Kit Up!

Friendly fire isn't friendly

Submitted by Eric Daniel

Telling friend from foe is a difficult task at the best of times, at night it only gets harder. Even with the advent of night vision goggles, the task is only slightly easier (as Ben Franklin used to say, "Under NVGs all cats are green.") While there are a number of products available that will greatly facilitate telling friend from foe, one of the few that is publicly available is Scotchlite reflective tape and fabric. Manufactured by 3M, Scotchlite is the same reflective material used on modern safety equipment, and similar to the reflective material found now on commercial truck trailers (which is, surprise surprise, also manufactured by 3M.) In and of it self it reflects enough ambient light to be easily seen with NVGs, and when observed under direct light it appears to be a brilliant white.

The fabric I use comes in a roll 1 inch wide and 25 feet long, which is ample enough to mark up a regiment. How you use it is up to you. Remember, a little goes a long way. You can sew it directly to your uniform, or you can attach it to velcro, which will allow you to remove it when you don't want to use it. You can cut it to any length you want to, using it in strips or squares, according to what ever SOP your unit comes up with.

A word of caution though. This stuff loves direct light and should be used with care in high light (typically urban) environments, but when out in the boonies, it works just fine. The fabric itself is durable, does not fray easily, and is flexible and easy to sew. 3M does not do direct marketing, but you can get a local distributor by visiting the 3M website.

Buy 3M Reflective Tape

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