Due to Mr. Dodge from Mason Dixon Tactical and his blog post about cat eyes, which I previously shared if you missed it, I had to put into motion an idea that I had been bouncing around since my last deployment. Since I have time on my hands to do a little arts and crafts while I hang around the hospital all day, I pieced together the idea and formed a product. Ghost Eyes as I have dubbed them, are a removable cat eye system that simply attaches under the name tape on standard Army patrol caps, or for those of you that are inclined to the back of standard “flag hats”. [As I am currently away from any of my uniform items, all examples will be shown on flag hats for this post.]
The story behind the idea started while I was stationed in Korea. It was highly encouraged that we sew cat eyes onto our patrol caps by our ranger instructor platoon sergeant. As I always preferred field over garrison anyways, I jumped on the idea and soon was sporting a nice shiny set of rectangles that glow in the dark. I had them all through my time in Korea and carried them over to my next unit at Fort Bliss. An armor unit.
If you’ve never heard the phrase attributed to armor, “death before dismount” is the running joke and by and far its a true statement. Which means that most soldiers in the armor community, which includes cavalry scouts (don’t kid yourselves boys; 19 series is 19 series) don’t exit their vehicles unless their tank doesn’t fit through the drive-thru. A general lack of knowledge towards what it takes to operate without an abrams or a bradley is a major issue. Especially when said armor series guys are put in charge of infantrymen, which was the case here.
About a day into hitting the ground in Kuwait on my last go ’round, I was sporting my wonderfully adorned patrol cap, when I walked past our cav scout command sergeant major. I gave the greeting of the day, like a proper soldier, and in turn all I did was draw his attention to the back of my head. Apparently, because dismounted operations were an unheard of thing in his world, he grilled me over the cat eyes, and then rather bluntly, told me to “cut that shit off”. Begrudgingly, I did as I was told, and carried on. He continued to be a garrison nazi on the rest of the deployment, but hey, one of the two of us has since been removed for cause and demoted…
Anyways, while I carried on I was none-the-less irritated by his order to remove my cat eyes. It represented all the choices that were wrong with our battle focus. Something so simple, but such a garrison decision in a combat zone. It irked me to say the least.
So over the years, I never put my cat eyes back for fear of the wrath of Darth Livingston as he was affectionately called (later referred to as “He Who Shall Not Be Named” after his replacement said he never wanted to hear us say his name again). Then I left the unit and just never got around to it. But the idea was there. How can I have cat eyes when I need them, but take them off when someone’s garrison panties get in a twist? I don’t want to have to suffer sewing them on just to have to cut them off a week later, that’s stupid and a waste. I like to fight stupid when I can. So I started thinking up ways to attach them where they can be removed. After a few failed ideas, I finally arrived at what has become Ghost Eyes.
The prototype started with a “T” shape that ran the length of the name tape. Unfortunately, due to the materials used, I moved on to try a few different option ideas I had. So now we have the “T Box”, “Big Block”, and “Squared” respectively. A general consensus showed that the original “T Box” designed was favored, though I’m not scraping the other ones because, well, people are different and like different things. So I’ll give them options. As far as the illumination tape goes, the regular design is going to be the standard 1″X 1/2″ rectangles, though in the future I plan to incorporate an idea that my current unit introduced to me. Cutting different shapes for glow tape allows for different groups to be identified at night. A handy tool when you might be working as a company size or larger element.
After a little materials tweaking, today I came up with an official production. The first couple batches of these things will be field tested with guys in my platoon. Hopefully after that I can work on a way to produce them in a little more timely manner. General expense for one adds up to be roughly $5.00 with about 30-40 minutes of production time. But here is the finished product as of today.
If you are interested in obtaining one of these message me on my facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/arcticspecter . Though forewarning, I’m doing these by hand and outfitting a platoon first. So don’t expect it at your door step the next day.
Stay hidden; Stay safe.