military and police. I still have a pair of Danners for camping with Scouts.

You don't mind the boot weight and have done 10k hikes. What weight on your body? If you add 50% or more to your load, would you mind the extra boot weight then?

GunRun mentions sunblock. My #1 daughter was in Afghanistan last year. She knew people who got nasty sunburns. She inherited her mother's Cuban ability to tan and I thought she had turned into a black person when she came through the airport.

Toilet paper is always a good idea, but you don't need to take it with you from the States. I used to carry about a 1/2 roll, minus cardboard tube, in a zip-lock. Backup only and it did come in handy a couple of times. MRE TP is only good for starting camp fires.

Since my field time is long-ago, that's about all I'm going to contribute.

Williams5710
02-16-11, 02:34 AM
@GunRun

Does mechanix have anything that is flame resistant like nomex? I've been tols that everything going outside the wire has to be nomex or otherwise flame retardant/resistant. I'm also checking out Oakley FR gloves from usstandardissue.com

GunRun
02-16-11, 03:01 AM
Yes, the Team Issue: Carbon X Level 1 Glove. they are a bit more expensive than the standard mechanix gloves, but they offer the fire protection the higher ups demand. though, if you are going to use Standardissue, thats actually better.

jp2usmc
02-16-11, 09:01 AM
Another great boot to consider are Bates Durashocks. Just type that into eBay to see a big list of styles. They've got a quality sole in them, so you won't kill your feet or angles as quickly on those death marches. There even come in steel toe and non-steel toe.

Williams5710
02-17-11, 12:14 PM
Another thing, might I get issued an optic with the SAW? After shooting it this weekend one thought I really remember coming away with was "that thing really needs an optic".

Don't get me wrong I did very well with the iron sights (kind of tied for 1st with another Marine as the best on the SAW in the platoon), but I feel like I could have done a lot better and not needed an A-gunner had I had an optic.
An ACOG or something a little lower power would be nice. I've been looking into optics for my own personal rifles at home so I kind of had the idea that this might be just the excuse I needed to buy one. Don't want to be a gear queer though... well at least not too much of one :cool:.

jp2usmc
02-17-11, 12:37 PM
Optical sights on a SAW? The SAW might be accurate (I don't know), but I don't think it is meant to be a sniper riffle. Does it even have a single shot setting? I doubt the Marine Corps is going to put a scope on there. Don't get your hopes up.

GunRun
02-17-11, 01:50 PM
All the SAWS we have in our Battalion have a scope called an ELCAN, which is a 3.4x28 sight, and it works wonders at 400+ meters but its horrible at close range. There is also another sight that our saw gunner got. It's pretty much a red-dot sight, works great up to 200 meters, but after that it is lacking.

Williams5710
02-17-11, 01:53 PM
Optical sights on a SAW? The SAW might be accurate (I don't know), but I don't think it is meant to be a sniper riffle. Does it even have a single shot setting? I doubt the Marine Corps is going to put a scope on there. Don't get your hopes up.

Roger, not really wanting more accuracy as much as I want a clearer sight picture and faster, easier target acquisition. I just think I'd be a lot more effective with a low to no power optic. Someone at drill said they had seen ACOGs on SAWs but I don't know. ACOG is more weight than I'd want to add to a SAW anyhow.

I've been looking into getting an EoTech for my AK or my Springfield M1A at home so I might buy one for those and it might just find it's way into my sea bag. I'll ask about what the reaction to my doing that might be at next drill.

*edit:


All the SAWS we have in our Battalion have a scope called an ELCAN, which is a 3.4x28 sight, and it works wonders at 400+ meters but its horrible at close range. There is also another sight that our saw gunner got. It's pretty much a red-dot sight, works great up to 200 meters, but after that it is lacking.

Got it. If I buy anything else it'll be something I can take off the SAW and use for my guns.

jp2usmc
02-17-11, 02:10 PM
Just did a quick google search and got all these hits (http://www.google.com/images?hl=en&rlz=&q=ACOG+on+SAW&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&biw=1145&bih=627) in their images. Click the link to see them.

Williams5710
02-17-11, 02:19 PM
Roger that jp and GunRun, sounds good to me. Hopefully the SAW I get has one.

heidnischer
02-17-11, 08:01 PM
Hell no! We tried putting an RCO on the SAWs and you have to do some CRAZY adjustments sometimes! Like they were not even hitting paper on a BZO until Like 40 clicks left and stuff. Pretty much all of our SAW gunners just used iron sights. Trust me. Better!

GunRun
02-17-11, 11:19 PM
Well, the RCO is primarily designed for the M16A4 and the M4. The ELCAN has a different type of ballistic compensation on it than the RCO, which provides better stability and can keep a better zero.

Are iron sights better? Sometimes. But the ELCAN is an awesome tool to have on you. If you get it, try it. If you don't like it, just detach it and rock old school.

hussaf
02-18-11, 11:16 PM
Yeah, saw guys have optics. The rubberized danners are called RATs. If you are doing extended dwell ops consider getting a jetboil. A lot of guys are wearing rocky sv2, or s2v boots. They are great but don't have an EGA, which may be an issue with some commands.