Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
The Marine Corps is looking for yet another lightweight helmet for grunts
Just two years after the Marine Corps dropped $51 million to issue every single grunt a new lightweight combat helmet, the service is eyeing yet another newer, lighter combat helmet.
In a June 4 request for information, Marine Corps Systems Command detailed its vision for a lightweight system designed to "provide an integrated head protection platform for infantry and infantry-like Marines."
Distinct from the service's existing Enhanced Combat Helmet (ECH). the so-called Integrated Helmet System (IHS) should weight between 2.91 and 3.84 pounds depending on size and come with a rail system that can host the usual slew of communications and night vision devices like the Squad Binocular Night Vision Goggles.
"With the increased number of battery powered optics and other attachments to the helmet, the amount of exposed/unsecure wires and battery packs are increasing," the RFI reads. "The Marine Corps is looking for an optimized configuration to allow power and/or data to flow to the attachments while minimizing bulk."
Marine Corps Times notes that the push for for a new combat helmet follows last year's evaluation of hundreds of high- to mid-level cuts of the the ECH, which is produced by Ops-Core special ops helmet maker Gentex Corporation.
While the Marine Corps awarded a fat contract for roughly 185,000 ECH to Gentex back in 2017, MARCORSYSCOM spokesman Manny Pacheco told Marine Corps Times that the IHS RFI is intended to design what the "future of ballistic helmets should look like."
At the same time, Pacheco said that new IHS won't serve as a "complete replacement" for the ECH, which the Marine Corps started fielding to grunts back in 2014.
Still, any weight reduction is good news amid the Corps' ongoing push to shave extra pounds off of its standard issue kits for infantry Marines.
According to a May 2017 Government Accountability Office report on personal protective equipment improvement efforts, Marines fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan humped an average 117-pound load, well above the standard approach march load of 72 pounds.
By contrast, a new analysis by Marine Capt. Courtney Thompson indicates that Marines perform best with loads of between 50 and 75 pounds to increase mobility when facing off against adversaries downrange.
"If we're slow against a peer adversary, we have a much higher probability of getting hit,' Thompson told Task & Purpose. "If we're lighter and we can be exposed to enemy fire the least amount of time possible, we have a better probability of not getting hit."
WATCH NEXT: The Marine Corps M320 Grenade Launcher Is Bulky Garbage
A Minnesota Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter with three Guardsmen aboard crashed south of St. Cloud on Thursday, said National Guard spokeswoman Army Master Sgt. Blair Heusdens.
At this time, the National Guard is not releasing any information about the status of the three people aboard the helicopter, Heusdens told Task & Purpose on Thursday.
The Pentagon's latest attempt to twist itself in knots to deny that it is considering sending up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East has a big caveat.
Pentagon spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said there are no plans to send that many troops to the region "at this time."
Farah's statement does not rule out the possibility that the Defense Department could initially announce a smaller deployment to the region and subsequently announce that more troops are headed downrange.
The Navy could deploy a second carrier to the Middle East if Trump orders an Iran surge, top admiral says
The Navy could send a second aircraft carrier to the Middle East if President Donald Trump orders a surge of forces to the region, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said on Thursday.
Gordon Lubold and Nancy Youssef of the Wall Street Journal first reported the United States is considering sending up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East to deter Iran from attacking U.S. forces and regional allies. The surge forces could include several ships.
I didn't think a movie about World War I would, or even could, remind me of Afghanistan.
Somehow 1917 did, and that's probably the highest praise I can give Sam Mendes' newest war drama: It took a century-old conflict and made it relatable.
An internal investigation spurred by a nude photo scandal shows just how deep sexism runs in the Marine Corps
"I will still have to work harder to get the perception away from peers and seniors that women can't do the job."
Some years ago, a 20-year-old female Marine, a military police officer, was working at a guard shack screening service members and civilians before they entered the base. As a lance corporal, she was new to the job and the duty station, her first in the Marine Corps.
At some point during her shift, a male sergeant on duty drove up. Get in the car, he said, the platoon sergeant needs to see you. She opened the door and got in, believing she was headed to see the enlisted supervisor of her platoon.
Instead, the sergeant drove her to a dark, wooded area on base. It was deserted, no other Marines were around. "Hey, I want a blowjob," the sergeant told her.
"What am I supposed, what do you do as a lance corporal?" she would later recall. "I'm 20 years old ... I'm new at this. You're the only leadership I've ever known, and this is what happens."
She looked at him, then got out of the car and walked away. The sergeant drove up next to her and tried to play it off as a prank. "I'm just fucking with you," he said. "It's not a big deal."
It was one story among hundreds of others shared by Marines for a study initiated in July 2017 by the Marine Corps Center for Advanced Operational Culture Learning (CAOCL). Finalized in March 2018, the center's report was quietly published to its website in September 2019 with little fanfare.
The culture of the Marine Corps is ripe for analysis. A 2015 Rand Corporation study found that women felt far more isolated among men in the Corps, while the Pentagon's Office of People Analytics noted in 2018 that female Marines rated hostility toward them as "significantly higher" than their male counterparts.
But the center's report, Marines' Perspectives on Various Aspects of Marine Corps Organizational Culture, offers a proverbial wakeup call to leaders, particularly when paired alongside previous studies, since it was commissioned by the Marine Corps itself in the wake of a nude photo sharing scandal that rocked the service in 2017.
The scandal, researchers found, was merely a symptom of a much larger problem.