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THE MARINE CORPS

Recently I have been very harsh on the Marine Corps because of the over boot/mukluk activity so I am putting that business aside to tell you my positive history with the Marine Corps.

In 1992 I received a call from one Major Jim S____ who told me he was a mountain climber and he used my products and wanted to do some experimental work for possible Marine Corps use. Jim told me he ran Material Command located in Washington D.C. It turned out as I found out he was Material Command, he worked with no one else.

When the Gulf War One was getting started he called me and asked if I could make a lightweight bag that would fit in a 6 x 8-inch pocket on an Alice pack. The result was to downsize the Nautilus bag. He placed an order sight unseen for 200. I made them as quickly as possible, but the war ended thankfully very quickly so he sent them from Virginia to 29 Palms, CA. Marine Corps base.

As I later was told they were issued to 200 young healthy 20-year-old Marines on a training exercise. Imagine my surprise when I found out 200 individuals all wearing the same clothing, eating the same food, and involved in the same activity at the same location for the same number of days had my product. Jim told me the temperature was as low as 27 degrees and all the Marines were happy with these two-pound bags.

And that was the birth of the Desert bag. I rate it for 40 degrees and up, not 27 degrees. Over the years I have sold several thousands of them.

Jim’s replacement was Major John E____. That was in late 1992 when John called to introduce himself and was working on some new ideas for the Marine Corps. In February 1993 the first year the Outdoor Retailer show took place in Salt Lake City he attended. It was the first year that I did not exhibit but did attend. However, I did not know John was there, so we never met. In mid-May we spoke and he told me when at the show he approached all of the companies that were showing sleeping bags and inquired if they would make a two bag system for him that would work from warm weather to -20 degrees and to date he had not heard from one of them. I was not surprised because probably 99.9 percent of the people who work in the outdoor industry never served in the military. Within one-week Kok and I had a two-bag system for him. He ordered 12 systems sight unseen. About one week later I received a call from a U.S. Navy Chief located in San Diego, CA. He too wanted a two-bag system, so I told him what I made for the Marines and he told me -20 degrees wasn’t cold enough he needed -40 degrees. I changed out the Ultra-light for the Super light.

And that was the birth of the SUPER LIGHT FLEXIBLE TEMPERATURE RANGE SLEEP SYSTEM (FTRSS). Over the years I have sold many thousands of them just to the military and many more to civilians.

I do not remember the specific year, but it was in the late 1990’s when I was selling boots made for me by Wellco Company. I called the Marine Corps base in Bridgeport, CA. and spoke with a Captain R. I have for forgotten his first name, anyway I wanted to sell him my boots. He did buy 14 pair, but he also wanted an over boot that could accommodate crampons and cross-country skis.

And that is how the over boot was born. Until this year sales were mediocre. However, this cold weather season that we are entering has seen a significant increase in sales as well as sales of muk luks.

The summer before last I received a call from a woman, civilian who worked for the Marine Corps in the safety area at the Cherry Point, N.C. Marine Corps base. She was interested in my muk luks and in the course of conversation I mentioned that I also made them Fire Retardant. She was floored and wanted them for Marines who worked the flight line since they needed FR everything.

While the program died with the Marines it opened the door for me to have FR over boots and muk luks for the oil patch. Men who work the oil patch must wear steel toed boots which are a cause of cold feet and until now they had nothing to wear over them that would keep their feet warm and be FR.

So, as you can understand while I am not pleased now with the Outdoor Research business, I have a debt of gratitude to the Marine Corps because they were the catalyst for a few products I may not have ever made.

Maybe they will think up more products for me to make. Since I am the only manufacturer of insulated products in the country the potential for me to benefit is very high.

A TESTIMONIAL

The following testimonial comes from a man in the military. I wish I knew the branch of service, if a Marine all Marines should and all other soldiers should heed what I think is his advice.

I used your Lamilite socks and plain leather boots by Lowa for my winter deployment to Afghanistan last year (as well as the Lamilite vest liner). I refused to be issued the military winter boots, we had two vendor choices, but I told the warehouse guy “no Goretex”. I never took the issued Goretex winter rain jacket out of the duffel bag either, as we did not get much rain, so the wind jacket and Lamilite vest or jacket liner were enough. My feet stayed far warmer than they ever would have with wool socks.

Daniel

We need more men like Daniel in the military who get educated to the reality that the goretex products they are issued that do not work which is all of them to refuse to accept them from supply and spend their own money as Daniel has for products that work.

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