How does that saying go about figuring out a way to do something if you really need to do it? Something about necessity?
After a two-and-a-half-hour firefight in Afghanistan earlier this year in which three-man teams serving weapons struggled to stay together, the members of an Iowa National Guard division found a way to efficiently carry and feed ammo for their Mk 48 machine guns.
The soldiers with 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division tell Bob Reinert of the Army’s Soldiers magazine how they came up with an ammo pack similar to the one used by Jesse Ventura’s character in the 1987 movie “Predator.”
The similarity is no accident. The movie was talked about after the firefight and someone asked why a gunner couldn’t carry a combat load of ammo, the story reported.
Staff Sgt. Vincent Winkowski pursued the idea. He welded two ammunition cans together — one on top of another with the bottom removed from the top can — secured it to an ALICE frame and mounted the feed chute assembly from a vehicle-mounted CROW (Common Remote Operating Weapons Station). The pack allows the gunner to carry 500 rounds unassisted and weighs a mere 43 pounds, according to Gizmodo.
A few pictures of the pack and a submission to Army science advisers has led to a prototype of the pack, dubbed the “Ironman” after the name of the task force.
Requests for the prototype started flooding in after word about the Ironman circulated in theater. Here’s how Dave Roy, a current operations analyst with NSRDC, described the demand:
“We’ve already gotten email traffic from (one of) our science advisers that everybody in theater wants one of these — and by in theater, he means his specific area of operation, Regional Command East in Afghanistan — because word has spread,” Roy said. “That (Iowa National Guard) unit is not the only unit on that FOB. As they’re walking around the FOB with that piece of kit, very senior people are taking a look at it. They recognize it as a game-changer.”
Check out Reinert’s story to learn more about the details of how the Quick Reaction Cell of the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center came up with the prototype.