Category Archives: Military

Veterans Day 2014 – Always Remember

Happy Veterans Day 2014!

I just wanted to say that I hope everyone has enjoyed their Veterans Day 2014 today. It is a time to have fun and hopefully get a respite from work as we celebrate the sacrifices that have been made by the uniformed service members of the United States.

Veterans Day 2014
My 2nd Tour in Iraq, 2005-2006

This is a special day to me because I made the choice to serve my country and to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. This has come at a price. There are many days that I missed with my wife and kids. Christmas and birthdays came and went and I was in the middle east just hoping for the chance to call and wish them a Merry Christmas or happy birthday. But even as hard as that was, there are many of my friends, brothers and sisters in arms, who have come back missing a part of themselves.

There is nothing wrong with having a good time today. In fact, I am making the best of my day by grilling hamburgers with my family and friends. My hope though is that you will all take the chance today to at least pause for a moment and think about everyone out there who has gone above and beyond so that we can live the life we have.

I also wanted to share a little bit of what the Department of Veterans Affairs has to say about the history of Veterans Day.

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”

The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words:

Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and

Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and

Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.

To read the entire history, visit the VA webpage.

It is important to know why we take this time of remembrance. Please make sure to share the true meaning of Veterans Day with your kids. I hope that you all have a great day!

Thank you for celebrating Veterans Day 2014 with me!

Gone But Not Forgotten…

Today is Memorial Day. It is not a surprise to many people. Everyone knows that it is some sort of holiday that resulted in a day off from school, work, etc. Most will capitalize on the opportunity to go hit the lake, swim, and grill out. There is nothing wrong with that but there is more to today than just having a good time with friends and family. Please make sure to honor those who answered the call from our country and made the ultimate sacrifice. Their families are forced to move on without them, without the chance to even have one last BBQ. There are literally tens of thousands of men and women over the years who never made it home. They are gone but not forgotten.

I especially honor the men who I served with that gave their lives in Iraq:

PFC Scott A. Messer, B TRP 1-32 CAV, 02 February 2006

SGT Thomas B. Turner Jr., C TRP 1-32 CAV, 14 July 2006

SPC Jermaine D. Franklin, A TRP 1-32 CAV, 09 November 2007

SSG Jonathon L. Martin, A TRP 1-32 CAV, 22 Novmber 2007

PFC Danny L. Kimme, C TRP 1-32 CAV, 16 January 2008

PFC David H. Sharrett, C TRP 1-32 CAV, 16 January 2008

SPC John P. Sigsbee, C TRP 1-32 CAV, 16 January 2008

PFC John T. Bishop, C TRP 1-32 CAV, 23 April 2008

1LT Timothy W. Cunningham, C TRP 1-32 CAV, 23 April 2008

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

John 15:13



Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer Med Kit

There are a number of different missions that are carried out by the various branches of the federal government and military but one of the common denominators that makes a mission successful is good planning and support. One of the key support personnel for every mission is the medic, or in the case of the United States Coast Guard, the rescue swimmer. The mission of the rescue swimmer is to maintain proper training and conditioning to assist persons in distress in the maritime environment, including search and rescue operations and to provide pre-hospital life support to rescued individuals. The following is a list of the medical equipment that a rescue swimmer uses to help others survive disaster in the water.

Picture Credit:
U.S. Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer
Emergency Medical Equipment

The medical bag of choice for the U.S. Coast Guard is the Aeromed EMS Pack by Thomas Transport Packs.

Picture Credit: Thomas Transport Packs

Packed inside of the Aeromed Pack are these items in the mandatory configuration:

COMPARTMENT 1 – Outside:

  • Blood Pressure Cuff
  • Stethoscope
  • Pen Light
  • Latex Gloves
  • Scissors
COMPARTMENT 2 – Outside:
  • SAM Splint
COMPARTMENT 3 – Outside:
  • Airway Kit, Oropharyngeal
  • Airway Kit, Nasalpharyngeal
  • Pocket Mask
  • Ace Wrap


  • Band-Aid, Adhesive
  • Charcoal, Activated
  • Glucose, Oral
  • Syrup of Ipecac
  • Bulb Syringe
  • Cord Clamps
  • Umbilical Tape
  • Battle Dressing, Small
  • Battle Dressing, Med.
  • Battle Dressing, Large
  • Bandage, Gauze
  • Water Gel, Burn Kit
  • Petroleum Gauze
  • Sponges, Surgical, 4×4
  • Cravat, Bandage
  • Plastic Bag
  • Adhesive, Tape, 2″
  • Adhesive, Tape, 1
Inside: Collar, Cervical – No-Neck, Small, Medium, Large – 1 of Each
  • Band-Aid
  • Thermometer 94-108F and/or Electronic Ear Canal Thermometer
  • Ball Point Pen

In addition to the medical bag, the following items make up the remainder of the rescue swimmer emergency medical kit located on board the helicopter:

  • Bag-Valve Mask by Life Support Products
  • Resuscitator, Oxygen by Life Support Products
  • Laerdal Suction Kit V-Vac by Dyna Med Inc.
  • Cylinder, Oxygen “D” Size M-22 by Life Support Products
  • Antishock Trousers
  • Traction Splint
  • Cervical Collars
  • Medevac Board by Lifesaving Systems Corp.
  • Medevac Report Form (CG-5214)
  • Victims/Casualty Hypothermia Bag by Wiggy’s Inc.
  • Automatic External Defibrillator (AED): Heartstream Forerunner Model E01 including Semi-Rigid Carrying Case, DP5 Extra Pads, Data Card (30 Mins. ECG & Event) and BT1 Battery Pack
  • Current EMT Text (Currently used by USCG EMT School)

Reference: Coast Guard Helicopter Rescue Swimmer Manual, COMDTINST M3710.4B, 28 JUL 00

My Interview With Poor Man Prepper

Yesterday I had the opportunity to do an interview with Lat Cozad of the Poor Man Prepper Podcast. I had a great time and enjoyed getting to speak with Lat about medical preparedness, my time in the military, and a little bit about preparedness in general. If you are interested in listening to the interview and hearing what I have to say, check out Episode 528 of the Poor Man Prepper Podcast.

7 More Awesome Medical/Tactical Bags!

Last week I wrote about the only medical bag that you will ever need to buy. Today I wanted to highlight a few more medical bags that are highly suited for preppers, search and rescue, tactical medics, military medics, or any person that is interested in having a durable medical kit. These bags all exhibit great function, durability, quality of materials and craftmanship, and suitability for austere conditions. I listed them in my order of preference from most preferred to last preferred.

1. Tactical Tailor M5 Medic Pack – I still have my Tactical Tailor M5 bag. It is an awesome bag, but doesn’t hold the most gear compared to some of the other bags. What it lacks in size, it makes up for in versatility. It is a well constructed bag that I used on my last deployment. The best part of all is that Tactical Tailor stands behind their work. If you ever have a problem with your gear, it can be sent back to be repaired or replaced. One of the unique features of the M5 bag is that the inside is configurable. The internal dividers are held in with hook and loop tape that is strong and well suited for the task. As a result of the almost endless configurations for this bag, it can be adapted to be used as a general medical bag or even for other applications. The outside of the bag has MOLLE webbing on three sides which allows for additional storage in the form of removable pockets.

2. BLACKHAWK S.T.O.M.P. II Medical Pack – One good look at this bag and it will be apparent that it is almost identical to the London Bridge Training Coverage Medical Bag. The great thing about that is the London Bridge bag is very well designed. Perhaps even better than that is the fact that the Blackhawk bag is significantly less when it comes to the purchase price. The big downside to this bag is that it is cheaper in the way that it is put together. It is still suitable for a combat environment but may not hold up for quite as many years as some other bags.

3. TSSi TACOPS M9 Assault Medical Backpack – When this bag was introduced it became the go to bag for many special operations forces in the Middle East. It is a small bag but it fits so nicely atop a set of body armor that it can almost be forgotten about. This makes it ideal for wearing in vehicles and transitioning from aircraft which led to it’s popularity. The outside of the bag also features webbing that allows the addition of external pockets. It is also capable of carrying everything required to save a life from a traumatic injury in the field.

4. StatPacks Stealth – StatPacks is a company that has established itself in the fire and EMS community for their medical bags. In recent years, StatPacks has realized that many of their products, if properly colored, could be adapted for use in a tactical setting. This has lead to the adoption of StatPacks products for use not only in the military but in police agencies as well. The Stealth is modular for maximum versatility, includes space for a hydration bladder, and features webbing for the addition of external pouches.

One of the most important aspects of deciding which bag is best for you is the size of the bag. A good basic rule with medical bags, and any bag for that matter, is to gather all of the items that you intend to pack into it and see what size bag that you need. Whatever you do, don’t get a bag that is too big. I am not a fan of large bags. In the Army, we called them “tick” bags, referring to the fact that you could fill them until they were about to explode and looked like a tick. Overloading a bag can be a nightmare. The last thing you want to do is haul around ten extra pounds of gear that you don’t need. With that being said, it can be even worse to have someone’s life in your hands and not have the stuff to save them. Packing a medical bag is a delicate balance and you must determine what will most suit your needs for the task at hand.

Alternatives to a purpose built medical bag should also be considered. There are many awesome bags out there that I would readily use for my gear. My top 3 alternative bags to use for a medical kit would be:

1. Kifaru International Marauder – Kifaru is another great company that puts out a product that speaks for itself. Well, not literally speaking for itself but one look at the bag and you will know that it is top notch. The Marauder is a versatile pack that can be used for anything that you can imagine.

2. 5.11 Tactical RUSH MOAB10 – This is a great bag for a smaller kit. Check out my recent review of the MOAB 10.

3. GoRuck GR1 – The guys at GoRuck are sticklers for quality and all of their bags are made in the United States. These bags are relied on by a number of U.S. Special Operations forces for duty across the globe as well as for personal use.

In the event that a duty grade bag is not an option for you because of budget, practicality or another reason, don’t let it stop you from putting a high quality kit together. I have seen some great kits that were put together using tackle boxes, a plastic tote, and even a tool box. Rule number one should be to have a kit. Once you have something together, it can be improved going forward. There is no replacement for a purpose-built medical bag though. In the event of an emergency, a durable bag that is designed to keep life-saving supplies neat and organized can make all the difference.