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Commendations

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The above commendation letter I received from the Navy in 1997 or 1998.

Here is the background:

In May 1993 I had made the original two bag sleep system for the U.S. Marine Corps that consisted of the Ultra-Light plus 20 degree bag and the plus 35 degree over bag. I called the system the Ultra-Light Flexible Temperature Range Sleep System which became the FTRSS or Fortress. I made 12 systems for the Marines and never received further orders except if some of my GSA contract holders sold them.

I them received a call from a Chief with the SEAL’s in San Diego, CA. asking about a two bag system in July 1993 and I told him of the system I made for the Marines which was rated to -20 degrees. He said; no good because he needed -40 degrees since his SEAL’s were being sent to Kodiak, Alaska. The change I made was to replace the Ultra-Light with a Super Light. Orders came to me until about 1999. It was during this time frame that I was given this letter of recognition for my ability to provide them with a product that did not fail. Actually since May of 1993 my sleep systems have never failed.

Over the past 18 years I have received some orders for my bags but not as I had received in the past. Why because slick talking salesman have offered bags from all over the world that just do not work and in some cases are cheap or more expensive. Why are they bought; because the buyers are basically illiterate when it comes to sleeping bags ability to perform? These buyers are in many cases giving business to their friends who may have actually been SEAL’s at one time. Whatever the reason the grunt gets the short end of the stick.

In or around 1999 a new chief was assigned to Kodiak and he started buying bags from I believe Sierra Designs which had the Primaloft fiberfill. The chief claimed to know a great deal about insulation, where the knowledge came from was osmosis when he slept on some fiberfill. The end result of this fiasco and I mean fiasco is that about 16 trainees had to be medevacked back to the hospital on Fort Richardson.

They were out in the boondocks in January 2000 I think when they were bogged down by a pretty severer storm. Most of the 16 troops became hypothermic. The story was published in the Anchorage Daily News and was later documented in a book about the SEAL’s that I have. I called the Navy in San Diego to find out what sleeping bag equipment they had and I was told the only way I could get the information was through the freedom of information act. I walked. I already knew they were not using Wiggy bags because if they were they would not have been cold, hypothermic or needed to be medevacked out. This is a documented incident. I did not suddenly start getting orders again. They went with other brands wishing they would work. No telling how much money was wasted. Since about 2015 I started getting more orders. That has slowed again to a trickle. I called one of my resellers to find out if any orders were entering the pipeline and his answer for Wiggy’s was no.

He told me that they are now buying Kelty brand sleeping bags. Kelty does not make sleeping bags and there is no one person or group of people employed by Kelty or its parent company Exxel that has any knowledge of what it takes to make sleeping bags. Exxel has a lot of knowledge of what it takes to make the supposed sleeping bags that are sold by Walmart for $12.00 each. I speak with great knowledge of this company as I know its original owner when it was MZH and I know the current owners. You could take all of their knowledge and fill ¼ of a gnats butt hole.

The bag that they are selling to the SEAL’s is a copy of the original bag made by a company known as Tennier Industries. This bag was a very poor copy of mine and was purchased by the army even though it did not work as early as 1997. The Natick crowd revised it maybe 5 times and it still did not work so it has been shelved and a new bag was developed but has yet to go into production.

So the SEAL base in San Diego has somehow determined that this bag that has been such an enormously successful failure since 1997 is somehow going to work today. It is for all intents and purposes a clone of the bag that failed. I repeat my bags or system have NEVER FAILED since I have been manufacturing them.

It has been painful for me to write this article because I KNOW every single person military or civilian buying these bags can only use them in south Florida. It is painful to know that the young men and women who have chosen to join the military are going through training with less than adequate equipment SPECIFICALLY sleeping bags. If you do not get restful sleep how can you adequately perform the mission, you can’t. These young men and women may very well be asked to go into hot zones where they are literally putting their life on the line to protect our freedoms and those interested in making a buck who may very well have served themselves do not give a damn. By the way the Kelty bags are more expensive than the Wiggy’s bags.

Pay more or less it is irrelevant because all of the bags on the market are a COMPLETE WASTE OF MONEY and when it comes to the military it is a waste of our tax dollars.

You know if you and I go camping and our equipment does not perform we can pack up and go home; when you are a soldier you cannot, you just grin and bear it.

This Exxcel Company will never ever receive a commendation!!!

There are times in the past when this type of situation has arisen that lead me to the think that I might as well just walk from the military, but I then think about those who do get my products and if I simply walked from these men and women it would hurtful to them. I have too much respect for them to just walk away, my generation had no choice because of conscription versus today’s generation which are volunteers.   

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