March 03, 2009

Name: Michael Brameld
Posting date: 3/4/09
Stationed in: Afghanistan
Milblog: A Year in the Sandbox

“What’s all that crap on your vest?”

I’ve gotten a few emails asking that question now, so I figured I’d post this for everybody. Here’s what I carry on my IOTV ( Improved Outer Tactical Vest):

Framed Brameld VEST 1

Framed Brameld VEST 2

   1. Improved First Aid Kit, or IFAK.
   2. 2 x 15 round magazines for the M9 pistol.
   3. Multiband Inter/Intra Team Radio, or MBITR.
   4. 6 x 30 round magazines for the M4 rifle.
   5. 2 x 40mm HEDP rounds for the M203 grenade launcher.
   6. Strap cutter, for cutting seatbelts or gear in an emergency.
   7. This one’s hard to see in the picture, but it’s a SPOON! For digging foxholes and field latrines.
   8. Quick-release to separate the vest into 4 pieces for quick removal.
   9. Random stuff pouch. Right now there’s an extra set of gloves, a cold-weather hat, some misc cable and a couple 40mm smoke grenades inside.
  10. Casio Exilim EX-S10! Never leave home without it.
  11. Ear plugs, so I don’t have to listen to whining about broken comm equipment.
  12. Photon Proton Flashlight cause I’m scared of the dark.
  13. Gerber Multitool.
  14. Back to the top picture: one-handed tourniquet.

That's it. Total weight is just north of 60lbs, but the vest is so well designed that it really only feels like 55lbs when you have it on.


Thanks for making us all smarter. There is a reason this vest is called 'tactical'.
Thank you for your service.
Retired CPO

My son is looking to enlist in the Army he is 21 years old and basically feels there are no jobs and that he has no future so the Army is a option. He is asking to be deployed in Afganistan as a Hummer driver. My concern is evident. What are your comments?

Amazing piece of equipment. Thank you, Michael for the tour of the vest, and for your service. Must feel a little floaty when it first comes off.

I've been reading the memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant in recent weeks. He learned to be a general by being a quartermaster first. There is no way to discount the importance of properly supplying your forces.

Most of you serving are of an age where you all carried backpacks to school, always. This cannot feel the same. Thank you again. Be safe.

I was so proud of instantly recognizing the spoon, which would never do for the fighting position digging, but is always there for the can of fruit cocktail and pudding... I am glad they give you all the other stuff - but every once in a while I think about fighting light and the armored knights. Take care out there.

Goodness gracious! If there's that much on the vest, what's in your pants?

I liked the comment about how "it is so well designed it makes 60 lbs feel like 55 lbs".

Nice sarcasm. Those MBITR's are heavy suckers.


@Dane: I think with the economy tanking like it is the military isn't a bad place to be. I'm a little partial to the Air Force, but the Army has it's good side too. I don't know what specialty he'd be if he just wants to drive HMMWVs. Most of the guys that drive here are 11B infantrymen, but they do a lot more than just drive. On the Air Force side of the team almost everybody is qualified to drive them and does every once in a while.

@Earl: Of course the comment about digging field latrines and fighting positions with a plastic MRE spoon was a joke :)

@cowsoy: We haven't met and you're already asking what's in my pants? :) Actually not too much: a small write in the rain notebook, a bottle of hand sanitizer and my patrol cap.

@FEQ: lol at the FOBBIT comment. I'm outside the wire 6 days a week all over the Nangarhar province, feel free to read about it and educate yourself at

i didn't mean it like that :D

I like how your IFAC is on the back of your armor. what happens when you get shot? are you going to ask your battle to open your pouch for you? It should be over your heart that way if you get hit and lose your arm to an IED blast you can still open the IFAC with your other hand and get to your tourniquet. seconds matter when shit happens not looking cool.
SPC Russell U.S.ARMY


Dude, if you just got your arm blown off in an IED, the chances that you would have enough blood and presence of mind left to put a tourniquet on your stump with your non-dominant hand are about zilch.


Maybe we're looking at different pictures. The pictures in this post clearly show my IFAC was located on my left side. It was easily reachable without help. If looking cool isn't what matters then what are you doing here?

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