I want to introduce Bill Janson to Kit Up. Bill comes to us formerly of USMC Recon Battalion and is the founder of Eleven 10. We served together in Iraq with a three letter agency and have a few stories better left untold...at least for now. Enjoy his first post and please give him a warm welcome.
Old School should be the New School
Since it’s my first post on Kit Up!, I figured I’d give this Marine’s humble opinion on “Gucci Gear.” I was brought up in the community during the mid 90’s in the days before MARSOC and real budgets. Recon Battalion (or Company as it was for a bit) was the red-headed step child of the Marine Corps (and the military, for that matter). We begged, borrowed and acquired the kit we needed, and got to be quite good at making our gear work with some trusty old riggers tape and 550.
After a brief hiatus in corporate America, I took a gig with a government agency working in Iraq. Holy Crap had things changed. I was in gear heaven and got a ton of cool kit. I had MOLLE pouches that had more MOLLE on top of MOLLE (no more ALICE clips!), rip-away this, releasable that, modular everything and Velcro everywhere. Cool, right? As I did deployment after deployment, I found my rig getting less and less complicated, lighter and lighter, and moving back to my old Recon days. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great innovations out there and I have no desire to go all the way back to deuce gear, but some gear is just complicating already effective kit. By the end of my last trip, I was back to the basics, a more modern take of the basics, but the still the basics. My IFAK was in an NVG pouch, my tourniquet holder was 2 rubber bands and the only “fancy” kit I had on me was a shotgun pouch that held my blood chit, Leatherman, signal mirror and some spare batteries. All of my “cool guy” Gucci gear was taking up space, back home in my basement.
I guess the whole point to my rambling, is that sometimes we all need to take a step back and remember the basics. Less is more, KISS. Let’s not fall into the “wow, that’s shiny, it has to be cool” trap. I realize that there is going to be a lot of missteps on the way to a true break-through, but on that path one thing should ring true, function always trumps form.
Kit Up! contributor Bill Janson is a former Recon Marine and is the founder of Eleven 10, a tactical gear manufacturer.