Wednesday, January 10, 1996

Most of us realize the value of sewing the last name and unit cat-eye's on the back of our BDU patrol caps. These provide quick identification and a small visual mark in the darkest night for station-keeping while moving dismounted.

This set-up should be Army-wide SOP

A picture is worth a thousand words. It's pitch black and your patrol is at the objective rally point (ORP). You've taken your leader's recon and have seen the enemy camp which you will devastate with a stand-off raid. You need to explain to your Assault, Security and Support teams where to go and what to do. It's too dark, noisy and time-consuming to build a terrain model. The topographical map is too small and lacks precise details of the camp's layout, where the fighter jets are parked, the fuel dump, the guard barracks, anti-aircraft guns etc. To communicate in this rapidly-developing situation remove your patrol cap and draw a picture. Inside the top is a 4"x4" piece of wide luminous tape that you've sewn on, "Dummy" corded to the map flap of the Hot Weather BDU cap (without winter ear flaps) is a small black grease pencil, made by an inner strand of "550" Type III "parachute cord." The luminous tape glows in-the-dark, providing an easy-to-see contrasting background for your grease pen drawing of the enemy camp. Protect the luminous tape panel by sealing it in combat acetate before sewing it into the cap. This increases the tape's durability and prevents the grease pencil from smudging it.

A short length of nylon webbing sewn or superglued to the patrol cap top secures the grease pen so it doesn't dangle on its cord. The HW DBU cap is recommended for its lighter, easier to breath construction with map pocket, though the winter cap can work. Sew two 1" strips of luminous tape and a name tape to the cap rear for night patrol station keeping "cateyes."

Finally spray Kiwi "Camp-Dry(c)" silicon over the Patrol Cap for maximum waterproofness. You'll still get wet when it rains, but not as much. If you're going through very dense vegetation you may opt to "dummy-cord" the patrol cap with a length of 550 cord to your BDU top collar.

The grease pencil for the luminous writing pad is preferred because it's easily erased (OPSEC), but doesn't need a cap to prevent leaking or drying out.

The grease pencil can be cut down to a short length to fit inside the patrol cap. This pad can be used either day/night for sketches or simply communications without talking--"Where is Smith?" can be written and replied without ambiguity. "He's at the ORP" etc.


A small piece of "Glint" tape visible to image intensifier night vision devices (AN/PVS-4s, AN/PVS-7Bs etc.) or No-Power Thermal Tape (NPTT) visible to thermal FLIR night vision devices on Abrams/Bradley Armored Fighting Vehicle gun sights can be attached to the patrol cap for friendly forces to see the covert breech. The Night vision tapes will only be visible using image intensifiers or FLIR imagers on friendly AFVs like the M113A3 Gavin, M2 Bradley, M1 Abrams. Light infantry units are also getting Javelin Anti-tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs) which have a thermal (FLIR) Command Launch Unit (CLU) which can be used as a surveillance device using readily available SINCGARS radio batteries.

The Javelin CLU and other hand-held thermal viewers entering the U.S. Army inventory can utilize the NPTT/Glint tape on minefield breech markers to enable the Soldier to see where he must go safely through mines/obstacles...


Night Vision Equipment Company
POB 266
Emmaus, PA 18049-0266
(610) 391-9101 FAX: 9220


The tape is avaialble in TAN or Green. It is available from your depot supply by NSN:

Green is NSN 9905-01-390-7410
TAN is NSN 9905-01-392-2928

Both are 3.75 inches wide by 150 feet long.

Alternatively you can order from Opticoat Associates Inc: price is $1.45/SF, or about $68/roll

POC: Dave Smith/Opticoat Associates Inc. 10 Kidder Rd.
Chelmsford, MA 01824
PHONE: 978-250-8115
FAX: 978-250-1938

It's naive to assume prior recon from higher headquarters is going to tell you exactly where and what your target is going to be arrayed in, the enemy is a living adversary not a straw man. The patrol cap luminous pad requires no batteries, or complicated operating steps. For a few dollars, most off-post sewing shops will set the entire thing up for you. Old Sarge's surplus store in Spring Lake just off post from the Main PX has a large supply of lightweight BDU patrol caps and can usually sew your "cateyes" and nametape on while you wait.

Materials can be found at Military Surplus Outlet, 868-1942, 6474 Yadkin Blvd. Sewing can be done by Choi's Sewing, 864-4665, 6023 Yadkin Blvd. Or mail-order at places like U.S. Cavalry Store and Ranger Joe's.

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