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RECOLLECTIONS

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OUTSTANDING  RECOLLECTIONS

Hi Jerry,

This post triggered a memory that I had forgotten about. When I was with Naval Special Warfare Group 2, we were out on a field exercise with our issued sleeping bags. We racked out for the night it was freezing cold so I zipped the bag completely shut and went to sleep. When I woke up in the morning I was damp and awash in moisture. My sleeping bag was soaked, and I was freezing cold. I was warmer when I got out of the bag, dried off and got dressed. I had gotten really warm sleeping with the mummy bag zipped all the way up, and that bag trapped and held all of that moisture. Luckily we were in a spot that I could turn it inside out and let it sit in the sun all day while we were on the range so I wasn't completely screwed the next night. But the next night I made sure to leave the zipper only 3/4 closed. I got chilled, but wasn't soaked the next morning. Not good, but I lived through it.

Praise be we were training and not out in the middle of nowhere when I would have had to roll it up and step off. Valuable lessons learned the hard way. :(

I wish I had known what I know now in the 80's.

Best regards,

Vincent
US Navy (RET)

In 1993 I received a call from a Navy SEAL Chief wanting a two bag system for his men. It had to go to -40 degrees F. hence the Super Light FTRSS (FLEXIBLE TEMPERATURE RANGE SLEEP SYSTEM). The CA. based SEALS used them until about 1998 when a chief who will remain nameless worked with sierra designs to make a primaloft bag. What follows is an account of the incident that was sent to me that I published years ago about the SEAL’s having to be rescued.

“THE SEAL RESCUE

Hi Wiggy

Reading your message about the Navy SEALs training in Alaska brought back some memories. I was a First Lieutenant in the Alaska Army National Guard in January 1999, having recently moved from California in September 1998. I was wearing a Wiggy’s Blue parka back then, in my off-duty time.

My first winter in Anchorage was "the coldest in 30 years" as they described it at the time... we had two very cold weeks and the second-longest cold spell in Anchorage history, 7 straight days of -30* to -60* was late January 1999 to early February. It wasn't just Anchorage, the entire State was covered by a cold system, and it was the only time in history that schoolchildren in Barrow AK weren't allowed to play outside at recess, for fear of their lungs freezing (-60* with wind chill to -95*).

The SEAL Team was at the Chugach Training Area, on the east side of Fort Richardson, in the shadow of the mountains so very little warming sunlight to be had, except at mid-day. The active-duty SEALs rescue was performed by 210th Mountain Rescue Alaska Air National Guard so made a lot of news on base back then as the elite troops were rescued by the weekend warriors. The Air & Army Guard folks up there live in the cold know how to dress for the elements.

While the Alaska Army & Air Guard didn't issue Wiggy’s gear, as you know most of us who actually spent time outdoors bought our own, and wore it under the woodland camo or arctic over whites of the day.

Copy of the Anchorage Daily News article describing the SEAL rescue attached.

Keep up the good work, love the Ducksback windshirt, pullover & parka!

Best Regards,

Morgan J. Goring

Major, USA Ret.

The Major was kind enough to send me the article.

COLD FORCES RESCUE OF SEALS FROM CHUGACH

January 29, 1999 Publication Anchorage Daily News

Hostile Alaska weather beat up one of the U.S. military’s premier combat units Wednesday, forcing its members to cry uncle.

Nineteen U.S. Navy SEALS—members of an elite organization the Pentagon touts as “the most feared special forces units in the world—were airlifted out of Ship Creek Valley just south of Arctic Valley Ski Area after radioing the Rescue Coordination Center at nearby Elmendorf AFB.

Eleven of the SEALS suffered frostbite. Of those, seven were examined at the Elmendorf hospital and released, an AF spokeswoman said. Three were held overnight and let go Thursday. One remains hospitalized.

The AF declined to say what injuries the SEALS suffered but a SEALS spokesman from Wash. D.C. said by phone they had frostbitten fingers and toes.

Problems with the cold arose early in a planned 4 day long outing. “After the first day some of the people were showing initial signs of frost bite.”

When a spokesman for the Navy was asked about the equipment he referred the questioner to the SEAL’S expert that person could not be reached. Of course not they did not have such a person and still don’t.

They were plucked out on Wednesday afternoon by Pavehawk helicopters from the 210th Rescue Squadron at Kulis ANG base in Anchorage. Squadron recue specialists said some SEALS appeared to be dehydrated a common problem associated with cold injuries. The 210 are Wiggy customers.

You can read the complete article if you go to the archives.

I am very grateful that the Major sent the article. While I have not reprinted it in its entirety I think you get the point about how important it is to have the best proven cold weather clothing versus the hyped garments being offered these days.

I doubt that we will ever find out what clothing and sleeping bags they were issued, but my best guess is clothing from wildthings and sleeping bags from sierra designs. Both companies at that time were working diligently with Primaloft. Had these SEALS been using at minimum my super light two bag system they would not have had any problem. Of course had they been wearing Wiggy parkas again no problems.

History I am afraid to say will potentially repeat itself if they use the poor quality bags from kelty.

Such is life and so be it.”

__________________________________________________

I have initiated an investigation into one company that has been providing “no sleep sleeping bags” that are made out of the USA and in many cases China. The investigation is being conducted by the General Services Administration otherwise known as the GSA. The investigation surrounds their miss representation of temperature ratings and to my surprise fabrics that are flammable and should never be used for sleeping bags because they are polyester. I will be scanning and publishing the documents given to the GSA where this company refused to give the Georgia Governor’s office proof of their “no sleep sleeping bags” ability to perform at noted temperatures.

An additional problem with these foreign made “no sleep sleeping bags” is their lack of durability about a year ago I was doing some work with a representative of one of the prime source contractors who sells these bags. Turns out he was a SEAL in the mid 1990’s and is still using the Wiggy’s FTRSS he was issued. But he still will sell the trash “no sleep sleeping bags” if it means he can make a buck. So you see even former military personnel do not give a damn about those who follow them if they are employed by a GSA contract holder.

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