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micapguy
Recruit

Posts: 7
Unit: MIWG

« on: January 12, 2017, 08:38:12 PM »

Hello everyone.

I am a cap member of a few years now and am loving the experience. I have a ton of experience working in volunteer organizations, and It is my educated and experienced opinion that CAP is one of the best run orgs for its size. Yes there are politics and issues, large and small.......but CAP has some very good hallmarks of long term vitality that I only wish to see in other organizations. I find that a great deal of people who disagree with me on this lack outside perspective. Just my 2 cents.

Having said this, I feel CAP needs to seriously consider updating the GTM gear at all levels. I am newish to CAPs ES program, but I am an experienced backpacker and have 8 years previous of SAR experience.

Twelve matches (ever tried to start a fire with twelve matches?)
Leaf bags (relatively heavy, prone to water damage)
Change for a payphone
Meals in the form of MREs. MREs are full comfort meals, but they are heavy, bulky, and the same caloric intake can be achieved by packing dehydrated food.

Items of better value I would suggest. 8)
A poly tarp. You can even get ones with a space blanket built in.
Multiple, and plentiful fire starting methods
High proof rubbing alcohol.... antiseptic, firestarter, stove fuel, mess kit sanitizer, etc.
A small stove for 72 hour gear. Alcohol or isobutane. Light and cheap.
Small, proportioned meals. Dehydrated hamburger. Oatmeal. Pasta. Better caloric content for weight. Also, cheaper than MREs.

I think of gear in terms of a few major categorise. SAR gear, shelter, food prep, and medical. It is my humble opinion that the full current 24/72 hour gear misses the realism mark with its current list.

Please give me your opinions on this. :)
« Last Edit: January 12, 2017, 08:45:29 PM by micapguy » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2017, 08:58:22 PM »

It is my humble opinion that the full current 24/72 hour gear misses the realism mark with its current list.

You wouldn't find too many experienced people here who would argue that, it's at least 12-15 years old and predates
a lot of people even having a cell phone, but it does fit the mission, generally, and
is relatively inexpensive for FNGs who may not last beyond their first field day.  Most of the parts can
be found in your garage or kitchen, especially if you ever did any camping.

Unless you go to NESA or HMRS, you won't likely sleep in the field on a CAP mission other then training with that expressed purpose,
and when you do, the ORM generally dictates it's "car camping" and not in austere conditions, so the 72 doesn't generally need
to be ultralightweight aerogel and unobtanium.

With that said, you can pretty much use whatever you want as long as it fills the need, and as long as you can justify the
"thing" to the SET or GTL / GBD (i.e. "Where is your shelter?" "This is it right here.") no one will make an issue of your preferences.

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micapguy
Recruit

Posts: 7
Unit: MIWG

« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2017, 09:11:59 PM »

I am all about inexpensive. We will leave behind others good SAR candidates if we make required gear too cost prohibitive. But a lot of better options are actually cheaper than the typical gear. MREs are expensive no matter how you put it (although I realize the regs say "meal," not necessarily only MREs).

The 72 hour gear is even inadequate IMHO for car camping. If car camping is officially the norm of 72 SAR gear situations, much of that gear should be geared towards the community rather than the individual. Have two large tents that stay in the CAP van or GTLs POV, have a full size camping stove. These could be unit property rather than individual items.

I guess my point is: if backpacking to a SAR scene is out due to ORM, let's make the ES 72 hour gear not be so backpacking-orientated and more geared to CAP van camping. In that case, full comfort should be strived for, because it means better refreshed GTMs. The 72hour gear can now be a duffel bag that's left in the vehicle....
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Luis R. Ramos
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« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2017, 09:28:04 PM »

In another thread I also read an experienced searcher advocating for "dehydrated food items."

I considered replacing MREs with dehydrated food items and rejected them. For two reasons.

Reason number 1. The instructions state "pour hot water and mix." You are in the middle of a sortie. Where speed is essential. At least that is what we are led to believe. Time to eat. Oops! How am I gonna heat this water? I am carrying a water bladder, I am not carrying a canteen, so I do not have a field stove and canteen cup! And if speed is essential, can I stop for 15 minutes to heat my water?!!! Are you advocating people to pack mess kits?!!! More weight!

Reason number 2. All dehydrated food items state "servings per package 3." Or "servings per package 2." Give me a brand that sells "servings per package 1" and I will reconsider this. The only food items that Mountain House sells labelled "portion size 1" or "1 serving" are their Cheesecake Bites, their Neapolitan Ice Cream, and their Ice Cream Sandwich. Hardly food.

Why is ration size important? Because you do not have refrigeration facilities in a sortie, nor capability to store uneaten food or repackage them. So either you overeat, eating 3 servings or you throw away food. You cannot open and repack these dehydrated food items. If you do, you loose vacuum and they absorb moisture, throwing away the advantage of long shelf life.

So, for these two reasons, MREs trump Mountain House and the likes.

MRE=one-serving; Mountain House=three-servings or more.

MRE=almost self-heating; Mountain House=long stop to heat and boil water.

I also know there are self-heating food, but that is bulkier than MRE with the same problem of serving size!

 :-\


« Last Edit: January 12, 2017, 09:39:16 PM by Luis R. Ramos » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2017, 09:30:46 PM »

Even camping, in general, isn't a CAP "thing", per se.  It's really not a mission and that's why there's no specific training for it.

GTM has evolved into the "campers" because a lot of small aircraft tend to launch and crash in rural areas (and the in urban ones
the people whose house the airplane is on generally call and tell someone).

Even most missing person is in less rural areas simply for the fact that this is where people live.

The 72hour gear can now be a duffel bag that's left in the vehicle...

For many (most) it already is.

The problem with "community" gear is

"Who pays for it?"

"Who stores it?"

For food "Who buys it?" "Cooks it?"

CAP does not have logistics teams and forward preparation, something many of us have been whining about
for decades to no avail.  Having community gear, big stoves, etc., does no good when they are an hour in the
opposite direction of the mission "The guy with the key is in Hawaii."

Then there is mission duration - between taking FAR FAR FAR FAR too long to authorize and spin up, and
then the nature of who responds, GT missions can be 1-hour to 1-week.  Who's going to Costco and
with what money? And what do you do with all that food when you're RTB'ed enroute?

A very good analogy to your point would be CAP radios, which tend to be "never near the actual mission".

One of the problems in this cases is that while CAP portends to be a ready asset, it doesn't train that way,
and members are required to equip themselves.
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« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2017, 09:33:53 PM »

MRE=one-serving; Mountain House=three-servings or more.

That, my friend, is funny.

Another advantage with the MRE is you can eat them w/o heating them, or heat them on your engine block,
in your shirt, etc.

You'd never find me w/o a Jetboil for coffee, so hot water is never an issue, but that's me.

The other thing with MREs, even though they are expensive, they are robust, and a cadet with an MRE
isn't going to go hungry that day.  Otherwise they roll up with a handful or gravel trailmix and 8 Mountain Spews.
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micapguy
Recruit

Posts: 7
Unit: MIWG

« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2017, 09:39:12 PM »

I am nearly completely against any commercial dehydrated food. It has the same issue as MREs.

BUT, it's us very inexpensive to buy pasta, oatmeal, dehydrated chili, etc and preportion one's one servings into very hefty zip lock bags. Usually, warm to hot water is good enough. You don't need boiling water that would melt through a bag to rehydrate most foods. And if you do have time, sit down and prepare it in small mess kit. You can always use mre heater units with homemade mres.

MREs are not so field expedient. They still take at least five minutes to heat up, and you have to position the heater unit so that scalding water doesn't spill out. If you don't have ten minutes to stop and eat, you just don't have time to eat a meal. A granola bar is the proper hold-me-over in that case.

MREs are car camping food at best, and at that, much healthier and quality food can be carried in a vehicle. Military surplus is often not the best choice these days for what we do. If it's free, that's one thing. But I see too many newbies run off to surplus stores for Alice packs when are far, far more comfortable and utilitarian packs can be had for the same price elsewhere. If we want to be looked upon as a competent SAR resource, to an extent, we need to look and train like the professionals do. A 10 person Coleman tent might be what a newbie already has sitting in his garage, but it's a poor choice for SAR. A tactikool vest with trauma plate may look the part, but it's extra weight that tires a person out.[

Let's not make SAR cost prohibitive, but certain jobs just require certain gear and certain people. Not everyone should participate in SAR. There is already a small cost and train expectation of every CAP member anyways, so a small investment in time, training, and gear is neither morally wrong or unreasonable.


Also, mREs are bulky and generate a lot of trash. That space can be better used for SAR gear in a pack.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2017, 09:46:58 PM by micapguy » Logged
Luis R. Ramos
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« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2017, 09:43:56 PM »

Quote

The problem with "community" gear is

"Who pays for it?"

"Who stores it?"

For food "Who buys it?" "Cooks it?"


Left out "who cleans it? Who repairs it?"

 ???


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micapguy
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Unit: MIWG

« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2017, 09:49:14 PM »

Who is responsible for the custodianship of an airplane? Who is the custodian of  wing van, or radios, or issues laptops? Not a new concept here. You want to be part of your squadron's Ground Team? Welcome aboard. Now you have some additional responsibilities.

Of course the model can't be exclusively community gear only, but many, many units already have donated equipment, or a corporate van, etc.
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Luis R. Ramos
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« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2017, 09:50:01 PM »

Buying chili, pasta, etc. and packing them into zip-lock bags takes me time I could be doing other things. Plus these bags are not as long-lasting as MREs.

And having to pack a mess kit, no matter how small, is as bulky as packing MREs, if not more. And when / how do I clean it? Am I going to carry soap dish in my 24-hour pack? Or in my 72-hour pack? So I have to put a dirty mess kit in my 24-hour pack if my dish soap is in my 72-hour pack...

 :o


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Luis R. Ramos
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« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2017, 09:52:39 PM »

My experience is that custody of airplanes and vans resides in the Group. So new responsibilities for the Group Transportation Officer? (S)he has to clean mess kits, and so on?

 ???


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« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2017, 09:57:08 PM »

BUT, it's us very inexpensive to buy pasta, oatmeal, dehydrated chili, etc and preportion one's one servings into very hefty zip lock bags. Usually, warm to hot water is good enough. You don't need boiling water that would melt through a bag to rehydrate most foods. And if you do have time, sit down and prepare it in small mess kit. You can always use mre heater units with homemade mres.

When, exactly do you prepare this food?  Those might seem viable when you're planning a weekend trip, that's not how CAP works.

People have their gear stuffed in their trunk for months at a time - another reason MREs are usually used - they have a shelf life of 1-10 years (usually
about 3-4 in reality, 10 years re freezing).


MREs are car camping food at best, and at that, much healthier and quality food can be carried in a vehicle. Military surplus is often not the best choice these days for what we do. If it's free, that's one thing. But I see too many newbies run off to surplus stores for Alice packs when are far, far more comfortable and utilitarian packs can be had for the same price elsewhere. If we want to be looked upon as a competent SAR resource, to an extent, we need to look and train like the professionals do. A 10 person Coleman tent might be what a newbie already has sitting in his garage, but it's a poor choice for SAR. A tactikool vest with trauma plate may look the part, but it's extra weight that tires a person out.

We tell people, mostly cadets to leave the plate carriers and battle rattle t home, but many won't listen, or are re-purposing airsoft or whatever gear.

"Professionals" are usually getting someone else to buy, and thus standardize their gear, probably practice weekly.

Let's not make SAR cost prohibitive,
CAP isn't - a school backpack and peanut butter sandwich suffice, but some people won't listen, and unless CAP issues the gear, or
mandates standardization, neither of which is likely to happen.

Also, mREs are bulky and generate a lot of trash.

Yes, and frankly not a real issue since it's not like CAP is deploying hundreds of people on a daily basis into the woods.
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micapguy
Recruit

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Unit: MIWG

« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2017, 09:58:43 PM »

Buying chili, pasta, etc. and packing them into zip-lock bags takes me time I could be doing other things. Plus these bags are not as long-lasting as MREs.

And having to pack a mess kit, no matter how small, is as bulky as packing MREs, if not more. And when / how do I clean it? Am I going to carry soap dish in my 24-hour pack? Or in my 72-hour pack? So I have to put a dirty mess kit in my 24-hour pack if my dish soap is in my 72-hour pack...

 :o

So the food is always fresher than MREs. Big deal. All of the other issues you just listed have been solved by the backpacking community years ago. Cleaning a mess kit in the woods is neither a new concept, a legitimately time consuming activity, or even difficult. A mess kit can be a small metal cup and a plastic spoon. Not complicated.

Part of legitimate military training is teaching our war fighters to think for themselves. Sometimes they carry their own modified gear into the field. We are not war fighters, but the concept of making your own gear ----- especially as it relates to the week- long and intellectually challenging activity of pouring a cup of pasta into a zip lock bag --- is not unheard of or unreasonable.

Are we catering ES to idiots in order to be all inclusive, or does our reputation of self reliance and competence result from a more selective process in which we have standards and expectations. If ground team Sally is scared to camp out in the woods or can't carry a 12 pound backpack, she belongs at mission base, not in a Ground Team.

Also, in my wing, vans and planes are very adequately under the custodianship of individuals in squadron's. The system works just fine. The squadron transportation officer spends a bit of his time making sure the van gets fixed and has maintenance, etc. He does a great job. That's the expectation of the job. Our wing has vans, not Ford fiestas. There is plenty of room for a permanent tent or two and some cooking equipment, and still room left over for the cadets honor guard stuff. Equipment can be stored in a central location too, not just in a corporate van. Ground teams always have GTLs. Part of hid responsibility could be group equipment. It doesn't have to be all stored at his place, but since their is no ground team unless he shows up....there is multiple ways to skin a cat here is my point.

Quote
People have their gear stuffed in their trunk for months at a time - another reason MREs are usually used - they have a shelf life of 1-10 years (usually
about 3-4 in reality, 10 years re freezing).

Being on a Ground Team comes with a little bit of responsibility. Like refreshing your gear periodically.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2017, 10:11:51 PM by micapguy » Logged
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« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2017, 10:03:12 PM »

Who is responsible for the custodianship of an airplane? Who is the custodian of  wing van, or radios, or issues laptops? Not a new concept here. You want to be part of your squadron's Ground Team? Welcome aboard. Now you have some additional responsibilities.

None of the above assets are used exclusively for SAR.  You can't leave them packed full of SAR gear and food because the first time they
are used for o-rides or rocket days, your stuff will be on the curb.  They have POCs, but are all shared assets for any qualified member to use.

And there is no way to space this gear in a way that prepares them for missions, because in most states the missions don't happen where
people live, so your garage full of tents and gear are 3 hours away from your 2-hour duration mission.

BTDT My group has a very nice ICP trailer.  It has camping gear, heat, autonomous power, radios, a good sized work space, etc.
In urban areas you can't park these in driveways.  for 10 years it was behind the gates at a military base, now it's kept at an airport in the
Northern part of the state. 

You need a specific van to tow it, and turn-around would be 3-4 hours to actually use it.
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« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2017, 10:06:58 PM »

Part of legitimate military training is teaching our war fighters to think for themselves. Sometimes they carry their own modified gear into the field. We are not war fighters, but the concept of making your own gear ----- especially as it relates to the wee- long and intellectually challenging activity of pouring a cup of pasta into a zip lock bag --- is not unheard of or unreasonable.

No one said it was - make your own gear.

But don't expect most members who are active in SAR 2-3 times a year to be making pasta every night hoping "tomorrow is the day".

The reason members have what they have is because it's quick and easy.

You keep talking about "backpackers", and maybe don't understand that this isn't what CAP is out there doing.

In the VAST majority of missions, the members are walking 40 feet from the van with a vest, l-per and compass, eating at
McD's and never touching most of their gear, which is really only there for the most grave of emergencies.
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« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2017, 10:10:14 PM »

Something yo may not have taken notice of - members aren't even expected anymore to start
a fire in the field, that was removed from the tasking - extinguish one, yes.  Start one?  No.

The curriculum doesn't expect, and frankly most IC's and GBDs would panic at the idea, of GTMs having
to camp out or be autonomous during an actual mission.

The stuff is there mostly for peace of mind  that if a member (especially a cadet) gets separated from the
team and lost themselves, they could semi-not-die for 24 hours while everyone else runs in a circle with
their hair on fire hoping mom doesn't find out Johnny wandered off.

CAP is not about deploying march-in autonomous 3-day SAR teams in wilderness or austere conditions.
It walks on paths, follows roads, and gently moves corn stalks in hopes of finding someone who needs help.

I've been involved in two major operations during legit regional or national disasters - full on wrath of Diety events,
and both times, while I took comfort in the gear I had with me.  A radio, and a pen, and a bottle of water were all I actually needed to
prosecute the mission.

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Luis R. Ramos
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« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2017, 10:15:07 PM »

I do not have time to get food items when going to a mission. I do not have space in my 24-hour pack to carry "a metal cup" when I need the space that takes for my medication, or my GPS, or a map case...

 8)


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micapguy
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« Reply #17 on: January 12, 2017, 10:18:45 PM »

Quote
But don't expect most members who are active in SAR 2-3 times a year to be making pasta every night hoping "tomorrow is the day".

Dry pasta in a zip lock will last six months. In a humid car trunk. It's a good cadet ES activity even. Because it's easy.

Quote
In the VAST majority of missions, the members are walking 40 feet from the van with a vest, l-per and compass, eating at
McD's and never touching most of their gear, which is really only there for the most grave of emergencies.

Then the required gear list should reflect this, meaning duffel bags with a spare uniform and some change for McDonald's. You aren't going to spend 72 hours in a cap van, or sleep in it for three nights then. Gear should reflect this. Having a requirement of six meals does not imply McDonald's to me. It's still a good idea, but it should no longer be a requirement then. Just my Humble opinion. Grave emergencies require adequate gear. Half arsing one's gear is not a good way to approach that. If you have gear, you should be required at some point to demonstrate that it serves you adequately and you know how to use it. my wing runs a SAR academy, and I've heard of cadets being chastised for bringing along extra or better gear outside of the official required list. It doesn't work like that in the real world or on real missions, so why are they being trained like that? God, I hope a local surplus store is open, because now I won't be able to refresh my gear with an mre I just ate.

And I appreciate that we are not paid professionals with provided professional equipment, but we can only get so far away from that until we reach a point at which we are simply not in a good place to be conducting ground search based SAR. We have to be professional even if we aren't paid as such. Anything less may actually be nothing more than camouflage dressed people patting themselves on the back for being part of a job they are actually not capable of doing very well.

A good example is when CAP radio people get bent out of shape over not saying "over and out" all the time when using radios. That is the most common indicator they have never used a radio in a real intense SAR situation. Professionals drop that because it gets in the way of passing important traffic. I would know. I've been directly saving lives over a radio for years now. In many ways, the way I see CAP train for SAR tells me that many of the trainer's have not actually done SAR before, or at least front line SAR before. I feel CAP shines more at a mission base level, and is less adept at the tactical level. Of course, your mileage will vary on this.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2017, 10:41:09 PM by micapguy » Logged
Luis R. Ramos
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« Reply #18 on: January 12, 2017, 10:36:28 PM »

Quote

Dry pasta in a zip lock will last six months. In a humid car trunk.


The Zip-Lock bag will tear up before the 6 months are over. It has happened to me. Several times.

Quote

Then the required gear list should reflect this, meaning duffel [FTFY] duffle bags with a spare uniform and some change for McDonald's. You aren't going to spend 72 hours in a cap van, or sleep in it for three nights then. Gear should reflect this.


Gear list already takes this into account, it specifically states the 72-hour is for a mission not a sortie. Six meals in a bag again required not for a sortie but for the total mission. Implying there is the possibility of several sorties.

 8)


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« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2017, 10:37:20 PM »

A good example is when CAP radio people get bent out of shape over not saying "over and out" all the time when using radios. That is the most common indicator they have never used a radio in a real intense SAR situation. Professionals drop that because it gets in the way of passing important traffic. I would know. I've been directly saving lives over a radio for years now. In many ways, the way I see CAP train for SAR tells me that many of the trainer's have not actually done SAR before, or at least front line SAR before. I feel CAP shines more at a mission base level, and is less adept at the tactical level. Of course, your mileage will vary on this.

No argument there, pretty much for everyone involved, even the most experienced.

The UDF equipment list is really all most members need for CAP missions.

As to the radios, I agree Comm guys can get a little wrapped around the axle about things, but with that said,
most CAP people never use a radio for anything other then CAP, so they might as well be taught proper procedure and technique,
again, especially cadets.  If they go on to military or civilian jobs that require they use radios, they will learn all manner
of local customs and procedures which will not work in the "next" job, that's just the nature of it.
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